Queasy Failure

September 22, 2011 § 39 Comments

A married friend has just called me and told me all about her glamorous and edgy life and then probed and probed me as to whether I had met Longer Shot yet (I haven’t), and I was irritated to fuck.

It’s funny, when some friends ask, you know they are doing so with generosity of spirit, but with others it sometimes feels as if it a subtle way of belittling you.  So it was with this one this morning.  I don’t care if it’s just my projection or perception or whatever the apposite word is, I felt this chemical reaction.  The more she probed, the less I wanted to reveal and the more of a failure I felt.  Her implication: her with her perfect husband; me not even able to MEET a man, let alone be with one.  Squish.  She is more attractive than me.  Check.  She is more successful than me.  Check.  She is leading a much more glamorous and edgy life than me.  Check.  She wants to hear all about my nothingness in order to score her morning hit of warm, fuzzy feeling.  Meanwhile, I am feeling all sharply bitter and twisted and faintly fucking queasy.

Luckily, I had a long chat on the telephone last night to a beloved and very close member of my family.  She has never had a shortage of men interested in her, they queue up in droves, it seems.  She is very attractive not least because her ready laugh is completely irresistible, one of those laughs which makes you double up even if you didn’t hear the joke.  I love that about somebody.  She NEVER makes me feel that I am a paranoid queasy failure.

She has said to me she understands many of my grouses about being a plankton but the one she just can’t get is the public humiliation and sense of failure I feel at being one.  She knows me so well and knows that I love life and am happy and she can’t understand, really, why I give a shit what others think, least of all about the fact that I am – “for the moment”; her words not mine – on my own.

I have been really trying to analyse it and have decided that what it boils down to is extraordinarily simple.  I have said this before and will doubtless say it again: when you – OK, me, I am talking about me here because certain yous like my ball-breaking friend will protest and say they have chosen to be alone and oh, how they ADORE ADORE ADORE it and NEVER want to be with anyone ever again, men are a waste of space, it’s so much better and cooler and more FUN FUN FUN being alone, it’s the BEST – I am on my own, whatever anyone says, and there’s a lot of PC bullshit wrapped around this truth till it practically stifles it to death but the fact remains: BECAUSE NO ONE WANTS ME.

And it is that core of truth which is sometimes so very hard to brush away, and so very hard to take.

Even if the multi-millionaire did send me a text yesterday, saying how much he was looking forward to our date.


§ 39 Responses to Queasy Failure

  • Sarah says:

    I know it probably feels like there’s no end to the state of Planktonhood, but your friend is right, it is “for the moment”. Your luck can change in a matter of minutes, what was an empty slate is suddenly filled with a name.

    You’re like an actress who is ‘resting’. Some ‘rest’ for longer periods than others, but as long as they consider themselves still as actresses, they are ‘resting’, not ‘retired’.

  • Bambi says:

    I disagree. Plenty of men want you. Either you just haven’t met them yet(!), or you have met them but YOU don’t want THEM! Several on this blog have propositioned you already (more will doubtless follow) – okay, okay, I know that isn’t quite what you mean but…..

    And there you go – the mutimillionaire wants you. Well, for now, anyway. Sorry, you know my views on him….!

    Maybe be a bit naughty and talk to a married friend who is envious of YOUR life – it will do your heart good (if not her’s)!

  • Penny says:

    Interesting comments, Plankton. A lot of married women come across as smug, and they honestly dont understand what its like being single, as they have never been single! Maybe they really are just interested in what its like, but then it comes across as being patronising.

    Women who say they want to be single, and are having sooo much fun, and dont need a man?, I think they are trying to convince themselves rather than other people. Hey I might be wrong. I have friends who never talk about being “single”, never mention being alone. Deep down they probably do want to meet someone but dont want to talk about it. Women who talk about having so much fun without men, and go on about how great it is being single, why do they have to go on about it?! I just dont believe them.

    Its not a case of nobody wants you, its a case of you havent met the right person yet. Dont we all believe there is someone out there for everyone? Keep believing, it will happen one day. Glass half full and all that……….

