Under My Nose

July 8, 2011 § 36 Comments

Even she, Mary, said to me she wasn’t looking and there Simon was right under her nose.

He was the father of her daughter’s best friend.  She and Simon had always been friendly in that our-children-are-friends sort of way, but it had never crossed her mind.  They were at a party together.  Naturally enough – such a cliche – one she had really had to steel herself to go to.  She jolly nearly didn’t, she was absolutely dreading it and concocting in her mind her excuses, still in the throes of misery following the recent walk-out by her twenty-year-three-children husband.  But in the end she made herself.  And hey ho.  Well, of course, these stories are ten-a-penny.  He kissed her on the cheek in the taxi on the way home and the kiss lingered a millisecond longer than the usual.  She got out of the cab and stepped into her house and in the dull light of her kitchen knew a line had been crossed.  In the heat of the moment, she sent him a text; beautifully composed, pretty unambiguous, but not so much so that had she read the signals completely wrongly she could never look him in the face again.

And so their relationship flashed into life.  It’s still going strong.

“There he was, right under my nose,” she says, smiling.  “I am sure the next man in your life is right under your nose.”

Well, boy have I been looking.  There is no stone under my nose unturned, no corner of the whole vista that is under my nose into which a super-strong torch has not been shone.

Nope.  Nothing but a protruding stomach, a couple of bunions and a stretch of tasteful carpet under my nose.  Not a man to be seen.



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§ 36 Responses to Under My Nose

  • ChrisJ says:

    Dear Plankton,
    In the Times article you described yourself as slim; perhaps the protruding stomach has developed over the last 2 days or maybe it is just artistic licence. Tastelful carpets are also a bit like men; they get walked all over by women. Once installed they can get worn down and gather dust. The languishing of the downtrodden.
    There isn’t a food chain of relationships; it’s a bit more complicated than that – especially for those who have lost a partner. Till death do us part. Well it certainly did but it still hurts.
    It is also a fact that half the population are male. Perhaps you can’t see the wood for the trees. Or perhaps a change in perception is needed.
    Plankton are so named because they wander and drift. There isn’t an order or heirarchy in a food CHAIN – things feed off and are dependent on each other.
    According to wiki – jellyfish are also plankton. Graceful and possibly dangerous – the combination may strike a chord, perhaps you are scaring men away?

  • Jill says:

    Dear Plankton, I read your article in the times and it depressed me beyond belief. It said outloud some things I have secretly thought but hoped were not true – like men my age (46) casn always fine women of 30 and so never go for women their own age. I am a widow of 46 and have been alone 5 years. I live in a small very married ex pat community in Tanzania and had been contemplating a move back to the UK as I thought I might have more luck finding someone here. Your article has really dampened my enthusiasm. But how can it be that there seem to be more women than men? Surely for every divorced woman there is a man? I am in a minority being widowed am I not??

    I dont think I ever was anything much to look at and at 46 I am now officially invisible. Yes I am feeling very down in the dumps!

    I wish you luck though.

    • I live in the heart of the US, and I know exactly what it feels like to be plankton! I am a 58 year old woman who has been divorced for 8 years! Everyone says I am very nice, pretty, and look 10 years younger than I am, and they can’t understand why I don’t have men my age chasing me on a daily basis! I certainly never thought that would be the case when I divorced either. Not that I am cocky, but I thought I would have an easier time dating also. Trouble is that the men my age who are financially stable, interesting, and are still able to function sexually are dating and marrying women half their age! They don’t even look at me twice! (At least that is they way I feel). Even though I believe that you have to be positive and see yourself finding that perfect man, I have to admit that each week that goes by without any dates or even interesting conversation with a man, it gets more difficult to feel optimistic. No, I don’t HAVE TO HAVE a man, but i WANT TO HAVE a man! I want to love someone again and get that love returned. I want to share my soon to be retired years with someone! Is that wrong? Each day, I feel a little bit more angry at my male counterparts for totally ignoring me as a potential mate and looking at me like I am just an old lady. And feeling this way probably pushes me further away from men in return. I seem to be screwed either way…..

      • The Plankton says:

        Thanks, Cindy, for this. Your observations were mine entirely and why I started this blog. I hope you find it consoling to discover that you are by no means the only one and that you are welcome here. Px

  • Alice says:

    I have been hearing these urban myths for the past eight years that I have been on my own. I am late forties, intelligent, very attractive, have two almost grown up children, a good job and my own house. I am, in other words free to be free (for probably the first time in my life) and I am not ashamed to say that yes, I would love to have someone to share this freedom with. But can I find someone?? Bugger no!
    And if another well-meaning person asks me “what, you’re still on your own, what’s wrong with you?” I shall scalp them.

