Between A Rock and A Hard Place

November 27, 2011 § 39 Comments

We plankton plumply (in my case – well, I feel it today, as I ate too much tiramisu last night) reside between a rock and a hard place.  We are damned if we do, we are damned if we don’t.  I am sure I can think of any number of other cliches (I still haven’t got to grips with that bloody accent on my gorgeous Mac, despite all your kind and helpful instructions some weeks back; apologies) which basically say we are fucked.

If we ring a man we like, he invariably runs a bloody marathon of miles into the ether; if we don’t, we never hear Jack Shit from him, because he is either too weighed down with baggage, or too chicken or too dysfunctional or too lazy or too uninterested or too indifferent to take the initiative himself.  It  can be more than bleeding depressing.

List-maker that I am, I have somewhere a piece of green paper charting the not entirely modest number of notches I have clocked up on the proverbial bed post over the years (I wrote about this in some early post, I forget which).  I compiled the aide-memoir, obviously, because I didn’t want to forget any of them.  Well, that’s not entirely true: some of them were eminently forgettable and others don’t deserve to be remembered, but it is a sport of sorts to look back upon the somewhat, um, variable list, and give a wry nod to nostalgia.  Anyway, I now have a new piece of paper with a slightly different agenda.  It has a list comprising all the men, post-divorce, who have hoved (is that the word?) into view in one form or another – and all buggered off out of view again, for one reason or another.  This whole blog in a nutshell, and in no particular order and doubtless omitting one or two, is contained below and speaks not volumes but megabytes:-

E-mailing Man

Flowery-shirt Man

Circus Man

Lachrymose-at-dinner-but-with-Fireworks Man


Striped Shirt Married Man

Kidnap Negotiator

Poppy Seed


Long Shot

(Who knows how many more will be added to this redundant list over the next few months, if I am lucky enough to meet any other men, in order just to be toyed with, overlooked, or rejected by them?)

I started this blog saying There Are No Men, a statement which the above list might seem to belie.  But of course, it doesn’t, and I still stand by original statement, with knobs on.  This current list is a perfect reflection of the fact that TANM, because not one of the above has come up trumps so as far happy outcomes and myself are concerned, so in some ways they might as well not have ever existed for me.  They have spelled nothing but dashed hopes and disappointment.  As I said at the outset, back in July, any men that are, apparently, “available” are indeed married (Stripey shirt); still in love with their late or ex-wives (Flowery-shirt, Circus, Snowman, Lacrymose); SFAR (Emailing; Kidnap N; Smidgen; and, though I hesitate to say it, perhaps LS?); or an unfortunate combination of the above.

The ones who have fancied me have been no good because, although they have contacted me and made sweet declarations, (Striped shirt; PS; KN; and the odd other) or might fancy me and have gone in for mixed messages (Smidgen), I have either not fancied them or have not been sure they fancy me, or in Stripey’s case were not available in my book in the first place.  I am not in the business of only fancying men who clearly don’t fancy me, I promise, (though I do know that that is some women’s thing; I have more than my fair share of traits but that doesn’t happen to be one of them).  Yet of the ones whom I have fancied and, blow me down, have shown signs of fancying me (Snowman, Smidgen, Circus, Lacrymose, Flowery shirt, Emailing and, even, dare I say it though presumably tempting Fate to do so, despite the fact She has been doing quite nothing for me on the romantic front of late: Long Shot), I have had a spate of bad luck which would seem beyond unjust.  These men have asked for my contact details, indeed been in touch, to great internal fanfare on my part… and then… fuck all.  I mean, what the fuck is that about?  When I know I have behaved impeccably and responded with just the right amount of friendliness yet not too much etc etc etc.  In some cases, I haven’t even had the chance to respond well or badly, pushily or coolly, rightly or wrongly, because they’ve asked for my number/email, then never followed it up (Lacrymose, Circus, LS).  Don’t fuck with the heads of vulnerable plankton if you don’t intend to follow up on your kind attentions, that’s what I say.

