Friend of Tactless Friend Reality Check

November 3, 2011 § 36 Comments

A few days ago, in my post entitled Cleavage, Heels and Flattery, I wrote about a friend of my tactless friend who goes in for CH&F big time and currently has no fewer eight men circling her.  While this would not seem just to the majority of plankton who have no such widespread attention directed towards us, I have now learned a little more about the reality of her circumstances which turn out, rather gratifyingly, not to be quite as they may seem.

The truth, according to a not famously reliable but nonetheless insistent source (to whom I spoke on the telephone yesterday and who is not my tactless friend), is that she does not fancy any of them.  She has been opining the fact that one, in particular (who happens to be the man my tactless friend informed me has eight women on the go) declares undying love, but has, he has informed her, a little business to attend to before he can give himself wholly to her and they can live happily ever after.  The business is to get rid of some of the other women, apparently, and it is taking a certain amount of time.  I bet.  He is almost definitely spinning the same yarn to each member of his female team on a different night of the week.  This man, a friend of my parents, I have known since I was a child.  He is successful and well-known and is clever and good company, but cannot be said to be even a feeble watercolour let alone a grandiose oil painting.  Think, more, trashy “art” on Hyde park railings on a Sunday afternoon.  He took my mother to a restaurant many years ago and put his forearm out to her across the table.  It was not a pretty sight, she said, describing it with vivid revulsion. I shall refrain from passing on her description for fear of being accused of look-ism; suffice it to say, think hair (copious amounts thereof), think pale, think unfortunate colouring, think skin furniture.

Well, his shenanigans are not really bothering Friend-of-Tactless-Friend because she remains unconvinced by all the circlers, including him.  She is unnerved by his declarations coupled with a seeming inability to look her in the eye.  I am not sure this “relationship” is going anywhere, but this F-O-T-F did ask my source how I was getting along.  My source mentioned that I had been having a shit time and that I was on my own.  F-O-T-F said she was going to help me find someone.  Perhaps she envisages fobbing me off with one of her eight circlers whom she has already discarded, in her mind at least.

I am not so sure I am going to find her cast-offs any more alluring than she does, but I await the call-up.

Meanwhile, I have been thinking, thinking, thinking that I have got to do something.  Fuck all happening at the moment.  Nothing from Poppy Seed or Kidnap Negotiator (heart not bleeding on both counts) or Smidgen or Long Shot (heart very much bleeding on both counts).  Total fucking silence and what’s more Smidgen has a very good reason to be offering me some serious TLC (to do with our project which a few days ago has encountered a severe set-back).

So, time to widen the skimpy net.  I wonder – though, don’t all shout at once, as I am nowhere near the point of actually doing it – if I might do well to look at the famous personal ads in the London Review of Books?  It is a publication I admire and I don’t imagine that it is one which attracts total weirdos as do so many more prosaic classifieds.

At least if there are any fucking weirdos on it, the chances are they can read.

Hum.  If top of Plan A is staying chez BF with Long Shot, and if another part of it is emailing Smidgen about the project in a few days if he hasn’t contacted me, then the LRB is definitely one to include in my Plan C.

But what of Plan B you may wonder?

NYFI. [Not Yet Fucking Identified].


§ 36 Responses to Friend of Tactless Friend Reality Check

  • Jane says:

    Good Girl! you deffo need to do something. I find that standing like a rabbit caught in the headlights is self perpetuating, the more you do it, the more it seems all you can do….if that makes sense. Time to jump in with both feet, even if it doesn’t turn out to be the perfect solution, it can’t be worse than feeling like you are just waiting…and waiting…and waiting and getting wildly frustrated that nothing is happening. I’m a firm believer that if you want stuff to happen, then you have to go out and make it happen, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but no one will blame you if you have given it a good go! what’s that expression…the world loves a tryer.

  • Aidan says:

    Yep, agree with Jane give it a go. I do think the London Review of books personals will have its share of weirdos though, but at least they will be intelligent literate weridos who are the best kind as long as they don’t have beards of course.

