Exploration of my “Type”

November 8, 2011 § 27 Comments

NOT from yesterday’s Times (my column had to make space for something else but is back next Monday), so just one of my usual kind of thoughts for the day:-

I had a fourth date with Smidgen.  He was lovely.  We talked and laughed and spent a good three hours together.

It’s a strange thing.  I never thought I had a “type”, because I always thought having a type was for unimaginative people who couldn’t and didn’t want to see beyond their own prescriptive “tall and dark” or “rich and thick” or “charming shit” or whatever combo happened to ring their bell.  But then I became a plankton and I came across a certain amount of men whom I very much know are definitely NOT my type, and one or two elusive ones whom I do fancy and so I suppose who are.  So now that push has very manifestly come to shove, I suppose I must reluctantly admit I do have a type.  And Smidgen is not it.

OK, so I am now going to plumb the depths of my staggering shallowness and admit that, with hindsight, I can now see that the “type” I have always gone for has been, in no particular order: glamourous, talented, good-looking, intelligent, charming, funny, warm, Bohemian, unconventional, vaguely artistic.  As for kindness, fidelity, honesty, loyalty, generosity of spirit etc., of course I liked those but saw them, always, more as an addendum to the top qualities, a bonus if you will, rather than completely fucking crucial.  (How deluded can Youth – I – have been?)   The first lot were – are? – the top qualities which for me, if I have ever been able to find them under one roof as it were, have added up to irresistible.  Other qualities which tickle some women – status and power, for example, and vast wealth (though, as you know, I have come to see the joy of solvent as I have grown older; though even solvent never remotely featured in the past) – leave me completely and wholly indifferent.  Power?  Some ego-centric, narcisscist wanking on?  Nah!  Not for me.  Go so far as to say, sometimes an actual turn-off.

But I had some rip-roaring flings and a handful of wonderful longer-term relationships (including marriage) with men of the top qualities listed above.  Long Shot is all of those things.  The trouble is, these qualities often, though by no means always, like to pair up with selfish, irresponsible, adventurous, intense, unreliable, neglectful and immature, among other less endearing ones.  When you are young, you make your choices and decide that the advantages of glamour and looks and so on outweigh the disadvantages.  I do not regret any of the associations – short or long – that I have experienced with men who encompass many of the top traits.  Unfortunately, the bad traits that almost invariably accompany those particular good ones – along with my own not inconsiderable list of short-comings – contributed to the fact that none of the relationships lasted, and partly explains my morphication into the original Plankton-to-end-all-planktons.   I know in my heart of hearts, if I were to get anything off the ground with Long Shot, the same would apply.  He has very much carved his own path all his life.  A man who has never settled down at nearly fifty, for all his engrossing qualities, can hardly be regarded by someone of my advanced years and uncertain wisdom, as a Safe Bet.

Smidgen, on the other hand, is another case entirely.  Of the top qualities listed, I think he would be the first not to lay claim to glamour and the looks of a Greek God.  He is not my physical “type” of old.  But he is the following in spades, again in no particular order: funny, charming, intelligent, unconventional (in a conventional sort of way), warm.  He is also, I am discovering, generous and kind and a good colleague to his colleagues, and a wonderful friend, and all those things transcend my former, more superficial considerations.  I do not deny that he, like LS, is also a bachelor d’un certain age (a smidgen younger than me, as it so happens.  What’s not to like?) but at least he has shown he can settle down and commit to something (ie. his job), the very same of which mightn’t be able to be said of LS.  I could almost say that Smidgen loves children and animals.  Well, the first is certainly true, and I couldn’t give a fig what he thinks about the second (we know my views on cats and dogs), though I have a hunch he’d be in favour.

Anyway, it must be that Smidgen is emerging at the forefront of my notion of a Good Thing because my mother emailed me this morning and told me that she thinks he “sounds the best of all my various suitors”.  (All?  My mother was never one to rein in it comes to the tempting business of exaggeration).  So I must have been giving off something to her for her to have concluded as much.  It seems, he might be becoming my new “type”, whilst LS is my enduring but maybe diminishing former one?  Even she, who was charmed into a stupor by LS, has her reservations about LS as a reliable prospect.