Anyway, the rock is that I cannot contact them overtly because I am old fashioned and that will just make matters worse and they’ll say, “Who?” or “Thanks but no thanks” or “What? YOU?  Are you on drugs to think that I would be interested in you?”, and the humiliation will be worse than simple neglect, it will be nuclear. And the hard place is that not giving a little prompt here or nudge there, means I never hear from them again and will be consigned to the plankton scrapheap till the pointlessly beating heart finally says fuck it once and for all and gives up the cobwebby ghost for ever.

Having said all this, there is nothing to stop me having conversations with Janey and BF to discuss the relative merits of them giving LS a little prompt here or there, which they will surely do, if we all think it is right, because they along with imaginative Charlotte and supportive Mrs Standard Bearer, are the greatest Plankton champions any plankton has the right to have.

There again, from where I am sitting, it does slightly feel as though I am one of those stand-alone penguins in Frozen Planet who has had the misfortune to become parted from the rest of the flock all huddling together in a rock concert crowd against the 130mph freezing winds, and who is alone, exposed, between the hostile snow-tossed mountain and the contemptuous iceberg.  The difference is, and I don’t know what’s worse, I am so inedible, obv, I don’t even fucking have a polar predator coming after me.


§ 39 Responses to Between A Rock and A Hard Place

  • Elle says:

    Genius! You sum up the female plankton dilemma so well. Without meaning to be offensive, all the good men who contribute to this blog fall into one of the categories so well described above by Plankton.

    • Steve says:

      Dear Elle,

      No, we don’t.

      • Geoffrey says:

        I agree with Steve. This blog benefits from male comments, and this is offensive.

      • DAN says:


        DITTO !

        And sorry elle but not interested in 20, 30, 40, 50,60 year olds !

        I’m the magpie in all of this !

        No interest in casual or long term anymore . Been there done that !

        Better in my particular situation to be alone !

        That doese’nt mean anyone else has to be there or in the place where i am !

        Just a note here ,but just to let anyone know thats interested, it’s not just our age group that are having problems in relation to meeting there opposites and to anyone that has sky this very topic is being covered on a program on RTE 2 next thursday nite at 9.30 pm.

        It’s covering the very topic i wrote about previously in relation to our younger generation though !

        Could be interesting and maybe informative .


      • Elle says:

        That programme sounds interesting but I’ll be at a desperate and dateless event in Dublin city. Last I heard they were having trouble finding men for it but all the female places were full. Surprise surprise.

        I respect the wishes of any man or woman who wishes to be alone, but it really seems that more women than men want to meet someone. Constant disappointment can drive the strongest and most optimistic of us to abject loneliness and bitterness. Which of course is counterproductive, because the more bitter we get the more we drive people away.

        However, it seems like there are no men in this town who are interested in meeting women for anything other than a quick shag (if alcohol hasn’t shut down the equipment) so I’m not going to worry about whether I’m too bitter or not these days.

  • Joules says:

    Dear P
    Well if one thing stands out from the responses to your blog – you are not a lone penguin – there are guite a few of us huddling on the edge.

    Also – impressed by the fact that you have found 10 men that have “hoved” – I think I have noticed two in the three years since my relationship broke down and only one did I interact enough with to think there might be a possibility. So you are doing pretty good in that respect – that must increase the odds of SOMETHING happening sometime.

    Keep warm out there. Off to lunch with friends – never used to have the time when I had the other half – too busy working on allotment, cleaning house, and he would rather stay in and watch formula one than go out to lunch. And didn’t like it when I went without him. So counting the blessings.

  • fi says:

    I do love the frozen penguin comparison 😀

  • Barry says:

    A suicide Penquin , touched my heart …… At least to be stalked and eaten is better than to be alone …… until Spring arrives! And it always does…..’cos if perchance one Year it doesn’t, everyone is finished.
    So, find that Rock (of Ages), shelter out the storm , and await the Spring , it’s a Long Shot ,but worth waiting for x (Pun worked hard for)

  • Geoffrey says:

    Plankton – I am convinced you are India Knight – or look like her. I mean that as a compliment. Gx

  • Lynsey Roberts says:

    Hello again Plankton the first, from 51 yr old Plankton the millionth. Commented previously, still reading your posts since September (from Florida this time, my teen son and I will be stuck here due to no UK border control staff Wednesday strike day – for the indefinite future?)
    Still loving your prose and wit.