  • anniebub says:

    Dear Plankton, the last two or three posts have been so sad and angry that it has been quite painful to read them. I have been trying to fathom what I can only describe as the grief that underpins all your writing. It may feel too intrusive for you to reveal a little more about your marriage, but I think it would be helpful to those of us who are trying to understand why it is that you are now a plankton, when you have obviously lived such a full and happy life for so many years. Wwe need to know you a little better, like the dear friends that you speak of. So, for example, to know how old you were when you first got married, whether you always had a career or put it on hold while you had your children, how long your marriage lasted, and how it ended. I only ask this because without the full picture it is really quite difficult to know you enough to be able to comment usefully on where to go now, without causing offense or upset. It is just that you come across as such a well rounded, loving, attractive, humorous, generous individual, that it is hard to believe how things could have gone so wrong – you sound like every man’s perfect woman! If you were able to tell that part of the story, I think it would be easier for people to think about how it will be possible to go forward.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you so much for this. Many commentators have asked for more details of my ex-husband, marriage and break-up and I am afraid I have had to resist them all and will continue to do so. While I totally understand the interest and am really grateful for the concern and feel it is wholly reasonable of you all to ask, I hope you will forgive me if I don’t go there for reasons of the watertight respect I have for his privacy and for that of our children. It would be unfair on him and them, unjust and undignified to do so, I feel. I am sorry if you feel this is a huge omission in the blog but I feel very strongly that while it is OK to bear my own soul – I only have myself to answer to – it is absolutely not right to bear theirs. Apologies, but I do hope you understand. Best wishes, P

    • MissM says:

      Are you suggesting nothing can go wrong for well rounded, loving, attractive, humorous, generous individuals? I hope I am wrong here, but I can interpret this as a way of fishing for something that will let you place blame on Plankton for the situation she is in. It tends to be a common unhelpful attitude towards single women of a certain age (aka generic plankton) that there must be something wrong with them or they wouldn’t be single. It does come in handy when anyone doesn’t want to be sympathetic.

      Life isn’t a justice system that faithfully rewards good people/behaviours and punishes bad people/behaviours. If someone is not having as successful a life as someone else, it is not always down to anything as simple as a fault or flaw in their character. Someone as lovely, well rounded, attractive, humorous, generous, and don’t forget intelligent, as our Plankton, can easily end up single merely because that is just how life is.

      I suppose it could turn out that our dear Plankton broke her last husband’s neck after he refused to eat the poisonous mushrooms she had prepared for him, but I think that unlikely.

      • The Plankton says:

        Thank you, Miss M, for this kind missive. Re my reply to an earlier comment today, I cannot talk about my ex-husband, ever, but I will go this far and promise you that I never tried to palm him off with poisonous mushrooms or broke his neck. I loved – love – him very much. Px

      • Bambi says:

        Therein lies our answer, Plankton. You still love your husband. The words that have made me feel most sad of all (for you).

        There is an Irish expression “Aithnion ciaróg ciaróg eile”, meaning literally “one beetle knows another beetle” and figuratively “takes one to know one”. I had this feeling that you still loved your husband. For nigh on 8 years after separation, the love of my husband caused me to reject, sabotage and avoid relationships – occasionally with wonderful, funny, caring men. Sometimes I sold myself short, entering into stupid relationships for the sake of it, because I was trying to rid myself of my love for him (it doesn’t work)! I wish I could say if, when or how this love will end – but it may not happen for a few years, it may happen tomorrow – or, worst case scenario, it may never end; it may happen with a bang, or be a slow, gradual process; its demise cannot be forced or contrived. Until it does, you will not be truly liberated. It’s not that you need to hate him – far from it – you just need to stop loving him….

        My heart is breaking for you. Genuinely.

      • kidrock says:

        He probably left her for a younger model.
        Isn’t that the general rule?

  • John says:

    How different it is for female planktons. I am presently on my own and, despite my very grey hair and advancing years, my married male friends only want to know who has been in my bed and for how long!!! The last thing they want to do is see me all sorted and sitting comfortably just like them. OK so I get more sex than they do but, what the fuck, that is a male plankton privilege.

    • Bambi says:

      Great to get the male version. The men have been very quiet today….

      Would almost make one wish for MalePlanktonhood as against the female variety. Almost.

      I hope, John, that you fill your friend full of lies, just for fun – cos it’s none of their business whom you are bedding, nor the duration of same.

  • Anna says:

    I’m willing to bet my monthly Guardian Soulmates subscription fee that this woman (or perhaps ‘fremeny’ is more accurate?) is jealous of you. You never know what her marriage and life in general might feel like to her behind closed doors, behind the laundry detergent commercial facade. Trust me – I have people like that in my life, and this one you’re describing here reeks of the type of person who needs to belittle and patronise someone else in order to make themselves feel better.

    The other friend you’re describing, doesn’t have that effect and that’s a genuine friend.

    And now that Soulmates finally did dish up a man who seems refreshingly normal and decent and wants commitment (as you are well aware, this is frustratingly rare), I can again tell my friends from my frenemies and I’ll bet you your frenemy will be the one, who, when you meet the right guy, will find fault etc. She’ll do it gently of course, so that it won’t seem like she’s pissing on your bonfire. Just like now.

