Humiliation

November 13, 2012 § 124 Comments

From yesterday’s Times:-

I’ve often tried to pinpoint where precisely it is in the body that nausea resides.  Stomach?  Throat? Still can’t be sure.  So it is with the humiliation of being a plankton.  The feeling is real, but I cannot for the life of me locate it, not really.  Sometimes I think its source is Society; that people are looking at me and thinking, she’s a middle-aged woman-reject for whom microwave meals for one were invented.  Sometimes, because of this, I have seriously considered inventing a colourful love life to exonerate myself from the humiliation of fitting so perfectly into type.  But I am an inefficient liar and of course, on the whole, people aren’t really thinking I’m a loser.  A few are I suppose, but probably no one I much care about.  Most people are too busy considering where they themselves fit into the bigger picture, to be worrying about and writing off me.

Certainly, strangers and acquaintances don’t give a monkeys about my status, and kind friends, those with imagination anyway, feel sympathy and a desire to see me sorted.  I didn’t used to think this, because humiliation felt so real – still does – but I have evolved of late and decided it is entirely a construct of my own perception.

A few weeks ago, I saw a friend for the first time since June.  She didn’t know that I hadn’t been chain-smoking lovers over the summer, but she didn’t ask and clearly assumed not, because she took me aside and told me she had a wonderful widower for me.  In the past, I would have felt eviscerated in the face not of her offer (I always appreciate a match-maker, even if so many talk about someone for me but never follow up their promise to effect an introduction), but in the face of her patronising assumption that no one had showed me, the loser, the slightest bit of attention in so long.

This time, though, I was able to rise above it.  I just smiled and said how lovely of her but I thought, you silly, disingenuous person, you never will introduce us.  And I don’t actually care, for what do you know of the vistas of opportunity I might be facing now that a twinkle of such an age as to possess no baggage has hoved into view?  And since I decided to ignore the Good Advice of my wise old aunt who urged me not to sleep with him but instead to put myself in the way of more age-appropriate men – bit random, but worked for her – by becoming a magistrate for goodness sake?!

Times were when I would have cried, but today I’ve evolved I feel, you can only laugh.

 

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§ 124 Responses to Humiliation

  • AnonW says:

    I’m worried about your nausea. I suffered a bit and then I started having balance problems. It then appeared I had developed crystals in my inner ear and this was causing something called BPPV. I mentioned this to my physio and he organised a consultation with a specialist physio.

    The result was the problem has completely disappeared and my balance generally has got a lot better.

    You should try it!

    • The Plankton says:

      Thanks for your concern about my nausea. In fact, I was talking generally. I am not currently suffering from it, thank goodness, as it’s my least favourite and most dreaded feeling in the world. Pxx

  • zoe says:

    P, have you been unmasked? Is it you who’s a man and not Lydia?

    • zoe says:

      That mysterious message to “Ian” has now been deleted. Leaving my message stranded – not to mention baffling. I feel a conspiracy theory coming on.

      • py says:

        And who , indeed , is/was ‘Angela’ ?

      • fi says:

        And why delete it if it was just an error put there by another commentator? ;)

      • Margaux says:

        My previous post has jumped too high – merely back commenting on other posts …I’m not the unveiler of the mystery!

      • py says:

        Now, Fi, what do you make of Ms P’s statement : ” And since I decided to ignore the Good Advice of my wise old aunt who urged me not to sleep with him” ?

        Does this infer that the Young Twinkle finally succumbed to her singleton charms and experience? If so, how was it for her and, indeed, him ? Did the power balance shift, as predicted by the WOA ? Is a return match on the cards or is it ‘all over rover’ in the blink of a Twinkle ?

        Or is my misinterpretation all down to an unfortunate lapse in punctuation ?

        So many questions to be asked and answered before the lunchtime break screeches to a halt

      • fi says:

        Well she says “for what do you know of the vistas of opportunity I might be facing now that a twinkle of such an age as to possess no baggage has hoved into view?” I think she has simply decided to take the opportunity if it arises, however as it is now several weeks since the opportunity first appeared, I think the moment may have been missed. But..I think P is Angela, but I’d absolutely love it and think it brilliant if all this time P was actually Ian! Not really sure that I think P’s life is real anymore.

      • SteveH says:

        I think we’ve all wondered at times whether P’s life is real Fi.

        I think on balance it may well be, but at the end of the day am truely not overly bothered.

        P/Angela/Ian writes beautifully, has opened up some wonderful topics of discussion and begat a forum that is lively and interesting.

      • The Plankton says:

        I am neither Angela nor Ian and my life is all too real. Pxx

      • Scott Benowitz says:

        YERRRRRRRRRRRKH….

      • Scott Benowitz says:

        YERRRRRRRRRRRKH…

      • Jill says:

        ? Scott, please do enlighten us – what does that “comment” add to any of this? Are you in pain? Do you need help? Should we send for medical assistance? (!)

