Plankton Pre-Christmas Survival Tips

December 8, 2011 § 75 Comments

I remember the build up to Christmas in my youth.  There were three or four parties a night for about a month and I used to chase round London like a wild thing (no, I wasn’t one of those brainless bloody It girls, I was just gregarious).  Working effectively during the day was a less certain business but the buzz  got me through.  Today, it is not quite so intense but, true to my belief – and everyone else’s, it seems – that I should “go to everything”, I find myself going out, only slight exaggeration, about seventy-three nights on the trot, but it’s because I am not just going to the openings of envelopes but also to openings of an ants’ anuses (anuae?) too.  Everything!  My beloved children aren’t thanking me for it, but I am always here for them so I am not going to feel guilty, at least not very.

Last night it was a concert and really good friends came back for supper afterwards.  I loved every minute of it.  Sometimes, a husband makes an affectionate or loving remark to his wife – or even an ordinary remark, beginning with something like, “Do you remember when…?” – and I miss a beat or, when everyone has gone, I tune rather too sensitively into that particular silence of absence after cheerful noise which is only interrupted by the solitary splosh of washing up and my own loud sighs to blow out the candles.  I am sure I have talked about this before and it doesn’t do to bang on too much (well, having said that… that’s why I am here), but you can be going along as a plankton, getting on with life – in this case a merry gathering of seven people round my little  table – laughing like fruitcake and forgetting yourself, and suddenly a little thing can pull you up short.  But you learn over the years to make small adjustments to deflect them.  I wash up the odd pot during supper, very discreetly and surreptitiously, one at a time, dry it up, put it away, no one ever seems to notice or care.  Part OCD, mainly self-protection.  This, so I don’t have to face a huge filthy pile in the lollop after they’ve all left, seething with grease and the kind of midnight malice which gives rise to tedious self-pity.  It helps because it means I only have a few glasses to whisk into the washing-up machine and several empty bottles for the bin before I am free to race up to bed and crash.  If I go out in the evening, I like it, if I can, to get a lift with someone, so any loneliness I might feel (though far from always) can be deferred until the last possible moment, the key in the door.

But there are some things which cannot be averted.  People kindly asking if I would like to bring someone?  Or invitations which are addressed at the top to Plankton + Guest.  Kind but grim when there is no Someone, when there ain’t no Guest.  I laugh it off but think, if only.

I am deeply unfashionable I am sure, but I love Christmas and the all the fun before and during it despite the pitfalls.  Last year I did think, I hope by this time next year…?  But no.  And here we go, another year under the belt and I suppose again I shall have to think, I hope by this time next year…?

It’s quite relentless, and on top of making Christmas lists and trying to resist Christmas chocolates and to embrace Christmas cheer, rather knackering too.  But one has to keep at it, this business of hope, survival tips in place, otherwise one might as well stuff a tappen (look it up; quite the best word in the English language and discovered one family Christmas past when playing The Dictionary Game) up one’s arse, and hibernate for all the world like a socking great grisly bear.


§ 75 Responses to Plankton Pre-Christmas Survival Tips

  • Jane says:

    I think I have got to the point where I am so exasperated by some of the comments and attitudes here and so damned frustrated by the negativity, generally depressing (and I use that word advisedly) and self perpetuating misery, that I don’t need it in my life any more. I wish you all the best luck in the world ladies – and men. But I am off. Sure most of you will feel that’s no great loss anyway. Merry Christmas and I hope the New Year brings you what you wish for.x

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear Jane, I am sorry you feel that way and you will be missed by me at least. Happy Christmas and New Year. Px

    • MissM says:

      Sorry you aren’t enjoying it Jane, but I agree if you are don’t enjoy it, the best thing is to avoid it. Personally I still love it to bits, the varied comments as well as our dear P’s wonderful writing. As Elle said it is great to be able to have a moan in a safe place so that we can then put the smile back on our face in the real world. I like sharing thoughts with like minded people as well has hearing views that are different from mine. I would hope those broaden my perspective. I like hearing a bit of something other than all the world is lovely and full of nice fluffy bunnies and love and rainbows, or whatever it is the we-must-think-positively-at-all-times crowd likes to spout off with in the general media these days. Not to mention Plankton the Original still has an amazing talent for a really creative, funny and incisive rant which cannot be beaten. A really good rant written by capital P Plankton is pure bliss. I guess it is not all to everyone’s taste, but as in the fable of the man, the boy and the donkey, you just cannot please everyone.

      • The Plankton says:

        Dear MissM, Thank you for these kind and supportive words. As ever, much appreciated. Px

      • zoe says:

        Well said, MissM.

        Your liking for views different from your own prompts me to respond to your comment yesterday about your belief that younger men like older women in order to “practise their skills” in the bedroom. (Apologies to P for this minor detour from the Xmas theme)

        The reason this doesn’t ring true for me is that what I have found-and believe me I was surprised as anyone-is that there are a significant number of men for whom older women just hold more of an attraction for them than younger ones. Simple as that. It’s about attraction. And, like taste, there’s no arguing with it.

