Pro-Active Plankton

October 17, 2011 § 33 Comments

I have been thinking that if I am not going on the internet to find a companion (well, not yet anyway; there have been a few friends who have urged me to, and one or two commentators who have begged it of me, but far more who have warned me against it if I can possibly avoid it), or into a pet shop, or onto a course, or on an effing walk up the Himalayas, and if I am already going to everything  including my (all-female) bookclub (you never know, the hostess’s husband may be entertaining Mr Right in another room whom I might happen to bump into and…oh yeah, right), then I have to be pro-active in other ways.  Especially as LS still hasn’t replied to his good friend BF, and Smidgen, though he has named today’s chosen venue, still hasn’t supplied me with any idea of the time I am meant to be joining him there, hey ho.

The way I have been and am being pro-active is to invite people to supper as often as I can.  This is not ideal in many ways: it is exhausting doing it alone (I am not a bad cook and I never go in for poncey bollocks, but the whole thing of deciding what to have and pulling it off with cheerful abandon doesn’t come naturally); it is more expensive feeding eight people than one, obviously, even if it is simple fayre (which it always is chez me); without a partner, it’s hard to answer the doorbell and get drinks for people, stir the bolognaise and hustle the children (each at different times) to bed, all the while trying to make sure everyone is having a good time; there is something particularly poignant and bleak about washing up alone when everyone has left and the candles are in their dimming death throes and the silence of the night is all the more marked following the roars of exuberance.  I don’t have the stomach for it all as often as I might like.  It’s easier, cheaper and more fulfilling in a familial sense to cuddle up with the children and watch X-Factor, but that’s hardly the way forward in the finding-a-husband-and-fast sense.

I enjoy having really good friends round so much, but I am on a mission also to ask people whom I like but don’t know particularly well in order that I might broaden horizons and extend the already extensive social circle.  I am not bragging when I say that.  My existence  – and work – depends on knowing a great many people.  My whole life I have made it my business to make friends because family members are scattered and friends are – forgive the X Factor-type sentiment – what make the world go round, and help me, I hope, to learn about human nature (which is vital for any writer, even not very good ones, ho hum).

Anyway, fuck all good it has done me.  The old muckers – who I have already plumbed for single men but who know none between them, or none according to them that are remotely feasible  as candidates, for infinite numbers of reasons – ask me back time and again and that is what keeps me going.  But the new friends who have even told me they’d like to introduce me to apparently newly single Johnny or Billy or Paul, haven’t done so yet.  Not one of them.  They are nice, good people, all of them, but of course, they are married and there is no sense of urgency.  I know that since they mentioned Johnny and Billy and Paul, Johnny and Billy and Paul will each have acquired in an all-male instant a brace or two of new women.  And any more – at least of the plankton variety – will be entirely surplus to requirements.

Of course, I will always go on chopping up onions and mixing them with olive oil and mincemeat and tomato puree and humour for my old mates for years to come, and have a good laugh over some indifferent plonk or regretful rat’s piss, but I do wonder about the pro-action suppers.  Are they really worth the (dimming) candle?

I guess they are, for in themselves they are always quite merry.  But.  As a way of increasing the circle to include a new companion?  Load of shite.

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§ 33 Responses to Pro-Active Plankton

  • Sarah says:

    I’ve got a gem for you over here. Good friend of my boss, newlyish single, intellectual, funny, good company, no children, not very good looking, totally reasonable income.

    He’s not out there sowing his wild oats either – not his thing. So if LS really doesn’t work out, come out here and I’ll fix you up a date. 🙂

  • Patrese says:

    Save the hassle of shopping and cooking and clearing up, and go out to lunch – there are zillions of places that do cheap lunches – from pubs to museums – which offer numerous excuses to meet up – from wanting someone to go along and see a new exhibition to wanting to try ‘this new cafe that was reviewed in the papers’, and throw the net as wide as possible – make a list of all your friends and friends of friends and work your way through it. In turn they may suggest new places to go and new people to meet, and if nothing else you’ll eat well!

  • Anya. says:

    Brilliant post Plankton. They just don’t get it do they? I would like to nominate you for the Liebster blog award while you are still – technically – under 300 followers. Are you up for it? Details on mine soon.

  • june says:

    Plankton another gem,that registered with me so well. When i first moved to this city,i had what i called, soirees sounds bloody old fashioned for a modern woman like myself,but like the word each month, quite jolly events as you say, everyone got bit p……people brought bottles etc, desserts etc so wasnt expensive,like you the being left to wash up on ones own, the emptiness after gone etc, used to make me bit sad, But gradually for various reasons they tailed off, people couldnt come, family committments, yes of course they all had partners, kids etc and then only my very closest friends were coming, causethey wouldnt let me down, i think the last was 3, so thats it , no more, couldnt see the point. In my case no-one knows anyone suitable anyway so its pointless, i see my closest friends anyway,. I of course get invited to meals round my .lovely kind friends, as the other week but there is me, her , her husband, daughter,my other friend, one who is scared of becoming a plankton, her partner and stepkids, i dont feel odd as i said but o just wouldnt it be nice to have someone too and when my friend dropped me off i walked back into my empty flat and burst into tears. Dear kind friend texted me next day,and said i am sure there is someone out there for you, hmm that i am definitely beginning to doubt, and he sure isnt on a website, so again plankton,dont bother, unless you get so desperate you can see no other option, but certainly dont expect very much, i am really wondering if any normal reasonably attractive solvent men ever go on them.

