The rather sad story of John Whittingdale says such a lot about the times we live in.
When we were young in the fifties it was a time when you met 'boys' all the time. There were numerous social occasions - anything from the village 'hop' to the Saturday night, full orchestra 'posh' dances. There were Youth Clubs and Activities. Living, as I did, in a village - there were all the village boys (we so called 'sophisticated' girls always thought these below our dignity although, of course, in the end quite a few village girls married village boys.)
We didn't, of course, have access to social media, we didn't go around with our heads glued to our mobile phones. Texting was well in the future, as were dating agencies and all on line ways of meeting people. We met the opposite sex at work, on the bus or train going to work, or if we were lucky enough to go on to further education - a choice only open to a few whose parents were 'rich' enough, at places of further education.
Divorce and what were then called 'illegitimate' children were almost unheard of, certainly in villages. I only remember two in our village - one belonging to the daughter of our neighbour (when I asked my mother if you could have a baby without being married because I realised it had happened next door, my mother said to mind my own business and get on with what I was doing.) The other belonged to a woman further up the road and was the result of a liaison with a pillar of the church - the 'result' was so like him to look at that it caused a bit of a furore which eventually died down.
Some I suspect were brought up by grannies who passed them off as their own daughters/sons.
If there was a divorce in the village I never heard of it (it was a small village) but that is not to say there were not unhappy marriages - more that divorce was often not an easy option financially.
Now Dating Agencies seem to be almost the name of the game. I know of several very happy marriages which have been the result of such meetings.
Sometimes, as in the case of John Whittingdale, the news media can be cruel. What should have been his own private affair is now plastered all over the papers. There are so many shady / criminal people out there and such a small amount of knowledge given - and often not strictly speaking true - that the whole thing is risky
That applies to all virtual relationships including that which exists between us on Blogger. For all most of you know I could be male, forty-five, married, divorced, foreign, - I could go on but I won't. We take one another on face value.
All of this makes me sorry for John Whittingdale. Here is a man who works hard and is probably lonely. He should now be left in peace, not derided and certainly not hounded by the media. Newspapers are good for carrying information but they can also be incredibly intrusive and cruel.