        Of course there are “reasons”. Often very much like the ones that Fi has already suggested. Confidence. Independence. Knowing what you want. Being comfortable with your sexuality. Not worrying whether your bum looks big in this, because you already know what makes you look good and what doesn’t.

        But also, as one man said to me, “I don’t know why. You tell me. I just do”.

        Like any relationship there are multiple ways they can go belly up. I was recently seeing a rather wonderful doctor, but it fell apart because he could not get over his ex. He had been with her for four years. They are getting back together now. She is younger than me, but still more than a decade older than him.

        So desirable younger men who like older women are out there. They are of course still a minority. But if it’s only one in ten, that still leaves me thousands, maybe tens of thousands, in London alone. And I only need one. 🙂

      • MissM says:

        An excellent post Zoe. It is true I have never actually had any similar stories from anyone I know, so yours is definitely an example of broadening my perspective. While I am sorry you lost your doctor friend, it is interesting to hear it was because of his feelings for a woman who is more than ten years his senior. It is definitely being filed away in my head under things that are indeed possible.

        I don’t live in London, I live in a part of Australia where there is nowhere near as many people, yet I too only need one. That is true of all of us plankton, we only need one. It still feels a lot like trying to find a four leaf clover, so I am afraid I will indulge myself in a moan on here at times to relieve the frustration.

    • Fi says:

      No Jane. Come back. I need you as we non-negative ones need to stick together. And I’m doing the internet dating (highly entertaining as even the blokes that are just trawling for sex are amusing) and have actually exchanged emails with some nice ones and I need to confirm to you that it does work. Come baaaaack……..don’t leave meeeeeee……..

    • Lydia says:

      It just makes me feel so good as I feel so happy, laughing as I type.

    • Chris says:

      Don’t take it so seriously. I just bob in and out of this , lob me two penny worth in every now and then, retreating to a safe distance thereafter for a few days !! So come on back and don’t take it so much to heart. It ain’t real life !!

  • MissBates says:

    Today’s post has braced me immeasurably — I, too, ADORE Christmas, but in the last few years celebrating has become less a pleasure and more of a chore endured through gritted teeth. But you’re right — and I am, after all, going to put up a tree this weekend. I’ve been waffling about it for days but you’ve decided me.

    Off to look up “tappen” . . .

  • Grace says:

    I’ve just come across your blog. I’ve never felt like commenting on someone’s writing before, but my God, I feel your pain, and I just wanted to tell you how sad I am for you, and that I hope you are feeling a little less grisly (or grizzly or gristly or plain ghastly).
    Anyway, dear P, I am very aware that the single person’s Terrible Trinity is almost upon us (Christmas, New Year’s Eve and sodding Valentine’s Day), and I wanted to tell you a story about how things can change, in a heartbeat. And how you mustn’t lose hope.
    Seven years ago, I was 49, and long divorced. I’d had one lovely relationship afterwards, and when it finished, I found I gradually got stuck. Bits and bobs of dating, and that was it. No masts on the horizon. Totally becalmed.
    In the end, I had to make something happen: it was either that, or drink seawater and go mad.
    I made myself sign up for internet dating. I gave myself a time limit: one week. And I tried it on the best, non-sleazy, free site I could find.
    Four days later, after sifting through an avalanche of replies, I found someone.
    Not only could he spell, but he sounded truthful and kind and open-hearted and intelligent.
    We met for coffee. And that was pretty much it.
    Reader, I married him. (Well, not exactly right then and there, it was more like four years later, but shades of Charlotte, nonetheless.)
    Anyway, P, I just wanted to let you know that there was no way I would have met him without the internet. None at all.
    Even though we had many interests in common, we had no intersecting circle of friends or acquaintances. What’s more, although he was living less than half an hour away from me, and regularly came into town for groceries and haunt the same bookshops – we had never bumped into each other. Not once. So much for the random romantic encounter.
    Oh, and here’s another thing: at one point, a couple of years before we met, he began the process of buying a house a few doors down from me. The sale fell through in the end, but in the meantime he was in and out of the cafes in our small town, just as I was.
    And we still didn’t meet.
    We had our third wedding anniversary recently. He and I are still a little spooked at how easily we could have gone on missing each other.
    Go on. Give it a try…

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear Grace, This is a great, inspiring story and thank you, I am so glad you have commented. I am sure I will get round to the internet soon… Just got to work up the strength, courage and faith. All best wishes, Plankton

      • marriednotsmug says:

        Dear P
        See, another success story! My own experience (see comments on “Minuscle Window”) bears many similarities to Grace’s: distance and same interests, yet we would never have met either. We have been together 9 1/2 years and married for 4.
        With your talent for writing you could compose a cracking internet dating profile!
        Regards Marriednotsmug

      • The Plankton says:

        Well, there is a challenge if ever there was one. Perhaps if someone gives me a notebook for Christmas I can start to compose something with which to enter a dating site or two in the new year. Perhaps? Px

    • MissM says:

      Grats to you Grace, your husband sounds lovely and that is a lovely story with a happy ending. I’m on a dating site but have yet to find my man who can spell, is truthful, kind, open-hearted and intelligent. I’m even prepared to cut some slack on the spelling these days. It has been way longer than a week too. Oh well, still hoping, it isn’t like it stops me from doing other things.