    • EmGee says:

      Oh yes, when I think of bookish types, the unwashed slob with gravy stands on his shirt comes to mind, as does the insufferable know-it-all pseudo-intellectual. All with facial hair.

  • Erin says:

    Jane said it best. I would only add: a browse on Match wouldn’t hurt either – you can browse for free : ) And don’t wait for Smidgen to email you, you email him! He needs more “I’m interested” vibes.

  • MissBates says:

    Random aside: One of the funniest books I’ve ever read was a compilation of personal ads from the LRB — “They Call Me Naughty Lola.” Highly recommended.

    Re internet: If you’re really going to take the plunge, I would spare yourself the indignities of, etc., and instead go for one of the smaller sites. Here in NY, for example, there are dating sites that cater to book lovers, graduates of Ivy League schools, etc. I’m sure there are similar versions in the U.K., and in that way you’re at least getting a somewhat “edited” dating pool.

  • Jane says:

    How about ‘My Single Friend’? the Sarah Beeny website. Haven’t used it myself , though did put a friend on there. It does at least have the plus that the people on there have at least one friend :0)

  • fi says:

    Good things about being a plankton:
    You can spend all your money on whatever you want without feeling guilty. If you don’t want to cook dinner you don’t. You eat what you want when you want. You have charge of the remote. No arguments. No consultation on anything. No compromises. If you want to go away for the weekend you just do it. If you want friends over every night of the week you can. The whole bed to yourself. Stay out as late as you want/where you want/with whoever you want. Go on holiday with whoever you want. No boring conceration with someone you’re bored with. The potential for your life to change next week. Openness to new people and opportunities. you can change your life without considering the impact on/ persuading someone else to go along with it. No having to consider someone else’s moods. Freedom. Independence. Strangers flirting and making you feel attractive. Getting lots of attention because you’re more approachable at events or in places on your own. Not hiding behind other people develops your character. Closer relationships with your girlfriends. Can’t think of any more off the top of my head but these are my experiences. Downside is no sex though.

    • fi says:

      That was of course no boring conversation – am on a train and can’t work my phone proper y. 😉

    • Lydia says:

      Single women can get masses of sex if they want it. In fact I put on another thread an advantage of the single sex is more sex. Married couples don’t always have that much sex and often it’s very dull very awful sex when they manage to have it.

    • MissBates says:


      “Strangers flirting and making you feel attractive.” (??)
      “Getting lots of attention because you’re more approachable at events or in places on your own.” (??)

      You must be joking. The whole essence of female middle-aged Plankton-ness is one’s utter invisibility. I could walk down the street naked and no one would notice. (Well, not a good example because I live in NYC and someone walking naked down the street wouldn’t necessarily capture anyone’s attention. LOL!) But you know what I mean.

      I don’t know where you live, but it ain’t Planktonville.

      • june says:

        See my note Miss Bates, so it seems a provincial english city not much different to NYC ,that is comforting indeed.,

      • Lydia says:

        Apparently there is a bit of touble in San Franciso about totally naked dining which is lawful there. There are suggestions people should sit on a towel. The plan is to ban it in restaurants. Apparently they can make them wear a tie and shirt but not anything over the penis etc.

    • june says:

      Well that sounds great Fi if you put it like that but what if all your girlfriends are coupled up, and youve noone to go on holiday with, I have joined a singles group but quite frankly they all seem like professional singles, pretending what a great time having but it seems very false, i prefer my coupled up friends if i have to be honest. I have been on holiday by myself for years but now quite frankly ive lost the desire to do it anymore and in my life done lots things alone and really there is nothing great about it. Im a friendly person but in all things ive done alone,ive rarely made any long term relationships with men or women.

      I am sure if you have loads of single friends it might be great, but the part of the UK i live in is a very coupled up place, having come from a small town, thought city would be different,this city isnt, i like the place, have no regrets bout moving here, i worked here for years, but it sometimes seems as coupled up as my old small town. I ve discovered lots who belong to singles group seem to have a lover or significant other tucked away, so many not really single, perhaps thats why seem false.

