Sighting of Smidgen

September 10, 2011 § 20 Comments

I saw and spoke to Smidgen yesterday, in a foyer; other people about.  He was friendly and to all intents and purposes we had a merry chat, but I detected just beneath the surface of the conversation an amoeba of awkwardness.  I think.  And the doubts set in.  I thought, what am I doing, exactly, spinning about a man who may or may not be interested, really, it’s hard to tell, and in all honesty I am erring on the side of thinking he’s not, and I wonder now, even, if I am?  There was that invitation to stay in the summer, which was promising, then curious silence, and not much back-up since.  A fellow plankton told me yesterday to give up all ideas of any man who doesn’t show evident interest otherwise one is just on a hiding to nowhere.  She’s right.

The reason, I believe, that a plankton derives so much thought and hope from so little, and can so readily fool herself into conjuring up significance from the entirely insignificant, is precisely because there is almost nothing.  No men.  My original premise indeed.  And her urgent longing for that not to be the case.   I went to a party last night of, what, perhaps 150 people.  Lovely party.  Nice people.  Delicious things to eat.  Lively, friendly atmosphere.  Not one available man, not that I was aware of anyway, and I knew most of the people there.  I had an agreeable enough time, I guess, if that doesn’t sound spoilt, but it is a little disappointing.  I hesitate to whinge, but you get out there, you make the effort and, still, nothing.  I saw a friend there who said our mutual friend the ball-breaker, who was dumped last week, was feeling really low and taking it hard.  He had got her where it really hurt and she is very upset.  Presumably feeling humiliated into the bargain.  Having been a bitch a few days back about her, I am now full of remorse and empathy.  She may have misjudged things, allowed hope to run away with her, but there are reasons.  There was a plankton context and I so get it.

Thus today I feel oddly flat.  A friend who is very different from me but in the same boat has been burnt; can so easily see how that can happen.  There but for the grace of God – so far – go I.  A big party given by warm and generous and hospitable married people reaps little but a few light chats to other married people and a dark drive home alone.  Again.  Smidgen is receding.  Longer Shot remains an absurdity despite yesterday’s email.  Not a single other twinkle let alone a real prospect.

I am rarely down, and not even really down now, just a bit blue.  But I am seeing a couple of my oldest best friends this evening.  I have a very exciting day tomorrow, nothing to do with smidgens or shots or any kind of man at all, but a little triumph for one of my children.  I have a week ahead of me of work that I have been gagging to do and can seriously tackle now the school term has started; and a happy night out planned next Friday.  I am a few pounds down as opposed to up on the scales, which is always somewhat pleasing, even if it shouldn’t matter any more at my age especially when I wasn’t ever really fat in the first place.

The cup doesn’t exactly overfloweth, but in the face of a certain Nothingness re men, I am still just about managing to rachet up blessings that are entirely unrelated.

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§ 20 Responses to Sighting of Smidgen

  • I often have to count my blessings as have been plankton for what feels like aeons. Lovely friends and great kids always help. x

  • the.baker says:

    I can understand your frustration at being at a party of 150 people and thinking “there’s no one suitable” because it’s happened to me and I guess many other single blokes (whether they contribute to this forum or not).

    Both sexes wail “there’s no men/women” but it isn’t and cannot be the case, can it?

    I’m impressed with Lydia’s(from this blog) upbeat approach to the dating scene. Does her success lead to her positivity or is it the other way round? Who knows -but I’m having some of that attitude!

    • Lydia says:

      I do think it’s just a different mental attitude thing. Or may be I wa sjstu born an optimist. It may also just be due to balance of chemicals in yhour head/seratonin levels which determine how we feel. If people would concentrate on those and living a life and eating foods which enhance those they would probably find most of life’s issues resolve as it’s how we feel about them not the issues themselves which affect things.

      I should start my own happiness group or cult perhaps….. sometimes people do pay me for life coaching although it’s not what I do.

      What is amusing is that I (same age, same life stage as plankton but see myself as some kind of superior life form) am just as unsuccessful in a sense as plankton but it does not seem to bother me one iota. Perhaps it’s because she lost a marriage she loved and I freed myself from an awful long marriage which I nated. Nothing for me can ever be so bad and for her there will be a huge sense of longing for what has been lost. I can’t remember but did plankton end her marriage or her husband and is it that which affects how people feel post divorce?

