Baying at the Moon

February 12, 2013 § 138 Comments

From yesterday’s Times (at last!):-

A divorcing friend has just met someone.  Not bitter!

 

She paid about a million pounds for the privilege to an agency called something like Baying at the Moon.  Get me on the subject!  I have heard rumours about these agencies, that they are so desperate for men on their books, they canvas for them on the streets.  And they don’t charge men a fee, and still they have a ratio of about a hundred women to every in-clover male singleton they can lay their hands on.

 

Perhaps I exaggerate, for my friend has found someone very promising within weeks of separating from her husband. If I had a million quid, I suppose I might have to join.  Anything not to have to do the “filtering” myself.  Every day one online site sends me profiles of possible “matches” and without exception these men list outdoor activities as if a man who fancies a spot of hiking, sailing and mountain biking is the bag of gold at the end of every woman’s rainbow.  I don’t get it.  I hate outdoor activities.  I like being indoors, preferably sitting still with a book or  jolly conversation.  These men all refer to “ladies” not women, which gives me the shivers, and live miles away in places like Cheshire.

 

My friend is having a second date.  They’ve been texting each other like billio and have acknowledged that they are both too grown-up to play games.  They have had startlingly honest conversations already about sex and marriage and what they both want.  No time, at our age, to beat about the bush.  We just must lay our cards on the table and push on.  I am feeling optimistic for her.  For myself, not so much.

 

Talk about January being the month for hibernation.  Nothing been happening except battening down the hatches.  Last night, first time in weeks, I went really wild and ventured into the night to see Lincoln with two girlfriends.  The next “jolly” in my diary, (Lincoln is many things but jolly ain’t one of them), is a drinks party – in March!  Otherwise blank.

 

Because I can’t afford the Moon, perhaps I should take solace in the fact that wise Dave is so convinced that SYT is going to be back for more, he’s even bet me a tenner.

 

“It’s so bleeding obvious,” he said after he met him.  “If you can’t read the signs, how he looks at you and what he says, then I’m not going to spell it out.”

 

I wish he would because I am illiterate in these matters.  But when SYT never returns for more and I win Dave’s bet, I’m thinking of putting the money towards the Moon.  Bleargh!

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§ 138 Responses to Baying at the Moon

  • I posed for a picture in an article in the “Health” page of The Times-

    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/health/diet-fitness/article3685347.ece

    You ladies can just write to me through Ms. Plankton’s website, and I’ll send you my cell phone #….. …..

  • Steve says:

    Dating agencies that canvas men on the streets? Really? Sounds like another urban myth to me. I put ‘dating for men over 40′ into google. The first site it offered me was illicit encounters!

  • MissBates says:

    Re agencies canvassing men on the streets: LOL! Not quite, but close. There was (and maybe still is, for all I know) an agency here in NY that specializes in setting people up for lunch dates (the theory being that there’s less pressure in those circumstances than a evening date). I never tried it, but two friends, both fellow plankton, signed up a few years back and paid a not-inconsiderable fee for, as I recall, ten lunchtime fix-ups. They each met several men who were pleasant enough, more or less age-appropriate, had jobs, etc. Unfortunately there was no “click,” but there were no absolute horror-shows, either. So far, so good. The interesting thing is what they learned from their male lunch dates: While the agency manged to scrape up a lunch date for the women about once every two to three weeks, the men told her that the agency called them several times each week with potential fix-ups. One guy said he could have gone out nearly every day if he could take the time from his job. Another man, almost bewildered, said that the “caliber of women” he was meeting was “very high” (he was alluding to their professional attainments in comparison to his own). Yet another guy remained in touch with one of my friends on a platonic basis (they agreed they had no romantic spark) and they from time to time compared notes on their experiences on the middle-aged dating circuit; he told her that the agency in question didn’t even charge him a fee to renew his membership when it expired and pressed him to continue accepting dates. (No such freebies for the women, I’m afraid.) It’s like the dating-version of a ponzi scheme; one wonders if there will ever be a Madoff-like denouement….

    • Steve H says:

      For a lawyer,seems like there’s a lack of rigour in your argument that these dating agencies are dating versions of “Ponzi schemes”.

      Surely they are no more an no less than following the laws of supply and demand?

      Same as when clubs put on “women go free” nights, knowing they’ll attract men who have to pay through the nose.

      • MissBates says:

        SteveH– Not making an “argument.” Making a joke. Tone deaf?

      • Steve H says:

        As a fan of yours of long standing Miss Bates, I think I know and understand your tone very well.

        And there was no joke at the end of your lament about agencies etc (unless the Madoff reference counts?) More of a hope that agencies get their just desserts, I think.

        Looks like the classic “Oh I only meant it as a joke” line to me..

        But A+ for picking up on the typo ;)

    • The Plankton says:

      So predictable; so very depressing. Pxx

      • Elle says:

        Plankton, your friend has done the equivalent of winning the lottery. For every woman who has success story (are things so bad that a second date is now considered a major success???) there are probably dozens of others who found baying at the moon to be a waste of money. I hope things continue to go well for her.

        There are similar agencies in Ireland. The sad thing is the organisers start out with the best of intentions but quickly realise the odds are stacked against the myriad of older women who join. Sometimes when there aren’t enough men on the books the organizers rope their single male friends into going on dates with the women who don’t realise that the men have no more interest in a relationship than (pardon the pun) the man in the moon.

      • The Plankton says:

        Well, precisely. Pxx

    • fi0na says:

      Exactly the same with “get six people around a table” agency in Australia.

  • june says:

    O dear P o well if a 40 ish woman like you in the metropolis is having such a down time not lot hope for a 60 plus like me in an provincial city is there, so i feel your pain.