Anyway, this is all a very long-winded and round-about way of saying that Smidgen and I are at last meeting up next week in a manner which is given to a conclusion of one sort of another to our lengthy and protracted Phase 1 and I am already much looking forward to seeing him.  And if it doesn’t go the way I have been labouring under the illusion that it might, then that will be the end of the matter and there is unlikely to be a Phase 2.  If so, then I shall probably look back some years hence and think, you should have stopped faffing about with your absurd and reactionary notions of your “type”, and not been fazed by his mixed messages because, more fool you, he was a gift-horse staring you in the fucking face and you let him – a very good one – go.

I’ll let you know.


§ 27 Responses to Exploration of my “Type”

  • Elle says:

    Poor Smidgin. Well, don’t complain when you see him next month with a hottie in her late 20s or early 30s! That’s well within the bounds of possibility these days.

  • Is “Smidgen” a Capricorn? Are you a sagittarius?

    I suppose people stopped using those a pick- up lines sometime back in the 1970’s…

    • Jane says:

      If he is a Capricorn P. will be quids in. All the perceptions of Capricorns being a teensy bit on the dull side and oh so very dependable (and not in a good way) aren’t strictly true, we have hidden depths you know, whilst being just the sort you can count on. Not that you’ve touched a nerve or anything

    • The Plankton says:

      Sorry, Scott, I fucking hate horoscopes and will have nothing to do with them. Load of bollocks. I just about know what sign I am, but have no idea of those of a single member of my family (incl. my children) or anyone I know. Sorry, if I was interested enough, I would hold horoscopes in complete contempt. Best, P

    • This was intended as a joke (funny, giggle, smirk, hah- hah, smile etc); I was playing on the astronomy reference in the name of the dating agency which you could not remember from your blog post from yesterday 11/07…

    • … as in the sleazy sounding dating agency described on Mon. 11/07, leading to sleazy sounding pick- up lines…

    • Nobody of any intelligence has taken astrology seriously since the end of the 16th century, as far as I know…

  • Erin says:

    Oh yay – am doing the happy dance for you! You are thinking outside your box and breaking free of the “type” prison that leads to the same disappointing conclusion time after time. This is a huge step that some women can never accomplish!

    So going forward, please P, no reservations, no niggling little LS voice in your head, no thoughts of he’s not my type, no holding back (which may have contributed a little to his mixed messages, eh?) – think lovely man, would be good to me, great with my kids, makes me laugh (so important!) – take a deep breath, let down the walls and give the man a chance to move on to the next level. There are no guarantees that it will become what you want, but if it doesn’t, at least you gave it your all and will have no regrets. And if it does work out, you will have gotten everything you wished and longed for, and farewell to planktonhood, don’t let the door hit it on the way out. Am excited to hear the next installment in the Smidgen story and although I love your blog, would be so happy if there were no reason for it to exist.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you for your touching vicarious pleasure in what is, as yet, still nebulous. I am at the foothills only, and may discover next week that all my thoughts were so misplaced as to be risible. But I don’t THINK so? Best, Px

      • Bambi says:

        Oh, I suspect that you are just trying to break it to us gently, Plankton….
        The least you can do is invite all your loyal followers to the party (wedding???!!!!)….

        But I do wish you well. Whatever the outcome, either way, it is a sign of LIFE, which has to be a good thing!

        Bon chance next week 🙂

  • Well you know my thoughts P. Glad it went well and you are open minded enough to see how it may develop. ‘Lodger’ and I still going strong. He was so not my ‘type,’ it he hadn’t actually moved in then he would have sailed right on by and I wouldn’t have had a clue what I was missing! It would have been my loss indeed.