      One thing I am certain of, if you do try online dating Plankton, you are not going to be short of material to write about.

    • Erin says:

      Grace, your story spookily mirrors mine except I was 47 and my husband was not going to buy a house a few doors down. Odd! We met within 3 weeks on Match and married 4 years later. He lived a half hour away.

      Dear P, I felt the same way you did – every New Year’s Eve I would say maybe this time next year. I could get through Christmas okay because of my son. I was a single mother his whole life so at holidays, we were our own little couple : ) People who are not single have no idea how lonely the holidays can be. Achingly, gut wrenchingly lonely. I came to hate Christmas and still the effect lingers – I can’t wait every year till it’s over and by damn if it doesn’t rear its ugly head again before you know it.

      And even though I am now married, my husband and I still don’t spend Christmas together. He goes to his nutter ex-wife’s house to spend the day with his daughters and force down incinerated Cornish hens while I drive an hour in the opposite direction to spend time with my family. The nuclear family of the ’50s just doesn’t exist anymore, sadly. Moms and dads and kids are scattered all over and rushing to 2, sometimes 3 houses on Christmas day. But still at the end of the day, there is the exhausted heap snoring on the sofa that you call your husband, and there is definitely comfort there.

      Please P, I implore you to just take a peek at some profiles on the Internet sites. Just stick your toe in the water. Another year has come and gone. And for once, I will have to agree with June – the older you get, the smaller your chances so please don’t waste any more time. You need to be pro-active if you’re going to meet someone and you’ve got to make it happen yourself.

      For all Planktons out there, my New Year’s wish is that you all find happiness in the coming year in whatever form that might be. Life is too damn short. Don’t lanquish for years like I did, hoping a little luck comes your way. You make your own luck. Take some chances to get what you want. You control your destiny.

    • Lydia says:

      Lovely story. Although I haven’t married anyone since my divorce my last 3 or 4 boyfriends were found on line and they were all quite lovely in lots of ways and I woudl not have come across them but for that. I would recommend it.

    • Jo says:

      Hurrah! Thank you Grace. Been beating this drum for ages here…
      It may not work for everybody – the online dating thing – but it can and DOES work for some. Even if that’s fewer than the ones that don’t work. That’s a fact. Yes. But it’s more than worth a try. Really.
      Thank you. No generalisation. Nor damning of people like you….
      But it CAN work. Give it a go planktons and hang on in… No guarantees nor magic wands nor idealistic predictions, but….hey. Worth a go. And not to be dismissed wholesale.
      Important thing. Hang on in.. Even sometimes through the grimness – if it happens. You never know..

  • ex-pond-slime says:

    “that particular silence of absence after cheerful noise which is only interrupted by the solitary splosh of washing up and my own loud sighs to blow out the candles.”
    Lovely writing.

  • Erin says:

    “With your talent for writing you could compose a cracking internet dating profile!”

    This will help get you the type of men you want. You can’t imagine (or maybe you can!) how many profiles say “like long walks on the beach, snuggling by the fire,” etc. I wrote my profile from the gut, wanting to put my quirks on display so as not to waste anyone’s time, or mine. For example, I put a comment in there about how I am terrified of motorcycles and apologies to biker types, but no amount of cajoling was going to get me on one. Nothing against bikers as I’m sure they are lovely people, but I do hate motocycles and am not interested in riding. After I added that to my profile, there were no more responses from bikers because they knew I was not going to hop on the back of their hog for Mr. Toad’s wild ride. So it is nice that you can tailor the profile to what you’re looking for. My husband said my profile stood out to him because it was different from all the long walks on the beach at sunset, etc. I have no doubt your profile would be brilliant and attract the attention of the cerebral types you are looking for (nudge, nudge)

    • The Plankton says:

      Thanks very much, Erin. I promise to have a think about it over the next few weeks but the thought of taking the plunge…Px

      • Jo says:

        Hi P. Don’t think of it ( the internet) as ‘taking the plunge’ ‘working up courage and faith’ et al. Try to relax about it. Go on say, for a month. A week even. Then leave it if you want and maybe look at it again later. Dip in and out at times. Keeping a realistic attitude and knowing you will trawl through some ghastly profiles. But you don’t have to reveal yourself to see what ( or who ) might be there. It’s free. (I’m talking about Guardian Soulmates ). You can look at everyone for as long as you like without paying a penny. If you want your profile to be shown or you see someone you think you may like to know a bit more about ( in the safety of the site’s protective way of conversing, whilst your private details are kept private for as long as you like ), then you pay a sum for say, a month. See. You don’t have to do anything but…just have a look. Safely hidden…Just peering in.
        I’m aware that this may attract accounts of how GS ‘didn’t work for them’ was ‘a waste of time’, ‘crap’ ‘useless’ ‘lots of idiots’ ‘they felt ‘smelly’ ‘bald’ ‘ghastly’ et al, but I know too many planktons who went on there and who – for some- (yes, after ‘ a journey’) hung in and…the rest is happy history. Who knows? No-one does. But it is worth a try. In relaxed, realistic fashion. And too many of my ( even over 55+) friends and acquaintances have stuck lucky. Where by any other means they would never have met their lovely partners.
        Lighten up dear P. Have a mere peek now and then. Oh I wish you the best the best the best. Have a go. When you’re ready. ( And I truly understand and sympathise with your reticence. Truly. ). But don’t think you have to build it up into an ordeal. Best. Jo x

      • The Plankton says:

        Thanks, Jo, I do hear you, I promise, and will have a think about going into it lightly… Px

  • Lulu says:

    Plankton, I absolutely love your posts and you never fail to make me smile! Far from depressing, your writing actually cheers me up (my own life is sad enough!!). Gosh, it ain’t easy this being middle-aged-and-single lark and, like you, I guess I have to try and take the plunge into internet dating …. eek! Part of me is still hoping that “it will all happen when it’s ready” and “it’s all meant to be” etc etc (as my well-meaning New Age psychic friend keeps reminding me) but as another year heads towards the landfill site, I am of the opinion that a new man ain’t going to fly through my letterbox anytime soon and I’d better pull my socks up and just get on with being “proactive” (hate that word). Thanks for cheering me up this year and I wish all of us, wherever we are, love, hope & happiness xx

  • Chris says:

    You know planky, its time to tell you how it is. In this country British women do not appreciate British men. Nice ordinary steady guys are just dismissed out of hand. That is fine because there are literally hoards of women in other countries only to happy to snap up a lot of those boring ordinary guys who are beneath your radar. You see, in large tracts of SE Asia, Eaten Europe and South America men treat women like shite. In Russia alone literally thousands of women die each year at the hands of their partners. Women in these countries are fed up with ‘ exiting ‘ ‘exotic ‘ abusive men. They find those steady boring qualities you so so deride rather attractive.Also, I hate to have to tell you, many of these women are rather attractive themselves. So what is a plankton to do, other than to go into denial ? Not only does she have to compete with younger women in her own country, but foreign women too who find British men a good prospect. Now I will get flamed, people will say ‘ oh, they just want your money, only want to come to Britain for our wonderful way of life etc.. No, I think not. I have many friends who have gone to live with foreign ladies in that ladies countries and these guys have not been rich, nor do they look like Brad Pitt ( who does, I mean do you look like Angelina Jolie ? ) Pardon me rant but you know how good it is to have one !! Seriously, I just do not think British women appreciate their own men As for all this ‘ bad boy ‘ crap that is promoted by the media, well, what can one say ? Is that how women really want to live their lives in middle age, on the edge of an emotional volcano ? I will leave it at that.

    • Lulu says:

      Hi Chris, I enjoyed reading your response, and you have raised valid points. I would say though that just because men treat women like shite in other countries, doesn’t mean I can make myself feel attracted to someone who I’m just not attracted to. Yes, I appreciate qualities of decency, integrity and honesty, in anyone, not just men, and truly value people who are unpretentious, “ordinary” and “nice”. In terms of a relationship though I cannot fake an attraction I don’t feel.
      I do agree that many women get turned on by ‘bad boys’ and perhaps through lack of experience due to their younger years, think that is what they are searching for, only to realise – in middle age – what a mistake they made. I certainly don’t find ‘bad boys’ per se an attractive proposition for a long-term relationship (being that I AM middle aged) however I will say it and say it again that I cannot settle for someone who doesn’t make my heart sing.
      I don’t think that emotionally intelligent middle-aged women dismiss “out of hand” the nice, ordinary, steady guys of which you speak, but we have surely reached a stage in our lives when we really don’t need to compromise unless we choose to; no matter how nice the guy is.
      Good to hear a guy’s perspective though.

      • Joules says:

        I went for a nice guy and he turned out to be a lying cheat so not sure exactly how to tell one from the other.

      • Chris says:

        Hi Lulu, thing is, though the middle aged woman might not have dismissed the boring steady guy, she may well find he has dismissed her. There is this grandiose assumption by women in Britain that the good guys will wait in line while young ladies sow their oats with the bad boys. This ain’t altogether the case. These ladies may well find they are behind the curve and the nice guys like me who are perceived not exiting and non challenging have moved on. I have only dated foreign women for over 20 years now. I have met them all in Britain and honestly I could not now imagine returning to dating British women. Sorry, but it really is an attitude thing. I think British culture has been ingrained with a toxic attitude toward men that is among the worst in the world and I want no part of it. I have travelled to many countries and in none of them have a seen such a lack of respect to men as I have observed in Britain

    • Elle says:

      Eaten Europe? Predictive text sucks. Now Chris, I stated elsewhere that Irish women like English men but your attitude towards your fellow countrymen stinks. It’s very similar to that of many Irish men.

