Monday, February 18, 2013

"Suddenly Solo" in Older Age


A Practical Guide for Mature, Widowed or Divorced Men

By Skip Sheffield

Harold “Hal” Spielman lost Mary, his wife of 32 years, five years ago. It was the culmination of her 14-year battle against breast cancer. Spielman, now 85, retired a year later from the large, worldwide marketing and advertising research company he founded in New York. Spielman’s life changes at first seemed overwhelming.
“I was truly alone for the first time in my life,” Spielman recalls. “I felt rather lost. I searched for some practical advice and support and I found there was virtually nothing available for men in my position. There are about a zillion advice books for widowed or divorced women, but nothing for men.”
It dawned on Hal Spielman, a sociologist by education and research and marketing expert by practice, that maybe he could be just the guy to offer advice and practical suggestions to widowed and divorced men; particularly of older age.
Spielberg now calls himself a “Partner” and a “Life Explorer.” The first thing he did was set up a web site, An outgrowth is a slim paperback volume of the same name, written with the help of Marc Sibert, a golfing buddy and seasoned professional writer.
A number of popular myths are exploded in “Suddenly Solo,” which is sub-titled “A lifestyle road map for the mature, widowed or divorced man.” One of the most glaring facts is that only nine percent of women say it is “very important” to have a man in their life. By contrast 22 percent of men say it is “very important” to have a woman in their life. No wonder older men can feel lost.
Based on his research interviews (more than 1,000 men and 600 women in their 60s and 70s), Spielman learned that a woman’s breasts are not as important to men as women think they are. Spielman found men first look at a woman’s eyes, then earrings or jewelry, then the face, necklace and finally cleavage.
“If you focus too much on physical appearance you are bound to be disappointed,” he states. “Mature men are not just interested in big-boobed young blondes. Of course a woman your own age will have wrinkles and be less than physically ideal. I have had both my knees and hips replaced.”
Conversely, women find sense of humor, honesty and integrity far more important than a man’s physical appearance.
“Suddenly Solo” was written to be light, breezy and humorous but backed by hard factual research. It is divided into five “Stages,” or chapters, with sub-headings. The first is Separation, which is a “most difficult time” regardless of reason. Stage Two concerns being alone and dealing with loneliness, conceding “it’s a couple’s world.”
Stage Three becomes more practical with “New Connections,” addressing the question as to when or why a man should resume dating.
Stage Four more directly focuses on “The Search.”
Finally Stage Five is “Moving on- A New Life.” That new life may not mean re-marriage. “Suddenly Solo” explores the phenomenon of RCF (Really Close Friends), who may or may not be wife material.
Spielman himself has an “RCF” who lives here in Florida, where he has a home in Lake Worth. Spielman’s principal residence remains Sands Point, New York.
You have the opportunity to meet Hal Spielman at the Boomer Times booth at the Delray Beach International Tennis Center during the International Tennis Championships. Spielman will be there from 5:30-8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28.
To contact Spielman, go to or e-mail

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