    He worries that I might revert to my ‘type,’ but I’m old and wise enough (as you are too, my dear) to realise that my type never made me happy and I don’t want to go back to pain and humiliation, thx v much. We have a peace and a joy together that I have only ever previously expected on and intellectual level and been left wanting in reality. His humour, kindness and warmth won me over quite quickly really, once given the room. And he wasn’t even trying to win me over, it just happened. Both ways.

    If this man is decent and kind and warm and funny and surprises you, he might do so in other ways. It’s so different when you’re older. My man has grey hair. I can’t believe he’s 50 because I can’t accept I’m 47, but he surprises and impresses me every day, particularly where it matters, just chatting and the intimacy just grows. Smidgen might be the best thing that ever happens to you all. I do hope so. X

    • The Plankton says:

      I remember your fine story from a while back and, well, it is certainly heartening. Thank you for your kind support. Best, Px

    • Elle says:

      Your man of 50 has grey hair? Consider yourself lucky he HAS hair. Most men in Ireland start losing theirs in their late 20s/early 30s. Those who retain their hair start going grey around that age and are often completely grey by 35. A man in his 40s who has his natural hair colour is either a genetic anomaly or should have shares in L’Oreal.

  • DAN says:




  • rosie says:

    Well done, it sounds like a goer. Enough of the witty, charming, bohemian types who leave a trail of heartache and destruction wherever they may tread. If there is a god (and I don’t think there is) they will end up lonely old men scavenging from bins with no one to talk to but themselves.

    As for my own future I envisage me standing on street corners wrapped in a wee-stained duvet while shouting obscenities at passersby and/or an asylum.

    And I must admit to being a wee bit jealous when I don’t even know who you are, Plankton. Hope that doesn’t sound too insane!

  • june says:

    Well good on you plankton, glad to hear things looking up for you.

    I agree about this type thing, i dont know if i really ever had a type, i was just too damm fussy, hence my long term single status. Even my dear mum used to tell me i wanted mr perfect, and he wouldnt come along, and she was right. Now however very few come along at all, if they do they defintely not my type. You see i think of myself as about 50, i know im not, god i have a bus pass, but i dont feel like i have a bus pass, or im told look it and unfortunately 50 ish men dont want me, they want women in 40s. I simply cannot see myself with a man of my age,they all seem so old to me and older well i cant comprehend that, i know people will tell me not to be so superficial but it isnt really looks so much as attitude and men over 60, really most of them, well ones ive met,seem to have such old attitudes, we just dont seem on same wavelengh, its like we on different planets i just cant picture myself having a relationship with one. i do have some female freinds of my age and older as well as many younger ones, but like me these women dress youthfully, and have a younger outlook on life you rarely seem to find in men,perhaps thats why one of the highest divorce rates i read now is the over 60s and women instigate them guess women feel this way about their husbands!

    • Elle says:

      50ish men don’t want women in their 40s, they want women in their 30s. Even at 39 they overlook me. June, no matter how fit, healthy and youthful you are for your age you must be realistic. Give the men in their 60s a chance, many of them can be very fit and healthy. I know one 60 something who is going travelling for the winter months – he spends his summers working on his boat when he isn’t slogging to earn a crust. Hell, if he wasn’t so popular I’d nearly fancy him myself!

      • june says:

        My god Elle men in 50s dont want a 39 year old what the fuck do they want , why the hell ;would a 30 year old want them. Do men all have such big egos they believe young women will fancy them and dont they realise how silly it makes them look. But do know its sadly true. Ive a friend in 40s, very attractive,.who has patched up her relationshi[p which is far from perfect , as she knows how hard the dating scene would be , even for her.