    • Mack says:

      The reason why you are probably still single might be something to do with your definition of ‘very attractive’. My advice to you is to get a male perspective to the aforementioned. You might be surprised.

  • richard says:

    It’s not only women in this situation. My three boys were 9, 7 and 5 when their mother left us, they are now 23, 21 and 19. In all those years just two relationships of any kind, one of those brief, and nothing at all for nearly seven years… and I do literally mean nothing. There never will be now. It’s easier not to hope.When the boys were younger bringing them up was my raison d’etre; now they are grown up and away at Uni for much of the year it’s just work , home alone , work, ticking the days off. I accept that in many ways women of my age and in my situation might have it even harder, however one gender difference has struck me; single men do not seem deterred by a woman’s children, women do seem put off by the idea of a single father, perhaps worried we are simply looking for domestic/maternal help ( of course I accept that this might simply be me looking to excuse my own lack of success). Over the years I’ve had lots of admiring/pitying/patronising comments to do with how well I’ve ‘coped’ with the practicalities of child-rearing , domestic chores and work, but all this has seemed to simultaneously disqualify me from being seen as a potential romantic partner. Perhaps gender role stereotypes have worked against me and I’ve been symbolically emasculated. It’s a cliche that women ask where all the decent men have gone….. well we’re where we’ve always been , right here , but you think we’re boring so go with serial liars and cheats and worse and then complain that men are horrible. Good guys really do finish last. Oh well, back to solitary reading and TV , and work tomorrow.

  • LC says:

    I know you aren’t so happy about trying internet dating, but that’s how I found my 2nd husband who I’ve been with for 12 years now. It’s hard when you’re not (1) a big drinker/bar hopper, (2) a church goer, (3) 25 years old, to find someone who’s compatible. As you’ve found, I think. Why not give it a try? Sure, there are a lot of frogs online; you’ve got to kiss a few of those until your prince shows up. But at least you’re kissing, right? 🙂 Best of luck to you!

  • Emac0 says:

    Two things, totally agree with the fact that there are no available men. Am older than you, been single for years but like you would love to have someone, and have had little interest – none if you exclude the dysfunctional, geriatric or still married. And as for internet dating… heard lots of ‘I know someone who met her hubby’ tales, but (apart from poster above) no-one who actually DID meet her hubby. I’ve met several who have told me enough tales of woe about that (married men, money grabbers, and worse, much worse) to give it a wide berth.

  • LC says:

    Well, EMACO, I really DID meet my husband online, as did my sister and a cousin of mine. So it really does work!

  • Keen Snapper says:


    I have read various articles in the press, alluding to this Blog with increasing interest. I am a 46 year old, qualified professional man, and played competitive contact sport until two years ago. I am regularly told that I look in my early thirties. I have never been married, I have no children, do not partake of illicit drugs or, I hasten to add, live with my Mother! I consequently, assume that I fit the demographic of elusive male to which you refer.

    So, I hear you ask, what is ‘wrong’ with me? I cannot find a decent woman to share my life with! What do I mean by a decent woman? Put succinctly, a really desirable woman is proud of who she is, of her femininity and her achievements, regardless of the man, she may or may not have.

    My contention is that the type of women that men are instinctively and magnetically drawn to pursue, are first and foremost happy with their own lives, and content with who they really are, flaws and all. In my experience, these types of woman are as rare as flawless pink 10 caret diamonds!

    To a man, the type of aforementioned woman, stands out. She is positioned alone, erect, powerfully curvaceous, lustrous, clean and gleaming like a blood red Ferrari in a car park full of mundane unkempt Fords! A man aspires to own a Ferrari because of what it represents, exclusivity and beauty. There are competitors as powerful, but are they as exclusive and visually seductive? Once a Ferrari is acquired, no expense is sparred, it is sheltered in a garage, waxed, caressed and pampered, thoroughly serviced very regularly, and never treated roughly! The investment must be protected! Do you want to be a Ford or a Ferrari? If you do, ALWAYS look your best. The next time you are in public, notice how many single woman bemoaning the lack of men have unwashed hair, unironed clothing and comfortable ‘sensible’ flat shoes. These are the very same women that presumably have mismatched underwear. A cardinal sin in the dating game!

