Go On A Course Why Don’t You?

July 20, 2011 § 17 Comments

If one more person tells me to go on a fucking course.

“That’s how my mother’s friend whose husband left her for his teenage secretary met a very nice man.  She did a pottery course in Guildford,” they say. (And what sort of man, I feel bound to speculate?)

You name it, I have been told to go on them.

Pottery; poetry; photography.  I hate blinking pottery – oh, the chill clay up to your elbows and the wheel of tedium.  The notion of amateur poetry or watercolouring in some chilly church hall makes me want to… well, I would rather, as the Arab insult goes, have the fleas of a thousand camels infest my armpits.

I have a friend who was single for twenty years, lived alone in Shepherd’s Bush with her cat, then met the love of her life on a yoga retreat.  Transformed her life, he did.  They now live in a glorious loft apartment in New York and do yoga together and both love the cat, together.  Fairy story.  Trouble is, I have never got to grips with yoga.

What of an academic course of some sort, people wonder for me?  Improve the mind and meet someone into the bargain.

But it’s not like that, is it?  These courses – as a wise commentator on one of my earlier posts (who has also been told a trillion times to go on a course) so rightly pointed out – are just full of planktons like her and me, going on courses because they’ve been told to go on courses – to find a man. Not a man to be seen.

OK, people say, so think out of the box.  Take up something a lot of men do, like – ping – golf!  (The idea always occurs to them in a blinding flash as if they are the very first to think of it and are so very inspired).  Do I look like someone who has golf in me or wants a man who has golf in him?  You know, I would rather swallow an entire club in one gulp than take up fucking golf. I may be sticking my neck out here, but golf strikes me as the very naffest of every sodding sport going, with the possible exception of darts, and I loathe all sport with a vengeance. I am not looking for a man with pastel-coloured diamond jumpers and two-tone shoes who wants to be associated with a wanky club all the members of whom regard women as midges except when they (the members) have hard-ons and then they upgrade them (women) to spitoons.

OK, people say, so think of something completely different and/or further from home.

Top of the suggestions of something completely different and/or further from home, for reasons I cannot fathom, ALWAYS seems to be walking in the Himalayas.  What is it with walking in the Himalayas?  Why does everyone come up with this gem?  I hate fucking walking.  I ran a marathon once, so I am not a complete fat jobber, but I am the kind of hateful person who tries to park in the space very nearest to the supermarket doors and who feels a sense of loss if I have to go in the one as much as fourth from the entrance.  (I promise I am properly green in all other respects).  When people suggest a walk round the park, suddenly out of nowhere I have a very serious work deadline, even if it is Sunday and I have just lingered over a huge lunch for all the world with work as far from my mind as goddamn golf.  The thought of flying half way across the world to go on the mother of all walks with a whole load of people in highlighter, crispy clothing who worthily spew their guts up for the privilege and welcome this altitude sickness as some sort of badge to their spirit of adventure – and manage to meet someone like-minded?

Are you out of your fucking mind?


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§ 17 Responses to Go On A Course Why Don’t You?

  • Sarah Hague says:

    I would never go on a course by myself. Hell, I’d never go into a bar (in France) or pub (in UK) by myself, or even go to the cinema by myself. I’d rather stay home, put my feet up and fart about online or watch tele with a drink.

    The only thing I’d do by myself (though I never have) is have a make-over.

  • John says:

    As the male chauvenist would say: My only course is intercourse…….

  • Barry says:

    Music any good? ….I have a friend in Toronto just joined a “Rock Choir” they are on u Tube already . Dozens of men , all shapes and sizes and ages . It’s the latest trend . You may be the next Janis Joplin ?
    You have to find the latest trend and get in there….and I totally agree with you about pottery and golf …lol

  • Notawhale says:

    It’s a mystery to me as well. The Internet seems an inhuman way to meet anyone, doing something you have little interest in (go to salsa classes they say to meet women) seems pointless and when all your friends are couples they are brilliant at sympathy and pity but not so good at networking to find “the one”. Have faith someone will turn up doesn’t have much substance.
    Then there is the one that is no answer – learn to be content with your own company – may be that is code to say stop talking about it?
    So we are in the shit. Hold your breath and fester in silence? It’s a conundrum.

  • stormwind says:

    I keep being told to go to dancing classes. I have nothing against dancing per se – but it’s not really my thing – so I’m hardly like to find my match amongst the single men who go do dancing classes!

    However – the problem remains – how does one get to meet new people (let alone available, suitable partners) unless you go and do something? Taking a short statistical diversion, men and women roughly represent half the population each (OK, I know it’s not exacly, but more or less) – so that’s one man to one woman. Take out the married, securely attached, gay, pompous idiots, plain idiots, bores, scroungers, mad axe murderers etc… and I reckon it’s probably about 1 in 1,000 who may qualify. Now take out all the ones that may be sane, single, solvent and technically suitable – but just not your type, and it’s probably 1 in 5 to 10 thousand. That’s a lot of courses you need to go to to find one!