    On your plea today: “Don’t fuck with the heads of vulnerable plankton if you don’t intend to follow up on your kind attentions”…again, I know just what you’re talking about. I think the only antidote is to kind of switch off emotionally I KNOW THAT’S HARD. After my fleeting affair with the young Ukrainian doctor in Kiev (ref last comment, in determination NOT to be a middle aged single mum Plankton) – he fell SILENT after many months of “friendship”, your proverbial running millions of miles, so now given up on him ….
    But listen up British women, if you can save to get over here (US) they LOVE our accents!! Well, it’s a starting point anyway, and without being mean you can feel a tad slimmer over here too, definitely more attention than back home. My proud tale as a fellow plankton is that in a bar last week I was BOUGHT A DRINK by a none too unpleasant professional guy who said “Don’t worry, I’m NOT HITTING ON YOU – I just love your accent.” Wow, thought I!…..Hit away! Gave me his number “not hitting-syle” of course – probably married (yes, had stripey shirt too – is that the clue?)

  • MissBates says:

    I can only echo what Joules said above: I’m impressed that as many as ten “possibilities” have crossed your path in the last few months. Apparently you (and by “you” I mean “we”) need more like 100 such possibilities before one morphs into a reality. Alas, I haven’t even had a possibility in something appoaching a geologic age, unless one counts (and I don’t) the married colleague at the office who occasionally ventures a flirty comment, or the widowed father (age 74) of a childhood friend who stuck uncomfortably close throughout the Thanksgiving festivities at her home. (She always invites me to such family celebrations at which I am very popular with various married geezer uncles, the aforementioned widowed father, etc.)

    So, ten down, Plankton, ninety to go….

  • DAN says:

    sorry for sounding so repetitive here but i feel that no one is listening here to a view from the very gender of person that you and other female planktons are spinning about and are trying to attract !
    I have loads of male freinds and my advice is bassed on a culmination of all there views and experiences together, not just my own .
    Whats the old adage, ” birds of a feather flock together ” and all that !
    When us guys 80% that have already been seperated, divorced, cheated upon, are very slow to fall into that same trap again never mind just a relationship with a member of the opposite sex and in some instances actually avoid making contact with such people in case they get hurt again, or are demoralised and only have there confidence damaged even further by the thought of rejection !

    I’m talking here about the good type of guy, the guy that did nothing wrong, that stayed faithful, that was attentive, and yes in the majority of cases helped out with children, washing and cleaning, gave there wives their girly nite out together and stayed home to mind the kids, and weren’t gamblers or in the pub 7 nites a week.

    This is the type of guy that i go for a drink with every weekend (8 in total in my group alone )
    and we do all have good fun together but in a buddy type of way.
    We have huge banter, singing, discussions, craic etc..
    But it ends there.
    We’ll all go home to where ever it is at the end of the nite ON OUR OWN !

    Then thers the 20% of guys that i know that are also seperated , divorced, and they themselves either cheated (and would do so again by there own admission), have no jobs, in the pub most of the week,
    (which how they can manage this i dont know) watched every football game, never left their wives out, never looked after the kids or done anything around the house, and when there marriages were in trouble , and they were advised to change their ways only laughed and said
    ” you must be joking. I’m the boss in my house . She can go fuck herself, i have nothing anyway that she can take” !

    So here’s the thing !
    The 20% of guys mentioned had women swooning around them !
    Used every woman that they could find, roped them in and then dropped them like they were hot coals when they were finished with them, which was usually before the next weekend came around, so that they could go out and repeat the proccess all over again .

    What is the huge female attraction to this colin farrel type guy that women already know beforehand is going to be a dissaster and end in pain and yet go headlong into it ?