    If you genuinely want to find a ‘real’ man, here are my ‘golden nuggets’. At the risk of stating the obvious, the first step is to get out of the house, they are no men in there! The type of men I assume you want to meet are independent, high energy goal driven, aspirational individuals. Their natural habitats are gyms, hiking and running clubs etc. My next ‘nugget’ is hugely important, learn to cook! I can cook to a good standard, how many modern women can these days? I assure you that as a man, my simmering, intense, primal, lustful masculine urge to pursue a woman will never be at risk of being spontaneously and volcanically irrupted with an empty stomach! Conversely, if you learn to expertly ply men you are attracted to with fine wine and wholesome food, you will have more men than you can handle. How many men do you know that are attracted to Nigella Lawson, despite the fact that she does not resemble the archetypal emaciated model? Think about it. Lastly, the best investment you can make, is in good quality lingerie and shoes. When you feel great underneath it shows, and men notice! A women that feels sexually confident, head held high, walks tall in high heals, with a hypnotic sway of her hips is a limited edition Ferrari with five miles on the clock! Men understand that test rides are by invitation only, and only the best need apply!

    • Mack says:

      Some excellent points you make there snapper. My only concern is that many of the women on this blog who read it will very quickly dismiss it on the grounds that you are being ‘sexist’ or ‘misogynistic’. They will concede that those things only applied in the pre-feminist era as opposed to the ’empowered’ society we live in today. Such delusion may be the reason why many of them can’t land a man to save their lives.

  • JoJo says:

    OK, when I read Keen Snapper, I want to puke….Jeezuz ..girls, girls, girls, why are we doing this to ourselves

  • toyman says:

    All the women are complaining that they can find no man and when a man just dares to mention what he likes or thinks Jojo barks!

    So we want the company of men, once they shut up and sit at our feet…..

    Best get a dog then……………..but then most of you have a dog, its the man that is the problem…..right!

    I wonder why……………hummm…………

  • Keen Snapper says:

    I am concerned that my musings induced an urge in JoJo to vomit! Nevertheless, I will risk causing her yet further nausea by retorting.

    May I suggest that “we” that includes men and women, “do this to ourselves” because like every other mammal on this planet, the vast majority of us have a deep seated urge to find a partner, and ultimately procreate, to further propagate the species. The human race would be extinct otherwise. That urge, if satisfied, fulfills one of our basic needs, and should make us happy. My assertion, appears pretty straight forward to me.

    JoJo’s comments, merely serve to vindicate my decision to remain single. I may make her want to puke, but what would negate that urge? In fact does she want in a man generally? Are women sure that they know?

    I can assure you that I know through the experience of numerous relationships, exactly what I want and need in a woman, to make me truly happy, fulfilled, and consequently, faithful as a man. Independent women have all sorts of expectations of men, and rightly so, in my opinion. Please remember though, that it works both ways! What do you imagine a man’s needs are? Do you care? Have you ever asked an eligible man, with choices? Incidentally, you might be surprised how often I, ‘Mr Vomitus’ himself, is pursued by visually attractive women, without choices! I however, am in the fortunate position of not having to compromise. Why would I have someone sharing my life, that makes me unhappy, and leaves me unfulfilled. I can be poor and miserable on my own!

    I am genuinely curious to discover what it is that would make women happy. Perhaps someone would, therefore, like to enlighten me on what it is that JoJo finds so violently objectionable in my comments.

  • toyman says:

    Mr Snapper

    I agree with your comments; but they seem almost too perfect…………

    Men are not normally as observant as you make out to be; we tend to just do what our little head dictates and live with the consequences.
    The smell of a fertile flirting female just sends us into a feeding frenzy throwing caution to the wind. The taste of saliva, the smell of her breath and the warmth of her lips rules our brain waves, we just want to be with this woman, we just want to make her laugh, we just want her to feel safe, we just want and want and want……

    Women are the thinkers, if it was not for the girl friends I have had over the years, I might be dead by now……

    • keen snapper says:

      Mr Toyman,

      I find it significant that my challenge for women to articulate their desires has thus far been meet with stoney silence. I must express surprise that even JoJo has not shot me down in flames, although her contention was that my views made her want to puke!

      I would never claim to be perfect, or indeed not to have made significant mistakes in past relationships. I am pleased to say though, that none of my mistakes have been irrecoverable, and I have learnt very important lessons from them, that have served to forge my current opinions.