    Your experience of dating websites seems like ,mine, yes im always bit thrown by all these men liking outdoor activities, I actually met one of them a few months ago, he was so thin, he looked like he might blow away, was into long walks, told me he had walked the isle of wight in 2 days. obviously why so thin, and kept trying to persuade me to get some hiking boots and join him. I said i did like walking around the city and the woods very near me only.I declined a second date! My latest two, some distance away to, were an 87 year old, and a 70 year old who didnt want anyone who wanted to do anything strenuous as he couldnt copelol , but could offer a council bungalow and mondeo car! an offer presumably he thought noone could refuse. Do any normal attractive men actually go on these sites, or are you and i just unlucky, Sadly like you i cant afford “the Moon” so will have to press on. My friend was crying as hadnt been getting in with her partner, and i said make most of what you have love cause being on own is crap and there isnt a lot else, being alone would be worse believe me,, She agreed. Two days to go P til the that day all we singletons want to stay under covers, valentines day, what a joy. Only male i will see will be said friends dog when i sit him. Ah well spring will come, but ive given up hoping for that to change anything much, as i guess you have.

  • Betsy H says:

    I will take your outdoorsy types! I am an extremely active woman of almost age 50 who is used to being around guys of my age who are either marathon runners and/or karate blackbelts (which is what I am as well). Problem is – they want women who are 20 years younger than me and that is who they date. The only guys interested in ME are 60 year olds who want to sit around and watch television. I guess they could just sit there on the sofa and watch me do katas… Blech! I just can’t win! Surely there is some 50-ish active guy who wants to date a 50-ish active woman? I know that I am not pretty at all (short hair, glasses, brainy – always got by on brains and persistence…not looks) but I AM healthy and thin and I have great boobs! Ah well!

    • Elle says:

      Betsey – MAMILs are afraid of their own mortality, that’s why they want to date women 20 years younger. They do it to prove their fitness and virility, like they wear lycra and try to keep up with the 25 year olds on their bikes. Age to them is a number – and the number is very important. I’ve met a few of those types, all over me while they think I’m still in my 30s, then when I tell them I’m 42 they suddenly lose interest.

      Perhaps the MAMILs feel threatened by you because you are their age and at least as fit as they are. Lots of MAMILs aren’t really that fit, they just wear the gear, talk the talk and hope younger women will be impressed. You would find them out very quickly – ooooh the shame of it! :-)

  • Aggie says:

    ‘Ladies’ gives me the shivers too…and one degree worse than a man looking for a ‘lady’ is him looking for a ‘special lady’. (Thanks for carrying on with this, btw!!)

    • fi0na says:

      Interesting. My cycling beau calls me “lady” and it gives me the shivers too, but it seems a small thing. I asked my 29 year old sister if she thought being called lady was more demeaning than woman, or if it would put her off at all, and she drew a complete blank. I also googled it. What happened? has this discomfort died with second wave feminism?

      • fi says:

        I don’t like “ladies” but poor blokes. Weeded out on such arbitrary things as the nouns they use or the shoes they wear or in my case how they hold their cutlery.

      • Jill says:

        Well, yes, fi, but equally THEY weed out “wimmin” on just such arbitrary bases….

      • fi says:

        Jill I don’t think they do though. In my experience they weed us out on personality or appearance.

      • Jill says:

        Well, it obviously depends upon the individual, fi, but I have certainly met up with online dates who have expressed relief that I know how to hold my knife and fork/dress appropriately and so forth. And you only have to have a swift look at some men’s specific mention in their dating profiles that they are seeking someone “well-spoken” and “well-educated” to realise that SOME ( how I wish we had italics or underlining for emphasis on this site – it would be so helpful) men really care about those sorts of things, just as some women do. I suppose it is all part of that mysterious concept that is compatibility!

      • fi says:

        Yep but those aren’t (in my opinion anyway) arbitrary criteria. I was thinking that I’ve never come across a man who has rejected a woman because she wears the ‘wrong’ style of shoes or trousers, or has the ‘wrong’ hairstyle, or uses the ‘wrong’ noun (eg ladies) but I know plenty of women that have. Me included. And what makes it particularly harsh is that men don’t even know what women define as ‘wrong’. You may not do this but plenty of women do.

      • fi says:

        ‘Comedy’ ties and socks. Shudder. But it does seem unfair that a man would be rejected before he even opens his mouth if he’s wearing these.and he invariably is.

    • Elle says:

      I agree. A male friend gets constant emails from dating sites and the like that go:

      “We have lots of lovely ladies on our website/registered for our dating event/on our books (delete as appropriate) waiting for men just like you! The good news is that if you register now you will get 100% discount!” Or something like that.

      I find it incredibly patronizing the way these people refer to the women as “lots of lovely ladies” when they probably mean “the usual glut of spinsters over 40 that men older than Methuselah himself wouldn’t date”. Even though the word “lovely” is an understatement when it comes to describing the women.

      • Elle says:

        As an aside, I feel sorry for the men concerned. They go on lots of dates and then find a woman they might want to see again. In the meantime they’re bombarded with emails, calls etc. from dating sites/dating agencies begging them to meet other women or go to other dating events. This puts the odds against women AND men – they men have too much choice and find it hard to decide on one particular woman, and the women have so much trouble finding a date that when they get asked on a second date it’s a major achievement!

        It would be nice to meet somebody but I think we might get a better return on our investment spending the money on other things or saving it.

  • rosie says:

    I couldn’t bring myself to sign up with an agency no matter how much money I had. Still something a bit shuffling dirty mac brigade about it all. I preferred the full-on horror of dinner and drinks when I was online dating!

    MissBates, I know there are exceptions to every rule but one has to wonder at the kind of men who are signing up to these agencies when cities like NYC are bursting at the seams with the high-calibre women you mention. Then again, seeing as high-calibre women scare the bejesus out of most men that’s probably a rhetorical question anyway.

    Men would be jumping off high bridges in droves if they had to put up with this bollocks.