    Now back to 80 % guys who by there own admission would be very slow to enter a relationship of any kind with a female ( AND HERES THE PUNCHLINE ) unless they were 100% sure that they weren’t going to get fucked over again (there words not mine) and would need to know that they were genuine and honest about it, and not just messing around !
    (They said) If a woman let me knew that she was interested in me i would take a look definetly and see how things would go, but she’d have to let me know !
    So there you have both sides of the story.
    You have to decide which path to take .

    • Elle says:

      To paraphrase an Australian tourist board ad of a few years ago, to the 80% of good guys “where the bloody hell are you?”

    • MissM says:

      I guess the fact that these guys are actually making some effort to connect with women, even if it is for the most shallow an meaningless usage, might have something to do with why the 20% seem to attract so many women. You said yourself some of the 80% will “actually avoid making contact” which has to be the best way to guarantee being alone for the rest of your life. No wonder that some men have women swarming around them, since even making the tiniest effort is going to appear truly outstanding when all others are doing nothing at all.

      No wonder there are so few men, if the majority are all apparently so afraid of hurt to dare risk anything, in which case they will never gain anything either. Life is inherently risky and the only sure way to avoid risks is to avoid living life. Men can never hope to be even remotely sure a woman is genuine and honest if they are not game to interact with one in the first place. Not even on Doctor Who is there a sonic screwdriver like device that will let you remotely read a person’s innermost intentions before you meet them. Obviously it pays to employ some common sense, if there is a woman half your age showing interest I would guess that interest would drop when your bank balance does.

      You guys do not have a monopoly on being cheated on, or being bankrupted by, previous partners, it happens to women too. Women must truly be the stronger sex if they are able dust themselves off after these things, and get back out there in the hopes of better, when men can only crawl into a hole and give up.

      • Elle says:

        I agree, most men my age who are divorced or separated either seem to crawl into a hole and give up or chase younger women with one thing in mind. It takes a lot of strength to dust yourself off after rejection and go out there again knowing full well that as a woman of a certain age your hopes of finding sombody are diminishing. Meanwhile the men who would find it a lot easier to meet somebody with a fraction of the effort women make don’t bother.

        I’m feeling particularly down and lonely today. If only I was younger and prettier, or just had more time to get out there and meet people! By the end of a busy working week I’m too knackered to dress up, make up and put in a big effort. I’ve lost my “bounce” and it feels like I’ll never get it back again.

      • The Plankton says:

        I promise you you will! I so often feel the same, as you know, and somehow, God knows how, the “bounce” manages to come back. Good luck and keep in touch. Px

      • EmGee says:

        Oh <<>>!

        I’d wouldn’t be human if I didn’t admit I feel discouraged and not ‘enough’ sometimes. But don’t fool yourself into thinking you ‘have’ to dress up and put on make up. Just throw on something clean and go out for a coffee or tea or something. It may actually help if you aren’t ‘on parade’. It takes the pressure off looking ‘perfect’, and it’s a darn sight more comfortable!

        Frankly, unless they think you are dressing up for them, most men don’t care how much fuss we put into our ensembles! In fact, once they have to start waiting for us to ‘get dressed’, they let us know! (I know there is at least one exception to this rule though who lurks here!)

      • Elle says:

        EmGee, I live in a city where women in their 20s have difficulty finding someone, let alone the over 35s up. All these women are out there putting in their best effort for the few men that’s in it. If a woman isn’t on top form and fighting fit, so to speak, she hasn’t a chance. That applies to all events. Walking clubs here have about ten women to every one man. In Ireland the dating scene is really hard for women aged 30 and up. Competition is very stiff and a lot of men either aren’t bothered or prefer to get pissed.

      • EmGee says:

        Okay, I am marking Ireland off my list. Can’t believe it’s that bad – I mean, in a tragic sort of way. I think it would be the same if I lived in the rural midwestern US (I grew up there, good place to be from, far from).

  • june says:

    As ive said before plankton ive never had that many men chasing me ever, as i ive never been that good with men. I dont look like ugly betty,ive always been slim,my friends all think im witty chatty and have a big personality but ive never really scored with men, well my dad adored me,but hes about the only one. As ive said before ive got the right bits, they never seemed to work.