    Ps am planning meal round mine end month with dear kind friend and friend scared of planktoness ,but thats because a night out we going on got cancelled. Dear kind friend did say any decent pubs in your bit of city, perhaps we could go for drink afterwards, ah a possibility there plankton, and as we planktons know well , all ;possiblilities have to be explored.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thanks for this, June. Nice to know there are others out there who so “get it”. Px

      • june says:

        Yes indeed. So many single people i know dont “get it”. I went to my singles group lunch yesterday and few of them seem to get it. They all seem to have resigned themselves to this single life, all drinking too much and planning bike rides and bloody walks etc, 8 of them, all female are all off for a meal at a upmarket curry resturant saturday. I dont like curry and to be honest as ive things coming up couldnt really afford it. The organiser said you socialize too much with your coupled up friends,thats your problem, but i like my coupled up friends,better than a load of sad singles who seem to have resigned themselves to singleness. My coupled up friends are those i feel most comfortable with, and i have to say it enjoy myself more with, even if their partners are there.I just want to bloody join them, but that seems a distant dream.

  • fi says:

    finding-a-husband-and-fast sense.- not sure that this is a good plan. Why not just look to meet more people, and have fun times, and if along the way you meet someone that you’d like to get to know more intimately, and he feels the same about you, then let it happen and see where it takes you. At least that way you’re enjoying your life now rather than hunting something that let’s face it MAY NEVER APPEAR. Not to be gloomy, but it is possible that you won’t meet the right man for you that fits in with your lifestyle and kids etc, and if that is the case you’ll have let the rest of life pass you by while you were hunting it down. Just relax about it all and if it happens then great, but if it doesn’t then you’ve still had a great time on the way

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear Fiona, Thank you. Point taken, I promise. Px

      • Joost says:

        I’m glad the point was made. As a man (Okay, a bit too young to be interesting and living abroad) I find little more off-putting than a woman whom has made solid plans (Usually involving marriage and children as soon as possible) before I feel comfortable in having those plans with her.

        Moving too fast is a risk, especially with people whom have been burnt in previous relations.

        That does not mean that you should just be available if they feel lonely once or twice a year. Just allow things to happen and grow. But you already knew that.

      • mysterycoach says:

        I absolutely love what fiona said 🙂 Hey, nice to meet you by the way. MC

  • MissBates says:

    It’s all Just. So. Fucking. Exhausting.

  • EmGee says:

    I would love to attend one of your parties, and I’d stick around for the washing up! I find it hard to believe you are left to do it all by yourself, and no one offers to help: like stir the sauce so you can answer the door, etc. I mean, I wouldn’t expect a guest to roll up their sleeves and pitch in exactly, but to see the hostess doing double duty ought to stir at least a little compassion.

    I know it isn’t so, but sometimes the way you describe it, it sounds like you have some really horrible, selfish friends.

  • Jo says:

    Oh god June.Again.I’m so sorry it did not work for you – in YOUR experience – on the internet.But PLEASE stop constantly doing it down as a waste of space only for the desperate.It is NOT TRUE.
    I know so many wonderful planktons who are planktons no more because of it.Of course it is not always eay.Of course it may take perseverance.Of course there are some stupid shits out there.All a bit like Life really.
    But there ARE normal, attractive reasonably solvent men out there.Who are also interested in planktons.May take time.Or may-as I have witnessed-be sooner than one thinks.
    Anyone deeming it ‘only for the desperate’ is showing a prejudice every bit as bad as that extended towards planktons.

    • Lydia says:

      Absolute profusion of them, lovely lovely men and someone for everyone. It’s one of the best places to look as you can search by all kinds of criteria too. It’s very good but the more planktons keep off it and more higher plane alpha women can reserve all those men for themselves so let’s perpetuate a myth that internet dating is bad for women then….

  • anniebub says:

    Can men be planktons too? I think they can, but they are possibly floating even deeper down in the murky depths than the female versions. You have to get on their level. Unless you are incredibly fortunate to have nailed a hero, an awful lot of men are dreadful cowards. They may well be lurking on the internet. Just their territory. Safe, anonymous. They can retreat at any moment. But they are out there. That is why it is worth considering. I think I mentioned to you before, I have heard of a Very Upmarket Dinner Party Club which you can join, (I was just thinking of you not having to cook the mince and roasted vegetables any more, or do any of the washing up), where you get invited as the Posh Totty, (do not be offended – you are a dinner party guest at a very exclusive dinner party). All you have to do is the same thing as you do at any dinner party where you don’t really know anyone, be your usual charming self, enjoy the fab dinner someone else has cooked, and go home at the end of the evening in a taxi. The people at these events are always single, rich and entertaining. No secret agenda, but potential for meeting a man of interest quite high. Depends how brave you want to be….

