Not Counting My Chickens

November 9, 2011 § 17 Comments

Thanks to everyone for your enormously optimistic and supportive comments re yesterday’s post about Smidgen but I hasten to say I don’t think my date with him next week, though something I am much looking forward to, signals the death of this blog quite yet!

It was really about my shifting perspective from what I have always thought I was after, to what I could be after anew.  There is still a certain amount of shifting to be done in as much as habits of a life-time (ie. fancying edgy, talented charmers) do not disintegrate  overnight.

I might have told you this story before but I can’t quite remember and it’s relevant here.  Years ago, I had a friend who went out with someone called Nat who was not a writer but was a man of some repute in the literary world.  He was charming and brilliant and handsome and a heroine addict.  She was insanely in love with him but he was a shit of sewage proportions.  They were together for five or six years then broke up.  She was beside herself but in time started going out with an intelligent, down-to-earth, dependable fellow in film.  She took me to meet him in a cafe off the All Saints Road.  Afterwards we talked about him.  I asked her if she was in love with him.

“He doesn’t make me feel sick,” she replied wistfully.  “Nat used to make me feel sick.”

I suppose that that is a yardstick which many a headstrong woman has craved in her twenties. (Can someone crave a yardstick?  Don’t see why not).  I knew what she meant and could identify with it completely, but I do remember it struck me even at the time as a misplaced yearning and not the root to enduring happiness.

A woman in her forties – a plankton – still harbours the vestiges of such cravings, but they are overlaid by prosaic pragmatism and common sense, which are dull but necessary at our age.  The cravings also give way to the rather more romantic budging of priorities and definite delight in all things non-nausea-inducing; a deepening respect for and joy in those qualities which, during the callow years, one dismissed, with characteristic disdain, as staid.

Smidgen doesn’t make me feel sick.

But thank God for that.  The stomach didn’t go flip in the early meetings and there were mixed-message set-backs which didn’t help the cause back then, but I have been meeting up with him for a year or two now, and we have been getting to know each other.  And seeing and thinking about him this past couple of weeks or so, I have definitely experienced the odd twang inside me, like someone pulling an elastic band taut, then letting it go.  These sensations have come upon me gradually and are unexpected to say the least.

But it is still early days.  I am in a process, and who knows what might or might not happen?  I love the fact that some of you are counting my chickens for me, but I am afraid Long Shot and unknown possibilities still linger menacingly in the recesses of the coop.  I am sure, though, in time I will have the courage and wit to wring their metaphorical necks.

Let’s just see how it goes next week, eh?

For all I know, I might have got it so wrong that Smidgen would rather truss himself up with string and roast himself before having anything further to do with me?


§ 17 Responses to Not Counting My Chickens

  • Elle says:

    Whenever I am lucky enough to go on a date I ask myself “Could I grow to like this man in time?” We planktons should be grateful if a reasonable man show an interest in us and not look for the impossible – ie explosive chemistry and spiralling fireworks. So if Smidgen seems like a reasonable sort of man and continues to show interest give him a chance. You may grow to like him in time.

    • Jane says:

      Whaaaaaat? ‘be grateful’ I don’t bloody think so! what sort of relationship is going to develop where one half feels grateful to have been picked up dusted off and taken out for a spin. NO,NO,NO!

      • MissBates says:

        As galling as it is, that’s what it’s come to, Jane: gratitude. Hey, I think I’m terrific, smart, sexy blahblahblah and anyone would be lucky to have me blahblahblah. (No “self-esteem issues” here, as much as I loathe that overused psychobabble term.) However, no one ELSE thinks I’m any of those things — or more to the point, no available, age-appropriate heterosexual men think so. So, as much as I hate to say it, YES, I would be “grateful” if someone recognized attractive qualities in me. “Stunned” would perhaps be more like it at this point, but certainly grateful as well.

        Mind you, I’d be mighty careful to conceal the gratitude — LOL! No clingy doormat behavior for me, because it wouldn’t do for said mythical available age-appropriate heterosexual man to get the idea that I’m so grateful I’d tolerate being treated shabbily.

      • Elle says:

        What’s wrong with gratitude? I have always been grateful if a reasonable man (or in younger days, boy) showed an interest in me. Maybe it dates back to my teenage years when I was the classic overlooked ugly duckling. I think a relationship can develop from this if you grow to like the man and you have shared interests. Also it’s nice to thank somebody who’s asked out out at the end of an evening unless they’ve been a total pig.

  • Anne x says:

    Dear Plankton, I read your blog with mixed feelings today. While I remember so acutely the addiction to such passions that it was ‘sick inducing’, and I thought I would die when the relationships ended, having lived inside a 25 year marriage even with more than its fair share of ups and downs, I now feel sick at the thought of ever having to feel ‘sick’ like that again. There are sometimes surprises to be found in a steady man. Good luck.

  • Erin says:

    Not counting chickens but keeping fingers crossed, and watching your personal growth : ) You know deep down (as you’ve said) that LS would be the emotional rollercoaster (he already is!) to hell. You don’t want that. Nobody wants that. The sickness, palpitations and fireworks are the stuff of romance novels, not real life. Do you really want the stress of a selfish immature man in your 40s? Nope.