      In regards to men, you might be surprised to learn, that my close male friends are very similar to me. I have to admit though, that I am now the only single one left.

      I would never purport to claim that men are perfect, but neither are women! If you imagine that only men throw caution to the wind and engage their visceral desires, I have shocking news for you. My anecdotal evidence suggests that many women in staid relationships are also prepared to succumb to temptation, when presented with a man that they find attractive.

      Do you remember that mentioned that I am on occasion actively pursued by women without choices. Well guess what, it is almost exclusively by married women and women in steady relationships! This is very often in front of their partners! I do not consequently, subscribe to the notion that women are always logical. I would suggest that they ultimately have the same weaknesses as men, but are far more adept at concealing infidelity. I recently read Stella Rimmington’s autobiography, and concluded that it is by no coincidence that women apparently make excellent spies!

      My experience of girlfriends is at total variance to yours in that, if I had stayed with them, I would be dead by now! Nevertheless, I am mature enough to approach every woman that I find attractive with an open mind and without emotional ‘baggage’. How many women can claim that?

  • toyman says:

    My friend Snap

    You underestimate women, I consider them the smarter sex, you wonder why they do not reply, it’s because we are talking, so they have begun to listen.

    You English men read too much, do not take that in a wrong way, I was also born here, but I lived most of my 49 years abroad; but I live here now so I put my ears to the ground to learn the English way and came across this site.

    So far I cannot see myself with an English woman, I have been spoilt by the South Americans, and it’s hard to change at my age. You seem kinda chuffed that women hit on you, it’s only because they see profit; they always look for a life boat, for they do not intend to go down with the Titanic.

    From the way you write you seem quite educated and so tend to look at everything in a logical way and so will see nothing. Try to think like an animal and you will begin to understand women, they do what is necessary to survive.

    A fat balding man who is impotent will get a woman once he has money, but the same does not go for women. Men like I said before think with their dicks, Women use their brain.

    I love women and I need them to keep me healthy; but I never underestimate them. I instead accept that they are just wired to think this way by God, who was most likely a woman.

    Men like big dicks, big cars and big biceps, women like big wallets, big ambitions and big silly doting hearts, with the puppy dog eyes, you know the one, it means she has got you baby!

  • Michael Australia says:

    Does anyone consider that although we are hard wired for human companionship (and in another sense perhaps with animals for company) that maybe it really isn’t so bad being single in this life? I just feel this blog attracts desperation and despair. Remember, those that are young and are being chased will, likely, end up in the same situations as the current middle aged and older people – scrapheap. But scrapheaps are crowded and good for the pickings! I just think too much power is given to a miniority who hold sexual power because of looks and age; cold comfort, but they will be where a lot of us are one day. Karma LOL

  • Michael Australia says:

    PS Your blog is awesome

  • toyman says:

    OK OK !

    I confess Michael………………….

    Australia is the first thing thats on my mind when I see a woman I like!

    Going down under………………

  • butterfly fish says:

    I’m offering up my story as a counter, because my personal experience is so different, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    I’m newly single – 47 mother, a tad overweight, often taken to be 35, reasonably attractive (former model), highly educated with a terminal degree, many flaws, but I have fun anyway! I am a bit flabbergasted by the attention I’ve been getting, because I expected a desert and I find I’m in an ocean full of food webs. I get asked out several times a week as I’m going about my business… I’m not sure what I’m doing, but surely it can’t just be my friendly attitude?

    Now, dating doesn’t translate to long term relationships, but I get asked out at the gym, on the hiking trail, at airports, while at museums, at conferences, and the like. And these men range in age from 28 to 60. I have two children (one on his own) and have put together a successful career of some small fame in my field – most of the men who pursue me don’t know of this success.

  • toyman says:


    Who knows what can happen tomorrow…………….

    I got myself a date…………………

    Took me two months and two days after landing in London………..

    • Mack says:

      Good for you dude. 🙂
      I wish you well in your endeavours.

      Good guys are hard to come by. Something i’m sure your date will appreciate.

      Just keep me on the loop of how it unravels.

  • toyman says:

    Mack, Mack, Mack!

    You sound like a Gentleman…………….bad, really bad!

    I am not a good guy, far from, I am classified as dangerous………….

    However, thanks for the encouragement, your intentions were noble……

    As for the date, went well, she is nice; but is a smoker, or at least was and that translates to bad taste where I come from.

