Two’s Company

“Two’s Company: Love Again, a Woman’s Journey” is a considerable addition to books on dating, being about meeting seniors: it relates my attempts, some funny and others tragic, to find love again at the age of sixty-six through the personal ads. Hope, fortitude and humour were qualities very much required.

As well as describing my ‘adventures’ , “Two’s Company” reflects on solitude, ageing, yearning, and also childhood, the time in our lives when, for good or ill, we learn about love and relationships.

THE NEW SEASON OF LOVE: see article further down.

‘Sexy- Generians: The over 60s still in search of love.’  Valerie Grove :‘THE TIMES’ interview.   Click here to read the Times interview 15.08.11

‘Granny is dating – get over it…’ – Jane Silk ‘MATURE TIMES’ interview of Helene Pascal was short-listed for THE ROSES MEDIA AWARDS 2011.

Interview – ICI Londres Magazine – Click here to read this article in French

“TWO’S COMPANY, Hélène Pascal’s chronicle of her adventures in the dating game is madly readable: bright and intelligent like the writer herself. It took pluck to thrust herself among strangers, in her sixties, via the lonely hearts columns, and then to be so candid about the results. Will she fall for another plausible scrounger, will that nice chap ring her back as he promised, are all men self-deluding? The ever-hopeful Hélène’s gripping, fast-paced and often hilarious tales will appeal vastly to the rising demographic of singletons: I warmly recommend it.” – Valerie Grove (author and THE TIMES writer)

“Hélène Pascal’s beautifully written account of her search for a partner is funny, moving, brave and very relevant for any over-sixty on the same path. Her self-revelation alone makes it worth reading but her beady eye on the British males on offer gives it a deliciously tart French flavour. Everyone should read it.” – Terence Frisby (Author and Playwright: Kisses on a Postcard, There’s a Girl in my Soup, Rough Justice, etc.)

“Hélène Pascal chronicle of her experiences of the dating world shines by its insights and humour as she relates her quest to find a partner in her sixties through the personal pages in national newspapers.
This account of her various attempts to find a mate with whom to “talk, share, laugh and do things” is totally compelling and will resonate with many single mature women who, for diverse reasons, find themselves on their own later in life, wish to share the many years ahead with a good man, and know they still have a lot to give.
With her background in psychology and counselling, Hélène Pascal is able to give real insight into the human need for closeness and companionship whatever our age, and our visions of love developed through childhood and later experiences.
Her meetings with many men on her journey to find happiness are variously moving, heart-breaking, puzzling and hilarious, and we marvel at the strength of our need and our capacity for hope. It all makes for gripping reading, as we share Hélène’s dreams to find a good male companion at a time in life when we all have to face up to ageing and the threat of solitude. I just couldn’t put it down, I had to discover if she found love in the end!” – 
Jane Silk (Editor, MATURE TIMES)

by Hélène Pascal

The younger ones, the well-married, the happy or at least reasonably contented ones, will talk about it with amusement, even condescension and hilarity. Nevertheless, if they suddenly found themselves alone, through bereavement or divorce -and it is a fact that divorce, at an all-time low in all other age groups, is at its highest ever among the over-sixties- well, they would be me, along with many thousands of others!

You could call it the silent event: it doesn’t make any noise -it’s not government policy!- as it stems from very private feelings and needs. It’s a new kind of mating season, but without the breeding compulsion, and without the often inconsidered impatience of youth. It is, rather, with the considered impatience of those who have learnt that time is finite, and precious.

When seniors find themselves at that junction in their lives, faced with twenty or often thirty years in retirement, they are jolted by the realisation that they could have a life all over again. Besides, loneliness looms large if their marriage has become unhappy. They may have nurtured dreams of starting a new venture, taking up a hobby, travelling, but particularly, holding a prominent place in their new firmament: finding happiness again in a new relationship.

As a million more seniors join the internet each year, many in order of finding a new partner, you know that the new welcome demographic of people living longer, having healthier lives, and often with the means to travel and enjoy leisure, has beetransformed by the shocking and world-changing feature of the new prospect of Love Again.. It didn’t use to be so.

Generally speaking, in the not-so-distant past, most people on reaching retirement would, usually gratefully, withdraw gently from active life. But we now have to realise that our parents, and even grand-parents have the same hopes, dreams and needs as when they were in their twenties: they almost seem, in their attitudes to life, as if they are no longer parents but fast-evolving teenagers; their children used to be the centre of their lives, now their own lives are becoming central to them again and in a strange way, it’s as if they have become our contemporaries, which is to say the least disconcerting: they have new preoccupations and hobbies, they will talk of their feelings, frustrations and needs, they will dream again. Some will go as far as starting new careers or businesses, they will meet and ally themselves to new groups of people. And one day you may realise that they are even dating!

In “TWO’S COMPANY: Love Again, a Woman’s Journey” I have chronicled my own search for a soulmate at the age of 66 through the newspapers’ personal ads. Along the way, I have met good and less good men, like the financial lawyer who, in his own sweet way, actually ruined me after I’d saved his life. Some were kind, some were blind, and others on a different path…Consequently, some of the stories are poignant, desperate, funny, occasionally verging on the irresponsible: didn’t I meet an architect who told me on our third date he had just come out of jail for “the so-called manslaughter” of his wife? (I found out later he had certainly killed her.) And why should a peer of the realm, a man of experience -worth, incidentally, over £150 million- advertise for love (or at least a consort) in the dating pages of the week-end papers?

Because, like so many of us, dreamers or workaholics, disappointed optimists, abandoned lovers or grieving partners, he is lonely. Moreover, the latter is in his seventies: for it happens more as age advances, taking us by surprise, increasing our fears of loneliness. We want to talk, share, laugh with someone. We need touch, sex, closeness. Because we also need a witness: we are still alive, have so much to give, and anger merges with grief at the thought of all that -our lives, everything that’s good about us- going unrecorded in another’s gaze, being wasted. There are millions of us but only some will dare to go public.

Well, I have. “TWO’S COMPANY: Love Again, a Woman’s Journey” describes my search, at an age undoubtedly ‘certain‘, of love. Again. It reflects on solitude, yearning, ageing of course, with the fear of no longer being thought attractive, or able to love: would I repeat past mistakes? Childhood is evoked, and the way the child looks upon their parents‘ relationship, the examples we came across, as well as dreams and first experiences. Of course it describes mainly my meetings with men, and they were mostly brief on a background of hope, where Madame Bovary meets Bridget Jones in what could often be called a comedy of errors…

Also: have you ever wondered how you learned about love? Loving? What is love? You might have, but many of us don‘t, strangely. In any case, never say: ‘I have no baggage‘. If we come to realise through our long journey of learning about ourselves that we have been coached, throughout our childhood and beyond, in the principles of love inherent to the family we were born into, then we should recognise that we come to that first date with a potential mate holding wondrous gifts or crippled with seeping wounds…