    Steer clear of her, don’t let her get under your skin. Easier said than done, I know, but you don’t need her.

    Big hug!


  • Josephine says:

    As it has been already been stated I feel so sorry for you & your recent blogs give the impression that you are on a downward spiral, because the way you are telling it is not exactely how it is, its the way you see it in your own head, & you need to move on from that angry & dark place you are in, have you though of therapy to deal with those issues, after all having a man in your life is to add to your happiness, not to be the source of it

  • MissBates says:

    Another brilliant post, Plankton, hitting so close to home that I’m sitting here with a lump in my throat and tears about to spill over.

    Be kind to yourself.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you, my Big Supporter! Px

    • MissM says:

      *hugs Miss Bates and Plankton* Maybe no one wants us just now, but eventually someone might….no….will….someone will. (I am thinking positively.) I guess all we can do is hang in there and wait until then.

      At least we have this marvellous blog to keep us all strong. Thank you P for writing it from the heart as you do, and Miss Bates and others whose contributions I enjoy also.

  • DAN says:

    So plankton, what i think you should do is get off with the fucking millionaire, get him to pay for the nip or tuck, boob job etc…
    Then get him to buy you the very latest expensive outfit ( the works ),
    and then return to your freind and rub her nose in it !

    Oh yeah , nearly forgot, get rid of the fucking millionaire again and continue your blog as a plankton as if you end up marrying the fucker well have no more of your posts to read , and lets face it ,THAT JUST CANT HAPPEN as too many other planktons out there are dependant on you to lift there spirits with one of your comments , or rants like yesterdays . Had me in stitches ! Very good .


  • june says:

    Well again plankton you are funny as usual but i sense how you feel underneath as it strikes a chord with me. i often feel same way. i am alone cause noone wants me. i met the man from plenty fish monday. As i have mentioned before we have chatted online and text, and seemed to get on and i had hopes, but what happened,well we met for a drink, i had glass wine, needed the courage,, we sat outside the tapas bar as wasnt a bad day, we chatted, i asked him questions bout himself, i felt i was leading rhe converation but i made sure didnt talk too much, interestingly his mothers family came from my old village, so we had that in common, but i had this feeling he wasnt interested, end of meeting he pecked me on cheek, no mention of meeting again, and althought no spark, i would have met him again, but have heard nothing. My friend said well what did he actually say at end,i said to be honest i cant really remember, because i was thinking here we go again, another bloody failure,

    Why am i so unattractive to men, i am not beautiful but i wouldnt frighten the horses, i have i am told an extremely good figure for my age, in fact my friends say one of woman at least 30 yrs younger, i am witty, a good conversationlist,intelleigent but no-one seems interested. Someone for everyone, that i doubt, cause i am rapidly coming to conclusion, maybe you and i plankton are the two people there isnt anyone for. Lets hope im wrong.

  • Sarah says:

    Hello there, I have just started reading your blog so don’t know much about you yet and I really hope you don’t think me rude but you sound like I used to sound before I discovered the joy that is Happy Tabs. Anti-depressants. Have you tried them? Seriously, they’re fab.

  • H says:

    Dear Plankton, I think your blog is incredibly thought provoking and wonderfully written. You are a very, very good and highly skilled writer. However, I come to this blog from the other side of the fence – I’m what you’d probably call a ‘smug married’. What you’ve just written does, in fact, make me feel queasy – if I’m anyone in the scenario you describe, I’m your friend on the end of the line. You’ve raised a very interesting question: to what extent can the ‘smug, married, happy, edgy, everything’s-alright-with-me’ brigade have a straightforward, honest to God friendship with someone who is deeply unhappy or, perhaps, depressed? I have a depressed and unhappy friend. She won’t admit to being depressed, or seek help, but she’s sad, sad, sad – and for some very legitimate reasons. I try very hard to keep in touch with her, see her, do things together but, whenever I call, there is this elephant in the room – my happiness/contentment/success v. her misery/sense of failure/unhappiness. She asks me what I’m up to, so I tell her about this and that and I can tell it makes her feel bad about the things she’s lacking or feeling miserable about in her own life. On the one hand, she’s pleased to hear from me and seems to want/need me to call and keep in touch but, on the other hand, our lives could not be more opposite at the moment in terms of the happy/sad stakes. What do I do? Pretend things aren’t good with me? Play down my achievements and the joy I find in life? Stop calling altogether for fear I make her feel even worse about herself? Plod on and hope for the best? We’ve been friends for seven years and it makes me sad to know that all the positives in my life, that I cherish, make someone else I care about feel bad – like your friend makes you feel bad. And what of this friend? Maybe she doesn’t want to make you feel so shitty and maybe, as someone else commented, her life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But what if she’s genuinely trying to be a friend and keep in touch and it’s how you feel about yourself that takes her news and call so badly?

