January 28, 2014 § 1,960 Comments
Thank you for all your comments.
I am not depressed, although there is plenty out there that is profoundly depressing, quite apart from the situation in Syria and the obesity crisis and everything in between. They go without saying.
The immediate in between, the in between that’s in my face this week, and has been for many a moon but is becoming more urgent by the day, is every other woman I know being left by their husbands for a younger cunt, and my still being a plankton a million years after my ex-husband fell upon his with such winning gusto. There is a conspiracy theory I have, something which none of my friends have the heart to tell me. The socking great herd of elephants trumpeting in the room, only I am not hearing them. It is this: I have halitosis, stink of rotting fish, and am contributing, single-handedly, to the global obesity crisis, obv. I must be. Why else?
A friend told me about a woman she knows who is very funny and has flashes of warmth but this woman’s default position according to my friend is prickly, chippy, difficult, charmless, defensive, shy, rude, and a right bitch about everyone. She embodies a whole smorgasbord of delightfulness, indeed! She sounds a complete cow and profoundly off-putting. She left her husband a few years ago, apparently; been alone since. And there the story should end but, what do you know, doesn’t. She has met a man who is kind, sophisticated, clever, funny, generous, adores her and they are in the vortex of Happily Ever After.
What can I say?
Prickly, chippy, difficult, charmless, defensive, shy and rude and a right bitch.
New Year’s Resolution.
January 26, 2014 § 33 Comments
And sometimes I do think, That’s all folks. Then suddenly the mood might take me again. As now, having just washed up the lasagne pot that was my children’s supper.
I was walking from oven to sink to dishwasher, all the offspring having fled from the room, and I thought, as one might well of a dark Sunday evening, existential loneliness; yesterday evening I dropped a son off at the tiny terraced house of a family with a fire going and a fug, just chilling they all were, fond laughter and teasing between husband and wife of course not always like that sometimes shit all over the shop, bitch fits and testosterone wank selfishness, but they were like that then, last night, and are sometimes. And sometimes in my scant book is just fucking fine. And then no reason the thought occurred that I did rather leave the blog in the lurch. I’ve thought it a few times over the past weeks, and just couldn’t face it; felt, bleargh! that’s behind me now. Though of course it’s not, inasmuch as I am still a plankton and all; I just couldn’t face writing about it any more. Even opening the blog to read the comments. Felt I had said everything already, over and over and over and was digging myself deeper into the plankton grave. Then suddenly, just now. WTF.
I have been with Badass the past two to three days and evenings (NB. I choose my words carefully) hearing about beautiful women (It is the lot of not beautiful women to hear the virtues of the beautiful ones extolled, ad infinitum and we must keep our peace). Couple of movies and so many double shots of the hard stuff – marvellous – that Llewlyn Davis passed in something of a Greenwich Village brain-fog, the Grey Goose silvering the blood in the veins to perfection.
Only getting me nowhere.
November 15, 2013 § 402 Comments
I have been remiss, very remiss. Haven’t been reporting from the frontline of plankton-hood because there’s been sweet FA to report, except for hearing about all the women who have been joining my ranks, or continue to try to stem their individual tide precisely in order not to do so.
The old friend, as I think I may have mentioned, hooked up with a multi-millionairess, quite ten minutes after separating from his wife.
The amazing friend Janey is throwing yet another singles’ dinner – 4th in 5 years, far as I remember, and there may well have been others, without me. I must be a hard nut to crack, her most impossible client, in the sense that I am still here, planking away; but she keeps trying, and the trying alone is enough for me. It means everything to me that someone’s bothering (so few do, and I am in love with those friends who make that supreme and kindly effort); success would almost be a side issue. What I have come to accept of late is that I am enjoying the benefits of planktonhood more than I have in the past. Realisation that it is not all bad; and acceptance. Course, I have known that all along, but I’m not fighting it any more. In fact, I am thinking the answer – flying in the face of popular opinion – is to be MORE picky, not less so. This old “so what first attracted you to multimillionairess Gina?” friend, lives bloody miles away in a far-flung county and loves his dogs and multi-millionairesses and probably gets excited by phrases in the colour supplements such as “luxury travel goods” which leave me colder than a witch’s tit. If all that shit is his bag, I would be bending backwards like a fucking limbo dancer to have the honour of being with him, I think. Ach! Don’t need it.