      Many women from the countries you mention do indeed suffer horrific abuse at the hands of their menfolk. Some are so desperate to leave they end up in dangerous situations, such as being trafficked and forced into prostitution.

      I hope that the lucky ones who escape and marry British or Irish men are treated properly. There are good and bad men and women everywhere.

      • Chris says:

        You know, having come up with that Eaten Europe thing purely by chance I now rather like it. My attitude stinks ? Well, lets be honest, in the ‘ because I’m worth it ‘ western world loads of people have a stinking attitude !! So, I’ll never be lonely I guess. You are right about the trafficking to a degree, but to be honest a lot traffic themselves to places like London because the ‘ pay ‘ is so much better !! As for whether they are lucky in the men they marry, well, trust me, the only country of this type I know about is the Philippines. A guy would have be terrible for it not to be worth their while to get out of there. Abusive men, no divorce, contraception illegal ( still I think ), no social security etc. I know a girl there works in the fish factory. 12 hour day, no basic pay, no holidays no sick pay no job security no nothing average daily pay….£2.50, yup, two pounds fifty pence a day. Oh yes, and she works six days a week and if she gets sick she has to pay for everything. Not much of a life they have is it ?

    • Elle says:

      Chris, is Eaten Europe a dystopian post-Merkozy scenario? We will need Plankton’s blogs even more if the economy get worse.

      • Chris says:

        Nah, me spellin’ is jest completely crap. It was just a typo. I ‘opes yer can find it in yer ‘eart to fergives a common fella such as meslf me lack of education at this festive seasoin. Mind, you , I rather do like your concept of a post- Merkozy dystopia. Do you see him on the telly ? He looked worried to death !! So I think you will need Plankton’s blogs even more !!

  • Lydia says:

    72 events! Wow. We aer like chalk and cheese.
    Do yiou konw how many events I am going to at Christmas? Zero and how lovely and wonderful that is. How much I like home life and peace and hobbies and family. YOu woudl have to pay nme a coinsiderable sum to go to even 5 Christmas parties never mind 72 things. However if you like it you like it.

    Perhaps those content in our own company are also content single too and that the differences between us are those of personality as much as plankton and superior life form (joking..).

    I am though taking all the children skiing over Christmas. I would recommend that for those who have picked careers which enable them to make choices of that type of holiday. You are out and active all day and we always enjoy spending Christmas in real snow although I suppose parts of the UK this Christmas might well be white.

    Also work until it starts and many many men and women in my type of field and often I will work the days between Christmas and NY. Perhaps one answer for those fed up single is double your working hours and the amount of things you do with your children, then also volunteer to help those less fortunate than you are and after all that you’ll probably find you’ve cheered no end.

    Anyway this blog is predicated on misery so we need to ensure plankton doesn’t get so bad she’s hospitalised with clinical depression but ensure she never takes any advice given and remains single for life.

    • The Plankton says:

      I promise you I am not about to be hospitalised for clinical depression but why are you so keen for me to remain single for life? Px

      • Lydia says:

        So we keep on with reading the blog….. Although you could write one if you do end up with someone about how awful it is to be married and how much married people wish they were rid of their wretched spouse particularly now he is dull, has no hair and is in wretched mid life with his own drink and depression problem, never mind his ahem… sexual problems which come with older age…

  • rosie says:

    Lydia, you should be given your own show, seriously!

    • Lydia says:

      Thanks. I love to sing actually . Sometimes I’ve been paid but only classical stuff. If I hadn’t pursued my profession I’d have been a singer amnd I perform a lot, I give loads of talks but I think despite that I am one of those people who can think – here is Christmas and I’ve managed to divest myself of and rejected 100% of all invitations (not that there are that many) and can spend it with my lovely family… mind you ‘re heading to France to ski over Christmas and just in time the snow has come which of course I expected as I’m a total optimist.

      I suppose I go and I go to places not intending or wanting to find a man. Whether that makes me more or less likely to remains to be seen. Plankton (my opposite image in all things…) probably goes hoping to meet someone. Perhaps I am not really that determined to remarry given how awful my long marriage was and that’s the nub of it although I do like men very much indeed.

  • rosie says:

    I used to love Christmas and New Year … the crowded bars (which would now have me running for the hills), the snogs at midnight, cabs home at dawn, but – at risk of laying myself open to abuse from certain parties who will no doubt think I’m a moaning old sow who should just get a grip – I’ve come to actively hate it and not just because it starts in September, although that has got something to do with it. I’ve spent so many ‘festive seasons’ as a singleton that it hurts to do the reckoning and I’ve given up thinking ‘hopefully by this time next year….’.

