Poignant Lessons

September 7, 2011 § 15 Comments

I heard an awful thing yesterday about my ball-breaking plankton friend with new boyfriend (cf. Shedding Myself in a Very Poor Light and Smug or Shit).

Unsolicited, a good friend of the “boyfriend” gave me his side of the story.

My ball-breaking friend has been spamming him with texts etc. and treats him like a boyfriend but he has not had sexual relations with that woman. He is not interested in her and is giving her a wide berth.

I am sure this is just idle gossip and that I should not be peddling it, but there must be a grain of truth in it and I am feeling contrite.  My sisterly sympathies are firmly with the ball-breaker because I know what it’s like to be a plankton and we all deal with it in different ways.  We are vulnerable and sometimes we get it wrong.  She may be a ball-breaker on the outside but she is alone and frightened too, I am sure, despite her protestations to the contrary.  Hey, I am also sure I am getting it wrong with Smidgen (pushing and hoping and wishing and not being cool and at the same time thinking he’s a giraffe not a lion and wondering if I even fancy him there again he’s on my doorstep and there’s no one else except in my daft head and giraffes are as good as lions; all these conflicting things and more), and I am without doubt being ridiculous and making a complete arse of myself over Long Shot (whom I haven’t even MET for Christ’s sake).  And I haven’t forgotten Caitlin Moran’s fine words in her book (quoted in one of my earlier blogs; I forget which) about women being able to spin out of their relations with potential men an awful lot out of nothing.  Call my spinnings and the ball-breaker’s spinnings – indeed any planktons’ spinnings – fear; call it desperation, call it hope; call it the strange cocktail of all of these things: planktons can sometimes work in peculiar ways, and we must be forgiven because anyone can be in our position any time and empathy should tell Anyone that they would most probably behave in the same way, too.

So having been a bitch about my friend, I am now feeling for her.  She is hounding him and he is scarpering.

Poignant lessons to be learnt.


§ 15 Responses to Poignant Lessons

  • John says:

    The last thing a guy over 40 and single needs is a ball-breaker. Life is too short.
    As for you Miss P I fear that you are being lured by a tasty piece of bait but the Smidgen fisherman just likes to play rather than to catch and later release. I bet he also reads these threads of yours! You deserve better.

  • Rory from Dublin says:

    I have been following your blog for some weeks now and it seems to me that you are making being Plankton a whole occupation-shame you can’t earn a living from it. I am not surprised that Plankton are struggling to find suitable men when you are all so preoccupied with landing a suitable man. My conclusion as we reach our late forties and into out 50s we have become so neurotic that no one is good enough for us and we are not good enough for anyone else. There is always some fault to find in a potential partner on some level and equally they find fault in us too. No one wins. We remain alone and 6 months later we wish we had given Plankton or Smidgen a sporting chance rather than stay alone. .

  • plumgrape says:

    That’s lovely, Plankton. Well done.
    “There is many a slip between cup and lip”.
    Plankton are men too.
    I think it is important to be friendly and nice without being overbearing or demonstrably some shadow of something you would like to be but not the real thing. Real works. Shams, drink etc do not work. Be real.
    Enjoy Chris Coco’s Butterfly heart in you tube. It says it all.Good luck

  • EmGee says:

    Suddenly I don’t feel so alone, I spin too….

  • Bambi says:

    That’s scary – I had exactly the same thought as John (re Smidgen)…but, being female, thought it might appear bitchy or unhelpful to say it…Plus, there are parts of Plankton I don’t take too seriously (sorry, Plankton – still enjoy the blog enormously; it is well written, clever and it does raise some interesting issues, thank you!).

    Re your friend…how sad…. I know a few people (men and women) who behave thus – imagining that a look, text or phonecall “means something”…. or making something out of nothing á la Caitlin Moran…. Better to assume a man has zero interest – at worst he may become a good friend; at best, one may get a nice surprise!

  • Erin says:

    Dear Plankton, try not to think of Smidgeon or Long Shot as The One, just try to relax – (I know, easier said than done, but I was a Plankton for many years and have the benefit of hindsight here to look back at my behaviour and how I felt like if I didn’t find a man NOW, I would end up a spinster with 100 cats) – enjoy your time on your dates, stand back and look at these men as objectively as you can, and weed out the ones that seem like game players or not interested in long term relationships, etc and just keep moving along as new opportunities arise. Mr. Plankton is looking for you, you are looking for him, the planets will align, and things will work out.

    I have a Plankton friend who is on a dating site and says she has been on 101 bad dates this year. How does that happen? I’ll tell you how. She is still looking for the same guy with the full head of hair and washboard stomach and bad boy attitude that she was looking for 20 years ago. Nice men come in all kinds of packages. I’m not saying you are like my friend but at our age, thinking outside your normal box is a good thing.

