To Whom Would I Be Married?

November 4, 2011 § 24 Comments

Nights drawing in, I think why not a bit of harmless fun in the spirit of a party-game: I think about my men friends and the husbands of various women I know – or, indeed, don’t know – and I wonder (don’t we all?), to which of them, in a different life, might I like to be married?  Please don’t give me any shit about how many of them would want me for a wife because we know the answer to that  – I am not going to spell it out, but it has four letters, begins with an n and ends with an e – and anyway that’s not how the game is played.

It has to be said, there aren’t all that many; perhaps a handful.  Not because I am the world’s biggest fusspot, just Because.  Certainly not the three or more (cf. Marriage Grass Greener?) who aren’t having sex with their wives.  I could do without hidden rejection, the poignancy of which would be all the more, well, poignant, for being hidden, and for the assumption by everyone that because you were married you must be in sexual clover (well, relative to your average plankton, at any rate).  It would be almost harder to talk about than planktonhood precisely because the rejection was so covert.  I’ve got REJECT stamped on my forehead in big bold letters like FRAGILE  on a cardboard box with baubles inside.  At least it elicits a certain amount of sympathy, if and when people have the imagination or energy to be sympathetic.

Don’t get me wrong, I like enormously a great many husbands.  In fact, many of my best friends are husbands.  There are a few who are said by their wives to be slight bullies or very selfish or lazy or erring on the side of control-freakery or whatever and I see it, but they aren’t like that to me, or to their other friends on the whole.  The truth is, the very definition of spouse means the person who bears the brunt of the bad in her partner, but also, with any luck, the best of the good.  Perhaps, as a mere friend rather than spouse, one is benefitting from a side of someone that could be described as their better?  What I see amongst my male friends (pretty well all of them husbands) is erudition, humour, loyalty, affection, wisdom, generosity, and protectiveness.  BF is a perfect example, (and particularly at the moment, whilst so touchingly making every effort to get me together with Long Shot, in my eyes he can do no wrong).  But, by his own admission he is, he says, in that tried and trusty phrase, “a nightmare to be married to.”  In fact, I am not sure I agree, because although he has “issues” that understandably might make his wife wish occasionally to throttle him, he also displays all the above good qualities to her, whom he respects and adores.  Once, when the redoubtable Janey threw a singles’ party, she managed to collect an unprecedented number of available men under one roof, but the one who was the most handsome and charming and clever and delightful, was not available, because he was – is – her absolutely tip-top husband.  He is as good for her as she is for him but I can think of a few other men who would – and do – make lovely husbands.  My best friends’ husbands are all fab and I like them very much.  Mr Standard-Bearer is a good example, but maybe it is because he is married to Mrs Standard-Bearer that he makes such a good husband and if he were married to me (not that he’d want to be in a million years, though we have been friends for ever), he might be less marvellous.  But not necessarily.  In the old days, we all knew he was a good catch.  A good catch who made the best possible choice and remains a good catch.

Times, during the complex process of divorce, when I thought I’d quite like to be married to my own husband but’s that’s cheating and anyway, I am over that now (yes I am; no comments, please) and girlfriends have said, much though they loved him, they don’t know how I managed to stick with him as his wife for more than seventeen minutes.

But it has to be said, there are a heck of a lot of husbands out there whom I am thankful are not my husband.  I refer to the undercover SFARs (Single For A Reason), the ones who somehow slipped through the net of singledom, and managed to bag a wife despite baggage, casual cruelty, emotional distance, an underlying gay theme, an understanding of cleanliness (both domestic and personal) erring on the side of clueless, teenage tendencies, mental illness, a sheep shagging habit, a beard, etc etc etc.

My father had a frankly dodgy theory that a woman would marry any man if he showed enough persistence, and I am afraid these are the husbands who prove that theory and I don’t think anyone would much like being married to them, their own wives and a pathetic old plankton like me, included.

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§ 24 Responses to To Whom Would I Be Married?

  • Wow!! Ms. Plankton, it appears that you now know no fewer than nine married men who you believe would enjoy being married to you, but are presently married to another woman… You’re not supposed to covet your neighbor’s wife, but I do believe that it is acceptable to covet your neighbors’ husbands….

  • Sarah says:

    Funny how you want to be married again. Why? You’ve had all the children you’re going to have. You can just be with someone without actually having to be married to them.

    In my present situation with two boys, I don’t want to even live with my dearly beloved let alone be married to him. He doesn’t want a step-father role, and I adore my independence, and I get the feeling this is not going to be changing any time soon.