    I wish they’d invent a pill that let you imagine it wasn’t happening while giving everyone else the impression you were having the time of your life. Maybe I’ll get on to Wallace & Gromit.

    • MsHaversham to be says:

      When you find one let me know!

    • Elle says:

      I can imagine Lydia as a roll up your sleeves and get on with it sort who would have thrived ad a land girl in WW2. “Keep calm, carry on and stop weeping for your young man who perished at Dunkirk!”

      • Lydia says:

        Yes, that is I. I would say stoic. Keep calm and carry on. Tolerate. Endure. Be the strong person on whom everyone relies (and they do seem to). Don’t be pathetic and crying and fed up. Effect change. Don’t moan. etc etc

        i think we are all mixtures of what people find convenient because it feeds their sexism, to call male or female characteristics and it’s very unfair on women and men to suggest one feature is something men have and another women. Plenty of women want money power and success and lots of sex. Plenty of men want to sit at home with a DVD doing very little whilst nursing their brewer’s droop.

  • rosie says:

    Actually, this year I was sort of looking forward to NYE as a friend is having a party but she’s just had some terrible family news so I doubt she’ll want to go ahead with it. Which means I can either spend it on my own or with my dad. *runs off to find kitchen knife*

    • MissBates says:

      If I’m not with friends I just go to bed early. I find particularly annoying the coupled-up friends who say, “oh, but WE don’t do anything special, WE just stay home and watch the Times Square broadcast on TV and then WE raise a glass and go to bed early.” They say this to me as though I am some 23-year-old party animal who thinks that if I were a member of a couple I would be dancing around with a lampshade on my head on New Year’s Eve. Um . . . NO…..(going out on the town on New Year’s Eve is somewhat akin to amateur hour) — I just would like to have the same companionably dull New Year’s Eve that THEY do, TOGETHER.

  • MsHaversham to be says:

    Hmmm Christmas is what I call the ‘we’ season. It just seems to be one giant emetic. There are bloody smug couples everywhere and everyone is desperate to tell you that what ‘we’ are doing for Christmas and New Year. Is it acceptable to tell them that statistically some of them will have huge domestic rows and divorce? And then there are all the Aesopesque romantic films on television.

    In real life he’s not coming back. Come to think of it, this time of year really brings out my cynacism.

    • MsHaversham to be says:

      Cynicism even!

    • june says:

      Yes i wonder MsHaversham to be what it is about christmas that seems its all about happy couples and happy families. We all know it isnt really true.

      Why do people suddenly decide they must spend christmas day with their family,even if the rest of the year they dont bother with them.To me it seems totally hypocritical, If you hardly see them 11 months of the year why suddenly in december does it change. Ive never been able to fathom it out, possibly cause being an only child from a small family we never had a family christmas as such,it was my parents and i, that was it, so for me a family at christmas wasnt normal, so now with my two cousins, although they only live 30 miles away. we rarely see each other throughout the year, they have families i hardly know, at christmas its the same,Are we more honest than other people do you think, we dont dislike each other, we are just not close.

  • ToneDeafSinger says:

    It sounds like the one thing that sets me apart from other Planktons is that my own marriage was so lonely and miserable and, dare I say it, psychologically abusive, that actually I feel much less lonely now. When I was married I was not “allowed” to invite anyone into the house – his phobia of anyone coming in was totally irrational; he would whinge and moan and I would never hear the end of it if anyone came in – we’d end up having massive arguments because I had “invited” people without checking with him first – this includes tradesmen needed to fix things round the house (he never so much as put a shelf up). Since I kicked him out I have been able to have a social life for the first time – I am lucky that a friend of mine has organised an evening in a local restaurant on NYE and has included me and my daughter.. But coming back to Christmas… at the moment my ex invites himself round and we spend it at home – I do all the hard work and he lies on the sofa, watches TV and falls asleep as he has always done – I loathe Christmas but I put up with his presence for my daughter’s sake. No good telling him to pull his weight – he wallows in a deep pit of self pity – He is Soooo tired and Soooo ill.

  • ToneDeafSinger says:

    (continued) But eventually my daughter will leave home and ex will move on to pastures new (more on this later). As I am not having any luck whatsoever with the internet (but I keep trying: I have just joined a new website someone mentioned here), I expect one day I shall find out about some charity that serves meals to homeless people on Xmas day and my plan is to volunteer there. But – with regard to Chris’s comments: the idea that women here do not appreciate men…. pur-leeze. Ex went to Thailand when we were still married… I tried really hard to dissuade him but his reasoning was: well we can’t both go because of daughter and it’s silly for us both to stay here so I’ll go. He found a girl there and told her we were divorced (we were attending a marriage course while this was going on). Later he moved on to a website on which he found a Chinese lady living in China. I do not accept these women appreciate men… Perhaps they’re brought up to be servile. Obsequious. But mostly, its’ about money and the chance to escape from their countries. Men like my ex are emotionally underdeveloped and cannot cope with a relationship on an equal footing. A woman desperate to get a better future in the UK was his best bet. He’s not even good looking. She cannot speak English. Come on. But for his money and heis passport, who would want him???