  • june says:

    Yes plankton i am thinking on same lines here.

    The man from plenty fish, last week suggested us meeting,gave me his mobile number and asked me to suggest a place i felt comfortable with to meet. I suggested a tapas resturant in city i know, gave him my mobile number, silence , so sent a text asking was he ok, how is the conversion on his sons house going, thats been taking up lots of his time, and mentioned i was going out in city tonight for my friends birthday. I get text back saying things going ok, hes been busy with the house, hope i have a great evening tonight, sorry we havent met, but hopes we will ,and 3 kisses. Well its hardly my fault we havent met is it, whats with the kisses. What the hell is one supposed to think., Texted back saying good things worth waiting for!

    So like you i will try and feel good regarding things not connected with men, night out with good female friends tonight, they all have partners but heyho, lunch with my social group tomorrow, no men i fancy , meeting other friends monday for lunch, saturday next, meal for said friends birthday,this with her partner,his kids, other friends, partners and kids, me with neither but at least they invite me, but a little bit of me thinks if only i could bring someone too, but spose there are some planktons with no friends or invitations, think positive as they say.

  • Lydia says:

    You don’t want to be pursuying the ones who arent interested, but I wouldn’t try to read things into his body language. He was probably just thinking about his dinner and no trying to indicate lack of interest.

    Can ‘t you just be explicit? I would often email someone and say I am very keen to meet or I don’t think we are likely to gel. Just say exactly what you mean.

    You need to put less store into a very few men and play a bigger numbers game. Meet a lot more of them. Meet even ones who may not immediately seem suitable. In today’s Times in the sex column the columnist writes that when she met a man at a drinks party whom she quite fancied he said he had been in the army and now was in the City so that put her right off (she married him). Had she seen that on line she would have just immediately have dismissed him. So just get out there and aim to meet one new man a week or something modest like that. if I’m not busy with work/chldren I would often do that. It makes you dress up and feel good. It is fun. People are fascinating. Mopstly I don’t find them attractiev but it’s still been a nice evening as I choose carefully and virtualyl always they want to pursue things with me which I suppose does my ego good.

    I don’t equate personal happiness with being married (in fact given my unhappy marriage, perhaps in contrast to the plankton’s marriage). might make me think quite the converse therefore I think you can be very happy and single. I just don’t subscribe to the view that being married means happy and being single is failure. We aren’t called a “batchelor gay” for nothing. It can be a very fun life.

  • Erin says:

    Ladies, these wishy washy men are not worth your time. They dangle the carrot in front of your face and then jerk it away, giving hope, taking away hope – no wonder you feel blue. Please put these guys on the back burner and move on. A man commented on this blog that they have your number; if they want to see you they will call, simple as that. Having spent the better part of 2 decades as a plankton (am including the vast wasteland of the 30s, all married with school age children), I remember the hours and hours spend with girlfriends (married, of course) with our glass (or 3) of wine, ruminating and analyzing what my recent date had said, what it could have possibly meant, picking the tiniest bit of hope from it, obsessing over it, wasting time on someone who had obviously moved on weeks ago while I spent another Saturday night or Valentine’s day alone, hurt, confused, wondering what the hell was wrong with me; my married friends’ husbands saying “How can you still be single”, yet I couldn’t get a relationship out of the box and down the track. Sound familiar to anyone?

    A friend of mine who is 55 and a plankton posted on her Facebook account that there was a guy at work that didn’t know she was alive, that she had been admiring from afar for months. Can’t remember if I posted here about her or not. She was trying to figure out how to ask him out without embarrassing herself. We urged her to just go up and ask him – you’re 55 for pete’s sake – what have you got to lose? She finally got hold of his email address, emailed him and received a very polite reply back that he had just gotten engaged. Of course she was disappointed but all those months wasted thinking about this person!