  • Steve says:

    That’s just it Rosie, we DO have to put up with this bollocks!

  • rosie says:

    Not sure what you mean, Steve, but if you mean the bollocks on this here blog it’s not compulsory. Unlike life.

  • PY says:

    Sadly, Rosie, they are .

    According to the National Office of Statistics, the figures for 2011 show male suicide rates as triple those of female for the age group 45-59 (that ratio is mantained roughly the same across all age groups). Are ‘Ladies’ driving us to it ?

    On a more positive note, I have just had a wonderful week skiing, being chased around the mountains by a wonderful example of Planktonhood – an undisclosable number of years my senior and a damned sight fitter than me. (Jill, you’d have loved it)

    “Such fun!”

    • Jill says:

      “That’s what I call a skiing holiday”. “It IS a skiing holiday!”

      Glad it was fun, PY. One of my sons had a similar sort of skiing trip/season when he was 19, being chased around the mountains by a large number of Yummy Mummies, all extremely keen to be instructed by him…..but I’m not quite sure who was instructing whom and in what!

      After 2 weeks of intensive childcare and nappy changing, I have caved in and bought myself a week with the Ski Club in March. Am hoping that pushing a baby buggy up and down the Dorset hills will strengthen my skiing legs.

      Returning to the subject of matchmaking agencies, I have “interviewed” three over the past year, beginning with one which was advertising on behalf of a lovely-sounding widower (in the Sunday Telegraph). Sadly he and I were not a match made in heaven, but the experience gave me the impetus to visit another well-known agency, which I ruled out on the grounds of cost, and then a third which was also conducting a search on behalf of a male client. I have decided that if I have still not found Mr. Right via the internet by the time my current grannying duties have ended, I will flog a picture – or my redundant engagement ring! – and try the introduction agency route. Nothing ventured, nothing gained ;) and at the rate my offspring are reproducing, I am going to be stuck in a granny rut for ever if I don’t make a break for it! I even have a Grannexe at my disposal should I ever sell the marital home…..perish the thought!

  • fi says:

    I think people have unreasonable expectations of agencies and online dating. These things will only allow me access to a larger number of people than I currently meet, they won’t magic up one that meets my criteria or make me appealing to a man that I want. As an analogy if I was applying for a job I wouldn’t assume the paper that advertised it was to blame for me failing to get it.

    • Steve H says:

      Exactly Fi !

    • Jill says:

      No they won’t, fi, but they will act as a filter for the totally unsuitable suitor. It should not be forgotten that matchmaking has been and continues to be successful in many cultures. Furthermore, look what it has done for P’s friend……..now where’s that engagement ring got to?!

      • PY says:

        Perhaps you should flog the picture and hold on to the ring – if things go well you could recycle the latter .

        Hoorah re Ski Club trip – who knows , you might discover your beau in the snow.

      • Jill says:

        Too late – it already has been (recycled)…I broke off the engagement because he behaved so badly (on a skiing holiday!), and then he persuaded me to have the old one back when he again convinced me to marry him….where were those warning bells when I needed them?!

        Beau in the snow – I like it :D Thought I managed that last year, until the lovely man I met skiing in Megeve and saw sporadically during the summer turned up in John Lewis (Southampton) at Christmas, and when he was greeting me enthusiastically his girlfriend of 15 years – as she was quick to appraise me – emerged from the changing rooms and was not thrilled to see/meet me. He looked abashed, as well he might, and I decided instantly that I would NOT be going on the same skiing trip this year……perhaps he thought, “what goes on tour, stays on tour”?

  • rosie says:

    Jesus, I’m off to find that fucking bridge.

  • Jay K says:

    Has anyone tried the Spice organisation? Not a dating agency, more an activity and make new friends set up but plenty of singlies of all ages. I’m not a member but I know people who are and they appear to be having a whale of a time. Worth a try! http://www.spiceuk.com/home?handshaked=true

  • EmGee says:

    Betsy is right, the fit, middle-aged men are after women 20 years younger, pretty much across the board. I know a lot of women like her who are sidelined because dating a couch potato only stifles their ability to stay active.

  • Steve says:

    Sorry EmGee, I can’t agree with that either. I am 46 and fit as a flea. A woman 20 years younger would bore me rigid. Give me a woman from mid 30’s to late 40’s any day. If only I could find one…..

    • EmGee says:

      I don’t think you represent the mean, Steve. Maybe you should try one of these high end services who charge the men practically nothing to join, and see what happens.

  • Muriel says:

    It sounds like this divorcing lady and her new friend will crash and burn. My experience has always been that if you start with such massive enthusiasm and TMI too soon it never lasts. People (particularly men) that fall in lurrvve immediately (with a stranger) can fall out of love equally fast and/or fall in love with Ms A. N. Other. They blow hothothot then warm then …disappear.

  • py says:

    So, why do middle aged single men relish activity ?

    Is it a creeping awareness of our own mortality and flagging testosterone levels – which leads to a use it before you lose it attitude ? A desire to redeem a misspent youth? Or is it a realisation that there are younger bucks on the block and a belief that we need to do establish territory through gaudy displays of straining (but containing ) lycra – ‘Mandex’ if you like, but worn with pride.

    Whatever a chap’s rationale , isn’t it better that they are at least trying to defy the grim reaper (let alone gravity) by staying active rather than sofa surfing ? Nor should there be an issue with wanting to indulge in that activity with their partner. If we are all supposedly going to live longer (assuming we don’t beat Rosie to the bridge) it has to be better to keep fit than not . Similarly , which potential partner is going to hold the greater appeal – the younger model with bingo wings or the more mature , honed and toned fit version, with the twinkle in the eye ( if not their bed ) ?

    • Elle says:

      py, some of the middle aged single men I know, ironically enough, would favor the younger model with bingo wings over the more mature honed, toned and fit mamma. Because in their limited world view, 35 sounds better than 45 even if 45 looks better. It isn’t that those men want children, they just want an ego boost that a much younger woman might want them.