    • Elle says:

      “I expect one day I shall find out about some charity that serves meals to homeless people on Xmas day and my plan is to volunteer there”

      Tonedeafsinger, I did that one Christmas day when I was arguing with my family and didn’t want to spend Christmas with them. I had a great time! It’s a real eye opener and you’ll meet some amazing people – both volunteers and homeless.

      I actually dated a fellow volunteer for a short while before he headed off to Africa to work for an NGO. Who knows, you might meet somebody there yourself. If you meet somebody through volunteering you can be sure they’re proactive and altruistic, great qualities.

      Definitely volunteer, if I didn’t have to spend Christmas with my family I would do it again.

      • Jo says:

        Hi Elle. I’m with you on this. I have also done this in the past. Several times. (For the charity ‘Crisis at Christmas’.). Friends thought it would be ‘awful’ and ‘deeply depressing’ – and on the first occasion,maybe I feared that too. Privately.- but it was not. It was, as you say a great time! Yes really.
        I went on to do it several times on and off, over the years and it was always the most ‘christmassy’ of christmasses. Great. When my daughter is older I’m going to take her to experience it too. So do volunteer ToneDeafSinger. If you feel like it sometime. You’ll be surprised.

    • Lydia says:

      Tone Deaf, well I started reading your post thinking it was like my long awful marriage. Then I saw the bit about you let him come round to you for Christmas. Why on earth do you do that? Are you his door mat? Just refuse. “at the moment my ex invites himself round and we spend it at home – I do all the hard work and he lies on the sofa, watches TV and falls asleep as he has always done”… my children can see their father as much as they want but no way woudl he come in here. Mind you I bought him a mortgage free detached house near here so I suppose he would if hechose to see them have space near by. The key to freedom for women is earning a lot of money and I say that only slightly tongue in cheek.

      Why woujld it worry you if he has a Thai? Plenty of them are nice and I certainly don’t mind if my ex husband is happ with someone whatever country she’s from and whatever language she speaks. If you don’t like him and are glad he’s not there and you’re less lonely then it doesn’t matter too hoots if he is happy with someone to whom he can’t talk.

      Okay so here’s the plan. Tell him he can’t come round this Christmas. Do it today. your child won’t mind. He can of course see the child. If necessary take the child to him – I think he and the Thai are in the UK? and just split the time btwee you like normal ex couples who don’t allow abuse by the other spouse to continue post divorce in a way you almost are doing by tolerating his presence at your house at Christmas.

      • Elle says:

        I think it’s odd that Tonedeafsinger’s ex doesn’t want to spend Christmas with his new Thai partner. It isn’t very respectful to her. This is something I see all the time with couples where the female partner is foreign, speaks little or no English and is a lot younger. They are treated with no respect whatsoever!

      • ToneDeafSinger says:

        Hi there thank you very much for the replies. I am in fact feeling positive about my plan to volunteer for a charity for homeless people at Christmas and I have noted the name Chrisis at Christmas. It may be useful in the future!
        Ex’s thing with the Thai girl was over when he realised she had several men on the go, collecting money from all of them, including one she was actually living with. (Men are so gullible!). In any event, she was in Thailand and he is here in the UK.

      • ToneDeafSinger says:

        Lydia it is not that it worries me that he has a Thai girlfriend now… the fact is, he had a Thai girlfriend when we were married!!! It’s over with the Thai girl now, I understand he has a Chinese girlfriend now, living in China, whom he visits 3-4 times a year. (She cannot get a visa for the UK.)
        As for Christmas, it’s for my daughter’s sake.
        For the past two years on Xmas day after he has eaten his fill and fallen asleep in front of the TV, daughter and I have gone and met up with other friends for the rest of the evening.

      • ToneDeafSinger says:

        Elle, in China they don’t really celebrate Christmas… apparently they have turned it into a sort of Valentine-style occasion. (Christianity isn’t the mainstream religion there I believe).
        Well, Ex was never very respectful to me, either, so I would not be surprised if he is not being respectful to my replacement… however she’s in China, he’s here, and he can really only travel 3-4 times a year depending on his leave from work etc.
        More than that I cannot say!!!

    • Chris says:

      Oh dear, the stock middle aged English woman riposte to foreign woman. Wake up, this country ain’t no great shakes. Ever been to SE Asia ? The airport in Kuala Lumpur makes Heathrow look like the slum it is. Most Thai women would prefer to stay in Thailand. And who can blame them. The weather, the food much better than UK. Oh, and yes, their economy is GROWING, quite fast !! I have SE Asian girlfriend, very nice lady but subservient, are you joking. I have had cups literally fly past my head !!

      • Elle says:

        The Chinese and Thai girls are dead right to stay in the Far East when they can be sponsored by 3 or 4 Western European men who turn up their noses at local women. A nice little earner, I say you go girls! And keep throwing those teacups!