    Also, please put Long Shot way on the back burner. You might subconsciously be missing some good chances by focusing so much thought and hope on him. Your mantras – relax, take things as they come, don’t panic thinking about the future, enjoy your dates, be objective, think outside the box, be yourself, remind yourself that when the time is right, it will happen. And it will. I am living proof and believe me, I am no trophy wife.

  • Margaux says:

    You heard your friend is going out with this guy then you hear she isn’t – maybe she hasn’t said as much herself at all and it’s all other people’s speculative gossip?
    Unless the ballbreaker has lost her marbles, it seems to me that the ‘good friend’ is reporting their perception of things.
    Why would any one who professes to love being single make out someone was their bf ? unless the recipient of her alleged spam texts is encouraging it in some way by allowing her to think something is going on?

    I wonder what the real story is – not just the stories you have heard from friends?

  • Josephine says:

    Hi Erin Just loved your comments, I am not surprised you found your other half, you have a brilliant attitude, very realistic, at our age there is a tendancy to panic, have planton friends both male & female with a list, that they could’nt fulfil in their 20th, not alone in there late 40th, better be alone & happy, possibilities are endless, not stuck in an unhappy relationship for the sake of it, Stay happy

  • Lydia says:

    Just relax. You make it sound so important. Perhaps the answer is to do a lot more work (earning work) and more hobbies and more time with children etc so there is less time to think about this. It reads a bit like someone who is about 14 with nothing else to do in their life. I left for a work thing at 5.45 today and got home to children etc at 7.45. I haven’t had a second to think about or worry about men or boyfriends apart from the odd text to an ex boyfriend today.

    The spinning out of nothing is how it reads. Don’t read anything into anything. Men are relatively straightforward if someone wants you they want you. There are loads out there and if one isn’t too bothered find another.

    What any other woman is doing re dating just don’t concern yourself about. They aren’t you. You’re you. It is the same when people have babies. The luckiest thing that happened to me was having no friends with babies so I did things my way no comparisons, no discussions with other mothers, just got on with it. Do the same with men.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thanks for this, Lydia, but I think it’s important for me to point out that I am doing and thinking about a lot of other stuff too, I promise, but the stuff of this blog- indeed its whole raison d’etre – is the plankton side of life, the spinning, as it were, and so on, so it just seems as if it is my whole existence when it is in fact that I am choosing not to write about the other stuff (which I leave to others – work, family life, spiritual life, academic life, music, literature, art, whatever). But I do take your point all the same. Best wishes, Plankton

    • Bambi says:

      It’s the spinning that makes this blog. Who wants to hear about the work, children, housework, hobbies…. Presumably all that is happening in tandem with the subject-matter here…Plankton is just isolating it for the benefit of followers…. I assume….

  • fi says:

    Love love love lydia!!!

  • CR says:


    In a sense, I believe I understand your plight. Being a man born into late 20th century society, I was raised to believe that if I were nice, polite, accommodating, giving and gentle I’d have no trouble finding a woman. Needless to say, that was an utter lie. Finally, by my early 30’s, I fully realized the fallacious nature of all that had been inculcated in me. I changed my ways and life has vastly improved. My words, like yours, are tremendously gauche these days – if not outright offensive. But the Truth is of paramount importance to both of us, no doubt. I was, I’d be willing to bet (and I’m not a betting man), the type of fellow you’d have overlooked in your youth – I was good looking, had a great job and was charismatic – but I had no “edge”. No “bad boy” streak. No animalistic passion (it had been metaphorically beaten out of me by my mother and other women in authority). However, women I had known in the past, now in a situation akin to your own, flock to me lately. I’ve never been married, I have no children and retain many of the qualities I’d had in younger days so I suppose their standards have changed (lowered?) as their list of options grows thin. Of course, I politely and civilly rebuff them. I was not attractive to them then; they are not attractive to me now. Fair is fair.
    My point in writing you is this: I do, indeed, have compassion for you. You find yourself, at the present time, in my situation of previous decades. I believe we both have suffered unduly from the lies and misinformation that have been fed us. And we both warn others of our respective pitfalls.
    In closing, I truly do hold you in high esteem for the value you place on Truth and your uncompromising presentation of it. I wish you the best.

  • Margaux says:

    Interesting post from CR – Philip Larkin’s wonderful poem “They f*%k you up” springs to mind.
    My mother raised me to believe that I would never ‘get a man’ if I couldn’t cook,clean or iron. Needless to say, I looked at her life (waiting on my father hand and foot) and concluded if that was what it took- then any ‘man getting ‘ was not worth the effort.
    But everyone’s truths are different – that was my mother’s truth as she saw it. I don’t blame her for that.
    Unsurprisingly, I’ve never married or had ( or wanted) children either – I remain an undomestic goddess…

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