    Mind you, we have form in my family. One of my Welsh great aunts was married but she and her husband lived a few houses apart and met up to date. They were together for decades.

    • EmGee says:

      I don’t think just being unmarried qualifies one to be a Plankton. More like a desire to be in a long term relationship that suits us as individuals?

      I will never marry again, after what I went through, and I think that from middle age on, there is no reason to apart from financial concerns.

    • Jo says:

      Sounds good Sarah and eminently sensible. Though always the proviso to change one’s mind as one tiptoes into old age together.

  • Margaux says:

    Scott – I think you have misread. See the first para:

    “Please don’t give me any shit about how many of them would want me for a wife because we know the answer to that – I am not going to spell it out, but it has four letters, begins with an n and ends with an e – and anyway that’s not how the game is played.”

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you, Margaux! Said it for me! Px

    • I was half kidding and half serious- I know that she meant none (0) and not nine (9)- That was the kidding part…

      I was also half serious- That’s probably not true. There do exist some men who fantasize semi- seriously about having sex with almost every single woman they encounter, in any context… (trust me on this one.) And occasionally, some of us even follow through and turn those daydreams into real encounters…

      • fi says:

        Sure you do.

      • Lydia says:

        Yes, so its wisest not to think about people who are married. 90% never leave their spouse who have an affair either.

        It’s a mindset thing to keep away and plankton does, we’re not suggesting otherwise. A sin to covet your neighbour’s ox etc

  • Erin says:

    Remember, one never knows what goes on behind closed doors. The lovely and polite husbands of your friends might turn into Mr. Hyde when the party is over and guests have gone home. We usually only see the best behavior of our friends’ spouses.

    Frankly, I am amazed that men and women can cohabitate for any length of time at all. The fundamental differences between the sexes are like oil and water. Women tend to be detail oriented. We are doers and planners. We are mother hens. We like to plan far ahead into the future. We don’t really like spontaneity and surprises. We want to know what to expect and when to expect it. So of course we are going to remind our spouses of things and try to keep things orderly in their (and our) lives. How does this translate to men? Nagging, controlling, harping. This is not our intent at all, we are just trying to make deadlines and keep things running smoothly in the house. We are trying to make our spouse’s life easier and less complicated, less stressful. But do they see it that way? Hell no.

    Being the detailed planners that we are, men drive us as crazy as we drive them. I’m envious of them really. I’d like to go through my day in little blocks of time, not thinking of more than one thing at a time (because they can’t do it!), not thinking about tomorrow much less 3 months from now, not fretting over every minute detail, enjoying how things miraculously get accomplished and run smoothly (because the wife has been running herself ragged behind the scenes, unbeknownst to you!), bills get paid, dinners get cooked, the house gets cleaned, the kids taken care of, all without much input from you.

    The one thing that binds these two very different creatures together and keeps them from ripping each other’s heads off is love. Love means compromise, sacrifice, humility, compassion, forgiveness. Love also means security, comfort, commitment, acceptance. Love is what I yearned for and missed most when I was a plankton. Not having it is a huge void in a single person’s life. Of course the Plankton wants to get married again. She wants the love.

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear Erin, I agree with every last word of this comment. You are so right about women as planners! This is the case with 99.9% of the women I know, and I know a lot of women. And the bit about me wanting the love? Spot on. Thank you. Px

    • Sarah says:

      Yes, but you don’t need to be married to have that.

      I’ve found a lot of men are wary about getting married again. Indeed, I am wary of it. Doesn’t mean I don’t want the love.

    • EmGee says:

      There is a lot to be said for living ‘one day at a time’. Sometimes one can be a ‘planner’ to a fault, as I used to be. Today I make plans, then plan on having to change them at any given moment.

    • Jo says:

      You echo the words I was going to write Erin. Never take at face value how someone’s husband can be socially. Charming, funny, attentive, delightful, acceptable etc etc. has no bearing on what they could be like behind closed doors with their spouse. As many documented accounts of the socially ‘lovely, funny’ -but hellish domestic abuser- can testify.
      Never judge a book and all that… These men can be very skilled with everybody else…
      Don’t make assumptions about them dear Plankton -re: your post.