    Plankton, have you told us if you are on any online dating sites? If you are not, you might want to try them. At the very least, pour yourself a nice glass of wine and trawl through the profiles to see if anyone sparks your interest. Yes, you hear the horror stories of bad dates, married men, etc but there are many many success stories and lots of male planktons who are looking for the same thing you are. And yes, sometimes the chemistry is not there but your date turns out to be a lovely person to have as a friend, who might click with one of your plankton friends, or you his. But, you’ve got to put in the time and effort, and it does require a lot of effort and a thick skin. You can’t be crushed by a rejection, you have to just realize that person wasn’t for you and keep moving forward. And DO NOT waste your time with people making promises to call, dangling the carrot – these people are flawed and you don’t want that. If the person is interested, they will call you in a timely manner and make a date, time and place. And please, unless you really want to go, avoid those parties where you know everyone will be married. Been there, done that and driving home from those I always thought of that song by the Smiths, How Soon is Now –

    There’s a club, if you’d like to go
    You could meet someone who really loves you
    So you go, and you stand on your own
    And you leave on your own
    And you go home
    And you cry
    And you want to die

    – the awkward questions, the married husbands and their comments of I can’t believe you are still single, the pitying looks, the angry wives telling you how lucky you are to be single (!) – don’t put yourself throught that. Sorry to be so verbose in my posts here but I am finally out of the forest and can see the trees, have the hindsight, made all the mistakes over and over again in my plankton years, cried a million tears, felt miserable about myself when they wouldn’t follow up, even though we had had a great time – just wish someone could have gotten through to me about the whole “he’s just not that into you” because as cliche as it is, it is very true. Is there a happily ever after? No, that is a cruel fairy tale that is drummed into our minds as a little girl and subsequently (I think) skews our expectation of reality in later life. But….there is happiness, contentedness, peace and love to be had and if you put in the effort to find it, you will. Good luck all. I am your kindred spirit : )

    • AJ says:

      Erin, I wish I knew you personally, your words of wisdom are indeed a comfort. I really wish for the peace and contentment you so obviously have found.

      Unfortunately for me, my heart is still attached to someone who it seems doesn’t feel the same. I would love to “get him out of my head” but it’s not happening (you thought I would have learnt a few lessons after my divorce 4 years ago). Because of this, I trawl through the online dating sites but with half a heart, as I know the person I’m looking for isn’t there
      x

  • EmGee says:

    I am not seeing a vast land devoid of available men, but perhaps because I am seeing men first as fellow travelers, then perhaps friends, then as potential mates? I had a lovely time last night going to an art opening, visiting with a legendary journalist, and then spent a few hours wandering around Bhaktifest (love the atmosphere, but cannot embrace the -ism of New Ageism), all in the company of an attached man, who, btw, is still smitten with me, but we both understand that his mate is a much better match for him.

    Yes, I would love to fall in love again, or have my last boyfriend decide he can manage being both in a relationship, and pursue his dreams after all. I don’t enjoy only the company of my girlfriends as most who post seem to, but my male friends as well. Today I am helping a (male) friend put the finishing touches on a CD cover, then there’s another gallery opening tonight where I’ll be ‘going stag’ (as ‘going doe’ makes no sense). My big dream is that someday my art may pay off as well financially as it does socially. 🙂

    I’ve been in Lydia’s shoes: happy to be out of an unhappy marriage, happy to be single, and in the Plankton’s shoes: been in a relationship that felt good, and would like that again. So I hope to have it good again some day, but I won’t pine away in the meanwhile, just be a bit blue sometimes, as Plankie says. Makes the rest all the sweeter.

  • MissBates says:

    A commenter above suggests that we “aim to meet one new man a week or something modest like that.” LOLOL! That’s not modest; that would, in fact, be miraculous. Despite working in a male-dominated profession; despite being slender and (so I’m told) quite pretty; despite living in a major city; despite making a conscious effort not to give off the whiff of desperation; despite being financially successful; despite maintaining an active social life: I haven’t met ONE available man in years. Literally — years. Note that I’m not saying attractive or interesting or funny or successful; I’m just talking AVAILABLE and age-appropriate. I define the latter as being within ten years or so of my own age, but unfortunately the only men who evince the slightest flicker of interest are 15-20 years older than I am, and I have zero sexual interest in them. Men my own age are an unobtainable fantasy. I have officially Given Up Hope. Bleak? Maybe, but it’s best to face facts.

    • The Plankton says:

      Hear! Hear! Miss Bates, a woman after my own heart! Thank you! Best wishes, Plankton

      • MissBates says:

        Thanks Plankton — I love this blog and your weekly column in the Times. Finally, someone speaking honestly and bluntly about middle-aged single women. It’s tough to read sometimes, but oh so accurate. We have a voice!!