  • Lydia says:

    So you must fish in a wider pool. London review of books may work. I then have visions of old men with beards and stained clothes. My last boyfriend found/finds the Times encounters website quite useful for bright women.

    Don’t dismiss the cleavage and heels approach either. Today as for once I wasn’t going off to a stressful work thing but instead an easy work thing where I was not to do very much I decided to dress a little differently from the usual longish black pencil skirt I have worn every day for work things for about 6 years (a uniform is easy for those of us with proper careers and busy lives). So the skirt was shorter, the jacket more defined (US imports), more leg on show.

    I knew I might have over done it a bit before I had even reached the tube station as a lorry honked. Mind you at 49 I’m not sure I object. However that wasn’t my intent particularly. I crouched down and tried to do something with the wrist band of the skirt to pull the whole thing lower down. if you live in an area with orthodox jews, covered muslims and even the Bretheren (think little house on the prairie look) it doesn’t take much to look attractive. Perhaps planktons should move to regions where the other women don’t look good as it’s all relative.

    Anyway I managed to get on to train without any more attention from lorry drivers. At the other end another lorry obliged and I seemed to run the full gamut of construction workers en route. Before I went into the serious venue I made greater efforts to lower the skirt and in the loo once I was inside and pulled up the top as there was too much cleavage. It’s no fun having a Barbara Windsor circa 1960 shape. I jest. I have infinite capacity to think I look better than I do.

    Anyway the work thing went well. Very lovely sexy man too but I don’t mix work and pleasure. I’m such a good girl.

    Anyway it amused me, my one day foray into dressing sexier. Mind you there’s no moral to the tale – I didn’t find a suitable second husband.

  • Mezzanine says:

    Hey Ms P

    Another excellent blog :0)

    Please give online dating a try. Just think of the blogs we’ll get from you regaling us with your tales of hilarious or, hopefully, successful dates. Try My Single Friend (Sarah Beeney) or Guardian Soulmates/Times Encouners Dating (bit more upmarket).

    I do every so often and if I was a blogger I could keep you entertained for weeks!

  • rosie says:

    I’d give Match a wide berth too. It’s years and years (christ, I’ve been looking for half my life!) since I used it but there were far too many half literate idiots, losers and chancers on there. How about Guardian Soulmates, brilliantly rechristened by a friend as Souldestroyers?

    As for Smidgen I’d definitely email him, but for god’s sake when, if ever, does this stuff ever get beyond playground tactics? It might be ‘fun’ until you’re, what, mid 30s at a push but anything past that and it’s just exhausting, no?

  • Barry says:

    The Plankton Spring! Great analysys, good ideas…give all the dating sites a push…can’t hurt , you may just hit the jackpot….secretly I hope so ….. i’m almost ready to date you myself!

  • fi says:

    When I say lots of attention – just to make it clear here – I mean both sexes approaching me to talk.

    But here’s my secret to attract people…I smile at them. That’s it. And actually if you look at someone even as you pass them in the street and properly smile at them, they smile back. I think its a involuntary reaction. But once you’ve smiled and they’ve smiled, either they’ll speak to you or you can speak to them. Really- don’t underestimate the power of a genuine smile.

    • Lydia says:

      yes, the most attractive man I saw yesterday was smiling a lot. I smile a lot. You need to learn and develop “charm” I suspect both to garner businses and to get on with people and attract partners, those who don’t have it. It’s the key.

  • Caz says:

    Go, go Fi – you are spot on in everything you say about being single. You have to develop – and yes – you can embrace change. You can live your life on your terms and embrace every opportunity going. Yes too to smiling -that’s how I found my current partner. Well said!

  • maria says:


    Don’t put yourself down like that, I’m pushing 50 (next year) and I still get plenty attention on the street. I’m no looker either nor do I wear short skirts or make up. Maybe you should move to Portugal to feel appreciated.

