Smidgen Briefly Steps Down from the Horizon

September 14, 2011 § 44 Comments

I know I stated a few days ago that I had felt it was wise to give up any thoughts of Smidgen, but the day before yesterday he emailed me again.  It was a practical email but suggested at the end that we should get together for the drink we had mentioned.  I wrote back genuinely without any hidden agenda.  I had successfully flicked the “off” button inside me so the reply wasn’t fraught with machination but instead was straight-forward.  I answered the practicality and said sure to the drink sometime. When I first met him he became a friend; then, because he was under my nose, I decided to spin him into a twinkle; now he has been demoted back to friend (although demoted is the wrong word; a friend is more often than not one of the highest forms of life).

Since Monday’s email, of course, nothing.

I am not bothered by this because my investment in Smidgen in terms of twinkly, romantic head-space has been dramatically and effectively reduced.

I mention it purely because, from an anthropological point of view, I find it interesting.

In any event, it is time to move on but, wherefore?  The autumn was holding such promise but the diary is rather bleakly blank, except that this afternoon I have to go to pick up a dress from the dry cleaner’s for a friend, and on Tuesday morning I have to take my car in to be serviced.  So it is things are not looking supremely promising but for some reason I am feeling remarkably cheerful.  Sucks therefore to the (alliteration comes to mind here, but I am all for restraint), er, commentator who said among many, many monster raving looney things, that I am a whinger.  That’s the whole point of this blog, you fool, so all planktons can do precisely that, whinge to our hearts’ content if we want to, bemoan but also hail our lot; tell it like it is, the good and the bad.  To swap experiences, thoughts, observation, realities, hope and advice, and to agree and to console and to disagree.

That’s what I do.  That’s why I am here.  I want to put this in the nicest possible way (and, boy, can I think of a few less than nicest possible ways): take it or leave it.

§ 44 Responses to Smidgen Briefly Steps Down from the Horizon

  • Redbookish says:

    Ignore the whingers. Some of us know EXACTLY where you’re coming from. You write truth. I could go on, but it only depresses me …

  • MissBates says:

    Dear Plankton: That is EXACTLY why I frequent this place of yours. I am sick of my issues being brushed aside with platitudes, and I need somewhere to vent. I also shuddered at the tenor of the comments left on your column on the Times website; so mean-spirited! Why do we [uncoupled middle-aged females, that is] inspire so much hostility? As society’s “leftovers,” I guess we are just expected to fade away and remain decently out of sight with our cats and our knitting. F**k that. (And for the record, I hate cats & can’t knit.)

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you so much yet again, Miss Bates. You know what? I haven’t read the Times comments because I knew I’d find them too depressingly vitriolic. I have just been reading about trolling on the BBC website and why people do it. No one really has an answer but they must be people even more desperately sad than the most desperately sad plankton alive. Let’s stick together and pity them. Best wishes, Plankton

    • Sarah says:

      MissBates, I asked a (male) friend on Facebook if he knew of any available men our age in NYC and his response was “She is doomed. She should move to Alaska”. This from someone in a totally different professional area to you (I thought widening the net might throw up something).

      Have you ever thought of moving…?

      • MissBates says:

        Hi Sarah: LOLOL! Well, I feel a bit vindicated by this fellow’s reaction, if only to substantiate my point that there are, indeed, no available age-appropriate men here in the Big Apple. I haven’t seriously considered moving because I’m afraid my career is not very transportable; I have spent 25 years building up a successful practice, with referral sources, etc. all bound to NY. I have significant responsibilities to partners, employees, and so forth. Also: I am very involved in the arts scene here in the city, and I’d kill myself if I lived in Alaska. (No offense, Alaskans, but seriously . . . ) Nonetheless, thanks for thinking of me.

    • Lydia says:

      It is quite common from across Africa to the UK in the 1600s – middle aged woman as witch, burned at the stake. It may be because we are confident and have power and so are feared… although for some reason I don’t seem to share the experience of other women my age on here.

    • AJ says:

      hear hear !! ditto,ditto, ditto

  • MissM says:

    I agree with Redbookish, I love that you tell it how it is. I can’t relate at all to people like who gush about the joys of being single, getting to meet all the lovely men, etc. I wish I could relate to that, but it is simply not my world. This blog resonates with me. I love it because it tells the good, the bad and the ugly sides of reality. If commenting with honesty is now considered to be whinging, then I say let there be lots of whinging. Keep it coming Plankton until your detractors run away with their hands over their ears.