      • The Plankton says:

        Once again, thank you Miss Bates, for Getting It so completely. I have a WHOLE lot more to say on this subject and it’s lovely to know some people out there agree with absolutely every word. All the best, Plankton Ps. FASCINATED to hear what you have to say about the divorced men who come your way in your professional capacity. So true, so true.

    • Sarah says:

      You must meet the ‘soon to be available’ ones, in your job. Or do they all go relationship hopping as soon as their divorce is final (or before), or have someone waiting in the wings?

      Does the NYTimes have a dating section?

      • MissBates says:

        Hi Sarah — I do indeed, meet “soon to be available” ones in my job as a divorce lawyer. As such, I know ALL ABOUT their extra-marital dalliances, their cruelties, petty and otherwise, to their ex-wife and children, etc. etc. Oh, and by the way, it’s professionally unethical to become involved with a client, current or former. Not an option, even were it more tempting.
        Not, the Times does not have a dating section, but of course there are plenty of online & other options — all of which have been dismal failures. Again, and at the risk of being a broken record: only men significantly older than I are interested.

      • MissBates says:

        Oops — and I meant to mention in my response to Sarah that yes, they almost always have a girlfriend already. (Thus the divorce, if you get my drift…..) ;-/

    • Lydia says:

      This is the rub. The narrowing of your requirements such that you think none are suitable.

      Go on line as suggested above if you want to find available men. Do a search in your age range -there are literally hundreds of them out there. Think “outside the box” even, email some who don’t live that near. My last boyfriend wasn’t mostly in London but we had a good time. He’s still a friend. He wasn’t within your 10 year sensible age range but I don’t regret him. The person I’m meeting this week I am pretty sure isn’t right but I’m still getting out there (and of course I’ll offer to pay for dinner and be happy to do so)

      I don’t know the age of Miss Bates but surely there are always single men around. I suspect single men in their 30s might be the rarest but once they are over 40 and divorced with children they often want a woman over 40 divorced with chidlren as they don’t want someone who wants more babies so then there are more availlable men again and also those ni their 50s too. It’s all out there and all to play for.

      Given that I am in the same position as everyone else except I seem to find people to meet and am an optimist it is amazing our different views. That’s the fascinating bit.

  • MissBates says:

    Hi Lydia: Um . . . What “narrowing” of requirements? The whole point of my comment is that even withOUT imposing impossible requirements (handsome, intelligent, funny, successful) that there are not, in fact, any men out there. I am fifty years old. After various forays into online dating as well as pursuing the “old-fashioned” method of just getting out there and enjoying myself at social events, they only men who are (slightly) interested in me are 65+. Sorry. In truth, *I* am too old for *them.* LOL! Men that age can still get someone in her late 30s/40s who is willing to put aside the “yuk” factor and go out with someone that much older because they need the financial stability. I, thank God, am not one of those women.

    • Lydia says:

      I can’t believe it and it goes to the heart of this blog. I am virtually your age. I could go out with a different single man in his 40s or 50s every week or possibly day who is single. I don’t believe they can all just be pretending they might be interested in relationships rather than just sex. Two men I know and were very keen, but I wasn’t keen enough, remarried. Both married women over 40.

      I could certainly agree that it isn’t easy whether you are male or female to find someone you want to live with and marry but I don’t agree that men who are about our age want much younger women all the time. Yes some do (as do some women) but not all at all. I suppose I only get the ones who want someone reasonably bright, perhaps as they often say they want someone who has had a family and they don’t want someone whose interests are very different and is much younger.

      I stopped seeing someone relatively recently who is 2 or 3 years older than I am. I don’t think he had any problem with our small age gap. He was very keen. I don’t think just because you’re late 40s or early 50s age is any bar to finding a man whatsoever.

  • Sarah says:

    NYC and London appear to be an available-man-free zones so the only solution is… to come to France!

    (just kidding…) 🙂

    I do know where you’re at – been there myself, but down here in the south of France there ARE available men and that does make it easier to find someone, I agree!

  • EmGee says:

    Ah MissBates, now that your profession is revealed, it is understandable that you may have a rather jaundiced view of available males. Could it also be your social circle is the sort that is more rife with older men seeking trophy ‘babes’, and gold diggers seeking financial stability, than others?

    I am beginning to believe Lydia and I are living in a parallel universe where it is only a matter of deciding on the right guy among many available, all between 40 and 60.

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