    • MissBates says:

      Thanks Maria. LOL! I’m not sure I WANT to get noticed on the street in NYC, if you know what I mean, but I would love to get noticed at a party or an event. I will keep Portugal in mind!

  • rosie says:

    If you smile at someone in the street in London they’d have you arrested. And I think MissBates was being ironic.

    • Mark says:

      You have reminded me of the dilemma of where to sit if you get on a bus and there is only one other passenger. In South Asia it would be an insult if you did not go and sit next to them. In Finland it would be rape if you did.

      However, I live in London and if someone smiles at me I smile back. But I do not smile first, because I don’t want to be thought weird.

      A friend of mine met a significant other on a tube. He was sitting next to her when a third party asked if they were a couple. They weren’t. They had never met before. But the ice thus having been broken a date was arranged before the end of the journey. They later got engaged. (There were together for years but it ended, badly. Her parents didn’t like him. She threw the engagement ring in the Thames and now she’s a plankton and he’s married to someone else. Sorry – no happy endings!)

      • The Plankton says:

        Dear Mark, I loved this comment. Thank you. And, oh, it was going so well the story! A great story – till the end. Still, it fits my world view on my glass half-empty days. Thanks for passing it on anyway. Best Px

      • Jane says:

        Oh Mark!! Haven’t you heard of ‘less is more’ you could have left off the sad ending and given us all with a nice warm glow for the weekend, shame on you !

      • EmGee says:

        I’m confused. Isn’t the fact that Mark’s brother is married count for at least half a happy ending? And his wife would be counted as someone notPlankton.

      • Mark says:

        The Plankton, thanks for your kind remarks.

        EmGee has confused me now. I have two married brothers but neither was mentioned in my comment above.

        And I suppose it’s true to say that my friend’s wife is not a plankton since she’s married to my friend so that’s a partial happy ending.

        Perhaps I should add a moral to this story. My friend met this girl on a tube. He wanted to marry her. She wanted to marry him. They got engaged. But the girl’s father, a top lawyer, talked her out of it because my friend was just a lowly BBC employee, working in radio not even TV, and earning a pittance; the girl earned more than him as a legal secretary. So she was poisoned against him by her family and threw the ring in the Thames.

        But roll the clock forward 15 years. My friend now lives in NYC, is a big cheese at a Hedge Fund and has a massive house upstate and seems to exude money out of every pore. He is married to an American lady he met in New York. Years later the girl on the tube tried to get back with him – offered to come and live with him in New York, but it was all too late by then.

        So there’s a moral here somewhere. Maybe it’s give frogs a chance – they may turn into princes!

      • The Plankton says:

        Thanks again, Mark, for another great story. Px

      • Jane says:

        Well,she deserved everything she got. If she loved him to start with…I mean, really, really loved him, she wouldn’t have let her Dad – or anyone else come to that, sway her judgement. Or is that just me being impossibly romantic. He was well rid, who wants to live their life with their father in laws opinions being given precedence over their happiness.

      • Lydia says:

        Well I rejected a frog today. Who knows when it’s wrong or not. At our age they tend to have become the prince by this age rather than suddenly in their late 50s or 60s.

  • Margaux says:

    Just caught up with the last few posts after being away for a few days …..I’ve missed you and everyone,P!
    As ever, your excellent writing and all the comments it attracts are addictive….

    If you are going to widen the net – then why not The Net?
    Indeed, not the cattle market of – but some of the suggestions here? pupports to be for ‘professionals’ and you can have a look around first.

    This doesn’t mean to say you have to write off the twinkles – just put them in a bigger pond and fish to see who else is out there

  • plumgrape says:

    I met a most charming young male magician this summer past. He can pull almost anything out of a hat except it seems a lovely woman meeting my own personal stringent specifications: C-H-F! Perhaps I should send him to you and you might have more luck with the man! If I have any more good ideas, I’ll let you know. Keep up the blog. You’re great. I’ll work on Plan B with you.

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