Met another man the other night. Really lovely. Seemed modest, gentle, clever, got the joke. I repeat, got the joke! That’s more the sort of person, I thought. Not that I am going to do anything about it. Call me a reactionary, but that’s his job. He knows where to find me. Like my ex-husband who never courted higher-paying, commercial work but wasn’t averse if it courted him. I won’t be averse but I am not planning on angling. Can’t be arsed. Don’t want it so much, or maybe I have just given up. Either way, not angling is fine with me.
I’m having a nice time, managing my kids, seeing my family and friends; working, not enough (not enough of it about), but a bit, to keep the spirits high and the bank balance a degree or two off destitution. That’s all that matters. Especially as I read news of the Philippines which utterly flails one, and since one friend has told me all the gory details of her beloved husband’s chemotherapy (the stuff you never hear about; don’t ask), I think all the more, that that is all that really matters: family, friends, supper together.
Spent the day watching a child in a match and enjoying the craic on the sidelines and then went to visit my sister and my niece and went on to the supper where I met Modest Man, with old friends, seven of us round the table, eating, and laughing. Drove home listening to whoopingly-loud music and thought, with days like that I want to live for ever.
They don’t come round much, such days, but when they do everything, briefly, seems OK.
October 4, 2013 § 298 Comments
Thank you all for all your wishes of good luck. I need it now more than ever.
And it was a lovely evening but I am, as I guessed, not much the wiser and I think of my current situation a bit like a game of pin-ball. He can shoot his ball-bearing-self in the direction of any number of targets and will land more or less randomly at the destination of one lucky woman. Chances of it being me? A shiny nil.
No better than this time yesterday. Though he did at one point tell me I was looking beautiful. I hesitate to write that as it could make me sound like a self-congratulatory arsehole. Only it doesn’t really because any nice fellow will say that willy-nilly to any woman who crosses his path at some point on Automatic Pilot Being Nice Mode. It’s what kind men do to women, sure fire as “I’m fine thanks,” follows “How are you?” even if you feel like shit.
I take no more away from it than that the man has manners.
Subject of Matt came up, an old friend we both hung out with in the old days. He said something about my sleeping with Matt, then.
“But I never slept with Matt!”
“What? Are you serious?”
“Yes, I kept thinking it was going to happen and it never did. I never did find out why.”
“But that’s why I never made a pass at you, because I thought you were fucking Matt. Blimey…”
A “blimey” I hope imbued with regret, but can’t be sure.
“Well,” I said, “I wish…” Then I stopped myself. Already said too much. It was obvious what I wished, and couldn’t afford to.
The subject ended abruptly , possibly with a bit of awkward laughter but it all happened so fast I don’t remember.
We are both free and available now and so the dot-to-dot seems entirely obvious to me. I would pay my bottom dollar to crawl inside his head (as well as bed! Ha!) and find out whether it was so darn obvious to him, and he was just fleeing that obviousness.
In which case what a double-whammy waste.
October 3, 2013 § 38 Comments
Well, the blind date last week turned out to be a non-starter. My sister says you have to meet someone three times before you write them off. I am keeping an open mind, an ajar-open mind is about as much as I can manage. It will have to be one huge leap to turn my opinion around but it has been done about people before and can be done again, I guess. Sometimes I’ve met someone, anyone, male, female, and thought they were cold and deeply unpleasant and I have been so wrong.
This man was not deeply unpleasant, nor was he cold. But neither was he particularly warm and he left me cold because he rail-roaded the conversation and showed not the slightest glimmer of empathy or heart or interest (not even as a potential mate, even as one human being to another). Probably didn’t fancy me within about 3 seconds and couldn’t be arsed. Fair enough. Or self-obsessed and dim. Also fair enough. Makes two of us, probably.
But one thing the experience taught me is that I am happy enough on my own not to compromise all the good things about being alone for the wrong person. Desperate, sure, but perhaps not that desperate. This one may turn out to be the right one – I doubt it – and if he gets in touch (he did ask for my number), I will see him again just to see if my instinct was right or wide of the mark (possible, but I doubt it). And if he is as unappealing as I think he is (unless I misheard, which is entirely possible, he is a climate change denier and properly right wing, er, no thanks), then I shall be happy that I am enjoying the fruits of not being with a man like that. If I am wrong, then we can joke about my foolish mistake into our dotage.