    • Lulu says:

      I really enjoyed your reply – H. I am of the Plankton-ilk and as much as I love my happily-married-with-kids friends, I do also find it very hard when I am feeling as down as I am about life to hear their wonderful family happy news. I love them, I’m happy for them, but – I have to confess – their happiness does make my lack of it more apparent.

      I have to confess also that, in the interests of self-preservation, I have created a bit of a distance between them and me now and contact with them is less frequent than those of my friends who may be in more of a similar situation to myself.

      On many levels, this is just the simple fact of not having much in common anymore. For e.g. a very close friend who I worked with and travelled with ended up getting married, having 3 kids and moving away. I am as yet unmarried, no children, and still having to work in dull office jobs to support myself. The nitty-gritty of our day to day lives is so very different it makes communication more difficult. However, I would hate to lose touch completely and still value my married friends’ presence in my life, even if, like you, they find it hard when constantly presented with my “sadness” -v- their “happiness”.

      Please don’t give up on your friend even if it is hard-going. She does need your support; and don’t ‘downplay’ your happiness, just continue to show you have empathy with her situation. It’s very important when someone is feeling depressed and sad to know they have support and have good friends who will “hang on in there” no matter how challenging it gets.

  • Sloe says:

    I’m interested why men are reading this.

    • jane says:

      Why wouldn’t they? they are a different sex – not a different species y’know! Men..in spite of all the ranting that decalres differently, are human too and they have their worries and weak points and they too need to know it’s not ‘just them’

    • T. Lover. says:

      Because women are driven by hormones and their emotional stupidity is entertaining.

    • DAN says:

      Sloe, in my earlier response to planktons post i was trying to add a bit of humour to the situation and hopefully not alone lift planktons spirits a little ( i hope ), but also any respondants that had been effected by it !

      But your question is a whole different kettle of fish !

      Why indeed would men be reading a blog written by a female plankton,who is highly intelligent, witty, funny to the extreme, and yet compassionatly honest in what she is saying with obviously a huge number of other female planktons responding to it and of which these numbers are growing day by the day ?

      Well for some men it may be for a laugh,others because they are lonely, others might think that they might find a partner in plankton from it, others may just want to try and understand the female psychi, others may have just have stumbled onto it and found it interesting, and then there are others like me who are male planktons , who have been through or are currently in the exact same situations, having the same feelings that some of the female planktons subscribing to this site(including plankton herself of course) have and are going through at the moment but have nowhere to find solace or understanding unless they are in touch with their female side.
      There is no site for males (that i have found anyway) where you can openly talk about your feelings etc…
      It wouldent be seen or be as honest as planktons is, even if there was, unless it was for gays of course, to which i must explain that i have no descriminationary feelings to any person on sexual or ethnic backgrounds.Besides its not seen by alpha males to express there feelings in this manner anyway. Just not manly !

      On planktons site, anything goes.
      Say what you want , how you feel ,and can also interact with other people on the site and have the added bonus of reading one of the most down to earth writers that you will ever come across, displaying all the virtues of honesty and integrity.
      You and your opinions are accepted for what they are and are respected by both genders equally and without mallice.
      The assholes that do venture onto the site soon get bored with there smart comments, and fuckoff somewhere else to annoy somebody else.

      I think it is also good for female planktons to get an insight into how the male plankton thinks and what he has to say, and of course vice versa and in my view is a plus as both sides of a particular spectrum can be disscussed and commented on and in so doing makes the whole experience more openminded, if not helpful to both sexes .

      On a final note i would just like to say that all men are not the same !

      We dont all beat our wives and children !

      We dont all watch football and grandprix racing !

      We dont all spend the food money on betting,affairs and fucking off to the pub.

      we dont all go on websites trying to pick up 30 year olds.

      Some of us are just like every other female plankton, with the same worrys, feelings of anxiety,worthlessness,lonelyness,and afraid of failure !

      Searching for love and understanding, and somebody to live out there lasting days in happiness with a soulmate, freind and lover.

      Give them a chance !
      Even the illiturate one could be that very special one that you seek !

  • EmGee says:

    I support your right to rant and rail at the injustice of it all; this blog would be a bit dull if it was all rainbows and unicorns.