      • PY says:

        Elle ,
        I appreciate what you’re saying but the truth lies in the word ‘some’ .

        Those who are inadequate and who need to bolster a fragile ego, perhaps . Those who have led a sheltered existence or unfulfilling life and didn’t get out and about enough in their youth, perhaps .Those who are happy to make a fool of themselves with a chick as young as their daughter on their arm (or any other part of their anatomy, for that matter), perhaps.

        But ‘some’ is not the majority and it does not include me nor many of the other male correspondents on this blog who, I would hope you and others would accept, appear to have a more enlightened and mature viewpoint.

        I do agree with you that the dating scene with its plethora of agencies (never tried it) or on-line (currently registered) is very confusing and, at times, intimidating. Trying to filter through expressions of interest is both demeaning and flattering.

        The multi temptations of the ‘sweety shop’ have, to-date, led to numerous dead-ends. There is always an upside and the disappointments have been outweighed by a significantly broadened and refreshed post marital social circle; provided a support system often depleted in modern urban society; boosted mutual self-confidence and produced a number of age-appropriate friends whom can be valued as much if not more than lovers.

      • fi says:

        You know I don’t know these men. The ones who only want young women. Who think anyone over 40 (or in my case now over 50) is old and unattractive. I hear from other women that they exist but I’ve never encountered them and I have friends who are with younger men (2-7 years younger – they aren’t cougars they’re just women with men who happen to be younger). Maybe it’s to do with the maturity of the man, or the personality of the woman, but I find if a man likes you and finds you attractive, then your age is immaterial. As is their age. When you’re younger a few years does make a huge difference but by the time you’re in your forties you are who you are, your personality is set and you’re comfortable with yourself, and you don’t care what people think of you and your decisions, and you just do what feels right to you and if that is getting involved with an older woman, or younger man, then you do it. Maybe I only.meet grown up mature men, but none of them want a young woman, what they want is someone that they can talk to, have fun with, share things with and be affectionate to. And oddly, nobody has ever looked at my upper arms to weigh them up against a younger woman’s upper arms before deciding whether they find me attractive – men aren’t so shallow.

      • fi says:

        Well some are obviously – you only need to look at the manosphere blogs to see that – but in general, no.

      • Elle says:

        Fi, maybe it’s demographics. Perhaps there is a more even ratio of men to women in Scotland so the middle-aged men don’t get a look in with younger women.

      • fi says:

        Nope. I think it’s because I go out a lot (5 nights a week) and mix with people rather than man hunt and as I do a variety of different things I also meet new people through the ones I know. That’s how I meet the blokes. They are out there. But then I’m not out clubbing I’m just doing stuff like the Neil Diamond weekend. But I guarantee that while I’m away I will chat to people in the bar of the hotel or at the event, and some of them will be men, and maybe (although unlikely) one or two will be single. I’m open to the possibilities if the right one crossed my path, but I’m not actively looking-I’ve been on my own too long now.

    • Betsy H says:

      “Mandex” – ha!haha! Women wear “spans” and men wear “manx”! ;-)

      The men I know want the youngster with the bingo wings, not the toned oldster with the twinkle in her eye (which I most definitely have, having been without sex for six years!).

  • MissBates says:

    Interesting piece that queries whether women simply “age out” of social and sexual options at some point: http://dailyplateofcrazy.com/2011/01/22/aging-out-or-giving-up-women-over-50-dating-life/

    • Muriel says:

      I think both.
      My observation of my plankton colleagues is that they are busy with work and extended family (where there are few or no available men) and socialise little or not at all outside that. One or two openly say they aren’t interested. Others might be but aren’t actively pursuing it in any way. In fact are living in such a way that makes it very unlikely they’ll meet anyone. I am a soon to be plankton being 48 and getting separated and divorced. There are single men in their 40s where I work, in greater numbers actually, but they are gay, asexual (no interest in women, at all, ever) or – undateable and have never had a relationship. I could explain why but it would take too long.

      • Elle says:

        Why are they undateable? If they’re not alcoholic/addictive/abusive/ cruel to small animals and children/ wash and change their clothes only once a year they might be worth a chance.

      • Muriel says:

        Sadly, they just are.
        It just wouldnt be very pleasant to have a relationship with them although they’re okay as colleagues. And apparently that is not only my opinion, as the individuals concerned have reached their 40s without ever having had a girlfriend, despite working in an environment full of women. There are a lot of them around actually. Man planktons.

      • fi says:

        Am I the only person who finds it ironic that a blog aimed at undateable women (but why we’re all so great?) is discussing undateable men (but unlike us they’re all so awful) :)

      • PY says:

        “You’re terrible, Muriel”

        Maybe, just maybe, you are being a tad too picky . Both sides of the equation have to be prepared to compromise if they wish to engage with the other at this stage in life – the question is just how much is a party prepared to conceed, if anything.

        No novelty socks or ties in my cupboard, by the way. Even the shreddies are pretty conservative.

      • Muriel says:

        Eh? I’m terrible?
        Getting involved with someone in whom you have little or no interest, that’s terrible. Been there, done that, really, really tried to make it work because he was a decent guy and for the kids, and am now in the middle of the divorce.

      • fi says:

        “Yeah, you’re terrible Muriel”

        Haven’t you seen the film?

      • PY says:

        Apologies , Muriel .

        As Fi has alluded , one of the all time classic cinematic one-liners from ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ relating to the eponymous anti-establishment heroine.

        As such, it should be seen as a compliment .

      • Muriel says:

        Malcolm
        It isn’t about vegetarianism re carnivore, it’s about overall poor self care, of which the things I mentioned are examples. And as I mentioned these kind of guys tend to have difficulty forming relationships with ANY women.