As for the badass who isn’t at all like that, but is charming and clever and open-minded and oddly attractive (I didn’t fancy him at first but he dawned on me) he is a badass nonetheless, and out of the picture. My sense of self-preservation is such that I am not that dumb. Well, I probably am, but he is otherwise engaged so I am not going to waste my time and headspace.
Which leaves us with the old, old friend. I am seeing him tonight. But I am not hoping.
I have heard so many ghastly stories these past few days about the behaviour of certain men that I have practically lost the will to live. One of my most beautiful, clever and talented friends ever rang me yesterday overflowing with tears like a weir after being shafted by a man whom she initially resisted precisely because she didn’t want to be hurt but who promised her the earth and then after some weeks of heightened bliss brutalised her with sudden silence. Another fucking two vulnerable women I know at the same time, neatly mortifying and betraying both. Yet another and another and another fucking off with tauter, shinier replacements. And another, Just Married, asking for the telephone number of an attractive friend of mine and flirting to fuck.
Wish me luck tonight. Myself and luck: never had any; not expecting any; won’t be getting any.
But nice to think someone out there may be so kind as to wish me any. Thank you.
September 9, 2013 § 158 Comments
Fuck all all summer and suddenly three twinkles and each and every one of them age-appropriate. Bleeding miracle!
In no particular order:-
Long-Shot no. 1. (strictly Long-Shot about no. 21, but new academic year, I am setting the clock back to nought, with all the (self)-deception of a second hand car salesman. Very old friend just separating from his wife. We are in touch and although he is raw, I have a low-key sort of optimism because of our history. We go back 30 years and have always fancied each other and I keep hearing stories of women whose husbands have fucked off and they end up much happier with friend from – hey, what do you know? – 30 years ago. We have texted and plans are afoot but I have to tread with exceeding care. He may be fucking a hareem of 25 year olds and snorting shit-loads of coke for all I know, but once it is out of his system, I HAVE TO BE THE BETTER BET. No? Probably no. But hey.
Long-Shot no. 2. Being match-made within the month with a seemingly excellent prospect who apparently likes the sound of me, whose (now ex-)wife was – allegedly – a bitch. He has already had the rebound relationship, is single again and apparently very good news indeed. Promising.
Long-Shot no. 3. I am being taken out to lunch and dinner a lot by a mid-divorce man who already has a mistress but both the soon-to-be ex-wife and the mistress are psychos by the sounds of things, and he and I have incredibly jolly times together. But I think he is rather taken with the tedious mistress, who leads him a merry dance and sounds a complete pain in the arse. As does his wife. But, as I told him roundly, I am sure he is no saint either. I think he is probably a better friend than lover. I don’t intend to try to change matters but if he does, well…
August 15, 2013 § 256 Comments
Old friend – we’ve fancied each other for twenty maybe even thirty years (fuck, can I be that old?) and acknowledged it (verbally, relatively recently) – has just separated from his wife. By amicably mutual agreement.
I don’t know if he’s already with someone else. I think not, despite my theory that no man EVER leaves his wife for a vacuum; there is always a woman he’s already screwing or at least one who has given every indication that she will willingly, gratefully, wantonly screw him the nanosecond that he gives her the green light to do so. I presume he is already sleeping with several 27 or 35 year olds, or what have you. I wouldn’t say no myself but I would also hope for something a little more deep and permanent, and not to be just one of countless cloves in the pomander.
What I have over the taut-twat brigade is something no amount of youth and pelvic-floor exercises can replicate, namely history – and I KEEP hearing about people in middle age marrying old friends; such a simple but stunningly good idea. History, and a biological clock which has so stopped even a mugger in Chelsea wouldn’t give it the time of day.
This old friend fancies me, and me him, and I make him laugh, and him me.
We have exchanged emails. He has told me what happened; I have sent a sympathetic one back.
I have, at my reckoning, before some taut-twat – or some other not such taut twat – gets him, about ten minutes.
July 31, 2013 § 179 Comments
A couple of nights ago I woke in a sweat with my heart beating like a banjo, only not in a good way.