  • mrs trefusis says:

    I completely agree – what is a blog for other than to say exactly what one wants and what one feels – it’s a necessarily solipsistic activity and anyone who complains about what one writes should simply bugger off and read something else.After all, there’s no cover price or because one’s obliged to deliver page impressions to an advertiser, so one doesn’t have the obligation to write to amuse a paying audience. Go for it. Vent at will. I started blogging as an alternative to therapy and it’s been one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.

    And good luck with your journey – may you find Mr Right, or even Mr All Right for Now.

  • DAN says:

    I think i’m probably speaking for a lot of people here when i say we will all take it plankton !

    As i’ve said countless times before, a problem shared is a problem halved .

    So fuck the begrudgers, and you continue doing what you do best, and continue to shoot from the hip, and tell it as you see it.

    We will all be waiting in anticipation for your next post and you may never know, someday somebody may even turn your blog into a screen play or film !

    Stranger things have happened ?


  • @ Ms. Plankton- You actually seem to be ignoring a lot of seemingly sensible advice from some of the people who write in to your blogpage-

    -For example, a few weeks ago I’d suggested to you that you might want to think about attending some of the alumni events of either the college or the university that you attended- Unless those institutions hold particularly painful memories for you and you want to avoid them, you stand a reasonable chance at meeting some men at those…

    -I’d also suggested that you might want to consider attending a booksigning event at a bookstore or at a library- These are not usually thought of as traditional pick- up venues, the way that bars are, but you seem to be very knowledgeable about literature, and believe it or not, only some of the guys who wait on those lengthy lines at those events are married…

    -Other readers of your blogpage seem to have some very good ideas, too…

    • Nina says:

      you’re still wittering on????

      • The whole bloody point of [brilliant] blogs pages such as this one is that anyone can say what you bloody well want, how you want to! If someone doesn’t like it, don’t read it!

    • Lydia says:

      Well i’ve made a lot of positive suggestions too but some people are glass half empty and some glass half full. Some love to lie within a slough of despond and if the coloumn turned from plankton to Superwoman it’s point would be gone.. laughing as I type.

      Adding to the list above, try internet dating – there are so many lovely men.

      Although probably all of us think we have a lot of offer men can’t read minds so somehow or other you need to get their attention either at events suggested above, particularly things where there are a lot of men( a lot of men who want a woman just do male things where there are no women around- if you are the only woman amongst 100 men I can guarantee you’ll get much more attention than in say a choir with 8 women to every man etc so you need to pick your venues carefully). or in more traditional ways (cleavage etc)

    • Bambi says:

      Scott, to my mind these suggestions are in the same catgory as “Go On A Course, Why Don’t You” (c/f 20th July blog). Maybe, just maybe, Plankton feels the same….

      Sure, we can all say anything we like here. And if people don’t like the general tone of the blog, then they can/should avoid it (like those who think Plankton is whinging). As for not reading individual replies…well, sometimes it’s just too late – one has read them before one knows if one likes them or not….!

      I’m with Nina on this one, sorry. I think once is probably enough to make a suggestion to someone of Plankton’s intelligence (in fact, once is probably enough to make a suggestion to anyone….) and if there is no response to a suggestion, There May Be A Reason For That – and I wouldn’t start stomping my feet and throwing my toys out of the pram….

      • MissM says:

        Oh I love that reply Bambi, if you had a blog with writing like that I’d be reading it too.

        I am considering Lydia’s suggestion of going to things where there are a lot of men and few women. I can really only think of sporting everts, or maybe monster truck rallies if you are in the US. Maybe monster truck rallies count as sport, I have no idea. What do men do en masse that does not require that they behave like a bunch of neanderthals while they attend it?

        Trouble with man-centric events is that there is usually a reason why there are only a few women, being that a large group of testosterone filled drunks making asses of themselves is not a fun or maybe even safe place for a woman on her own to be. Sure you’d get some attention, but not the sort that you’d really want.

        But hey I live in Australia, maybe men in the UK behave better amongst themselves than they do here.

      • Lydia says:

        There are many more men centred events than that. The lady who writes the Moneypenny column in the weekend FT shoots. She says she is often the only woman there who is actually shooting.

        I was in the City today. I was heavily outnumbered, probably 100 to 1 b y men, men in good suits too mmmmm although I was working and I don’t mix work and play. Hang around in areas where there are lots of men. One reason rich businessmen often marry air hostessess or their secretary is because they work hard and don’t meet many people except those on flights and the like. I think Abramovich’s first wife was an air stewardess on a flight on a flight he was on. I don’t do all this myself as I’m very happy and I meet men anyway but I think it can work.

        It also pays to say you’re single. I remember working into something that I was divorced, the other chap was too and we went out for a bit. If I hadn’t made my status clear he’d have never seized the day. Nice arms, i remember, rolled up to the elbow….

