SANDRA PARSONS: Women like being single. Oh, really?

SANDRA PARSONS: Women like being single. Oh, really

For the past few days I’ve been wallowing in a blissful world without men. My husband and son have gone away for the week, so I’ve been left home alone.

What’s notable is the peace and harmony. Men speak loudly, move heavily, colonise entire rooms, avoid anything to do with washing clothes or dishes, can think of no finer dinner than a takeaway pizza and have no concept of sharing the remote control.

So last century Survey claims that women such as Bridget Jones, played by Renee Zellweger pictured above, who crave a relationship are a thing of the past

So last century Survey claims that women such as Bridget Jones, played by Renee Zellweger pictured above, who crave a relationship are a thing of the past

In stereotypical contrast, women speak softly and tread lightly. We compromise without even thinking about it. Absent is the usual discord over what to watch on TV, what to have for supper or who should clear up afterwards.

Is it any wonder, then, that a new survey should reveal that far more women than men are happy to be single

The Bridget Jones generation, unhappy in love and desperate to find a man, is, it seems, so last century.

More than half the women questioned for the survey said they enjoyed being single and appreciate being able to spend their time and money however they wish. Less than a third said they actively disliked being alone — compared to a whopping 70 per cent of men.

As the old cigarette ads used to tell us: ‘You’ve come a long way, baby.’

We’ve fought hard for our careers and financial independence, so why shouldn’t we enjoy the fruits of our success

Marriage can be risky but Sandra Parsons argues that it's still the best way for most of us to live. Picture above posed by models

Marriage can be risky but Sandra Parsons argues that it's still the best way for most of us to live. Picture above posed by models

And the truth is, we are better at being on our own than men. Not only do we tend to have more friends, but those friends are usually more emotionally supportive.

The idea of going for a drink or a meal with a female friend and not discussing how both of you are feeling is anathema to most women, while we’ve all heard stories of men who have let weeks or months elapse before casually mentioning to their closest male friend that they’re getting a divorce.

Not only that, but we don’t expect
anyone to wash and cook for us. A modern-day single man can relish the
fact that he no longer needs to get married to have regular sex — but he
hates the idea of having to look after himself.

Partnership: Most of us want companionship just like Bridget Jones, played by Renne Zellweger pictured with her love interest Mark Darcy, played by Colin Firth

Partnership: Most of us want companionship just like Bridget Jones, played by Renne Zellweger pictured with her love interest Mark Darcy, played by Colin Firth

The trouble is that, deep down, the majority of single women yearn for the companionship and love of a significant other. Even the most wonderful, thoughtful, caring friends can’t always be there for you.

What we all long for most is unconditional love: the idea that someone cares for us above all others and will love us no matter what.

Of course, it’s in many ways an impossible ideal. There are plenty of couples who have found, to their bafflement and dismay, that they’re far lonelier within the confines of a loveless marriage than a single person could ever be.

That doesn’t mean, though, that we should stop trying to achieve it — yet I worry that too many women are throwing in the towel and giving up on men.

This seems to me tragic and defeatist. Despite the fact I’ve spent the past three days revelling in my single state, the truth is I’m enjoying my respite from my husband only because I know he’ll be home at the end of the week.

I don’t claim to have a perfect marriage — who does It’s a risky, messy business that comes without guarantees. It’s also still the best way for most of us to live (and certainly the best framework for bringing up children).

A successful career can feed our self-esteem, win us admiration and provide us with the money to pamper ourselves. But it won’t warm our souls. For that, we need love — and we always will.

Have a banana, Posh – for Harper's sake

David and Victoria Beckham seem devoted to their children, who appear refreshingly well-behaved.

Now Victoria has revealed that the reason she and David are not moving to Paris, despite the obvious appeal in terms of their careers, is because their three boys are so happy in Los Angeles.

Such selflessness is rare in the circles they move in, so I wonder whether, for the sake of the completely adorable seven-month-old Harper (pictured with her mother), Victoria might do the unthinkable and abandon her diet

Victoria Beckham - pictured with her daughter Harper Seven in New York - sticks to an incredibly strict diet

Victoria Beckham – pictured with her daughter Harper Seven in New York – sticks to an incredibly strict diet

She’s reportedly so fearsomely disciplined that she eats only fruit for breakfast (but not melon or banana, as they are slightly fattening) and refuses roasted cherry tomatoes with her lunch of fish and steamed green vegetables for the same reason.