  • Redbookish says:

    Like the others, I get it. I work really long hours (well someone has to while others are having “family life”) so don’t really do dinner parties any more. I used to, but only for really good friends. But I so so so remember doing all the stuff by myself. Running to the door, doing drinks, finishing off preparations.

    And then well-meaning guests turn up EARLY Grrrrr That is ruder than being late, in my book.

    So I think that maybe you have to think about how to get the fun from dinner parties — if it were me, I’d mix in new people with old friends. I used to do that — of 12 people 3 or 4 would be people who weren’t quite my blood brothers/sisters. So at least you get to enjoy yourself properly, even if no new possibilities emerge.

    And I tended to do long Sunday lunches, which somehow makes the preparations you describe so well a little easier — but we were all a childless barren bunch.

  • june says:

    Well jo i am sure women do meet men online, mind you id hazard a guess few of those women over 55 and even less over 60.I have been quite bluntly told by .men only a few years younger than me , i am too old for them if ive dared to contact them.Women sadly have a sell by date,men however grotty and decrepid looking dont.Im sorry i find men of my age too old for me, most seem to have one foot in grave and their attitudes to women are prehistoric. I do not want a 30 year old old, just someone in 50s but i might as well be asking for moon.i am in good shape for my age, feel younger , slim,dress trendily,look in my 50s im told by female friends,mostly younger than me, but to no avail,The odd one who has deemed to meet me, well ive mentioned that previously.. So yes there is a possibility that plankton could meet someone on line,at her age, but she would probably have to accept someone bout 10 years older than her, cause thats how it works online, men in 50s want women in 40s and so on.

    • EmGee says:

      In spite of what you said at the beginning, you have put a ‘sell by’ date on men as well. ” i find men of my age too old for me”

      Nothing you said isn’t true, but the pot is calling the kettle black, I think.

  • Lydia says:

    You certainly make the whole thing a massive huge amount of hard work. If you went internet dating you could find men who were after a wife/girl friend without having to feed a load of people at dinners and going to all kinds of events you might not like. You would gain what I adore, time in silence thinking. However you may just be much more sociable than I am.

    In fact may be that’s a difference. Perhaps men and women who like themselves, their company, are happy in themselves and don’t need to be out socialising all the time can be content single, not needing the hurly burly and noise of constant contact with others.

    June’s is not my experience. I have never lied about my age on line or esewhere. I’m in my 40s. No man who has contacted me has had a problem with my age. If theyr’e in their 20s they probably just want sex so you can cast those aside although I don’t rule out some kind of relationship with someone younger in due course, but there are huge numbers of lovely men o ut there who don’t seem put out that that I’m over 40. However I’m quite open about age. I saw someone of about 28 who was one of the best although that was never going to last and th elast boyfriend was over 60 (just).

    Most of us want a partner we find attractive. Women in their 40s can look superb and be very sexy… at least I like to con myself that that is so… lucky me to feel I do.

  • Rubycon says:

    My mother met her husband (who’s 2 years younger than her) online when she was 49. She’s now 60 years old – and recently celebrated her 10th wedding anniversary. I think it’s just a matter of choosing the right service. She went on to a website for Catholic singles and found him (he was a widower) I would personally have no interest in a Catholic dating site, but I think it demonstrates a point about narrowing your search to sites designed for people who have something in common. They have them for the most random things…Catholics, rock climbers, atheists, and on and on. If you ever did decide to exhaust all possibilities and go online, you might search for something more specific like this instead of just a general one.

    Best of luck and always look forward to reading each week 🙂

  • Margaux says:

    June – there are dating sites for older women/younger men – and you don’t have to go for a 20 something! Have you tried one of those?

    At any one time there are around 8 million singles in the UK using dating sites. They can’t all be having a rubbish time. I, too, have friends who have used them quite successfully – one friend dated over 100 men in her mid 50s before she found the man she wanted to marry. They are still together. Yes, maybe she was picky – but she got a lot of dates!

    Plankton -I agree with Lydia- inviting people round sounds like a lot of work. I have a band of friends – all ages/both sexes/all persuasions who have semi regular Sunday meet ups. We call it the Sunday Experience. One person is nominated in turn to decide what the day is going to be about – it usually starts with Sunday lunch in a pub or restaurant. Then -depending on who’s been nominated ‘experience manager'( !) -we have done such things as gone to a bowling alley, a casino, a funfair, a long walk along the Thames, a movie -There is a core group of us but anyone can bring along someone who might fancy joining in. Easier than doing the have people round thing!

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