      • It was intended to be a reply to Fi, intended to appear directly beneath her comment about Angela and Ian- A couple of months ago, Fi was writing about how she misses not having a man to live with… I decided that it really does not make a whole lot of sense for me to move in with her, considering that we’ve probably never met eachother before (as far as we know at least), and I have absolutely no idea who she is, but I did feel sorry for her, and so I figured that while Fi and I are NOT going to try to live together, I can perhaps make her feel better by attempting to remind her what life is like when you do have a man living with you- And hence, I write belching noises along with comments in which I pretend to be only half- listening to what she is saying in reply to her comments, and then I ask her to do some housework chores…. almost as good as really having one of us around, probably?

        And- by the way, while “Fi” is probably not Fi’s real name, “Scott Benowitz” is not a pen name, I’m really writing in here using my own real name- don’t bother to google me though,- I mean google away if it satisfies any sense of curiousity, you won’t learn anything about me though- there are at least two other people with the same first and last name as me, spelled exactly the same way living in the U.S….

      • fi says:

        Scott. I NEVER EVER EVER said I missed having a man to live with. I’d rather stick pins in my eyes.

      • fi says:

        I think you got confused by me saying one of the disadvantages of being manless was having to do all your own DIY, particularly the unpleasant ones or those requiring strength. :)

      • AnonW says:

        I very much miss having a lady about. But that doesn’t mean I want to live with them all the time.

        At the moment, I’m doing up my house and I need a lady with taste to tell me how women think about houses and especially bathrooms. Not kitchens, as even if I say it myself, I know what I want there.

        Living with someone also means you have someone to help in little things around the house. Take this morning, I’ve got a deep cut in my finger and I can’t see if it’s got a splinter in it. So I’ll have to go down the doctor’s surgery.

        Life is about give and take! At the moment, I miss all that.

      • Scott Benowitz says:

        Fi- sorry, perhaps I’m confusing you with Py? Apologies then, please forgive me, your pen names are a bit similar, as are the patterns in those little blue tiles which appear next to your names….

      • PY says:

        Nope, Scott , ‘PY’ is the real deal as well – but the ‘Life of Pi’ is not, I can assure you , autobiographical .

      • Jill says:

        Ah well thank you for that that very clear explanation, Scott. I did get the whole bit about you making the point that living with a man is not without its downsides, but since I personally have four sons, although no longer a husband, I do have a fairly wide experience of what living in an all-male environment entails. I think I am pretty well unshockable by now, but I do love trying to wind up my sons from time to time, so the boot is not always on the male foot….(when I say that, BTW, I don’t mean by belching or any other form of behaviour which might be characterised as “unladylike” (!) Rather, I prefer to appal them with my puerlie sense of the ridiculous and shock them verbally. It can be very satisfying…..

        And, my name really is Jill or Jilly or Jillian, depending on which part of my life you know me from, so you are not alone in using your real name here. And why shouldn’t fi be fi, too? (However, I would like her to be “Fi”, being something of a pedant….! :D )

      • Jill says:

        And my eyesight is so deficient (increasing age and decrepitude!), these days that I can’t spot when I have spelled “puerile” as “puerlie…

      • Minnow says:

        Jill, chill out about your typing errors.

      • Jill says:

        Not un-chilled, just annoyed with myself and my diminishing eyesight. You obviously don’t have that sort of problem…..yet! ;)

      • Fi says:

        Jill – it is Fi. Or it is here. In real life it is Fiona.

      • Jill says:

        Oh good, that does make me happy, Fi…!, and it would also make me happy to know how you are doing? ( If that is not too an intrusive a question to ask. I apologise if it is.)

      • Fi says:

        Ah well. I had my lumpectomy 10 days ago, and some lymph glands taken out at the same time, and I go back a week tomorrow to see what happens next, by which time all the results should be in (confirming the type it is and finding out whether it is in my glands or not as that determines treatment). All healed on the outside anyway, bruises gone, swelling gone, off painkillers after less than 48 hours so I was driving as soon as that happened, dressings gone. I now have one breast that looks as though it has had an uplift! So that bit is good really. Think I must heal very quickly as not everyone is as lucky as me. Just been doing what I normally do (except working obv) walking, socialising, cinema visiting, sitting in coffee shops – I shouldn’t really but when I’m a bit tired I just nap for a while then begin again. Thanks for asking :)

      • Jill says:

        Well done you, Fi, and I hope that you are getting lots of support from friends and family. It sounds as though you are doing the best possible thing in the (difficult) circumstances i.e. getting on with doing everything – almost – that you normally would and keeping busy. Best way of avoiding over-thinking the other matter….good luck for next week – hope it’s a very positive outcome. Maybe let us know if you feel you want to, please?

      • Elle says:

        Good luck Fi, it’s good you’re healing well but don’t do too much too soon. I hope it continues to go well for you.

      • Fi says:

        thanks ;)

      • The Plankton says:

        Best of luck with the next stage, Fi. pxx

      • PY says:

        That was supposed to ditto Ms P’s sentiments . Sorry x

      • joules says:

        Dear Fi
        So far so good. Fingers crossed regarding those results. Let hope Uncle T is right.

      • maria says:

        Fi, so glad everything is fine so far. Fingers crossed everything will be fine for good.