    • @ Miss M- I think that I speak on behalf of most American men when I say “[grunt, grunt] Yah, monster 4 x 4 make jump from speed ramp! [grunt, grunt] Monster 4 x 4 crush pile of shells of wrecked cars from the 1970’s!! [grunt, grunt, snort] Yah, stale beer and hot dogs good… must scratch myself now…”

  • Empress says:

    Well said, afterall this is your blog, the one place where you can say exactly what you want. If the “commentators” don’t like it, it’s quite simple there’s no need for them to visit or comment.

    They can find another place more in keeping with their particulat mindset.

    In short dear Plankton, ingore the trolls and keep posting.

  • Bambi says:

    The begrudgers just don’t get it. Continue to ignore them. Please!

  • june says:

    Im with everyone else plankton here, we all hear this crap about the joys of single life, blah blah and we cant moan to our friends too much as we wouldnt have any left.

    I had a girls night out last sat for my friends birthday,we had a great night but my friend had a a row with partner and stepkids, this is common with her but she did enjoy herself.Things are still not right but she will paper over cracks as she always does, well she doesent want to be a plankton and who would blame her , and on saturday night we all, friends,kids partners, etc,all going out for meal for her birthday, i have no partner or kids but ive been invited, but to be honest do i really want to go, she will be putting on a act that everything in garden is lovely, when it plainly isnt, and this gets on my nerves , and i had hoped foolishly perhaps that the man from plenty fish migh have been my partner,but of course in spite of me suggesting place to meet as he said, no contact,ive emailed twice,had replies, not suggesting a time for meeting but saying we must, but im not bloody doing it again. If i dont go on this meal it will simply be a saturday night in again,so ill go, i suppose as a sad plankton i should think myself lucky to get asked!

    As for why we uncoupled middle aged females are so unpopular, well i think its because people think we on our own as we are too choosey and that bugs them, after all middle aged women being choosey. what next, we should be desperate for anything male, , ive been told it enough times,yep i know im the wrong side of 55 but i am choosey, i find men of my age far too old for me,they look old, and they act old, i look in reasonable shape and dont act old, my friends are younger, so why cant a partner be. i see no problem with it, sometimes i think has the bloke from plenty fish who was younger,had second thoughts or mentioned it to someone and they said o shes too old for you, because initally he did seem keen and remarked on how young i looked from my pic, ah well ill probably never know, i will go sat, i can always get p……

    • John says:

      Sorry to divert from the P blog for a minute – June, the Fish site has more crap in it than David Walliams’ Thames. You and other planktons need to spread your nets – there are decent guys out there of all ages.

  • EmGee says:

    How funny. When one whines and moans repeatedly, and goes on and on bout the same subject, people say, “Get a Blog!” So you do and people come here and wonder why you whine so much and don’t talk about anything else besides your Planktonhood. 😀

    As for Smidge, I see 2 things going on:
    1) You say you are feeling good today, even though you don’t have any immediate prospects. What you do have, however is the promise of a drink in your pocket. Like the dime in your shoe when a phone call was 10¢, it’s a life preserver you can cash in at any time, which leads me to:
    2) I too have a dime in my pocket, a facebook friend who gave me his number and wants to get together for drinks sometime and ‘talk cameras’ (<—this is not a metaphor). He said, "Depending on the day, I'm most often free so just give me a call and we test our spontaneity…." People who know him in real life say he is a very nice person. to get to know.

    Speaking from this angle, since Smidgen mentioned drinks some time, it sounds like he's left it up to you to set the time and place, which is very gracious. Of course there is the possibility he will stand you up, but personally I would apppoint a place where I feel comfortable regardless, and bring a book or something, in case he were late or didn't show, just so I won't be sitting there feeling evermore self-conscious.

    • Lydia says:

      YOu’ve got to pin them down. If I want someone and he suggests meeting then I would immediately reply great, what about 7pm at XYZ hotel bar on ABC date etc. It’s like being a salemen – no use getting almost to the sale and walking away. It’s a fun game if you make it so but only if you win.

  • Nina says:

    the whole bloody point of your [brilliant] blog is that you can say what you bloody well want, how you want to! If someone doesn’t like it, don’t read it!

  • Sarah says:

    Smidgen’s been Friend-Zoned! Every lustful man’s nightmare (so they say). I wonder if he realises… in fact, does he even know he’s a smidgen?

  • leftatforty says:

    Society has never seen anything like us in history.

    We are a new breed. Lots of single women. Educated, gorgeous, ‘yummy mummy’, economically solvent women who are not ‘flossies’ and know what they want, we wouldn’t settle for less than what our criteria dictates.