  • Elle says:

    “The opening of ants anuses.” Brilliant!

  • june says:

    I dont think many mature single people like christmas but then i know coupled up friends who dont like it either, so perhaps its not being single, perhaps it all sorts of reasons.

    Personally i dont mind the leading up to christmas, dos with friends etc, ive two this weekend, mostly coupled up friends but without partners. Also i have decorated,it would be too churlish not to. I just cant stand the damm day itself,all friends go to family or partners family, i dont have a family, well two cousins who really dont care, so its the actual day i hate, Yes could have had the lunch with those sad souls from the singles group who will be drunk by first course but felt i could live without that.and to be honest would prefer to be alone than that, it would honestly make me feel worse.

    No plankton your blog does make me sad,sometimes but as someone said its the only place we planktons can express ourselves, keep it going into 2012, please, I for one would be lost without it. Im pleased for all those who met people on internet dating so proves right for some,but sadly in my city, and at my age, it seems very unlikely it will work for me. Like Lulu i cant just get involved with someone because im lonely and have no attraction to them, surely they would see through that anyway and it just wouldnt work.

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear June, I will keep it going for as long as I can, and for as long as people enjoy it, I promise. Px

    • Lydia says:

      I love CHristmas. I sing a lot so no season is better for that really although I’ve so so much work and child stuff this year I’m not in the choir but I suppose I can enjoy what I know I might enjoy in future when responsibilities are less and that knowing there isd all that future pleasure ahead which you dont’ have now that can make you happy now.

      I am the archetypal toddler who woulod always take the 2 marshmallows later than the one now, the mistress of deferred gratification.

      Also if you’re slightly religious Christmas does tend to have some significance surely? I don’t really buy things on principle in general in life or at Christmas as I am not into spending and never go into shops unless I really have to so I don’t have the consumerist side. I don’t watch television or films.

      I think you can make Christmas what you will. Also some people really like working over it. When I don’t have 5 chidlren to take skiing I can also see myself enjoying work between C and NY – it’s a fun time to work with lots of work to pick up as others are away sometimes or a good chance to get things done when it is quiet.

      I never thought I’d be so happy at 49. Apparently 50 – 70 people are even happier. Wow, aren’t we all so lucky to be this age?

  • EmGee says:

    “…to Plankton + Guest. ”
    Is it implied that you bring an SO, or can it not just be a friend (of either sex), so you are not the ‘odd (wo)man out’?

    I am in the awkward position that my ex bf is back in my life, and staying at my house, through the holidays at least. but I’m a bit cautious about getting back with him, but also feel awkward now when a man asks me out (even though it is platonic like last night’s concert/party, or for coffee, I know they are trying to ‘get to know me’).

    • ToneDeafSinger says:

      To be honest, I’d be offended if they did NOT invite me to bring a Guest as it would imply I have no guest to bring – no hope to find one! I’d rather be invited with Guest even if I then have to ring up and say I shall be on my own…

  • Margaux says:

    Plankton!!! I’ve just got back from a holiday in a place with limited wifi so have just caught up/binge read 11 days of your blog in one go! I was suffering from withdrawal symptoms and desperate to find out how you were doing.

    Smidgen – well what a tosser he turned out to be! Indeed, WTF was that about? I’ve met one or two who have lurked around my life in a meaningful manner too -but when push came to shove nothing happened. One I even pushed it with and he was so shocked he sprang back like a scalded cat – this despite meaningful emails, phone calls and meetings. After a year of it – one of us had to say/do something!
    Indeed it is the male equivalent of prick teasing – I have actually called it c— teasing myself.

    Love the post on the fragility of fancying. The smells, the words – yes, I know what you mean…There was one I almost spent the night with once – many years ago – only to find that at the crucial moment he had holes in his underpants…well, after that I couldn’t do anything. If I had bothered to put my best undies on- he could have made an effort too!

    Long Shot! …..ohhhhh…*sigh* …after the excitement of the nutty email my heart then sank when I read about his reply to yours. When it’s All About Them – that’s how it will always be. I’ve met one or two of those too.

    Freak? No you are not. Definitely not. Don’t even think it.

    Love your Big Rant . Yes, there are psychos out there. I’ve gone from tying to make excuses – cold mothers, cheating first wives,mid life crises, some woman done them wrong etc – to thinking ‘nah, no more’. One hint of emotionally abusive behaviour -time to run a mile…even if there isn’t another one on the horizon. Even if you haven’t met anyone in years….it’s not worth it.

    And so to Christmas. All Survival Tips welcome.
    I am busy not thinking about it yet – until I have no choice. Some invitations around – but the effort required hasn’t grabbed me yet……

    Good to catch up with you,P – your writing is as engaging, apt, pertinent and brilliant as always …I’ve missed you! … I need to catch up with your commentators!

  • Jane Ferguson says:

    Please dont give up the blog…dont forget that for every person who writes there are prob. another 35 (just guessing) who never put pen to paper, so to speak…

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