I was at a boozy lunch, and a boozy luncher in his sixties confessed to having been telephoned by a friend's widow and told that he was escorting her to a soiree. Being fond of this widow who was, incidentally, most incredibly rich, the bachelor of my tale agreed to do so.
But on the evening in question, some flirtatious siren told our hero that she was chilly and asked if would he put his arm around her. Chivalrously, he did, and caught sight of his friend's widow looking daggers at him. Oh dear.
The widow took him aside and told him how lonely she had been and how she just wanted to get married again and--it is too painful to go on. Essentially, the widow wigged, and in hearing this story my heart bled for her and me and anyone else who has ever wigged on a date because it happens to lonely people all the time.
But it must stop. We must retain our dignity or we will feel like hell the next morning. (I say "we" because you never know: I might be a widow and therefore Single again myself one day.) There are some very simple rules that I believe every woman should follow: I don't care how old or rich she is. Indeed, widowed Baby Boomers need most particularly to know these rules because if they got married in 1972, they have no idea of what is out there. They haven't even read The Rules. Hello, yes, your generation ruined sexuality. Thanks a bunch. Welcome to our world.
1. Don't ask men out on dates. If a man wants to go with you somewhere, he will ask you. If you want to try your luck, ask him to a party with a lot of other people and trail yourself about like a fishing lure. Touch his arm and laugh delightedly at his jokes. And then back off. Back off, I say.
2. Do not break down into weepy confessions before men, ever, unless you are a Catholic and the man is a priest. Only a priest is trained to hear "I am so lonely, and I just want to get married" without wanting to rip his ears off. (This is where my beautiful friend Alisha will rush in to say she weeps in front of her male friends all the time, and they give her hugs and consolation, but Alisha doesn't want to get married, so ignore Alisha on this point.)
3. Never betray envy of other women on a date. If you spot your date with his arm around another woman, smile and fake complicity ("Who was that sultry siren?") or say nothing and file away the data away for a telephone chat with a female friend. I think faking complicity is better, though, as it gives Mr. Date the chance to explain. Incidently, if you asked him out, you have no reason to get upset. Don't ask him out again.
4. Keep in mind that some men are crusty old bachelors who simply never want to get married, and never having sex is a price they are willing to pay for their freedom. They actually enjoy their routines and their soup out of cans, and the idea of female clutter fills them with horror.
I think it is absolute nonsense to assume that "confirmed bachelor" is a euphemism for homosexual. I live in the UK. Heterosexual confirmed bachelors potter from one end of the island to the other, and there is no-one who can make a woman feel like she is no more than a garden slug on the face of creation faster than a heterosexual confirmed bachelor Englishman, or a heterosexual confirmed bachelor Scot who sounds like an Englishman. (Bastards!) But that is beside the point. Some men just don't want to get married, and if they have got to the age of 65 without ever having gotten married, then they have probably accepted this fate with alacrity. Leave them alone.