    We are everywhere, alone in a coffee shop, bookstores or buying single packed pre-made dinner at M&S. Getting our own flowers, purchasing our own jewellery.

    Multiplying plankton.

    And there are no men for us. They just simply do not exist yet.

    • Lydia says:

      This is the nub of it and I don’t agree. There are as many single men as women.

      What I do think is an issue for some women is they seem to want perfection which of course means most of them get no one. Men their age would settle for good lookig younger women who want a meal ticket. Women in the men’s position often aren’t prepared to make that trade off but it’s certainly one solution to the issue. Think how much the children would like a 30 year old as a play mate and how good he’d look on your arm. Seems to be doing Sam Taylor Wood a lot of good.

      There have been lots of periods with single women around after WWI and WWI in particular.

      • leftatforty says:

        Lydia; I think that that is exactly the point. What is wrong with wanting perfection? Isn’t that better than settling for less? In any case, really, it is not perfection what we want, it is just decency. Someone that doesn’t reply to messages, or says this and does that, is not worth it.

        We should not look for someone, we should just sit on our chair and be ‘looked for’. That man would be worth it.

        It is true that after the wars there were lots of single women, but, at least in my country, these women will dress in black and stayed at home.

        You always right about ‘those lovely men’ that you meet, but honestly with how many would you spend the rest of your life with?

    • “We are a new breed. Lots of single women. Educated, gorgeous, ‘yummy mummy’, economically solvent women who are not ‘flossies’ and know what they want, we wouldn’t settle for less than what our criteria dictates. We are everywhere, alone in a coffee shop, bookstores or buying single packed pre-made dinner at M&S. Getting our own flowers, purchasing our own jewellery…”

      Sounds like witchcraft to me….

  • Jo says:

    Hey.I agree with leftatforty.I’m no different to you all.
    I wonder what ‘other monster raving loony things'(!!!) I’m supposed to have said,when I mentioned whinging.
    I simply posted a comment and believed we can disagree if we choose.(Your words.).
    Apparently not.Just labelled a loony.With added vitriol.

  • Sarah says:

    For what it’s worth (not a lot probably), I saw a report on the tele last night saying that 35% of French farmers are single because they don’t have time to date. Of the under 35 age group it’s 50%.

    So ladies, if you are really really really desperate and have a smidgen of French, and don’t mind living on a farm, having no holidays and working weekends, there’s a whole rack of men just waiting for you to remove them from the shelf.

    How do English farmers fare?

    • Lydia says:

      I’ve a friend who we thought would never marry (from school ). She bought a place in France and ended up living with a local estate agent there. She must have been nearly 40.

  • Caro says:

    Dear Plankton,

    I agree with the others. Please just carry on as you are and ignore the naysayers. You have given an eloquent voice, and with your Times column even a public profile, to all of us other Plankton swimming out there.

    I can’t tell you what a joy it is to read your posts and everyone’s comments. It is like slipping off a pair of nice looking but uncomfy shoes and putting on slippers – it is the reality behind the “face” we often have to put on to the outside world. To know that you are not the only one feeling and experiencing this, is a relief beyond words.

    So keep going. We, your fellow Planktons love you!

  • Oddly enough Ms. Plankon, your piece in The Times last week was juxtaposed directly next to an article about Katie Price (and I don’t know if The Times editors did this on purpose or not)-
    It occured to me that she too is capable of saying the magic words which you claim will frighten away any man alive today, about being a divorcee and a single mom raising a child on her own… And yet she does not seem to have any difficult meeting men these days-

    NO, I’m not suggesting that you hire a surgeon to stuff yourself full of silicon, appear on the third page of The Sun, giggle a lot and act like you’re not too swift… However, she herself has acknowledged (in The Times a few months ago) that alone is not enough- She makes it a point to attend events where she knows that a lot of men are going to be present, otherwise, she too could be writing a blog page about being lonely…

    • Lydia says:

      Well I’ve said it on these pages.. the solution is often in the window dressing. Christina Hendricks is not short of male admirers this week. All you need is a good bra.

      • Christina Hendricks is not a divorcee, she is not a single mom, raising a child on her own, and there was not an article in The Times last week about her posted directly next to The Plankton’s article- Hence, the relevance in the comparison…

    • AMJ says:

      Maybe she IS…

  • DAN says:

    PLAnkton, if you had any doubt before as to the influence your blog has on any of us other planktons that are reading your blog, put them now to bed.

    The responces from all have been positive to say the least!

    So you keep going girl (or as per preivious post BOY/dont know ?) !

    We all love you, whatever about longshot, smidgeon etc…..


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