The Lure of the Lecture

November 5, 2011 § 31 Comments

My (relatively) new best friend makes me laugh till the tears roll, so clever and funny and sassy is she, and she would win the Booker, I swear it, if only I could persuade her to write a novel.  Call her Charlotte.  Although happily married herself to a brilliant, fantastic man, she announced two days ago that she is on a mission to find me a husband, and I LOVE her.  I loved her before she mentioned the mission, but I love her even more now.  Such generosity and ingenuity and initiative is a rare thing indeed.  Even if she fails, I don’t care, it’s A1* for Effort, while the majority don’t even score a poxy Coasting but instead a resounding Poor.

Charlotte is going about her mission in ways that are imaginative and pro-active, and depart somewhat from sweet Janey’s methods, which is great because at this point I need all manner of methods quite frankly.  Charlotte wants to take me to things.  Lots of things where men hang out, and by that she doesn’t mean fucking golf clubs. Of an intellectual calibre of infinite reach, she is thinking, more, that the Lecture is the thing.

It was Charlotte who was with me when I met Long Shot (cf. Longer Shot Reverts to Long Shot, 26th September).  She batted off the competition – in the form of various other groupie-plankton who were out in force and with astonishing confidence were shamelessly seeking his attention in a way which, for all my mouthiness, I haven’t the courage or the wit even to begin to do.  Had it not been for Charlotte, I wouldn’t have even met him, let alone muttered more than two words to him.  I would have seen that ballsy Competition and scuttled away, run all the way to Timbuktu, deeming myself completely out of the running for his, “How do you do?”, let alone anything else.   She was the one who orchestrated it for me and who kept the Competition firmly in its place, pinning it (there were a few of them) down to conversation on to which Charlotte had a terrier-like grip and out of which they could not slip, all the better to enable me exclusively to talk to LS for nearly an hour.  What an angel!

Anyway, she is planning our autumn events to maximum husband-hunting advantage.  She has it all mapped out.  Unfortunately, one of the key, imminent occasions she had in mind clashes with the one night that Smidgen is supposed to be coming to supper.  It was arranged with him weeks ago at Cafe Date numero uno.  I don’t know if he still plans to do so, because it has been a good while since the idea was first mooted, and he is a man not enormously forthcoming with his communications.  So I am not sure which it is to be that night after all – lecture or pasta at my gaff with Smidgen.

But it’s a glass half-full day today.  And, with Charlotte so manifestly on side and on messgage, I am just going to wait and see.  With her support, I am, very uncharacteristically, simply going to go with the flow.

§ 31 Responses to The Lure of the Lecture

  • Jane says:

    Good old Charlotte, not exactly sure how you are going to socialise at a lecture…but I am sure she has it covered.
    Have to say sweetie, you are irritating me, just a tad, with the Smidgeon thing, if you have made an arrangement for him to come round and now potentially have another offer on the table, call him or mail him and ASK HIM, does he still have the date in his diary. Surely you would if it were a female friend, so why are you being so wishy washy about him?

    • Dawn says:

      What Jane said. Just say something else has come up. He doesn’t need to know what. Change the date of your date with him.

  • june says:

    Lucky you plankton you have such caring friends. my friends sad to say, have no interest in finding me a man. In fact i always get the impression they feel for my age i am far too fussy and should accept anything that moves, however old, decrepit repulsive or insolvent he is, or if wants instant sex should hop into bed with him.

    I am rapidy coming to conclusion and maybe some other planktons who have never had a significant long term partner or husband will bear me out on this, that people show more sympathy to a divorced, widowed or split up with long term partner plankton than they do one who has never had any. Not always a lot , but a damm sight more than someone who has always remained unattached. They seem to imagine its our fault we have never met the right person and if that unhappy about our single status we would have accepted anything,compromised in effect, maybe they are right, but if there is someone for everybody in this world, has it never occurred to them that you might never have met that person, and you just cant settle for anything, I honestly think people have more respect for a women with an abusive partner or a serial womanizer than one who has remained single ,because she is a bit choosey and wants a bit more perhaps than what was on offer. Their attitude seems to be shes tried, you havent, surely you could have met someone, everyone else managed it, Perhaps its because i live in a very coupled up part of the uk where being single isnt really the norm, i dont know, but its defintely how i feel.

