Lonely No More

This is a submission for Friday Fictioneers, https://rochellewisoff.com/tag/friday-fictioneers/, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  The story was prompted by the photo below, kindly provided by Janet Webb.

To read other people’s stories and add your own, please click on the link:

Lonely No More

Althea looked at the objects in the window and sighed, before opening the pills and cheap wine.

In her younger days her tasteful display had attracted numerous suitors, all of them a cut above the losers who were drawn by the red lights or OMO packets that other women left on show while their husbands were away. Now no one disturbed her evenings.

She didn’t miss the money. The sex had been fun, though … sometimes.

Althea needed comfort. Life without that wasn’t worth living. She gulped down some wine then reached for the phone and downloaded the dating app.

100 words


In case anyone’s curious about the reference to OMO, this is a laundry product that’s been around for decades.  It used to be said that some servicemen’s wives who were lonely while their husbands were away, would leave an OMO packet in a front window to give the message “Old Man Out”, indicating that they were ready to receive company.  Some versions say OMO stood for “On My Own” or “Old Man Overseas”.  I know that some service personnel and their spouses furiously challenge this scurrilous tale.  I’m not claiming that it has any basis in fact, but my gran  (a Navy wife) believed it and strongly disapproved of any woman who used OMO.

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23 Responses to Lonely No More

  1. Smiling here. Love the intrusion of the dating app. All that sedentary comfort can’t last long with wild ones.


    • JS Brand says:

      … and good luck to them. I tried inventing suitable names for mature “dating” sites, but checked Google and found most of them already existed! I gave up as my browsing history was becoming increasingly embarrassing. Thank you for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. yarnspinnerr says:

    That is a very different take. Great write.
    Also thanks for including the note on OMO.


  3. neilmacdon says:

    I’m intrigued by the idea of using Omo as a sign for “business”


    • JS Brand says:

      I suspect it’s largely an urban myth, with origins in a few real-life examples. Unilever’s website says OMO gives your family “the freedom to get dirty”. If it wasn’t for the reference to family, I’d think someone in the marketing team had heard the story and had a cheeky sense of humour.
      The sign in the window is no doubt redundant in these days where social media reigns.


  4. Iain Kelly says:

    Ha, a modern take on how the world has changed. Nice one.


  5. Dear JS,

    I’d never heard of OMO before. Thank you for sharing that. Like any urban legend, there’s probably a kernel of truth to it.
    You painted a heart-wrenching picture of loneliness. You have to admire Althea. She hasn’t given up. Hope the dating app works for her. 😉




    • JS Brand says:

      Thank you Rochelle. Unilever only used the OMO brand in some countries. I think Unilever trades as Sun Products in the US, where OMO might be called “Surf” ? Incidentally I found out, after posting the story, that Unilever’s own take on OMO is that it stands for “Old Mother Owl”. I love the way FF leads to all sorts of incidental learning.


  6. I remember my mother having boxes of OMO powder very well, but I wasn’t aware of the messages they sent! Now you’ve got me wondering……

    Please click to read my FriFic

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Varad says:

    Well, hope she can swipe right her loneliness away.


  8. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover says:

    Nicely done. I felt her loneliness and was despairing that she was giving up. Glad this had a more optimistic ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. glossarch says:

    I’m glad she hit up the dating site at last. A nice, unexpected ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sandra says:

    Never heard of that OMO packet custom. Now I’m racking my brains to think whether I ever did that by accident. I hope I didn’t – because no-one ever called. Good take!

    Liked by 1 person

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