I had had a nightmare, first one for three or four years. Real nightmares, as in bad dreams when I am asleep, happen so rarely. The one before last I still had a husband I could clung to at 3am, his flesh and warmth right by to offer inert comfort. So we are talking one nightmare proper every few years. I think it’s one of those blessings I should be counting: very few nightmare-nightmares to make up for all the daytime nightmares I have all day, every day. Some fucking consolation.
Anyway, it was one of those horror film ones, the likes of which I remember having as a child. And I woke up, shaking. But as a grown-up, no companion, there’s no one to turn to. I couldn’t exactly wake up my children, all scared and girl-like, and jibber to them that I had had a nightmare. That would have been too fucking inverse and weird.
So I just had to beef out the fear and try to think about roses or cheese slices or whatever is supposed to be beautiful or bland and the opposite of nightmarish, and try to go back to sleep.
Yep, I am still sweating the small stuff, and sweating the small stuff, the stuff which no one bothers to mention or sweat to others, come daylight, and it is just one more item on the extensive plankton list of absolute shit.
The following night – last night – before putting the light out, I read Sharon Olds’s collection of poems about her husband leaving her for another woman, after thirty years of marriage. I thought, these are good, very good, but they’re not going to grab me by the throat and squeeze stinging tears out of me because they are JUST NOT; because I have MOVED ON.
Well, no. Obviously not so much.
I wept like a goddamn watering can.
July 17, 2013 § 100 Comments
….Just on holiday. In the UK, and baking, and rather depressed, but reading Seating Arrangements, whichI am enjoying enormously. Stoner is next on my pile. Consolation for a less than happy existence resides entirely in literature and I’ve heard Stoner is a minor masterpiece. Can’t wait.
Went to see The Book of Mormon the other night. Enjoyed it for sure but felt that it was ultimately a conventional musical with swear words and dildos. And I fucking hate musicals. Though I didn’t hate this. It was a great night out we had, but what with parking and dinner and so on, cost the GNP of a middling-sized nation.
So, back to the paperbacks.
And the inane and entirely pointless search for a companion. Which ostensibly costs nothing, but in fact leads to a major sanity overdraft which I am not sure I am going to be able to pay off.
June 25, 2013 § 192 Comments
I wrote this below in about 1922 – well, actually, in March, for the Times, and due to space ishoos, they haven’t used it till now (well, yesterday). So if it seems a bit out of date… Hell, a post is a post is a post:-
As spring arrives at long bloody last – I’ve been hibernating – I am asking my friends to send me on any blind dates they can think of, and every one of them says they will rack their brains, and that is the last I hear of it.
They all know just one single man whom, invariably, they swear I wouldn’t want to touch with a barge pole. There are various categories of Barge Pole. Divorced men who are manifestly enjoying the benefits of their new-found freedom and sleeping with several different women a week is an obvious one. At a recent party, I saw a handsome example – an old friend called Mark whom I like but, even if he were interested in me, I wouldn’t touch with a… As he and I chatted and laughed, one of his many benefits – a rich plankton with two divorces behind her – sidled up to him, and slithered her arms all over him like a python. She gave me astonishingly hostile looks. It was a possessiveness which I knew to be misplaced. He had just been telling me about his sense of liberation and adventure, and how this particular woman and he had sex when they felt like it, but the arrangement was manifestly fluid. Well, on his part at least (there were others from Tottenham to Turkey). On hers, predictably, not so much.
A recent article in a serious American magazine placed available men into two categories, namely players and losers. Both of them, in my book, are disheartening BPs. While Mark is obviously a player, the all-too-commonplace loser is properly single, meaning distinctly non-committal and odd. Quite often these types are still in love with a woman – or girl – they loved thirty or forty years ago. They have had “relationships” – of sorts – since, but no woman has ever matched up to the mythical One. I went out, briefly, with a man in this category. He wasn’t ostensibly a “loser”. A romantic figure on a hillside who wrote poetry and smoked a lot of dope, he was good-looking and warm and sweet. But he always used to show me pictures of Lulu and talk about her to me with his glazed, beautiful, wistful, red Leb eyes, and I knew I needed to take note of the writing that had been on the wall from the outset. Gorgeous, but hopeless.
The funny thing is, even barge poles are quite thin on the ground at the moment.
But there are more female BPs than squeamish-inducing frogspawn in a pond. I am one of them. Old and spent and flabby and grabby and set in my ways. Another man’s discarded chattel with another man’s children.
Barge Pole. With heels on.