    • kidrock says:


      Colour me curious, but is that dangerous in an exciting, adrenaline fuelled, spontaneous, hold on to your hat way or as many women will say dangerous in a creepy, stalkerish, sociopathic way?

      I ask since I find many women get off on dysfunction.

    • Mack says:


      When you mention being classified as dangerous, how do you mean?

  • toyman says:

    I must say sorry here!

    Mack just touched a nerve…………………

    So called bad guys do love……………………..

    Carlos the Jackal was caught visiting his girl friend in France after all those years on the run………………….

    People find me clean cut and polite, the authorities label me high risk and dangerous……………..

    Women do not get off on dysfunction Kidrock; but they do like a bit of mystery in a mate…………………

    I personally hide my profile; but it does attract young girls, a headache I can do without…………………..

  • toyman says:

    Lets not get distracted……………………………Mack!

    The Plankton has problems, not me……………………

    Well I mean, not anymore…………………….

    I admit London was a challenge for me; but it took two months and two days and I got a date……………………

    I was also disadvantaged not belonging to the system, I had to learn the trains the roads get DP NI open account, according to the Bank manager never having had credit is as bad as bad credit, not to mention Londoners are a really friendly bunch ; but if an idiot like me can do it, anyone can………………..

  • toyman says:


    I got an email and read part of your reply; but when I came to the Blog I cannot see your comment………………….

    No suprise because you wrote from your heart..This is BS………..

    I logged on to learn about the British women, instead I learnt about the inner workings of the mind of a Plankton………….

    Mack……..I can only speak for myself when I say…………………………..

    I think I will not be eating any Plankton any time soon……

    Hey!!! What yuh say Mack………..Lets go look for some Shrimps!

    I am out of here…………

    • Mack says:

      Amen to the shrimp dude.

      For the record, there was certainly no malice in the comments i made (which were censored). I was merely questioning the integrity of some of the things the author of this blog was addressing.

      Whilst i sympathise with most of the things written on here i find the harrowing levels of cynicism expressed by the author of this blog quite a tragedy especially since she appears to be a skilled writer.

      Maybe your cynicism is the real obstacle in the way to achieving your goal of finding a man?

      Certainly something to ponder over.

  • toyman says:

    You are being a gentleman again………………………..

    The woman complains men don’t see her and so opens a Blog on the subject which is then visited by men that she then ignores……….

    I took a dig at them all, especially Lydia, no reply…….I knock any man, they bounce back with banter or slander which ever I deserve……….

    Mack always say it like you see it without fear……………..

    All the men will soon leave this Blog and the Plankton can then boast that men ignore her in the real world and online also……………

    Hey…..that will be a first, she could then write a book on that fact, which I hope no men read!

    • mack says:


      We shall reap what we sow and karma is a b1tch.

      When it comes to dating/relationships, women do the choosing and men do the offering – these are the basic fundamentals. It certainly goes without saying that choosers (those with options) are the ones who seize the power. This is hard wired into the fabric of our DNA and I’m afraid it is unlikely to change anytime soon.

      If a woman really wants a man, let’s say a run of the mill average guy in all departments, she can go out any given day and snag one (most of the time with minimal effort). Provided she comes across as an outgoing and social individual, i am quite confident she won’t be short on offers. Now flipping this over and approaching the same scenario from the perspective of a guy, things are suddenly not so rosy. For a guy to even match a similar dynamic, he must almost always require an equaliser (wealth, status, fame, incredibly good looks etc). Sadly for the average guy, these tools are seldom at his disposal and as such his opportunities are vastly limited. He will literally have to make do with what he can; besides, beggars can’t be choosers.

      Online dating provides the best example for the aforementioned. Sign up as an average joe and wait eagerly as a couple of messages (if that) crawl their way into your inbox. Sign up as an average jill and you’ll have a difficult time just reading the messages that flood your inbox let alone do anything else.

      This is the simple reason why I have more sympathy for a guy who asserts he can’t find a woman as opposed to a woman who claims she can’t find a man.

      Adios amigo.

    • Kidrock says:

      Maybe you haven’t worked it out yet but this blog is essentially a ‘woman’s’ forum. Its a place where they can come and vent their frustrations vocally (at the expense of men).

      Any men appearing on here and offering their thoughts/advice is merely white noise to them. For all its worth, we may as well be ‘invisible’. Therein lies the poetic undertone. Lol.

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