    • MissBates says:

      Hi June — The word “spinster” may have fallen into disuse, but the stigma associated with being one is alive and well, not just where you live (which you’ve described as a provincial city in England), but even in NYC, which my friends and I like to describe as “No Sex in the City.”

      A generation ago, divorce was seen as a stigma. Those days are long gone (and for the most part rightly so), but now never having been married seems more of a stain on one’s social credentials than having been divorced.

      [Before I go further, a DISCLAIMER: I am not saying that there aren’t many, many valid reasons to end a marriage. I make a living as a divorce lawyer, so God knows, I have seen it all. ALL, and then some! I’m not casting aspersions on divorced people, so spare me any replies along those lines.]

      Back to what I was saying: Never being married means that people view you as not fully mature, no matter what your accomplishments. Being a never-married female seems to mean that you have failed to attain some essential womanly credential, whereas to have been divorced means being able to demonstrate that you were wanted at SOME point by SOME man for SOME period of time, no matter that you were ill-suited (or worse, no matter that he was a jerk/a philanderer/a nut/an abuser of you and/or various substances). I mean, how sick is that? And make no mistake — it is other women, by and large, not men, who perpetuate this stigma.

      Why aren’t I the one receiving kudos for NOT having made the bad choice — for NOT having married the guy I was dating when I was 29 so that I could beat the “married by 30” desperation — for NOT having had the affair with the married man at work until he left his wife to marry and then divorce me in record time — for NOT having “settled” for the guy I didn’t really love because my biological clock was ticking and he was “good enough,” only to get divorced and shuttle the kids back-and-forth between our homes? Hmmm?

      • Sarah says:

        I totally agree with this assessment of the never married woman. She is definitely regarded as unfinished, not quite whole, not quite wholly woman. And of course, there must be something wrong with her.

        After the War when there was a lack of men, spinsterhood was the lot for many women and there was more sympathy around for their status. Nowadays there’s ‘no excuse’ so the judgement that falls is that much harsher.

        It’s totally idiotic, but then so many things are in life because people are so flawed, and if they can feel better about themselves in comparison to someone else, they’ll pile on the judgement.

      • The Plankton says:

        I think I wrote a post called Better to Have Been Married? on this topic a while back. Px

    • Jo says:

      Doesn’t matter what is posted or commented upon. It’s always worse for you June isn’t it?
      Never never never any variation on that nor the teeniest word of anything remotely positive about………well anything at all really.
      Whatever is written it’s always poor old you. Constantly worse off than everybody else…

  • Barry says:

    Plankton…….I’m happy for you today….keep the Faith with your new Bestest Friend ……..Cancel Smidgeon….he’s HISTORY …a new Dawn beckons .

    June , Spinsters…to give the proper name, command respect from me on the same way Bachelors do . It is admirable to not succumbe to Social pressure just to “conform” . Spinsters and Bachelors are part of the complex mix of Human relationships . Be Proud of you STATUS…for that is what it is…xx les deux

  • june says:

    God i hate that word spinster it conjures up a vision of sad, grey little person with a bun and a shapeless cardigan.When i was a little girl my mum used to feel sorry for women who were spinsters , she used to tell me to avoid their fate at all costs, though seeing what some of the men of that generation were like, not i hasten to add my lovely dad,a new,man before new men were invented, i couldnt say i blamed them.

    No i am not sorry i havent just settled, although sometimes i wonder, but sadly my part of the uk is a very coupled up sort of place. I moved from my small town to the city where i worked thinking it would be better to be a single person and easier, sadly it isnt easier than my small town was , where i live is a nice city but with very small town attitudes. and being single here sometimes feels just as isolating as in a small town. I dont want to be married and i dont want to live with anyone, id just like a significant other, but dating websites are a waste of time, men totally ignore what you request on your profile. Last two men were 76 and 75, one with health problems, whose wife left him because she couldnt cope! I am a youthful, fit, 60 plus, normally taken for 10 yrs younger, why the hell would i want that..

    • fi says:

      “When i was a little girl my mum used to feel sorry for women who were spinsters , she used to tell me to avoid their fate at all costs,”
      Now I understand where your desperation for a man comes from and I can see why you think not having one is a cause for sympathy.

    • Jo says:

      Generalised dissing of websites again June. Aaaaargh……

  • Margaux says:

    Hurrah for Charlotte ! She sounds fabulous – a veritable Dolly Levi! Can you loan her out when she’s found you your husband to be, P ? I’m looking forward to your reports!