        I am sorry you must know a lot ,more attractive eligble 60 plus men than me, cause i havent met any, most on the dating websites look grose and are ,the few i have risked going out with have been pretty grim, overweight, old looking and with very old fashioned ideas about women. Also i see them around my city,with their wives,lots of whom are still attractive, well groomed women, but the husbands, god, no thanks,if thats all i can hope for ill remain a plankton. I have been winked at twice and sent a message by a 75 year old in poor health, whose wife left him because she couldnt cope, i have now blocked him from contacting me. Do you really think i as a youthful fit, active woman would want that, i dont want to be a bloody nursemaid. i guess planktoness permanently beckons.

  • Lydia says:

    I don’t agree with thegeneral congratulations. The bottom line is if you don’t fancy them then it’s never going to work.

    I accept some women only are attracted tomen who will never commit to them or will abuse them etc and they should step back and see the pattern but we’re not talking about this here. Some are far too fussy and that’s an issue people have to address. However if after 4 date he isn’t making you wet between the legs then why lead him on – unless you need a man for the chat, for babies or money?

    He won’t be meeting you 4 times unless he’s getting erect thinking about you. No reason why women should settle for less than men do unless of course we think women need men to keep them and are a type of chattel who are not self sufficient. If that be so then it’s a different ball game.

    Of course lust can grow which is why it’s worth trying a few dates. If you read the Times social column on Saturdays there is a column about 2 couples who are getting married and announcing it in the Times as I’m sure several of us will have done. Some didn’t even like each other on first meeting so persist but I would think after 4 dates if you can’twait to rip the clothes from his body you might as well sit at home knitting.

    • Elle says:

      “He won’t be meeting you 4 times unless he’s getting erect thinking about you.” I love that statement Lydia! Now tell me this, where does one meet a man over 45 who is physically capable of such a thing? Perhaps it’s different in the UK to Ireland but from my observations UK men and Irish men drink similar amounts of alcohol. Thankfully other nationalities aren’t affected so badly. Or maybe the locals just don’t fancy me.

      I compare men’s appendages to biscuits, if you dip them in too much liquid (ie alcohol) for long enough they disintegrate into nothing.

      • Lydia says:

        Men over 45 can get erections. I don’t want to sully Plankton’s column but I am sure most of us would agree (or get a man younger if you want – I have a 28 year old writing although gosh I can’t really see how that would work but we’ll see and I don’t mean work in the physical sense; I expect he’s in full working order but like most people I want more than that).

        It’s more often the other way round – man over 45 thinks about sex all the time. Woman over 45 thinks about her knitting or shopping.

        [Note to self avoid irish men… I don’t drink actually so I suppose a hardened drinker is going to think I’m as dull as ditchwater and steer clear. Although I have tended to attract men who even have wine cellars which must be very disppointing for them as they want someone they can drink them with]

  • We await the next instalment with interest ………if it happens…WTF will you write about for us ? Hope it does happen x

    • EmGee says:

      For once I agree with Lydia, and I’ll stick to type.

      Although I must admit it is probably because I had a nice interlude this weekend with a man of my type, with whisperings of more to come. The only drawback, and it is a big one -is that he is not only an out of towner, he lives in a different state, and is often either out of the country or on the road.

      If nothing else fresh munition to spin on for awhile 🙂

  • Margaux says:

    My first selfish thought was : “oh….. if it all ends happily ever after with Smidgen then Plankton will stop writing her blog'” 😦

    Delighted for you, P! honestly ! – and hopefully you will report back. Watch out for mixed messages though!

    I share Lydia’s slight concern that maybe you don’t actually fancy him much….. in my experience you can never manufacture these things . Either they razz up your hormones or they don’t – and you pretty much know that early on. Crunch time will be when you have to get your kit off I guess 😉

  • MissBates says:

    I have always had the suspicion that LongShot would treat you shabbily, and that the main attraction is that it would be exciting, for a time, to be known to the world as “LongShot’s girlfriend,” whereas the reality behind closed doors might be, well, not so great.

    As for Smidgen, he has always seemed a better bet to me, so I do hope there is some spark that can be flamed to life. Who knows — perhaps you will find him to be a dynamo in the sack. Wouldn’t THAT be a pleasant surprise for a plankton?

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