    • Muriel says:

      Oh yeah.
      I never really said they were terrible. Also it isn’t a novelty sock issue. That isn’t an issue for me anyhow they can wear any old ties and socks. Maybe it’s a Scottish man issue of; doesn’t eat anything but deep fried food, no fruit and veggies (complexion to match), takes no exercise, drinks heavily,
      & little social life, possible obsession with particular sectarian football teams, general intolerance and negativity to anything outwith the foregoing. If this sounds like like your dream guy, there’s heaps of them
      north of the border. For me, and many other Ms McPlanktons, not so much.

      • fi says:

        But Muriel, I’m also in Scotland. And I can confirm you are right.

      • malcolm says:

        But even if he were a vegetarian, extremely fit, teetotalling, socially active bloke, possibly obsessed with a non-sectarian football team (go Jags), very tolerant and charming, you’d still pick him apart. You’d just find other things to whinge about.

        The true way for mentally stable middle aged men to maintain their happiness and mental stability is to give a wide berth to women who are critical of men. There are a good number of such fellows about, unfortunately they spotted you first and ducked for cover, which is why you probably can’t see them.

      • Muriel says:

        Cheers Malcolm!
        Happy National Relationship Anxiety Day.;)

      • fi says:

        But Malcolm is sort of right. I know several single men and women my age and the men avoid the women. And it’s because of the personality of the women I’m afraid.

      • Muriel says:

        Fi & Malcolm
        I don’t quite know what your point is; i get on okay with them and as a matter of fact two of them did actually make their interest in me clear (albeit a few years ago now). I think it is a shame that they lack the life and relationship skills to get a girlfriend. I notice that the difficulty of finding someone is blamed a lot on men choosing younger women, but my observation is there is a problem also in terms of what I am
        speaking about. I think you’re misunderstanding and being a bit prickly – I see that there is a man posting below about the lack of social skills etc of some guys, and no-ones calling him a bitch! Are only men allowed to say stuff?

      • fi says:

        Sorry Muriel – it was a general comment. I didn’t mean you :)

      • fi says:

        I just put it here as a follow on to malcolm’s comment about women putting men off, not because I thought you personally did that. But so often women blame men but refuse to consider their role in the process.

      • malcolm says:

        @Muriel – nobody called anybody a bitch or anything close to that. Your opinions on this blog have been critical of men, an attitude most men don’t like being around. Do you enjoy spending time around men who are critical of women?

        I noticed how you remarked that a group of men at work are simply “undateable”. Perhaps men simply find the majority of Planktons undateable.. No further explanation needed, simply brushed aside as undateable.

        You can concoct all the reasons and perform all the mental gymnastics you want, but if a woman goes for a long time without a date, yet still looks down upon a large group of men as being unworthy of a dating, perhaps she is placing too high a value on herself.

      • Muriel says:

        Fi No fence taken!

      • Muriel says:

        Malcolm,
        Im not actually looking for dates at present as i am still in the process of separating & divorcing. Those date-less days lie before me. And I won’t even have much time as I’ve 2 kids & a full time job. I am actually okay with the idea of being on my own, if it comes to it.
        Maybe you have had some bad experiences at the hands of aggressive, mean women, but I am not one of them.

    • Ah… Now I see how your visitors found me. Well, pleased they did, and lovely to connect with others Deep In The Trenches.

  • rosie says:

    Elle, that’s dreadful about the dating agencies. I’d report the buggers to trading standards if I had proof.

  • I’m uncertain as to how a few of your visitors found me (on the other side of the proverbial pond), but I’m delighted to have found you.

    Plankton. (Perfectly mirthful and triste, tellement triste.)

    On the adolescent side of the Atlantic, may I say that the online dating world for women of a certain age is fairly dreadful? I say fairly, because it’s entertaining at times, and does seem to work for some people… I can’t say it worked for yours truly, but then again that depends on what you consider “working.”

    I learned a good deal, got plenty of stories to write about, and found myself astonished at how many people fictionalize… badly. I never tried an agency, personally, but I will say that I found online services in France to be far superior (for moi) to those in the US of A. Then again, I like Frenchmen and I speak the lingo.

    They don’t ask your age, they don’t “shop” for a woman by checklist, and come to think of it, we (the females) really ought to stop shopping by checklist as well. Once we toss our “requirements” away, we just may be more open to the gem who may come in wrapping we don’t expect. And there are some gems out there, but ’tis true, they’re tough to find.

    As for your friend, an utterly impertinent and unsolicited remark on my part (forgive me if I offend)… why is she talking sex and marriage with a gent just weeks after separating???

    Holy Moly.

    • PY says:

      Well said , BLW and welcome to the pack.

      Before anybody says it, Happy Valentine’s Day , Planktonhood !

      May your roses come by the dozen , the billet doux tumble through your letter boxes to block your doors, may the champagne be poured by the Jereboam and the chocolate boxes be pulled by shire horses – or not , as the case may be.

      ( NB : in these weight conscious times , why does every supermarket chain believe that everyone wants to fatten up their lover with an ever more lavish Bacchanalian feast ? )

    • The Plankton says:

      Thanks for this. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. As for my friend – well, it’s early days, and she is vulnerable and hopeful. Pxx

  • Ms. Plankton, you’ve referred to a dating agency with something related to astronomy in the name once before- you called it “shouting at Mars,” or ‘up my arse’ or something like that”- Hard to forget phrasing like that….

  • @ Ms. Plankton- Once again, my offer still stands- You’re certain that you don’t want for me to send you mycell phone # some time?

    Figure I’ll try once per year- this will be it for 2013 …. ….

  • Also in reference to one of Ms. Plankton’s previous posts from last year- I like, well…. This past Mon. 02/11/13 evening, I sent an email to Cindy Gallop- I didn’t really expect for her to write back, but she is a fellow resident of The Big Apple these days, I thought it might be worth a try- No surpsises, she’s not written back to me….