      • T Lover says:

        Fiona,

        Anxious time ’till the results. The results will be fine. Uncle T has already told you they will be fine and then…. life will begin in earnest.

        Atta girl.

        BTW, I only know two other “Fionas”. They are both Vets. Both Scots, one by birth, the other by recent oirigin. Both barking. One is a complete looney tune. A well known fruit. A monster.

        I hope the name “Fiona” is just one of those odd coincidences….

      • malcolm says:

        The trick is now to get that second breast equally as uplifting as the first. If you practice enough, maybe you can become one of those remakable women who can get their breasts to move separately to different beats. You’d be a hit at parties.

      • Jill says:

        This is hilarious, Malcolm, but also mind-boggling….surely they can’t be real breasts, can they? I reckon she’s got a couple of gerbils in there….! Or maybe hamsters…..

      • Jill says:

        Ooops….This was mean to be a response to Malclom’s video of the jiggling boobs – what on earth is causing various posts o end up in the wrong place?

      • Fi says:

        Malcolm. I’ll try. :D

      • malcolm says:

        Give it your best shot Fi :-)

      • fi says:

        :lol:
        Malcolm. Shouldn’t you be back in the uk/scotland with your sense of humour?

      • PY says:

        Just be careful , Fi . You could have a chap’s eye out with them there flailing breasts.

        Can well sympathise withh Malcolm. As ivhave said in the past , the t’other end of the stick can be pretty rough . If a man dose not conform then society will make its presumptions

      • fi says:

        PY – that’s one of the things I admire about men. They just get on with it without whining or whingeing. Sent to the Possible Paedophile room and also assumed to be useless as he was a man. What would a woman have done in a situation where men assumed she couldn’t do something because of her gender and made her sit apart? Sued? Written letters of complaint? Cried?

      • PY says:

        It’s still hurtful .

        Over the past decade of singleton-living various nieces and God-daughters have stayed with me. Some for several weeks , others months until they get themselves established in London. All continue to be frequent visitors, particularly when they are looking for sanctuary of peace and quiet or after another failed relationship.

        Having been ‘vetted’, I regularly have foreign students staying , supplied by the local English language college . Male students and women over 30 fine . Irrationally, they will not billet any female under that age with me – unless my sons are staying . Both of whom are late teens, over 6 ft and devastatingly good looking ( of course ! ) . Now , where does the threat to the 19 yr old Brazilian girl lie ?

      • Jill says:

        Yes it is..hurtful… and I feel sad and outraged that Malcom and PY have both been the object of such an unjust form of discrimination. Perhaps Planktonism is the last frontier of prejudice…? I think that everyone who follows P’s musings on life as a single person must have experienced this type of prejudice in one form or another. From Miss Bates being inappropriately seated at her business dinner, to Malcolm being banned from his daughter’s ballet class, to this ridiculous (and illogical) stipulation about PY’s lodgers, it’s all hurtful and hard to deal with. I was very moved by what Lord McAlpine said yesterday about the pain caused to him by the false accusations and rumour-mongering about him – i.e. that “it gets into your bones”. (I am well aware that his not the same type of situation as that under discussion here, but his words certainly resonated with me, as I am sure they did with many of you.)

      • fi says:

        I think PY and Malcolm are being discriminated against for BEING MEN. If they had a woman around they would be less discriminated against as the assumption would be that a woman would protect children and young women from them, or the actual presence of a woman would mean that the man had been vetted and considered to be ok. Similarly men are perceived as being incapable of doing ‘women’s’ stuff, unlike women who can do ‘man’s’ stuff – a concept that is reinforced all the time in popular culture and adverts eg man flu, buggering up the washing, not being able to manage kids etc etc

      • fi says:

        And personally I don’t think there is any discrimination against single women and I’ve certainly never experienced any. I think it is some women feeling inadequate as they haven’t got a man and assuming that everyone else thinks they’re inadequate too. And then looking for evidence to support that viewpoint. Controversial I know, and I doubt anyone else agrees with me, but nonetheless I’d like to put on record that it is simply a matter of opinion that discrimination exists, not a matter of fact.

      • Jill says:

        I can’t entirely agree, Fi. Ian Brady, Fred West and Ian Huntley all had women in their lives….and I know from my long experience working with a national children’s charity that women are completely capable of horrendous treatment of children, and of turning a blind eye/contributing to abuse – physical, emotional or sexual – of girls AND boys. When working at a national garden show as I do each summer, we volunteers are told expressly not to go to the assistance of a child in trouble or distress on our own, but to seek another helper for reasons of “safety in numbers”. This goes so totally against the grain that I am not sure I would be able to adhere to this instruction should the occasion arise, but happily it hasn’t yet done so.

        As for men being perceived as being incapable of doing ” women’s stuff”, I think those ridiculous stereotypes are equally applicable to women. I am often talked down to by men about the internal workings of my car, household plumbing, and other matters of a practical nature, which I have always taken care of (out of necessity not inclination, the husband being a man who believed in “getting a man in” to do anything of that ilk!) I am delighted to say that I have made sure that all my sons are far better equipped to call themselves modern men, even though I am still the only person in the family who can programme/set up the DVD player!

      • fi says:

        ” Ian Brady, Fred West and Ian Huntley all had women in their lives….and I know from my long experience working with a national children’s charity that women are completely capable of horrendous treatment of children, and of turning a blind eye/contributing to abuse – physical, emotional or sexual – of girls AND boys. When working at a national garden show as I do each summer, we volunteers are told expressly not to go to the assistance of a child in trouble or distress on our own, but to seek another helper for reasons of “safety in numbers”.”
        Jill – I’m not saying women do protect children from men, or that they don’t commit crimes against children, but the fact remains that a single woman, unlike a single man, wouldn’t be hived off to sit away from the children. He was asked to purely because of his sex.
        “As for men being perceived as being incapable of doing ” women’s stuff”, I think those ridiculous stereotypes are equally applicable to women. I am often talked down to by men about the internal workings of my car, household plumbing, and other matters of a practical nature, which I have always taken care of”
        Nor am I saying that this never happens to women. Discrimination against men (ie the assumption that they are incapable of doing traditionally women’s tasks) is endemic in society and unchallenged unlike that against women. For example it would no longer be acceptable to advertise a product the point of it being to that it is so simple that even a woman could use it, yet men are regularly portrayed in this way with say cleaning products, or household tasks, or even the winter ad for Boots that shows women carrying on doing loads of things with the aid of some echinaeu (or whatever its called) while the man lies at home with ‘manflu’. I’m surprised you aren’t aware of this having 4 sons as I became very aware of the messages that my son was picking up as he grew up.

      • fi says:

        In fact what is ‘Manflu’ anyway? It’s the normal cold that women get but that men pretend is flu, because they’re weaker than us. That’s why it is called MAN flu. That’s the joke. ;)

      • Jill says:

        I think that’s the point, Fi – when is a joke no longer a joke? I don’t mind at all being the butt of some gentle teasing from my sons about my feet being smaller than theirs so that I can more easily reach the stove…..or indeed of some very funny “blonde-ist” gibes (actually they are all blond too, so not too many legs to stand on there). And they think that some of the jokey advertisments about the ineptitude of men in doing domestic tasks are a great excuse for maintaining that I am far more qualified to do said tasks. (This butters NO parsnips with me, btw…) However, there is a huge divide between that sort of light-hearted humour and sexist sneering, wouldn’t you agree? And of course I ahve been very aware of imbuing my sons with a disegard for “traditional divisions of labour.” They are all far more at ease with their feminine sides than their father (generational difference or just a very switched-on mother :D ?) but that doesn’t stop them trying it on once in a while….just as I’m sure daughters do.

        I think it’s Echinacea for cold prevention?! However, my doctor son says nothing beats hand washing for avoiding transference of germs, and my doctor father used to recommend ‘flu jabs across the board to ward off colds. But even he used to get Man’flu….go figure!

      • fi says:

        Jill – you’re not ‘switched on’ (whatever that is) – you’d be very strange if you were any different. You’re only a few years older me and you were therefore a teenager in the 70s. I find it odd that you think of it as being ‘switched on’ instead of ‘normal’. I would say the joke stops being funny when it pervades enough of life that it creates a general perception that ends up with discrimination. For example when a father is shown to a seperate room from mothers who are allowed to watch children dancing, because it’s possible that he could be a paedophile, and no-one raises an objection.

      • fi says:

        Or rather that is not a clear example of the LINK between the joke and the descrimination. Here’s one:
        “The complexity of my tasks was also minimized despite the fact that I’m a very capable parent, perhaps more caring than some of the slatternly bags of bones who hauled their arses in to these events and were given preference over me because they belonged to the fairer sex.”
        The other examples that PY and Malcolm used are just examples of discrimination based on the common thinking that women and children have to be protected from the sexual approaches of men.
        ” I was clearly ostracized by some of the mothers and consigned to the more simple backroom tasks where my contact with children was limited”
        ” Male students and women over 30 fine . Irrationally, they will not billet any female under that age with me – unless my sons are staying”

      • Jill says:

        Hi Fi, Perhaps you are over-thinking all of this. Please read what I said again. …. I would never dream of implying that there could be anything to joke about in terms of discrimination of the sort we were told about this morning by Malcolm and PY I was just pointing out that there can be gently amusing sexism as well as outrageously unfair and hurtful sexual discrimination, As for “switched on”, that was my (patently unsuccessful) attempt to minimise the compliment I felt I was paying myself for implying that I have managred to raise sons who are/are going to be far better husbands than the man who fathered them.

        Perhaps we have to recognise that there are many types of prejudice and discrimination to be found in society, and we are all guilty of displaying them from time to time? (E.g. “perhaps more caring than some of the slatternly bags of bones…..”, Malcolm? Possibly not their fault that you were treated badly by the powers that be?)

      • fi says:

        Sorry. I think I misunderstood what you were trying to say ;)

      • Jill says:

        No problem, Fi. Glad we got that sorted out! :D

      • fi says:

        Anyway, I wouldn’t like to speak for men. ;)

      • Jill says:

        Certainly not….perish the thought! ;) (Actually, would we be “capable” of doing so, as mere women….?!)

      • Elle says:

        “Now where does the threat to the 19 yr old Brazilian girl lie?”

        The answer lies in the question itself.

      • fi says:

        Elle – that’s very cryptic. “The answer lies in the question”. What does it mean?

      • py says:

        Having Carnival-ed in Rio in my early 20′s, I’d be more concerned about the well being of my sons .

        (Comments all over the place, sorry)

      • Fi says:

        Maybe it would complete their education?

      • malcolm says:

        To be honest the treatment was hurtful, but what does a little girl (or boy for that matter) understand of such things? i wouldn’t want to jeopordise my kids happiness or the continuity of their lives just to make some sort of quasi-political statement.
        I feel that men are often put in a position where they just have to endure certain situations, because if they spoke out;
        1)Few people would listen.
        2)Fewer would care.
        3)The fallout would be greater than any potential benefit.
        4)Any man complaining is considered a whiner at best and at worst just wants a return to the days when women were ‘barefoot and pregnant” and is shamed into silence.

        The best option for most men these days is to retreat into positions where contact with women is restricted and can be controlled so as to avoid any nasty surprises.

      • Fi says:

        Malcolm – I think that’s a shame that it has come to that and really that’s what some of the manosphere blogs are trying to address. Not all – as some of them just give men who are unsuccessful with the ladies the chance to vent their misogyny, and others provide young men with instructions on how to have sex with as many gullible girls as possible, but there are men posting about this sort of thing too. Privateman’s blog does look at more broader male related issues and you can see there is a groundswell of opinion that thinks there is discrimination against men. And I have to agree that I do too.
        I think (for what it’s worth) that you’ve done a great job stepping in to fill the gap left by your children’s mother, and taking the crap you have done in doing so for the sake of them. But don’t let it make you think that everyone thinks like that.

      • fi says:

        Although most do I’m afraid :)

      • Jill says:

        Perhaps a bit too fully, Fi? The son of a friend of mine went off to Fiji ( I know it’s not Rio but anyway….) on a gap year trip a while back, and a few months later a young lady with a very round tummy arrived on their doorstep to find the father of her child….he did in fact marry her, but they are now divorcing, sady for the now two children.

        When my youngest son went off to South America, to visit Brazil, Argentina,, Chile, Peru, etc., (as his older brother had done a decade earlier), I told him that if he spotted any small children about nine years old who looked anything like his brother, he was to run like hell in the opposite direction! (JOKE….)

      • Jill says:

        P.S. The above comment was meant to be in response to Fi’s.

        P.P.S. I was in the John Lewis (yes, okay, Waitrose) Food Hall this afternoon, and I couldn’t find a single plankton, hard as I tried. I was extremely tempted to shout “Any plankton here today? But thought better of it!)

      • PY says:

        You should have said – it’s only around the corner !

        As for Rio , I am heading back in March – 31 yrs later – for my 30 yr old God-daughter’s wedding. Do the maths.

        Best buddy from Uni was drilling for oil somewhere in Brazil and came to party when I pitched up off a boat. Met a girl in a bar . They are very much married and back in Rio after looking for oil all over the world . Circle of life ?

      • Jill says:

        I had the same impulse (i.e. “any fellow plankton here tonight?!) later on when I was at the LSE to hear Robert Peston talk about and answer questions about his book about he financial crisis “How Do We Fix This Mess”, organised by Times+, just in case any of this column’s readers were present, but somehow discretion took precedence over valour (or should that be tomfoolery?!)

        Lovely to hear a happy ending story about your Brazil friends – still “very much married” – hurrah… :D

      • Joules says:

        Jill – that sounds like a very interesting talk. Wish I had been there.

      • maria says:

        Fiona is a lovely name. My real name is Maria da Conceição! How weird is that?

      • Fi says:

        Maria da Conceição. I think THAT is a lovely name and it conjures up images of mantilla clad ladies.

      • maria says:

        Thanks Fi, but in fact it has to do with conception (as in Virgin Mary’s immaculate conception). I’m an atheist, how ironic is that?

  • Elle says:

    Why humiliation? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to meet this widower? I think your wise old aunt also said that you have 10 minutes to snap up a man once he becomes available so call your friend right now and say “the widower sounds lovely, it would be nice to meet him, but with no initial expectations and we can see how it goes”.

    I understand the nausea you’re talking about, it’s when you’re trying to keep your stomach in your boots in an effort not to get your hopes up. I have that feeling a lot these days. Then there’s a momentary butterflies that come when there’s a glimmer of hope which disappear all too quickly.

    You seem to have more of a choice than many of us here – there’s Young Twinkle or Possible Widower. Sometimes you have to ignore the risk of disappointment and put yourself out there again. Realistically speaking Possible Widower is probably having more women thrown at him right now than an Arab pasha would get through in a lifetime but why not put your name in the pot? It could be you (where’s the fingers crossed smiley when you need it? :-D )

    • AnonW says:

      Elle, It’s a myth that widowers get women chucked at them. Since my wife died five years ago, no-one’s ever fitted me up with a date. I’m surely not that obnoxious, as I do change my socks at least once a month!

  • Steve says:

    Dear Anon,

    I have mentioned several times that we chaps don’t get women falling at our feet. It’s certainly never happened to me…

    Alas, no-one believes us!

    Mind you, I never change my socks……that could be the reason! :)

  • Kimmy says:

    “Times were when I would have cried, but today I’ve evolved I feel, you can only laugh.” – bingo!!

    I wish I could do a virtual “hi five” – so imagine I did :)

  • Margaux says:

    So ‘Angela’ posted a message here for ‘Ian’ …? since deleted?

    (Just being curious/nosey/love a conspiracy theory …)

  • AnnieG says:

    I’d love to meet a nice widower.

  • Highlander says:

    Dating is not easy for either sex at middle age, I’m not sure who has it harder, those that chose to leave their spouse or the ones that got left behind. I would imagine many who have left their marriages that already had somebody waiting in the wings would be happy, at least as long as the affair lasts post separation. If that relationship collapses and no new partner appears on the horizon, I would imagine the idea one chose this path of their own free will might be very hard to deal with later Those that got left at least have the consolation of knowing that dating post 45 was not their brilliant idea and get on with it as best they can.

    I’m on the “Left” end of it, and not by my own choice. I’ve been on my own now for 15 months with two kids still at home. Dating again in my 50′s is not anything I’m very enthusiastic about, why anyone would go into it willingly after 45 unless they’ve been in a terrible marriage is beyond me. It seems most of those who’ve bailed ” to find themselves” have ended up finding themselves repeating the same mistakes they made in the last relationship. In some cases they end putting up with even more crap than they did with their X because they now know the pickings are slimmer than they were led to believe by movies like “Eat , Pray, Love” and “How Stella got her groove back”.

    At this point in life you have your choice of people 45+ who’ve never married (once you meet them you find out why) already been married twice ( with enough baggage to fill an ocean liner) or widows/widowers..
    Of the three I thought a widow/widower might be a best choice, especially if there had been no infidelity in their marriage. Looking at it though from my own experience, this is problematic as well. The friends I know who are widowers and widows of solid marriages often carry a torch for their departed spouse, someone who you never really replace in their heart and you will be measured against for years. I had a two year relationship with a widow prior to my marriage, so I know a little bit of what I speak.

    So if this sounds bitter, it’s not meant to be, just a realistic viewpoint of what one could expect dating at middle age. There are some wonderful people out there, but one has to ask themselves, if they are such a catch, why are they even available? In closing P, I wish you all the best in your search. I hope the end effect of your posts might just make others ( men and women) think twice about leaving ‘solid but boring’ marriages for some Hollywood fantasy of single life pushing 50.

  • EmGee says:

    ” on the whole, people aren’t really thinking I’m a loser.” I think all of us are victims of fabricating our own perceptions of how people see us. In the case of Plankton, we see ourselves in the worst light, our polar opposite is are the people who think they are “God’s Gift To [fill in the blank]“.

    Meeting someone you haven’t seen in months, who assumes you don’t have a beau now, is simply picking up where things were left off last time.

    (I hope we some explanation regarding the deleted Ian & Angela post)

    • The Plankton says:

      Nothing more interesting than an email came as a comment by mistake. I am nor know neither Angela nor Ian. I trashed it as it had nothing to do with the blog and was simply a technical error. Dull but true explanation I am afraid. Pxx

    • RS says:

      Exactly so, EmGee. I don’t think it’s condescension or anything like that on the part of someone you haven’t seen for a while.

      I think P would be wise to push a bit harder though regarding the widower. Putting all one’s eggs in one basket (in this case banking everything on Young Twinkle), especially when they are just at the twinkle stage, sets a person up for disappointment.

  • malcolm says:

    Do you really walk around feeling that “people are looking at me and thinking, she’s a middle-aged woman-reject for whom microwave meals for one were invented. ” ?
    Even if people were doing so (which I highly, highly doubt) is it some sort of mark of shame to be unpartnered?

  • MissBates says:

    Ah, the “humiliation” of being single and middle-aged. Hmm. Yes and no. *I* don’t think it’s humiliating, but sometimes it can be difficult NOT to be affected when one is treated as a second-class citizen and/or less than fully adult. And for those who say “you can’t be treated that way unless you allow it,” I promise I am no shrinking violet (I’m a litigator, for Christ’s sake) but fighting (mis)perceptions can be grueling business. I am also someone who loathes a “scene” in a social situation, so rather than get confrontational, I am as likely to “walk away” and try to make my point after the fact in a more measured, pointed way. (For example, a day after the black tie dinner I described in my comments to P’s last post, I emailed the director of the organization and explained in precise terms why they won’t be getting another check from me this year. I received an obsequious apology; now let’s see if they try to sit me with the “help” at the next event….)

    • Ms Bates- You really might want to think about attending a meeting of the Secret Science Club- You can take the “F” the “G” or the “R” train to the 4th Avenue @ 9th Street station, and the Bell House is only 3 blocks away- Lots of potentially interesting single men, aged from their teens up into their 80′s…. just a thought….

    • Elle says:

      Miss Bates, I understand your anger at they way you were treated but remember “the help” are people too. Some of them might be working in those jobs to fund their way through college. Who knows, you might meet them in an entirely different setting in years to come. There’s a saying “be nice to people on the way up, because you might meet them again on your way down.”

      Having said that, there’s no excuse for treating somebody differently because of their marital status.

      • MissBates says:

        @Elle: I think if you were to read my comment on the previous post, you would find that I said that I know and like all of the people with whom I was originally seated — primarily young people 15 to 20 years my junior, who were working for pay on this event. I am NOT someone who has EVER been anything less than polite and generous to people who work for me, or are otherwise in a position of dependence. That does NOT mean that at a social event for an organization on which I serve on the board and to which I contribute significant time and money that I want to be seated with the calligrapher who addressed the invitations, or with the photographer taking the pictures that evening. I’d like to be seated as the OTHER board members were — i.e., with the invited guests so that I at least have the potential to cultivate a few new business contacts, as SOCIAL contacts seems to be pointless.

      • Elle says:

        Miss Bates, I can see your grievance if all the board members and their partners were seated at one table or two tables beside each other while you were seated elsewhere purely because you had no partner.

    • malcolm says:

      I would hope that as one gets older, a certain sense of equanimity would develop about situations one finds oneself in. As much as some women don’t like hearing this, there are a lot of situations where I as a man am continually treated as a second class citizen.
      Despite the fact that I could do up a wicked ballet hair bun (better than any of the mothers), as the only father, I was consigned to a special room at the ballet school during my daughter’s classes for fear that I might be a paedophile simply because I’m a man. Week after week I would prepare my daughter in our own little room where afterwards I’d wait by myself until her lessons were over. I was not allowed to be a chaperone on their excursions despite the fact that I financially supported that school well above and beyond my daughter’s tuition.
      A knee-jerk reaction would have been to be in a huff about it, but my daughter loved her lessons and her friends, and since her mom couldn’t be bothered enough to get involved and take her, so I just developed a sense of equanimity about the situation. I brought a book and sat in the “possible paedophile” room by myself reading.
      I stopped volunteering at my kid’s school functions because I was clearly ostracized by some of the mothers and consigned to the more simple backroom tasks where my contact with children was limited.The complexity of my tasks was also minimized despite the fact that I’m a very capable parent, perhaps more caring than some of the slatternly bags of bones who hauled their arses in to these events and were given preference over me because they belonged to the fairer sex.

      Equanimity – it goes a long way.

      • fi says:

        That’s a rubbish way to be treated and totally agree with everything you say and am impressed with your equanimity. But well deserved praise to you for stepping in and filling the gap and doing what you did with your daughter if her mother wouldn’t.

  • june says:

    Highlander i must take issue with your comment, people available post 45, “those who never partnered up or married and you soon realised why”, im one of those people and i certainly dont think i am either ugly, repulsive, or an unpleasant unlikeable person, i have lots of friends and have been told many a time, people are surprised i am on my own. I was in the past and suppse still am a bit choosey. I never met the right person for me and i was damm sure i wasnt having a relationship for the sake of it, I would compromise more now but of course at over 60, albeit a youthful over 60 my chances have narrowed,. men of my age seem far too old for me and younger ones, well in my area dont want to know, I have on plenty fish been talking to a rather nice sounding man of 55 from london, metropolitan men seem happier to date an older woman hes given me his mobile no, but i just cant get my head round a long distance relationship, as a pensioner i cant keep affording trips to london and i just dont want the hassle of it, so i think do i really want to go there.

    Guess P way you feel is how we all feel really, am kept busy during the week dog sitting for my friend, He is a cutie,ive quite fallen for him, and i was never a dog lover.And am continuing with the pilates class, all females of course, dont think will make any close friends though, still not social at all, teacher is the only friendly one, but its doing me good and i didnt join to make friends,ive plenty, but a bit of social interaction would be nice..

  • Jo says:

    Have I missed something? No idea what this ‘Angela/Ian’ thing is about!
    When? Where? What? Someone enlighten me. Please…….!
    From: ‘Baffled of London….’

    • Jill says:

      Me too, Jo – look what happens when you go out to play tennis and have lunch with friends and how much intrigue you can thereby miss….. From Equally Baffled of Hampshire

    • The Plankton says:

      Entirely uninteresting. Someone made a technical error and emailed someone – nothing remotely to do with this blog – and somehow it ended up as a comment here, so I trashed it. Pxx

      • Jill says:

        Good morning P. And my rejoinder to Jo was meant, I hope you realise, frivolously, but irony doesn’t transfer at all easily on here, I find….

        I did however really want to tell you how much your article this week resonated with me, and to say how eleoquently you write. The word “eviscerated” jumped off thepage at me when I read your article in The Times on Monday. It SO sums up the (nauseous) feeling one experiences, as if being disembowelled, often as a result of a remark made entirely obvliviously of the effect it might have.

        But I was a bit confused about the meaning you were conveying (about ignoring WOA’s advice, becoming a magistrate – presumably her not you? etc.) or perhaps I am just being obtuse? I think the text was edited after it appeared in The Times, because I seem to remember that sentence really didn’t make sense at all on Monday, and it reads better now. Or, horrid thought, perhaps my confusion is merely the result of the progressive discombobulation I am experiencing as a result of my own circumstances?! :eek:

      • The Plankton says:

        I post my original piece that I send in to the Times, as opposed to the version edited/cut by them, so I like to suppose the original is the clearer one! Thank you for these kind words about my writing. Always lovely to hear and much appreciated. My WOA advised me not to sleep with the younger twinkle and to become a magistrate so I would meet more age-appropriate men! Pxx

    • zoe says:

      Angela sent a post addressed to “Ian” here, raising eyebrows. P was very quick to delete the post. And has subsequently denied its relevance twice.

      Unanswered questions:

      1) How is it possible to open a blog called The Plankton, select a particular “reply” button within the sequence of comments, enter text into a box labelled “Leave a Reply”, and then press a button that says “Post Comment” and somehow mistakenly believe you are sending an email to someone called Ian?

      2) Alternatively, what kind of “technical error” would in fact explain this event?

      3) Why is it that P is so sure and so emphatic that this is an “email” sent as a “technical” error? In the absence of knowledge, why not consider other possibilities, like a random internet mischief-maker? Or simply express bafflement oneself?

      4) Does P know that it is an email because she wrote it herself? This of course would make her the Angela rather than the Ian. Apparently not, because P says she is neither Angela nor Ian.

      5) Why when P is usually so relaxed in her timeliness in responding to comments – and then only when a comment is directly addressed to her – has she been so quick to sit on this and repeat denials?

      In considering all of this, there may be a lesson here: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8624514/chuck-klosterman-david-petraeus-scandal-living-cia-conspiracy-theory

      • zoe says:

        Apologies P/Ian/Angela. Just a bit of fun.. ;-).

      • Jill says:

        I’m glad you added your further comment, zoe, as I was about to accuse you of over-thinking all of this. Snafus do occur in internet comings and goings, and I for one trust P when she says what she says about this. Anyway, whatever “it” was, it doesn’t impinge on the thrust or honesty of her latest post.

      • The Plankton says:

        Thank you, Jill! I am sorry, I cannot get worked up about this. I feel it’s distracting from the posts/debates/comments in hand and is so effing dull as to be my last word on the matter. Let the conspiracy theories abound. I never had the remotest truck with conspiracy theories, I am afraid. pxx

      • Fi says:

        Zoe – :lol: I was hoping P would admit to being Ian personally.

      • zoe says:

        Me too :-)

    • Jill says:

      Wonderful, hilarious,comments about cooking as a singleton – loved them. Thank you for the link and the consequent chuckles.

  • AnnieG says:

    Check out this link: Lots of views on being single http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20304302
    Food for thought and some controversial ideas.

  • Minnow says:

    I do, indeed. Varifocals do the trick.

  • Scott Benowitz says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbpB5F9CcLc

    Pretty much sums up my thoughts for today….

  • Scott Benowitz says:

    This just about sums up my thoughts and feelings for today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbpB5F9CcLc

  • This about sums up my thoughts and my feelings for today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbpB5F9CcLc

  • Doc says:

    “inventing a colourful love life to exonerate myself from the humiliation”

    Wouldn’t it be easier in all ways to just get out and do things? I know nothing about you other than what you’ve written here, but everyone has skills, interests, and talents which they can call upon for various things. The key is to find things that can be made to work for you to meet people who are 1) in your target age group 2) have time to do things – which means they would also have time to be in a relationship.

    Now your being female it is more difficult than if you are male, since if you are male you can literally create your own group that benefits you, but as a woman you have to walk a fine line, if you create your own activities since you may butt heads with the men you are most interested in attracting. In that regard it’s usually better for a woman to “organize” group activities than to “create” and environment which brings together the people you most want to be involved with.

    So as a man, you could create a class which a lot of women would find interesting, so you automatically have a fertile environment with you in a position of power – which attracts women. The key is to understand your target audience, and set things up so that it’s easy for them to follow the path you want them to follow – while doing something that you actually enjoy. That way, even if things don’t work out, you still have fun. And you automatically have something that you enjoy doing, and so does your target.

    I could tell you the things that I do (developed over many years), but that wouldn’t help you since they are geared toward a target group that I find most exploitable tailored for my interests, so it would do you no good. And besides, I don’t give away all of my secrets. :) But the key is to do something YOU ENJOY. Then everything is just icing… Yummy, delicious, icing… ;)

  • Scott Benowitz says:

    Well, it’s clearly been a while for you too Malcom….

  • Scott Benowitz says:

    Malcom, might I be so bold as to suggest that you appear to have an awful lot of time on your hands these days?

  • Scott Benowitz says:

    @ Ms. Plankton- Can you do what the woman in Malcom’s video is doing?

    If so, can I buy a plane ticket for you to travel to New York City and visit me here? PLEASE ???

  • py says:

    Having Carnival-ed in Rio in my early 20′s, I’d be more concerned about the well being of my sons .

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