  • Barry says:

    I guess we all think we are at times “Great” and at times “Shit” . I constantly tell my Wife she is “Great” and she struggles to believe me . Then …BOOM, she tells me she loves me, and the sun shines . We are very manic-depressive in’s full bore or under the duvet…our secret, its not both together…so one helps the other, and we TALK, even the bad stuff , I’m totally in Mills and Boon Love and she is …Her .. …and it works, so why not in reverse? …..I ask nothing and get everything..
    Short version …it’s give and take (He gave me a black eye, and took my orange) sorry !

    You are halfway there I feel…..I’m on the edge of my seat

  • Steve says:

    Nat was a “heroine” addict. Which one in particular- Margaret Thatcher? Liz Hurley? Or was he “addicted” to all the Mills and Boon heroines? ;))

    Just caught up with the blog after a while away from it and am pleased to hear that you are experiencing the odd “twang” with Smidgen. I think(especially in your 40’s ) that the gradual deepening of feelings is a much better guide to long term happiness than any other.

  • Caz says:

    There is a lot of sense in what you say today…..4 yrs ago I met a man, totally unsuitable, but had all the symptoms – feeling sick, excited etc etc. The highs and lows were incredible…… and awful. Yes – go there if you are a teenager and thrive on all the angst but to be honest my best advice was from a good friend who said “just take good care of your heart”.
    Wise words.
    I now know a very decent, kind guy. it’s great to see him. I am not glued to my laptop at all hours waiting for an elusive e-mail – I am not on a roller coaster of emotions. I have a calm contentment which is lovely.
    Just see where you go with Smidgen – no need to make a decision. Enjoy it for what it is. Love, friendship and companionship are not necessarily a coup de foudre and can grow gradually.
    I know which I prefer!

  • EmGee says:

    I have an LS in my life too, albeit an LS who emails almost daily (although I don’t expect that to go on forever). But a relationship with someone who is hardly ever around is hardly satisfactory no matter how strong the feelings. Someone who is around, who may take awhile to attach himself to your heart strings is a far more likely companion.

  • Geoffrey says:

    I am a bit surprised that you make no mention of shared interests. I couldn’t imagine going for someone who did not share my musical passion – for me that is far more important than whether my heart goes flip.

    As I think you are coming to accept – the choice between LS and Smidgen is being judged on the wrong criteria. In middle age one cannot weigh things up in the same scales as one did at 25.

  • Jo says:

    I think you may quietly, steadily be on to a winner here.
    It feels right in all the ways that matter. And the odd twang too..
    Quietly optimistic for you. Take it a moment at a time. More importantly, enjoy it a moment at a time. Don’t make it into a ‘story’. (Just yet.).
    Good luck P.

  • RS says:

    This isn’t really relative to this particular post but has some relevance to this blog. It’s a piece on Jezebel about the reasons why men want to date younger women. The article’s interesting but the comments are also fascinating, as the average age of Jezebel readers would likely be mid-to-late 20s (although there are plenty of high schoolers and 40+ Jezzies as well). Lots and lots of stories about girls in their 20s being hit on by men over 40 (especially those who internet date).

    Plenty of food for thought there and I thought Plankton and her readers might want to have a read. Really though, some men would do well to have a look and take heed as to what the (younger) objects of their affections actually think about them!

    • Lydia says:

      Yes, these older men might try to get women in their 20s but many don’t manage it. Plenty are fat and bald and don’t have much of a career and some even can hardly get it up. I know my daughters (20s) would not be interested nor any of their friends full stop.

      That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work sometimes but as the article shows it’s not easy for these men if they go for younger men. Some settle on girls with no careers and low IQs who look good as that ticks some of their boxes.

      I don’t think there’s a huge gender difference. I’m emailing someone who is so young he won’t give his age. I don’t discount him,. Younger men can look good. Some are very clever and they tend not to have the plankton characteristics of permantn despond and life is not like it used to be. They can also climb stairs without their artificial knees giving up and tend not to have erection problems. However I prefer someone my age, early 40s with children can be good too although then the children can still be at home (one had a baby recently after they’d split up) which can make it harder. Pros and cons at all ages. But all good fun.

    • EmGee says:

      Thanks for the link RS. I think both sexes find young people more attractive, but we have different base instincts, and even that varies from individual to individual. In my 20s I was with a man in his 40s for a few years, and over 25 years on, we are still friends and he can boast that he still wears the same size clothes as in high school.

    • Joules says:

      Thanks for this – I had seen it as well though signficantly older than the supposed average age of Jezebel readers. Thought it was most amusing in an ironic sort of way.

  • Lindy says:

    I’m not sure what’s wrong with a bit of gratitude either. At the risk of sounding prissy – and if you met me, you’d certainly know I’m so NOT within nano-seconds!! – I try to practise gratitude as a general rule of thumb, by which I mean that I think remembering to feel it is the way to contentment with one’s lot. I fail an awful lot of the time, but I’m confident that it’s a good thing to aim for. I’ve been a Plankton too and, believe me, am more grateful than I can say that I have met the man of my dreams in my fifties. Lucky, lucky me! (and perhaps he’s a tad grateful too?!!)

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