    Its hard to face up to being on your own, today out for a walk, i tripped, cut my nose,spent hour in NHS walk in centre. thought OMG noone to hold my hand, pour me a drink when i get home etc. My fellow plankton neighbour came and picked me up, my friend who doesent want to be a plankton, would have but she was involved in something for stepdaughters birthday, she told me should have phoned when happened and would have taken me to A&E, my other friend who lives outside city phoned me back straight away when got my voicemail,they all did, so am lucky to have such good friends, i know many dont even have that, a friendless plankton must be a sad case indeed.

    No permanent damage, only hurt the nose, and its bloody sore, as was wearing
    thick jeans, gloves etc, glad to say. Hope it heals before my big weekend in two weeks, nurse at drop in centre said might be a faint scar, thank god for laura mercier secret camouflage, a plankton does not need a scar on her nose, with nights out coming up.

  • maria says:

    I’d say you are doing pretty well, Mrs. P. The last time I was truly hit on, was three years ago by a bricklayer I had at home doing some reparations, as my house is quite old, but I love it; I was born here, all the furniture was done by my dear father, besides it’s in a lovely quiet place. Anyway, as I was saying, I was hit on by this repellent, smelly, sweaty old guy (he’s 70); I can’t tell how disgusted I was and slightly offended too. How could this old unattractive man think that I, a 46 year old woman(at the time), would be interested ( more have sex with) him, I’d sooner buy a vibrator or abstain from sex for the rest of my life. He began telling me that his wife didn’t want to have sex anymore, that he was still a very sexual man and had his needs. As he was telling me this, he would get so close to me that I could smell his foul breath and see a repugnant lust in his eyes, yuck! Men don’t have mirrors, do they? On top of that, he used to know my late mother and work for her too, he didn’t even respect her memory, the old bastard.
    And you know what? He’s married to a lovely woman, who thinks the world of him and waits on him hand and foot, how ungrateful is that?
    Besides the old bastard, I’ve had a few man checking me out and a guy at work, whom I can tell is interested, but he doesn’t seem to be the sanest of people and looks like a gorilla. And that’s it, so you see, you’re doing great.

    So, dear Mrs. P, don’t give up, keep on bloging, cause I do love your blog and so do all the lovely women and men that comment here.

    All the best,

    (again I apologise for the misspelling; as you know, I’m not a native speaker)

    • The Plankton says:

      A pleasure, Maria, and thank you. Px

    • MissM says:

      I love your posts Maria, and your writing is actually more competent than quite a few things that are written by people with English as their first language.

      I have had my own episodes of having old, unattractive men hit on me and I too was both disgusted and immensely offended. Your description of the episode is almost exactly the same, minus the lack of respect for your late mother. Not that I was singled out for the attention, I have noticed that these types just hit on any female who has the misfortune of coming within range. For some reason they seem to think having a certain piece of sexual equipment automatically makes them appealing to women.

      Someone really needs to let these guys know that women have a whole range of sex toys to choose from, and that the thought of celibacy forever is indeed far more appealing than having these lecherous creeps come anywhere near us. But I can only assume these men possess an ego of solid rock, and that rather then see their behaviour as unwanted and inappropriate, they conclude the women who turn them down must simply be horribly frigid.

      As for having any man my own age hit on me, not one. I still steadfastly refuse to purchase any cats. Though occasionally I think I should just go out and get 25 cats and a rocking chair and just get it over and done with.

      • maria says:

        Dear MissM, you’ve really made my day! Thank you very much for your kind words.

        PS: I do love cats and have lots in my backyard, they’re not actually mine but I love to feed and play with them.

      • Dawn says:

        They’re not just after one thing. They need their laundry done and their meals cooked, too :).

  • EmGee says:

    Again: Option+e, then hit “e” = clich. Or use the character palette up on menu bar between the clock and the audio control (variation on rock and hard place?)

    Anyhow, I think you are right – you need to be in social situations with these guys, not just casual contact via text, email, phone, etc.