    June – you know, the more you tell yourself that all men on dating sites are rubbish and that you’ll never meet anyone and that you are too old etc etc – the more it will become ( has become!) a self fulfilling prophecy. Sometimes the record in our heads get stuck. Sometimes it helps to ‘reframe’ the way one looks at life.

    On a bad day I can be as miserable as sin – mid 50s, one longterm relationship behind me, a couple of shortish relationships since that went pear shaped and I am wondering whether I will ever meet someone again.

    On a good day I know I can scrub up well, walk down the street looking fabulous and conquer the world. I have my freedom and I have my friends, I can please myself without having to compromise and anything is possible.

    So I am saying this with a lot of care and concern – reframe the way you look at your life . If you can’t change a situation – change your response, then things will start to change. Trust me – it’s worth a try.

    Plankton – I bet you never thought you’d be starting a therapy group for us all when you started this blog! 😉

    • The Plankton says:

      No, I have to admit it never occurred to me but, hey, bring it on! The more comments – the more helping each other – the better. Px

    • june says:

      Margaux you know it is therapy group you are right. I do think a lot of with me is i hate winter,i have always sufferred from SAD but when at work an d i lived with my dad i seemed to be able to overcome it, has anyone any experience of these light boxes do they work , now it seems really difficult.I do have quite good feelings about myself normally, im not in bad shape for my age, i get lonely, but i am lucky i do have good friends, one visited today, and another phoned me because i texted her i was down as i went in city and all i seemed to see was famililies and couples. I seem to have become worse since my dads death, i did adore my father, dont think any man ever measured up really, he was a nice man my dad, but since he died,i get these feelings of being so alone, being an only child and having no kids, no significant other,little family, only friends i sometimes feel i am all alone in the world and i feel i cant cope with it. I dont feel i am too old for men,they think i am, i only ever seem to get contacted by elderly men, which i am far too young for, or men 30 years younger from miles away. and i think we know what they after. The 50ish men i want seem to be very thin on the ground in this area anyway. As most of my female friends are in 40s and 50s i find this a bit hard to understand, thats the age i feel, and i am sorry but i just dont want over 70s.. .

      • Margaux says:

        I hear you June .I get the winter blues too. May I suggest 5-HTP ? It’s an amino acid that is a ‘natural’ anti-depressant. You can buy it in health food shops and I swear by it in winter. A real mood lifter. Google it and have a read – it’s perfectly safe and does work.

        You know – your thoughts are just that – thoughts , seperate of circumstance. We can change them and see things differently if we choose. And I say that as someone whose circumstances are identical to yours. ( Only child, parents gone, no kids, little family). Happiness is not ‘out there’ – it’s a state of mind first. I choose not to think that ‘It’s just me in the world’ . Works for me! So – have a go at choosing to think differently . See how it feels?

      • fi says:

        Have you thought about seeing a doctor about your depression or a psychologist about your self esteem issues?

  • Caz says:

    Plankton – thank you for your blog today! I had nothing much planned but after reading it checked out website of a local art group and went to a fabulous talk and demo this pm. Met lots of new people of both sexes and have another day planned painting as a result with a very enthusiastic artist.
    Such an enjoyable and stimulating afternoon.
    ps….agree with Margaux about therapy group – a very happy side effect of your blog. I believe you attract what you want from life…”if you always do what you always did you’ll always get what you always got” ( with apologies to your literary sensibilities)

  • Sarah says:

    Hurrah for Charlotte! What fabulous friends you have – so kind, caring and proactive. With them all on the warpath for you, I can’t imagine you’ll stay a plankton for much longer. In fact, watch out appropriately-aged etc male population, here comes Charlotte, Janey, and BF, and they’ve got their sights on YOU!

    Eenie meeni miney moe…

  • MissBates says:

    We could all use a Charlotte in our lives! How lovely that she wants to help you find happiness similar to her own, instead of retreating safely into “couple-dom” and closing the door.

  • Chris says:

    Plankton…..good luck with your quest. But has it occurred to you that you are engaged in classic female behaviour, chasing the Alpha male. Long shot must be the Alpha male as he had so many voracious plankton circling him in predatory fashion, though a plankton being predatory sounds a bit of a misnomer. To paraphrase yourself, he must be a veritable fucking blue whale of a guy ( whale …plankton…oh, never mind ). In pinning your hopes on Charlotte you are kind of implying you are chasing the Alpha male type. Nothing wrong with that but these guys are aware of their erotic capital and rarely make reliable marriage material. Why is it that women always think thy can be ‘ the one ‘ for this kind of guy. Invariably they usually end up being ‘ the other one ‘…sometimes twice removed !!!