Psychotherapist Susie Orbach, author of Fat Is A Feminist Issue, believes even very young children pick up on their mothers’ body insecurities.

Wouldn’t it be marvellous if Victoria managed what so many female celebrities of her status seem incapable of — and actually started to eat properly

Old boys still rule

BBC Director General Mark Thompson admitted there are not enough older women appearing in top TV programmes

BBC Director General Mark Thompson admitted there are not enough older women appearing in top TV programmes

Less than a week after director-general Mark Thompson wrote in this newspaper that he ‘cherishes’ the BBC’s older women presenters, it was revealed he pays Match Of The Day’s male presenters up to 40 times as much as Angela Rippon, Gloria Hunniford and Julia Somerville.

This is despite the fact their programme, Rip Off Britain, has higher ratings.

Meanwhile, Miriam O’Reilly, who dared to take the corporation to an employment tribunal for ageism and won, has left, only three months into her contract.

As she says ruefully: ‘I’m the person who stood up to the boys, and the boys don’t forget.’

Viewers like older women — in America, Barbara Walters, 82, Christiane Amanpour, 53, and Katie Couric, 55, are household names who all earn millions.

The BBC should be ashamed. Action, not words, Mr Thompson.

Cora you're a corker

As far as I’m concerned, the Baftas fashion award was won hands down by Elizabeth McGovern, better known these days as Downton Abbey’s Cora, Lady Grantham. She’s all the proof you need that you can be 50, have no work done and still look absolutely sensational.

BBC 2’s superb documentary series Protecting Our Children, about the work of Bristol’s children’s services department, has been absolutely compelling.

And the only thing more incredible than the netherworld of deprivation and neglect it has revealed is the heroic selflessness of the social workers involved.

They are true, unsung heroes, who for little financial reward and absolutely no glory spend their working lives fighting to save the families and children the rest of us prefer not to think about.

Such a Brad Show

With marked ill-grace, a discomfited Brad Pitt eventually managed to blow the TV cameras a kiss when urged to do so by Bafta host Stephen Fry.

Presumably, Fry thought Brad was the star most likely to set women viewers’ hearts a-flutter.

Actor Brad Pitt, right, with his partner Angelina Jolie arriving for the premiere of In the Land of Blood and Honey in Sarajevo, Bosnia

Actor Brad Pitt, right, with his partner Angelina Jolie arriving for the premiere of In the Land of Blood and Honey in Sarajevo, Bosnia

He’s wrong. The two actors women love most are Colin Firth — who, with characteristic good humour, rescued a flustered Meryl Streep’s lost shoe and then gallantly knelt to help her put it on again — and George Clooney.

Not because they’re better looking, but because, unlike Brad, they aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves.

And it’s that, in the end, which is the most attractive quality of all.

‘I love seeing Lady Gaga’s boobs and bum,’ Adele told Rolling Stone magazine last year.

‘I love seeing Katy Perry’s boobs and bum. But that’s not what my music is about. I don’t make music for eyes. I make music for ears.’

That’s why she’s won six Grammys — and why her songs will be remembered long after her rivals have truly gone gaga.

The shaming of JFK

Jack Kennedy is one of America’s most revered heroes.

Now we learn, from his former intern’s riveting memoir, serialised in the Mail, that he had no hesitation in taking 19-year-old Mimi Alford’s virginity in his wife’s bedroom.

Mimi Alford, author of Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and its Aftermath, pictured in New York

Mimi Alford, author of Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and its Aftermath, pictured in New York

Nor did he have any compunction about ordering her to perform a sex act on one of his aides, forcing her to inhale amyl nitrate or arranging an abortion when she thought she was pregnant.

His sinister abuse of power makes Bill Clinton’s antics with Monica Lewinsky look like the inept fumblings of an Inbetweener.

But most of all this memoir is a salutary reminder of how the world used to be, when powerful men abused their positions without fear of censure by a cowed Press. I hope Lord Leveson reads Mimi Alford’s book.