  • James B says:

    Talking to my many single friends it occurs to me that the male response to seeing a web site full of available women is simply to retreat into full window shopping world.

    Males are, sadly, essentially visual creatures with an obsession about their own position in the sexual male hierarchy. Online dating just creates a sweet shop environment. Men once they move over 40, are typically far less interested in commitment than females (in my experience) and that lack of commitment flows onto digital dating behaviour. Many men cannot even be bothered to invest time and money in a real date. But men are happy to flock to the Net in their millions. Usually/often in search of sexual liaisons.

    I spoke to a friend who runs a dining club for singles in London and elsewhere. They told me that indeed, in real-life dating, the female is a more social creature and is usually (not always) commitment-seeking. Their events are always over-subscribed by women and under-subscribed by men. This is not because there are no men; it is because men are lazy stupid creatures who often lack social confidence and know-how and cannot face the investment of time and money into a dinner party or dinner based situation. On the other hand, I was told, the calibre of men at these events are often very high. These men are, apparently very presentable, good conversationalists, confident and financially okay too. Yes – sometimes the males get in for free, but so what? On online dating sites females often get a free pass too. As it has been said before, this is simply the economics of supply and demand.

    So, if you are a gorgeous sexy high status leggy blonde, a dating web site is perfect for you as the deluded visual males will stampede in your direction. Otherwise get out to a dining or paid social match-up (or a social meetup) and you might meet a very decent man. Staying online is shopping at Primark compared to the oft-mention John Lewis/Waitrose. You get what you pay for. Plus, how on earth can a photo plus a self-written pre formatted profile really show about an individual? Go get out there people!

    • Jay K says:

      Thank you James! My friend and I have come to the same conclusion and have removed ourselves from online dating and are now out in the real world meeting real people…and having more fun!

      • fi says:

        I don’t do online dating either. I just do things that I like doing in the real world and have fun, and lo and behold, there are men doing things that they enjoy. And our paths cross. And when they don’t it doesn’t matter as I’ve had fun anyway.

  • James B says:

    So Ms P – try scaring yourself a little by going to one of these meeting by interest groups – writing, singing, painting, theatre, wine tasting, pole dancing (!) – anything really. You might meet someone, you WILL make friends and you will have a good time too. Have a crack at it.

  • zoe says:

    In my brief stint a number of years ago at internet dating “age-appropriate men” (a phrase I neither like nor believe in), two of the six men I met for a drink had been approached by the agency you refer to, P. And, yes, they were put on the books for free. The agency had simply raided the internet dating sites and cherry-picked the most appealing specimens. This Drawing Down your chequebook agency was clearly so much Moon-shine; and, anyway, I prefer to do my own cherry-picking.

    While men went free and women paid, however, it would be a mistake to read too much into this. It is as much about gender differences with respect to demand for relationship commitment – differences which are also more pronounced at different ages and life stages. With most dating websites men and women both pay. And with some, neither gender pays. But there are plenty of sites where the men pay and the women don’t. These are the “casual dating” sites. There you will find middle-aged men in their hordes (for whom age is no issue). (Commentators have often expressed surprise at how Lydia has an endless supply of age-appropriate men and I have always suspected that Lydia uses these sites. It not only explains the sheer numbers of interested men but also the speed with which the conversations seem to escalate to a sexual content. I may be wrong.)

    Although my age-appropriate internet dating phase was brief and disappointing and convinced me that I would never fancy anyone ever again, I stayed in contact with half of the men I met. One of them came round for Sunday brunch the other day. One of my girlfriends was there and she subsequently professed that she was bowled over by him. She experienced, in her words, a “coup de foudre”. I was astonished. Such was the gap between our responses to this man, that I have been pondering what it means. Partly of course it’s the just and reassuring fact that we all have different tastes. And, hurrah for that. But it is also – and not so encouragingly for those of us for whom the internet remains the best option – about the gap between the coldness of assessing, against the clock, a stranger across the table and getting to know someone in the relaxed course of a warm and convivial friend’s brunch.

    • Muriel says:

      Zoe,
      So true, they say men go looking for sex and find love and women go looking for love and find …er..
      I am very doubtful of the coup de foudre, as it doesn’t usually end well. What it means is that you have made up your mind about someone based on superficial impressions, without getting to know them first. Because you’ve already decided that they’re The One, you ignore red flags and less favourable information that later emerges. But what do I know, one disaster after another.

  • James B says:

    What an an interesting and well-written post that was, Zoe.

  • Steve H says:

    If said agency had cherry picked the “most appealing specimens” then.. ummm..why not? If that’s what it takes

    The women on the books are getting la creme da la creme surely? Whether that’s cherry picked blokes or ones that are attracted by no fees.No man is going to waste their time on dates either via agencies or internet dating if they’re not interested,so where is the problem?

    Granted many men(not this one!) want to explore sites that cater for “less dating and more nookie” and as Zoe points out , they are catered for there. And THEY pay.

    What I’m saying is if the end result for a woman is having dates/relationship with a suitable man, why the outrage if they haven’t paid? As I said earlier , did you see me complain when we paid to get into clubs when women went free? Actually, I did a bit ;)

  • Elle says:

    The Irish Times has some interesting features on single people this week:

    Here’s a link to the overall feature:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/topics/a-single-life/

    I really think that the model of relationships is changing and that we will have to adapt our expectations accordingly. Like the job for life, the partner for life is gone and instead we will go through a series short term monogamous relationships or share a partner with others. The latter is more likely when gender ratios are unequal – ie when there are more available women than available men.

  • Elle says:

    I forgot to say that the option of sharing a partner is only acceptable when it is an honest open polyamorous relationship.