  • june says:

    Yes Sarah i agree,ive no desire to be married and i would still like to keep my own space, so ;living together all while not on either, as you say why do middle aged and older people need to bother, a significant other is all we really need. Mind you cant see that happening anytime soon for me, the last two men who winked at me on website were 76 and 75 respectively, one wanted women 30 to 60, god knows why he thinks a 30 year old women would want him, i dont, and the other had health problems, his wife couldnt cope with! so she left him, and he expects a romantic attachment to another women. You can see why i sometimes think websites a total waste of time, and this is a paid one, i havent paid thank god, im just looking..

  • rosie says:

    Which is exactly why I don’t want to live with anyone again. How many men – unless they’re gay or anally retentive – tidy up after themselves? The only guy I’ve shacked up with wouldn’t have noticed that the flat needed cleaning unless black slime had been seeping out of the toilet bowl (but moaned about ‘untidiness’ nevertheless), which left me no choice but to stand there every Saturday morning with a mop and bucket asking if he wanted kitchen or bathroom. Sod that!

    btw, re internet dating, if you do take the plunge, Plankton, don’t do what I did and dismiss potentially suitable men if you start dating (hate that word) someone else. It only happened the once but I’ve regretted it ever since. Eggs in one basket and all that.

    • The Plankton says:

      Good advice. Thank you. I will remember it, if and when I do take the LRB or internet plunge. Px

      • Jo says:

        If and when you take the ‘internet plunge’ Plankton? Why the prejudice? Again and again?
        God (as I’ve said in the past), I know so many people for whom this has worked out happily and brilliantly after countless years as a plankton. (Yes, there may have been a few bumps along the way for some of them. But they hung in. “Thank god.”- their words not mine and some inspiring happy endings ensued.).
        How can you talk about planktonism and the rare -indeed almost nil in your eyes- of not meeting anyone suitable and continue to negatively put down the internet as some sort of ‘last resort’ and not even try it?
        Really bizarre and frankly words fail me…
        Generalised, prejudiced about it not willing to engage with it at all -based on….what?- and still bemoaning the fact of no available possibilities and no way of meeting any. Quit your prejudice and -baffling- reticence or……sorry quit moaning.
        Know you won’t like this but it needs to be said.

      • The Plankton says:

        The quick answer? 95% of people – commenting on this blog, in general life, in the media etc – say it’s a fucking nightmare and full of fucking weirdos/losers. Best, Plankton

  • John, a gentle man. says:

    Choosing to ignore the last ten words of the last paragraph, may I congratulate you on a very well written posting.
    We, your admiring fans (lol) have long realised, that you are no longer, perhaps you never were, ??? unlovable and invisible.
    Off on wednesday for four weeks overland from Beijing to Kathmandu, and really wish I had a lady to share with. Speak soon. xx John

  • rosie says:

    Jo, don’t be so sanctimonious, haven’t you heard of each to their own and have YOU done internet dating? I have and I can indeed confirm that it’s a complete nightmare – unless you’ve got the skin of a rhino and like spending your time (admittedly with the odd exception) with misfits, liars, chancers, married men pretending to be single etc etc. The last observation is based on the date who told me he and his wife were separated, which turned out to mean he’d moved down the hallway. And then there was the bloke who….. oh, I can’t be bothered.

    I know someone who’s recently met a bloke through Match.com she’s very happy with but it wasn’t for want of trying. Think he was number 15. And, yes, a bit of me is jealous but having actually tried it myself, repeatedly, and I mean repeatedly, I’d rather put a gun to my head than do it again.

    That said, I like to form my own opinions and if I was new to it I can’t say 100 per cent I wouldn’t give it a go. But, Plankton, if you do decide to go for it give them an hour tops. Make it a lunch date or, if it’s in the evening, say you can meet them for a quick drink before the theatre, cinema or whatever. That way you avoid the excruciating scenario of being stuck with someone who under normal circumstances you’d cross the road to avoid (but being too polite to say so) for an entire hideous evening.

    Oh, and those odd exceptions were either not interested or were obviously just looking for sex. I’d rather not think about the one (and I mean just one!) I let slip, but we live to regret.

    • Josephine says:

      I could not agree more with the comments regarding internet dating, having tried it, with plankton 100% on this one weiros & losers thats putting it nicely (assholes would be a better name for them) know of a guy he has had 56 dates in 1 month, he cant understand why no one is falling for his charms, trouble is he is looking for sex (wife threw him out by the way) while the women are actually looking for a relationship, well I know horses for courses & all that, I am sure the only way it would work was if you are very lucky, desperate, or looking for a bit of fun, odds probably the same as you going to your local pub

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