    I think it’s more like playing the lottery – some people get lucky the first time at a pottery or yoga class – but that’s a very few compared to all the people out there looking.

    I do believe there are sane, single, solvent, suitable men out there who are looking for women with humour, character and substance rather than teenagers with big boobs and little brains. What we need, is a way to find them!

    • Tim says:

      Stormwind, I think you over-estimate men.

      When confronted with big boobs attached to a slim, young woman, our capacity to appreciate “humour, character and substance” (or for that matter to string together a coherent sentence) goes out the window.

  • asjbendall. says:

    I trust you have started putting your Sloppy Joe outfit together to enjoy your weekend! REMEMBER<The important things are always simple– the simple things are always hard. I love the way you express yourself you certainly would have been a challenge to train however I suspect you have many well hidden talents! As all Legionnaires are taught "Never forget your weapons were made by the lowest bidder" Everyone then knew they were responsible for making it the best, I wish I had the chance to recreate your love of life and rekindle your hidden inner being.

  • Wheely says:

    For what it counts I don’t know, but from my own experience I have found that the biggest obstacle for relationships is actually women’s expectations & demands. I have noticed from countless online dating profiles, & have further confirmed that women have a strong desire to ‘trade up market’, as I call it, or want only to get a man who they percieve as a bit above them in some way.
    I’ve been amazed to watch even totally desperate women think up every obstacle to having a relationship with a guy who just hasn’t got some paticular selling point to him. I think the word ‘market’ is very apt for the dating scene, as the way a guy’s value is weighed up is quite interesting to the social observer.
    As for how hard life is for the older women, how about the years of singledom experienced by younger guys who, despite being in their prime with raging hormones & surrounded by sex everywhere you look, including women showing it all off, aren’t looked upon as suitable mates due to their financial position, whilst women are encouraged to concentrate on a career.
    …just trying to add a little balance, & I do also understand how sad it is for many women.

    • plantago says:

      As a female interested in understanding where men might be coming from in matters of dating and relationships, I think I’ve noticed some themes in men’s observations about women and dating. The themes crop up in Wheely’s post but this is not meant to be a comment on Wheely’s post, it just got me thinking about the following points:

      The first is the idea that women are overly judicious in who they pick, the second is men’s concerns about their own finances (how they are perceived by women, how much these finances are at risk from women), and thirdly, the plight of the younger male who was overlooked sexually and as relationship material all those early years.

      I don’t have the answers and the following are just my own observations but I wanted to say:

      Women are judicious in who they pick, that’s normally true and the biological basis for this is well known. But on a higher plane than biology, every woman will have what she values in a potential mate: intelligence and/or humour and/or good conversation and/or sexiness, I don’t know, it could be anything, but they value it and are looking for it. I’m not sure they are looking for someone above themselves as Wheely puts it, but they don’t want valued traits to be lacking. Men either don’t know this or just find it hard to understand because maybe they are not wired to value the exact same things in a mate to the same degree.

      Men do seem to be sensitive in the area of finances. They think they are overlooked if in their own eyes they don’t have enough money and assume that women are judging them in the same way. I can only say that I have never heard one of my female friends say that she wasn’t interested in a man because of his financial situation. It is always always to do with the man’s amiability or level of sexual attractiveness and never about his wealth or lack of it. But for men, their financial status is a highly sensitive area, or so it seems, in everything from sensing whether the woman expects him to pick up the dinner bill, to whether he might be being overlooked for not being wealthy enough, to fear of the loss of financial status from divorce (this last one I can understand – in terms of loss of money but not in terms of status). I do think that money is much more of an issue for men than for women and that they project this onto women. I almost suspect that when a woman asks on a date “so, what do you do?” (the most basic conversational opening gambit in the world), men hear the following distortion: “so, how much do you earn?” The only situation where it matters is when a man is in debt and I suspect that men would have issue with women in debt to the same degree.

      Finally, the young men who were overlooked sexually and in terms of relationships. Well, yes, I agree that that is the case and it’s a great shame. However, they too were probably overlooking someone. It is an illusion to think that the men watched from the sidelines as the young women had their pick. There were plenty of young women on the sidelines, looking on.

  • nicholas scullion says:

    Your angst ridden tirade against relationship forming strategies is funny but bears out the truth that all life adaptations given by others come to nothing. Its not the want of the perfect partner thats killing you its believeing in nothing

  • Audit Monkey says:

    Plankton – this post made me smile.

    As a veteran of Internet Dating, it never ceases to amaze me that the majority of ladies on a particular dating site want to travel to third world countries (er – why?), wish to visit Machu Picchu or a strong desire to climb (even though it looks like a hilly walk) Kilimanjaro.