    • fi says:

      Elle you do keep saying there aren’t enough men around so we should share ( do you mean share with you?) but I’m sure as a percentage of available men for dating, things were a lot worse after both WW 1 and 2.

      • Elle says:

        Fi, if you date a guy when you’re over 35 you’re probably sharing already and you don’t know it. Even if you think it’s exclusive, he’s more than likely seeing at least one other woman. Women either know it’s happening but pretend it isn’t, or do their damnedest not to face up to reality. Of course women can multidate too, but we don’t have the same opportunities as men once we go past a certain age.

        I don’t see what’s so terrible about accepting the fact the guy you’re dating is probably dating at least one other woman and if all concerned can be honest, adult and practice safe sex it could be beneficial. The guy gets to have two or three great women, the women get to date a great guy and if everyone gets along then their social circle gets a boost into the bargain. If late blooming Sapphic tendencies unfold along the way then even better!

        It might seem unorthodox and heretical to those of us brought up to believe in the monogamous relationship for life fairytale. I don’t know if I would share a man with you Fi, it might be a bit difficult because you’re in Scotland and I’m in Ireland.

      • fi says:

        But Elle, I don’t think women ARE sharing men. At least I don’t know any that are, are or do I know any men that have more than one woman on the go. I know we all extrapolate from our own experience and assume it’s representative of the norm,but you’re the only person who seems to see this as a solution to the lack of available men where you live. If men don’t think a woman is attractive and she wants one, then the solution is for her to fix herself up and make herself more attractive, not settle for scraps and believe she should be grateful for them.

      • EmGee says:

        I always thought of ‘dating’ as something people do when they are looking for someone, so it would be normal for people to being seeing more than just one person (providing the dating pool has more than one fish in it). And I still like to think sex at any stage is a choice, not an obligation: I have the choice to have sex, and he has to choice to continue dating me, whether sex is implied or not.

        At the point where one decides whether to share a partner or not, is beyond the dating stage, isn’t it? Regardless, if I were seeing someone who I knew was seeing at least one other person, I would consider it a committed relationship, only in the sense that I have committed myself to it, but with no expectation that the others have.

      • fi says:

        Not that I think people have to have monogamous relationships, but I disagree with this being proposed as a solution for women who can’t get a man as it is a demeaning solution that suggests they will take anything rather than nothing. And if she has any pride, and want a monogamous relationship with a man, why would a woman be happy to share him to make another woman who can’t get one happy?

      • fi says:

        I’ve only dated monogamously with men who have only dated me monogamously. But then I’m quite fussy and only date men that I think could turn into something – I don’t bother otherwise – and I end it if it becomes apparent that it won’t. I’ve always been like that I’m afraid and have had very few relationships (although 2 marriages) but I’d rather be on my own than with the wrong person.

      • Elle says:

        Fi, I don’t consider polyamory second best. Maybe this is because honesty is a priority for me. I would consider a monogamous relationship where I silently put up with cheating (a contradiction in terms, but unfortunately this is getting to be the norm) second best.

        How can a monogamous relationship full of subterfuge and deceit be better than an honest open polyamorous relationship?

      • fi says:

        Elle, as I said above, if that’s what someone chooses then great go for it. I don’t think though that a monogamous relationship has to end in cheating, nor do I think hanging out with your friends and occasionally sleeping with them while waiting for a monogamous relationship (which seems to be what py Is describing) is a choice to live a polyamorous/gamous relationship either. The bit I don’t like but probably haven’t made as clear as I thought I had, is the idea that a woman should accept she has to share a man because if she doesn’t he either won’t want her or will want someone else as well.

    • Muriel says:

      I don’t want to be in a harem. I don’t know anyone who is. I read an article a while ago about polyamory, and in every arrangement at least one person was miserable and anxious.

      • Elle says:

        I am not in a harem myself but I do know a few harem keepers. The women in the harem are very attractive and range in age from twenties to forties. Some of the women are bisexual and the arrangements suits them. Admittedly these people lead an alternative lifestyle but I think polyamory is an interesting concept. I also think anything that might lead to more people being happy is a good thing. I think it’s an insult to polyamorous people to suggest that their lifestyle is settling for second best. Anything but, these people want the best of everything and don’t want to shoehorn themselves into a lifestyle that doesn’t suit them.

        I think that people should be open to different lifestyles and willing to experiment at all stages of their lives. This prevents stagnation and gives us broader horizons and richer experiences. For example, monogamy might have worked for somebody for the first 40 years of their life but as they get older they might want to explore something different. We don’t have to stay the same way all our lives. Read the book “The Ethical Slut”. It might not appeal to everyone but it’s an interesting read.

        If you keep doing what you’ve always done you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.

        If a monogamous relationship is for you then go for it but I do believe that monogamous men are harder to find as we get older. They tend to settle earlier and are less likely to divorce than other men.

      • fi says:

        “I think it’s an insult to polyamorous people to suggest that their lifestyle is settling for second best. Anything but, these people want the best of everything and don’t want to shoehorn themselves into a lifestyle that doesn’t suit them”
        But you’re suggesting it as a solution for women who can’t get a man of their own, therefore implying it is second best.

      • The Plankton says:

        Totally agree! It always makes one party (usually the man) very happy but the woman miserable. Of course. Pxx

      • Elle says:

        How many people here split up from their ex partner because one of you was cheating? How many people have been in relationships where one partner turned out to be cheating when the other partner thought otherwise? How many of you have been approached by married/attached men?

        Monogamy is not a natural state. It might have worked when our lifespans were shorter, people lived in remote rural societies, women routinely died from childbirth and men died in battles or faction fights.

        I think that the modern lifestyle and lifespan make monogamy more difficult, if not impossible and people’s behaviour bears this out. I believe in adapting to circumstance. I also believe that the polyamorous relationship model is more honest than the monogamous one.