    I mentioned last night at a dinner party that I am going to a documentary screening on Tuesday night with my version of ‘Nice-but-no-fireworks’, and ‘Married-but-no-matter-he-would-drive-me-bonkers-if-I-had-to-live-with-him’ and ‘Handsome-Young-Talented-but-not sticking-around-for-long’, were interested in tagging along. If they do, it will be quite a cortège. (I did a spellcheck on that one and Safari gave me the correct accented option) 🙂

  • EmGee says:

    One more time: Option+e, then hit “e” = cliché
    (hope it works)

  • anniebub says:

    It is, in fact, a postive that you have had interest, however fleeting, from ten different men, because it is clear that you are attractive enough to interest them in the first place. But the fact that none of them has followed through makes me wonder, as it has done before, whether there is not SOMETHING that can be done to encourage them a little more. That is very difficult, given your position on not taking the initiative. There must be a way of taking some sort of initiative that will not compromise you. I am sure this is the key. Any ideas anyone? I can’t think of any myself, except putting yourself somewhere that you are likely to bump into them. This would be easy, say, if it was a divorced Dad, in the school playground type arena, or on the touchline or wherever, when you could offer to share your thermos of coffee or something, or suggest they come round after the carol service, with others for a glass of mulled wine, and likewise if it was someone in the work arena, where you could bump into them naturally, but none of the ten you mention fall into that category I think? But is there any way some similar scenario could be dreamed up, given that we are heading into the festive season? I don’t know, I am thinking off the top of my head really, and with no experience in this at all to qualify me to make suggestions! xx

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear Anniebub, I really appreciate your suggestions, and thank you. You are as qualified as anyone to make them and I am taking them in. Believe me, I really am working on it as much as humanly but not-taking-the-initiative poss, and will keep you posted. Px

  • june says:

    Do you know something which has just struck me about many of us female planktons, we all seem to have lovely kind fathers. Is this significant do you think, do we not accept men who dont measure up to them. I was thinking today the 4 qualities my dear dad had in abundance, he was kind, generous,easy going and he actually liked women. I dont mean for sex,i mean as people,He wasnt pefect he was crap with money,my mum always paid bills,then i did, he would have had no idea how. But ive always lookedfor his qualities in men, and have never found them,and i can tell you on these dating websites, there are very few with such qualities. I am amazed how they talk to women they dont know,arrogant bastards, women, would never talk to men that way,i always try to be tactful with men,even the 25 stone one who contacted me.

    • Elle says:

      June, I most certainly do not have a lovely kind father. Indeed, he takes delight at telling me that no man wants me, that I’ll soon be “pushing 50” (I’m 39) and not to get married anyway because the man would only want me so he could divorce me and get 50% of my house.


      • june says:

        O dear Elle, sometimes when i hear about other peoples fathers i realise how lucky i was to have mine. My cousins father was horrible to her, beat her called her a slut if she wore make up, the hell she went through was dreadful.she isnt a plankton but has been married twice to completely useless men, but now has a very nice kind partner, but its taken her a lifetime. They do say your father is your first male relationship and how he acts affects your relationship with men.Friends havent had good relationships with their dads and i can see this has affected theirs, But maybe if your dad is too good to you,and i think mine was,that makes it harder to meet anyone as you,always compare men with him, even if only subconsiously. I think im getting into Freudian territory here, but i feel there is some truth in it.

  • Lizzie from Oz says:

    This is exactly where we are – between a rock and a hard place. But I sometimes wonder – is there too much emphasis put on ‘having a spark’? Do we really have to have a spark? Just wondering as I have a friend who did not feel any attraction whatsoever towards her last ‘fling’ but when she decided that she would ‘give him a go’ she got a pleasant surprise! In fact the sex-life was so good that she kept things going for longer than she expected (there were other issues which didn’t suit, so it was destined to take it’s own course). Food for thought?

    • EmGee says:

      I agree Lizzie, and that is one reason I prefer getting to know someone on a friends basis first; someone who may not throw hot sparks may warm you up over time, someone who seems irresistible at first, may soon show an unattractive side when his guard is down.

    • Elle says:

      I don’t look for a spark these days, a pulse will suffice!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Between A Rock and A Hard Place at The Plankton.


%d bloggers like this: