The Ripeness of Pears

September 16, 2011 § 30 Comments

Yesterday I touched on the business of timing.

One of Eddie Izzard’s best jokes was about the ripeness of pears.  He observed – and I paraphrase – how the very optimum between rock hardness and total woolliness was invariably at about 3.06 in the morning.

So it is with available men such as the one about whom I wrote yesterday.  One minute they are far too raw about their bereavement or divorce to be able seriously to consider any relationship let alone a serious one, the next they are in a serious one with someone who, with crashing inevitability, isn’t me.  It’s that minuscule window of ripeness between the two which is as difficult to catch as a nit in the hair of Struwwelpeter .  Since becoming a plankton, as lack of luck would have it (and not for the lack of trying), I have never been at the right place at the right (millisecond of) time.

Short of staying up all night every night and stalking, how the hell do other women do it?

§ 30 Responses to The Ripeness of Pears

  • Lydia says:

    They do it by a numbers game. If you aer in touch with say 20 men (or even 10 or 5 main ones or whatever) then the chances are at one point you will both be in the rights space. Or you bide your time with one you like who isn’t in the right place.

    The person I recently ceased things with wasn’t very actively looking and found me, although he wasn’t quite ready. Being with me made him ready. I then decided it wouldn’t work but that’s a separate issue and unrelated to his initial lack of readiness

    Just keep at it and see a lot. It’s like the lottery. The more tickets you buy the more likely you will win (not that getting married is winning, being single for life is a huge wonderful prize if you can see it as such). Conversely if you stay at home and never go out and see no men the chances of finding one are tiny.

    • MissM says:

      I have difficulty finding one eligible man let alone having 20, 10 and… what… now I have so many I can even describe some as the “main” ones! In my dreams!

      I think I see a business opportunity for you Lydia, as a professional matchmaker. Since there are so many single men where you are and there are so many plankton elsewhere with no men, I can see a beneficial arrangement where plankton travel to your location for a holiday, then you arrange a meeting with some of the many eligible men that you are in touch with.

      Since you sound like you have a busy life already I suspect you would rather not do this, but someone should, someone who knows a lot of eligible males, I suspect there is one hell of a market out there.

      • Lydia says:

        I’ve met some really lovely men. Perhaps I should instead have collated them on to a database. However if people are too choosy then they would reject everyone on some ground or other. Perhaps it is just a different in mental attitude. Most have been on-line by the way because of the nature of my work and life that is easiest for me. I’m meeting one tonight even although I doubt that will work. Even so I go forth because you never know. I am an eternal optimist.

        It may partly be location – I’m not in the Scottish islands or a Welsh hill farm, I’m in outer London but there again I don’t limit myself too much by geography. One mostly lives a long way away but even so we could make it work.

        I think it’s all inside the head of plankton not about what is out there.

        Without doubt there are tons of single men. I will pause and look on a site…..two emails back from two men both sent ab out 4 today but I’ve been working so not replied to their last, no idea if they are suitable or not but they are both single and don’t look too bad.

        There certainly is a huge market out there in i matchmaking, there always has been from the Jewish to the Indian matchmakers. People can make some pretty poor choices themselves. Software or your aunt may well make a better choice than yourself.

        In the light of my experience (and I’m nothing special, divorced, children late 40s so hardly someone’s 20 something blonde) I just don’t see the no single men around at all thing.

      • MissM says:

        Unfortunately I do live in the Australian equivalent of the Scottish Islands or a Welsh hill farm. I guess I just have to wait until circumstances will allow me to move. Maybe I will be so old I wont care by then.

      • Erin says:

        Lydia is right – it’s a numbers game. The more you meet, the better your chances. The only places I could find large numbers of single men wanting a relationship were the online dating sites. And if you are timid about jumping into it or leary about it, you can get on there and look for free – at least on Match. I sat with a glass or 2 of Chardonnay and browsed men on there for 3 hours before I joined. You can go into their profiles and read about them, you just can’t contact them if you don’t join. And the monthly fee was quite reasonable. There are lots of plankton men on there and most of them are looking for women in their own age range. If you see a guy in his 50s or 60s who specifies he is looking for women 18 – 25, well, you know that is not going to be someone you are going to waste your time with anyway : )

  • Sarah says:

    It’s luck, Plankton. One day you get lucky, that’s all there is to it, provided you are actively looking, that is.

    Some people will say that you can get lucky once you stop trying, but that, as we know, is like expecting snow to fall in hell. It might happen but the chances get slimmer with each rung of increasing °C.

    I got lucky. I was on the same dating site at the same time as the man who was looking for me. He found me on the day he joined. I’d been there for 3 months. Luck.

    • The Plankton says:

      Sarah, you are very wise. Thank you. Px

    • Erin says:

      Spot on, Sarah – you HAVE to put the time into it and be persistent, do not get discouraged, and get to the point where you can get in your car after a lousy date and laugh your ass off all the way home. Because maybe when you get there, there will be an email waiting for you in your inbox from someone really fabulous!

      And I lawled at the second paragraph – how many times did I hear that from friends, co-workers?! What a farce! If you quit trying, you might as well go out and get 100 cats because no one is going to magically appear at your door. You make your own destiny. You can do it!

  • mrs trefusis says:

    i agree, it’s all about kissing frogs – one must have a coffee (rather than a proper date) with anyone and everyone and one of them will eventually turn out to be a prince. It’s a bit tiring though. One of the plus sides is that one isn’t remotely emotionally invested in any of them as ‘prospects’, so one’s much less disapponted

  • For what its worth, my belief is that this other woman was probably more pushy and tenacious than you. Sometimes men like this guy are rather passive about new relationships and then attach themselves to someone who keeps making arrangements to see them until they get used to her being around.

  • joules says:

    Dear Plankton and associated marine life,

    Something of interest which does not involve online dating sites – the Natural History Museum is having a what they are describing as “Ultimate Attraction Masterclass, an After Hours event” on the 30th of September. Perhaps we should all sign up. Need to catch up on my Plankton blog reading as have been away doing non-marine research. Missed it.

    • EmGee says:

      I checked that out on the nhm website, and the event looks like a lot of fun, wish I didn’t live half a world away, I’d go!

    • Bambi says:

      Joules – just googled this – sounds like great fun. Any of you nearby should go for the laugh and maybe pass on the hot tips to the rest of us! I’d nearly fly over myself (bless Ryanair), if I didn’t already have a commitment (Believe it or not, dinner with a MALE friend (Suitor?). Now, then, where’s my perfume…..).

    • AJ says:

      Well spotted Joules, I’ve just signed up, it sounds like fun

    • leftatforty says:

      I am going! Thanks Joules

  • june says:

    yes so true all this, but unilke one on here think geography does matter, i do restrict myself to city i live in, i dont want long distance relationship or someone who lives in sticks. i lived there myself for long enough, now ive got to city, having worked here for long time, but for various reasons couldnt live here, ive no desire to return to village life,, . ive seen city friends of mine try to make relationship work with small town men with small town minds, because they dont want to become a plankton , it doesent work it really dosent.

    im still texting plenty fish bloke, but no meeting arranged, so im not sure what to think,is he interested or not, should i just give up, but am loathe to do so ,he was younger, easy going, liked the city and said would be happy to fit i with my life , sounds just what i wanted, and that aint going to happen very often..

  • t lover says:

    Is the Blogger a woman? Without doubt.

    One: she has that marvellous female capacity to natter incessantly about nothing. Witness any group of women on a night out. All talking fifteen to the dozen sometimes at the same time.

    Two: Mr Murdoch’s Times would not hire a bloke to masquerade as a woman in print would they?

    A conundrum. No-one in my Parents’ circle divorced. My Mother was a widow at 49, my Father’s Mother was a widow for 42 years. Neither thought for a single second that they must have another man, neither met another man with “that” in mind.

    Wind the clock forward 30 or 40 years. Half the adult population is divorced-separated-single and half of those seem to use dating agencies in one form or another.

    What has changed?

    Entertained to see that a contributor has suggested a business opportunity for Lydia, as a professional matchmaker. Only a woman could believe that someone whose mind works in this way:

    “If you aer in touch with say 20 men (or even 10 or 5 main ones or whatever) then the chances are at one point you will both be in the rights space. Or you bide your time with one you like who isn’t in the right place.

    The person I recently ceased things with wasn’t very actively looking and found me, although he wasn’t quite ready. Being with me made him ready. I then decided it wouldn’t work but that’s a separate issue and unrelated to his initial lack of readiness”

    is rational still less capable of putting men with women. Any bloke with half a brain would be over the horizon.

    I have a business suggestion for Lydia. Harness her to the National Grid in a spot as far away from the male population ……

  • Lydia says:

    I prefer someone near by, but I don’t rule someone out who doesn’t. My last boyfriend doesn’t live near. Last night’s -could smell the bad breath right across the table, needs to lose 3 stone, has so many of the mannerisms and lack of attraction of Gordon Brown, very keen, bit perhaps always happy, lacking depths, nothing impressive enough but would make someone a good stable husband. Any takers? Nice, kind, quite clever, been reasonably successful.

    See there’s a real life single man out there.

    • Joules says:

      At your continual insistence of the joys of online dating sites I have looked at one today. Was fine, there seemed to be some interesting guys on there and then I got the little pop up window that said one of them was looking at the small bit of profile I had put on the site so that I could go on to the site – well I just shut the whole thing down. Not sure I am ready for this – and after 3 and a half years since my partner left I probably should be and would date someone if set up by friends etc. But there is something vaguely sinister about those websites and I cannot shake that feeling.
      Might try again in a few days.

    • T Lover says:

      Darling, what can I say? I long for woman who has twenty bokes in tow, it must be the thrill of the chase.

      Anyway, I would not fit: breath like zoo keeper’s boots, the world’s fattest man. Thick as two short planks. Need I go on?

    • MissBates says:

      So . . . “Lacking in depth,” fat, bad breath, and apparently aggressively unattractive, if the Gordon Brown reference is anything to go by. Sigh.

  • Bambi says:

    Um, t lover….I’m not a bloke, but I have to admit, I would be over the horizon too….and laughed aloud at the National Grid suggestion…

    I have been following Lydia’s posts for weeks now…and, to be honest, I have been restraining myself. Why? Because it is very easy to be a nasty, smart-arse about other people’s replies – especially under the cover of anonymity. We are all just saying what we think/believe/feel here. So now, on that basis, I would like to spit it out.


    Phew! There, I have said it…..Shocking, I know…. because Lydia is so definite about everything – facts, figures, stats, personal experience etc etc, all back up her opinions. Of course they do – it is the same for all of us; but we are all individuals so…for example…on the online dating question…

    I tried it a few years ago (on the recommendation of a male friend, who, incidentally, was meeting a different woman every other night via these sites (????)). I have to admit, I never treated it too seriously. I put up a profile (on my friend’s insistence) and left it there for over 6 months before I became “active” on the site … I went for it when I was ready…. Had some great laughs with (and, to my shame, at) people, had lots of contacts and went so far as to meet 3 different men (over a period of about a year) – with a few very amusing anecdotes to recount as a result. Then I got bored and realised: 1. I wasn’t really looking for a man. 2. This was not my “milieu”, if I did want to meet a man 3. It was not fair to the men I was meeting (each of the three I met wanted to meet again – I didn’t, as it happened, partly due to 1, partly for other reasons). So, would I recommend online dating? I would say “try it – if and when YOU want to, if you are in the right frame of mind and if you are comfortable with it”. I would also suggest that one wouldn’t approach it with unrealistic expectations – just enjoy the possibilities – and if they become probabilities/actualities, then, hey, that’s great. (And people DO meet online…sometimes….). So…Joules….if you aren’t comfortable with it (referring to your comment here)…then follow YOUR gut instinct – not mine, nor Lydia’s! Overall, I personally prefer to meet friends of friends or people with whom I might have a better chance of having some sort of shared history and, therefore, am unlikely to bother with online dating sites again.

    Online dating is not necessarily the only topic on which I disagree with Lydia (it is just an example). Where I disagree more fundamentally is this: I don’t look on men as a “commodity”, which, it seems to me, Lydia does….”numbers game”, “lottery” etc… That makes me cringe…it’s like finding a man is a business….not for me it ain’t. Someone on this blog mentioned that they were having a very full and pleasant weekend in mixed/ male company at different interesting events, without any of the people concerned necessarily being a “prospect”… (I’m sorry that I cannot be sure who or when it was)…well, I am very much from that school…which is somewhere in between Plankton (a little preoccupied with “prospects”, none of whom sound like they are really going to match up) and Lydia (soooo resolutely content with being single but, at the same time, meeting 100,000s of men (from anywhere, halitosis for free!) online (all of whom seem to be besotted!)). I would prefer to meet 3 interesting men a year (preferably with good oral hygiene) in less….contrived….situations than to effectively “interview” 100s. To my mind, that is drudgery….

    I’m sure a lot of bloggers here disagree with my point of view also – and that’s fine too….We are all different.

    • EmGee says:

      Online dating is not my milieu either, Bambi. A friend of mine does it, mainly she says, to meet a variety of men so she doesn’t fixate on just one. The party I was at Saturday was in the courtyard of her art studio, and I was sitting close to a table and the back of an old travel trailer where she has, over time, arranged about 2 dozen cast heads, all male.

      A few people began to joke that they were the heads of her ex boyfriends, so I have to wonder how the online thing is working out for her… It was playful jocularity, but if she knew, I think she’d be mortified.

      I am probably the one you were thinking of who prefers mixed company and affable situations. I will be going to an open mic tonight which I attend fairly frequently, hosted by a friend. It would be nice if the gent who showed me extra attention saturday night is there (and is attentive again!), but if not, I will still be among friends and have a great time. There is an embarrassment of talented people here for such a small community.

      • Bambi says:

        Yes, EmGee, it was you. Your description resonated with me because your situation and attitude seemed so akin to my own. Can you say (or have you said already?) whereabouts you live? (No prob if you prefer not – just sounds like an interesting place, that’s all!)

        I think the gent would do well to pay you special attention but, if he isn’t there (or is not attentive again), then enjoy your evening anyway!

    • T Lover says:

      I am sorry if my comments were too acid, too personal but is very difficult to hold back when you read the sort of stuff you find personally abhorrent put out as normal behaviour.

      I have had many a lonely night trawling through these dreadful sites. Many a time my sensitivities have washed up and down the beach like an Atlantic breaker. If you think of yourself as a straightforward bloke who just wants to meet a nice woman these are not the places for you.

      My two “successes” (defined as having actually met the girl) included one star. We keep in touch. I am 99% certain she has not been out with another bloke in the subsequent year, she liked the thought of a relationship but not the reality. Waste of time, object of the exercise wise.

      The other, very bright in a top draw job, liked a drop – some understatement – and our friendship ended when she shared this secret: she had been to a swingers club. Christ, I nearly died.

      Now armour plated and totally cynical I can have a good giggle but what about those sensitive, damaged thin skinned souls who retreat further into depression with every knock and disappointment?

      For them, Lydia, it must be horrendous. To find out you are one of tens a woman has on the go at once must be horrid. And how many women like that are there in the ether? Dead easy to do: a few tight/low cut tops featuring in the pictures. Couple it to the veiled suggestion that you like a “fun” time. Bingo, here comes the stampede.

  • EmGee says:


    I live in the Joshua Tree, CA area, and it has an embarrassment of riches these days when it comes to the amount of artists and musicians who live here. The population is relatively sparse compared to LA (2 1/2 hours drive west) or Palms Springs (40 minutes drive south); we count heads in the tens of thousands as opposed to millions. It’s pretty cool to show up at an open mic once in awhile and see Eric Burdon, Clive Wright or Victoria Williams there, but there are so many talented people, it doesn’t matter whether they are well known or not.

    My ex played with Robert Plant at one few years ago, true story!

    • Bambi says:

      Ooooooh, EmGee, how kool is that! You don’t need a man what with such a buzz going on! 🙂

      • EmGee says:

        Well, it is still a crap shoot, but as I have so often, I go for the social aspect. Last night was a bit of a dud music-wise, but my harpist friend and her SO were there as well as a couple others. The one I was hoping to see has gone abroad for a little while. comme ci, comme ça.

  • EmGee says:

    “have said so often” I meant to say.

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