    As with ‘counting your blessings’, I am sure people will tell you you really are ‘wanted’: by family, friends, and even enemies, but there is also a want to be wanted by a certain someone, and it is frustrating not being able to fill that empty space.

    On the other hand (oh here it comes), focusing so much on this want (to be wanted) may make it appear like a bigger deal than it really is (and I’m right there with you, sister, in the want to be wanted dept), and that is compounding your irritation and resentments towards others. After all, you want to make yourself as attractive as possible, and it is hard to pull that off when you are seething inside.

  • Lydia says:

    We were getting to this on other posts. Lydia same age stage etc as plankton feels like some kind of higher life form never mind plankton and is happy. Plankton sometimes doesn’t and I had suggested the answer lay in the fact that I initiated my divorce and nothing could ever be as bad as my marriage and that even now a good few years on I wake up almost everything tyhinking wow this is wonderful he’s not next to me.

    Plankton and none of us will pry and it’s your business, may have not initated or wanted the circumstances of your divorce to arise and thus miss the “happy” marriage.

    Thus the woman scorned feels rejected but the woman who seized power to make one of the best most wonderful decisions of her life (my decision to be free of him) feels wonderful.

    I never felt as lonely as in my marriage.

    I am not bothered if I find anyone as I like my company ( woman’s hour has a good feature on loneilness recently with Esther Rantzen who misses her late husband and others who love being alone) but even so I tend to have found boyfriends fairly easily and if they haven’t work out so far so be it. We largely had a good time. There may have been some trauma on one or other side but I’d rather be hurt than not care for someone.

    My other point probably made quite a bit in other posts is that it is often the chemistry in our brain which determines our happiness or otherwise and not external circumstances. You can improve those feelings of worthless ness low self esteem no one wants me fed up obssessing about men etc etc by (a) a good diet of whole foods (b) exercise (c) sex (d) fresh air (e) meeting people / being social/ volunteering/being immersed in work (f) if it’s very bad pills.

    • fi0na says:

      Lydia, I love your comments. I think a lot depends on how a woman feels about the plankton state. I too broke free from an oppressive marriage and a worse rebound relationship, and I often wake up full of joy and gratitude that I am free.

      Recently a married friend cornered me with “Ooooh go on, do spill, for us old married ones, how does it feel to be, you know, dating, at your age” I think I side stepped it, and thought little more of it, but when I told my mother she was outraged at how rude that woman was, As though she had said “how does it feel to have that large disfiguring growth on your face” clearly my mother sees planktonhood as a shameful state, but we faithful readers don’t and neither should the plankton.

  • Sloe says:

    H, yes I think you should play things down.

  • I read it because I think it’s awfully well done and Ms Plankton writes wittily on matters about which most men can only whinge or grunt. Will that do?

  • Dawn says:

    As much as I’d like a partner, I have to admit that when something goes wrong, such as the car breaking down, I always think, “This could be a whole lot worse. Ex could be here.” He had a way of always making a bad experience worse with his complete and utter lack of common sense or ability to remain calm in the face of a crisis. It quite cheers me up, being able to deal with things without his foolishness complicating things.

    Even though I didn’t initiate the breakdown of my marriage, like Lydia, I wake up almost every day thinking, “Well, THAT’S a relief!”

    • Angie says:

      Were we with the same man? My ex was exactly the same! Coping with a crisis is now so much easier without him making it worse xxx

  • Penny says:

    I agree EmGee, focusing so much, and writing so much, on the “single” problem does make it bigger than it should be. Us singletons need to just get on with our lifes, do as much as we can to meet guys, keep ourselves occupied, and dont stress about it. Apparently people can tell when we desperately want to meet someone, we give off certain vibes. Thats not what we want to give off.

    Chill, he’s out there somewhere……….

  • mananon says:

    After reading this blog for all of a couple of minutes all I can say is thank god I’m single.

    Plankton, you sound really self-obsessed. To be blunt I think that’s why you are still alone.

    You Do Not Have A Right To Happiness. There I’ve said it. That might be hard for you to swallow but it’s true. Life doesn’t ‘owe’ you anything.

    Oh and have you ever thought about enjoying being single? Embrace your freedom. Do things you enjoy.

  • Patricia says:

    mananon – you obviously just don’t GET IT!

    • mananon says:

      No I don’t “get it”, thank god.

      I live my life and get on with it. But please, try and enlighten me.

      • kidrock says:

        I’d save my breath if i were you.
        The entitlement complexes of some of the people on here are of a cosmic proportion. Reasoning with such specimen of humankind shall only prove counterproductive.

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