    Forgive me for being a cultural numpty but going to deepest Peru to stomp around a 15th Inca settlement doesn’t seem quite right and a little too bourgeois. The Inca’s didn’t set up camp so it could become a 20th Century Pervian-Disney-middleclass tourist attraction.

    As for stomping ‘Kili’ as it’s called, I can’t see the attraction of having to have a sh*t behind a bush during the five day journey, sleeping rough and being told it’s fun.

    I suppose it all boils down to expectations. Some ladies seem to have either unreal expectations which humble guys like me can’t live up to or interests which I don’t share. Of course, to add insult to injury, because I have been up Kili or up the Orinoco I will probably be told I haven’t lived…

  • MissBates says:

    Walking in the Himalayas? LOLOL! I’ve been spared that particular suggestion, but it’s only a matter of time.

    Am I being defeatist here? Well, I don’t know about defeatIST, but I sure do feel defeatED. I’m just weary. Too weary, in fact, to attend a freaking class.

  • anniebub says:

    Ok. I agree. There is a lot that is bad about golf. But trust me. That is where the men are. Why? Because they are hiding from the women. THAT IS WHERE THEY ARE, since you are wondering. They are safe there and cannot be got at. For hours. And days. Why do you think Hugh Grant has taken up golf? And is rather good at it. And there are plenty more of them out there. And maybe Hugh Grant is not your picture of male perfection, not mine either, but he is the right sort of age etc.,..and has got lots of money, more than you want. But… it is true. The image of the male golfer is not an attractive one. But the golf course is where a lot of men are. On their own. OK. Let’s move on. Does tennis fall into the same category? Or, for that matter, shooting? How about being a picker-upper for a local shoot. Loads of wealthy-ish chaps on their own shoot. Just a thought. Had another one. Part time job in an up market estate agency. The place to know first who is putting their house on the market because their marriage has fallen through, a partner has died, etc., Sorry, a bit ruthless, but needs must etc. I agree, societies, clubs, dancing classes are all anathema. Still trying to think of where you can put yourself naturally to even clap eyes on a variety of the opposite sex. How about getting in to a band. Small gigs in groovy clubs in West London are quite hip, and that is where men on their own sometimes hang out and are relaxed. Men being relaxed in their environment is quite important. Which gets me back to golf. Not that I have ever set foot on a golf course in my life. The nearest I have got is crazy golf on a wet afternoon in Padstow. Another thought. Skiing resorts. Heaving with sporting heroes. Often there on their own. Not sure what your role would be. Will keep thinking. Am on your side, even it seems am not.

  • Gary says:

    I guess you have to get a job as a cleaner and then pretend to be Brazilian!

  • Just a thought- You could go out for dinner at almost any bar or pub- Those establishments tend to attract single guys- Not all of them are going to be terribly interesting, in fact quite a few of them will probably be notably uninteresting, but a handful of them might be…

    No harm in trying…

  • dan says:


  • Joost says:

    Heh, I heard the whole course schtick before as a man. The whole point is that you want to increase your chances of finding a nice partner by widening your social circle.

    In that respect, taking up some insane hobby you don‘t like or simply to find men immediately disqualifies you as a viable partner. If you‘re stupid enough to do things you don‘t even like just for the sake of a better chance, then there is a very acute risk that you don‘t want me, but simply a male body that can fit in your idea of you being in a relationship. I refuse to be the female variant of a sex object.

    It is, however, a nice enrichment of life to do new things and to meet new people. To that end, I try to find things that I would like and already happen to meet many interesting people. I don‘t really care if they‘re even female, as I‘m having fun with like-minded people.

    The fact that this raises my chances in finding a nice like-minded girl is just a bonus.

    Just to go off on a tangent, this whole do-this or do-that to find a man behaviour is nothing but an attempt to keep up appearances. Simple fixes to fix a problem : You being alone.

    there are no simple fixes. You are alone and probably for a reason. If the dating market sucks, you can complain about it and state that men are flakes, stupid or non-committing, but you cannot control others. Any attempt of actually doing so to get what you want will only lead to a lie that might be perpetuated for a while but will come crashing down when you‘ve grown even older.

    Yes, it was easier when you were younger. And yes, it would be nice if things worked out like that. But the truth of the matter is that so far, it doesn‘t. And all you can do to increase your chances of finding someone nice is being someone that they want to be nice with.

    Not that this post is specifically aimed at the author, but the tales of other plankton women who DO visit these courses scare me. To date without a plan does sound like a recipe for distaster, but to completely know what you want instead of letting things form, as they did in your younger years seems to be the same.

    Sure, I may be a man, and maybe even a sort of enemy at this point, but we all have regrets. Deal with them and move on.

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