        I could meet a man and have a “monogamous” relationship with him while in reality he dates several other women on the side or if he travels for business he plays away. I would turn a blind eye to this and only end the relationship if the affairs came out into the open. Alternatively I could have an open relationship with a man where we agree to be primary partners to each other but give each other the freedom to live honestly and openly.

        Some polyamorous relationships may be miserable and anxious but I know of several so-called monogamous relationships and marriages where people are miserable and anxious because they have a “don’t ask don’t tell” arrangement or one partner knows the other cheats and isn’t willing to openly admit it.

      • fi says:

        If that’s what you choose to have then great, go for it. I don’t agree with proposing it as a second best option for women who are so desperate for a man that sharing one is preferable to not having one.

  • zoe says:

    Thanks for this, Elle. I agree that the ideal of a relationship for life can be problematic. I was a little surprised, though, given your frequent agonising on the matter, to read this in one of the articles: “Indeed, whatever the anecdotal evidence of a “man shortage”, the demographics do not overwhelmingly point to a dearth in single men versus their female equivalents. There may be 42,854 more women than men in the State, but up to the age of 80, single men outnumber single women in every age group. (After 80, the men have started to die off.) That’s the national picture.”

    • Elle says:

      Zoe, the national figures don’t reflect the day to day experience of single older women in Ireland. The figures don’t take into account the men who are in same-sex relationships or heterosexual men who are cohabiting. The feature states that divorced men are more likely to remarry. We know full well that divorced men often form relationships with younger women. Therefore the older heterosexual men who are cohabiting may well be in relationships with younger women.

      Read the anecdotal evidence from women who are single in their 40s and the piece about women who are single in their 50s. Some have joined expensive dating agencies without success.

  • PY says:

    I’m with you on the concept of polyamorous relationships , Elle .

    I have found myself in that particular boat by default rather than design. All those involved, including me, are still searching for the desired but elusive monogamous relationship.

    Before I get shot down in flames by the ‘having your cake and eat it’ brigade, this has been a pragmatic and practical response to a difiicult enough dating scene, largely instigated by the female side of the eqaution.

    As Emgee has pointed out, a ‘date’ is largely a scored through day in a diary. It does not necessarily imply or give licence to a physical relationship but it does require a degree of mutual respect for an individual’s personal circumstances. Post separation set ups or trauma, ongoing child care commitments, differing levels of independence or readiness for commitment – all need to be addressed.

    I have a handful of single female friends with whom there is mutual trust and shared enjoyment of each others company. I confide in them and, to an extent, they in me. There is genuine affection between us ( in some cases, deep and long term – this group includes former lovers) but in terms of our respective hopes and dreams, I am not the sole answer for any of them nor any of them for me. They may know of each other but do not necessarily know personally or, indeed, like each other . In turn they will have other male friends who may satisfy other needs or circumstances – that may include ‘friends with benefits’.

    Look on it as each of us having a set of spanners in a tool box – they don’t turn the same nut and bolt, but they each have a function. It is a question of selecting the right tool for the job. If I get invited to the theatre because “Bob doesn’t like going” – his loss. If I need a ski budddy or a dinghy crew, there isn’t one who fits both bills. Arm candy needed for a work dinner ? As a proficient social chameleon , I’m happy to oblige.

    It is not the answer and still doesn’t address the central issue of meeting ‘The One’ . It might, indeed, hinder the chances of that. But it seems to be what modern society is dictating to us and surely it is a damned sight better than the alternatives of gnawing loneliness and atrophication of the heart .

    ,

    • fi says:

      Oh. I’ve got that. I just don’t have sex with them. :)

      • fi says:

        And I call them friends.

      • PY says:

        As previously discussed, we all have a choice and you have clearly exercised your prerogative – others may choose another path . Friendship comes in many forms and some are at one extreme of that spectrum whilst others are merely nodding acquaintances .

        But, more importantly, how was Neil Diamond ? Any ‘Love on the Rocks ‘ or did you just dance the night away, in your Blue Jeans with your mates – that oh so ‘Sweet Caroline’ and bit of a handful ‘Craklin Rosie’ ?

    • Elle says:

      Thanks PY. As well as valuing honesty, I also believe that life is short and we have to grab every chance of happiness we get. I would rather walk around with a smile on my face than sit in lemon-sucking judgement of others while waiting for the increasingly elusive “one”.

  • nick says:

    I’m a 45 year old man, and I have read a lot of your blog, and found it very interesting. I hadn’t realized men in my age group were in such short supply. However I wouldn’t consider dating a western woman anymore.

    I find being an average guy, average looks just doesn’t cut it any more. Even though I don’t drink or smoke, take drugs and have a pleasant demeanor…BUT…..…it doesn’t cut it any more…

    I need to be far wealthier than I am, have better prospects, and live in a bigger house, better car…etc etc…well you know the drill….
    My friends who are doing astonishingly well from university are all married of course, they have been for some time, those are the men most women desire.

    Yes I hate speed dating, and all those gimmicky things, dating in the dark, on top of a church tower or whatever they have now, ….and online dating is mostly appalling, filled with scammers and spammers….

    No I’ll be forgetting about western women, my age, older and younger, I’m not matching up to their huge “want” list. So I’ll go abroad find a wife with a reputable dating site (takes much research but it can be done). Even the cost and expense of visas and travelling to find a foreign wife is “worth it”. Western women are out of my reach – perhaps that’s just the way of the world these days.

    Alpha men are all married (or can do so very easily), and betas like me are going abroad to find a wife.

    • EmGee says:

      :-D I just replied to you in the previous post, but your troll rating has slipped to 1/10 for copy pasting nearly all of your reply there.

      Were but I could warn those 3rd world women about the likes of you.

  • Its like you read my mind! You appear to grasp a lot approximately this, such as you wrote the guide in it or something. I believe that you simply can do with some p.c. to force the message home a bit, but other than that, this is great blog. An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

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