    • fi says:

      I can’t get my head round this idea that men will end up with the most determined women so in the face of a lack of interest you should just keeping trying, coming up with more and more devious schemes to corner one. Including keeping other women away, Getting In First and then hanging on by your fingernails . Whether or not you know him (you don’t by the way) some women set their sights on one they’ve decided fits their criteria, and he doesn’t appear to have any choice in the matter. It doesn’t seem to be about spotting someone and getting to know him better and seeing if you make a good match. I feel sorry for these blokes who have been targeted, endowed with qualities they may or may not have, and hunted. And most of the time the man on the receiving end of this treatment doesn’t realise this is what’s going on. I bet the women aren’t even honest with them about what they want and pretend to be whatever they think the bloke wants. Then it all ends in tears.

      • fi says:

        God what do I know? Maybe I am a bloke. I certainly seem to think very differently from most of the other women here. Maybe its me that’s abnormal.

  • rosie says:

    Or maybe you just need to lighten up a little bit, fi.

    As for the married versus divorced issue, I just lie as someone pitying me makes me want to scream and shout and punch them.

    The predatory females… there are herds of them out there, and not just plankton. Lucky is the man who finds himself the only male in a room full of women. As long as he doesn’t stink or have breath that can blow you a way at 10 paces, he’ll be batting them off. I remember at some work function long ago, sitting round a table having a pleasant enough chat with about five or six women when a bloke swaggers up – middle-aged and no looker – parks himself uninvited on the only available chair, spreads his legs and folds his arms across his chest, ready to hold court. As one, the women turned to him, twittering, flattering and cooing and generally behaving – or so I thought – like simpering idiots. I’ve no idea whether any of these women were married or with partners but they certainly seemed desperate for his attention.

    Which brings me to the remark an ex boyfriend (I wasn’t going out with him at the time or I’d have been tempted to tip a pint over his head) once made: that women in their 30s were so ‘grateful’. I told him he was talking nonsense of course but, very depressingly, think there’s more than a smidgen of truth in it. I mean, the number of words that have been written for and about women who can’t find a man would stretch round the world and back. And then you get one book, The Game, written as a pick up guide for for inadequate men, which, guess what, teaches them to treat women like shit. And it works! Apparently. Makes me want to weep.

    But, yes, Charlotte does sound an ace friend to have. Most of mine, even the ones who were single themselves for years and hated it, have fecked off to the point I can’t really call them friends anymore. And before anyone accuses me of moaning or in need of a therapist, yes I’ve got myself out there and made other friends. Something I never thought I’d have to do in my early forties but there you go.

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear Rosie, I have to take issue with being referred to as “predatory”. If I am predatory, when all I do is make an effort to “get out there” and go in for a little gentle (but entirely necessary if inconclusive) “spinning” as I call it, then we have a departure of the ways when it comes to the definition of the word. I could – but won’t, in fact – give you some tales of proper predatory, the way I define it, and you’d have to lie down for the horror of it! Best Px

  • rosie says:

    Plankton, we’re at cross purposes, I didn’t mean you, it was in reference to Chris’ comment about women chasing alpha males – which in my experience includes anything with a pulse and a penis – including the ones who used to come on to my ex when I was with him, even after I’d told them I was with him. Not you, you sound like the complete opposite of predatory!

    Talking of the sex-on-legs ex (who has tried but failed to get back in touch with me numerous times since he dumped me) has anyone got any tips on how to stop looking at his Facebook updates? I know I shouldn’t but I’m not a saint and as I obviously have no life of my own have been dipping in and out over these last couple of years. Which was fine until the bastard recently changed his status to public, meaning I can see in glorious technicolour that he now has a girlfriend very much younger than me. Feel like sabotaging it, oh god.

    • The Plankton says:

      I apologise. misunderstanding. Thanks for clearing that up and not thinking of me as predatory! (In fact, I could probably do with being a bit predatory. Might even get me somewhere?!) px

  • rosie says:

    Same here!

  • fi0na says:

    Why have the men stopped commenting?

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