Just Because…

December 16, 2011 § 57 Comments

Tomorrow it is a 50th birthday party of someone I haven’t seen for 20 years or so and who was never a close friend in the first place but I liked him well enough and he has asked me and lots of people from my past.  Getting there will involve a tedious schlep and I don’t really want to make the monumental physical, mental and mascara effort to go but I will because…  Well, I think it’s nice that I have been asked; nice idea to have a 50th and invite a lot of people from your past.  And, as they say, who knows?

Who knows…?  Jack Shit.  I know fine well there won’t be a husband there, there again, the woman in whose house I live had just got divorced and she moved in here with three children and went to a party and bumped into an old university friend she hadn’t seen for twenty years or so and he had never married and they fell in love and she moved out of here and they bought a fuck-off mansion and the rest is smug married history.  Well, I don’t know that they are smug, that’s unfair, but if that happened to me, I’d be fucking smug, I can tell you.  So fucking smug that it’s in everyone’s interests – except mine, of course – that that never happens to me.  I’d become insufferable.

Anyway, that’s why I have decided to make the schlep tomorrow night, just in case, when I know fine well the case will be nothing of the sort.  The case will be that I turn up on my own and spend the evening talking to a lot of middle-aged women I haven’t seen for twenty years and we’ll all tell each other how well we look, and how young we look, and it’ll all be bollocks but we’ll each choose to believe it because we have to otherwise we might as well pack it in right now.  And there will be a few people who I don’t recognise but who recognise me, and vice versa, and I will drift about a bit, in the holes in the crowd, desperately searching for a station in the form of a familiar, older face who may or may not say hello so it feels all the while like very risky drifting.

And then, for want of anything else to do, or anybody else to talk to, I’ll go home and on the solitary schlep home in the dark and in the rain, my mind will almost certainly, lazily and despondently, drift to thoughts of Long Shot once more.  Was he really that bad?  Was his email really so disengaged?

Just because I know he is in the country at the moment.  Just because there is nothing – or, rather no one – else to think about, and just because he was the latest thought.

Just because it’s Christmas and another year has passed and it feels like shit not to have anyone even to think about.

Just because.

§ 57 Responses to Just Because…

  • Jamie says:

    P – I continue to think the solution to this is staring you in the face. You have acquired a devoted and increasing following here. In fact, probably the majority of your followers don’t even comment. But a vocal minority are male. And they keep reading because they empathise with you and enjoy your writing. Which is not a bad first step. Why don’t you devise a way of meeting some of them? For example, set up a Plankton get together in a London pub, and move silently amongst the assembled throng not admitting to your identity. You might get lucky – or at least you might do some of your readers a favour……

    • Jo says:

      Hey Jamie. How uncanny! Please see my 2 comments to yesterday’s blog. The ‘carol’ one. (Early on in it and later too.). I said the very same thing. Although it was a – fairly tongue in cheek – suggestion about all of us. Do read it folks.

  • Zambesigirl says:

    Re Long Shot’s email – I tend to believe men, stereotypically of course, do not waste words or time – especially time writing – unless they are genuinely motivated to do so. Perhaps he was trying to be clever or mysterious or engaging – somehow worthy – because he may be interested but excruciatingly awkward around you. Maybe, just maybe, you intimidate him.

    • Jo says:

      What’s P done to ‘intimidate’ LS? Zambiesgirl? Been the model of decorum I’d say.
      No. Down to LS and who he is. That’s it. Not down to P’s conduct at all.
      P intimidating him? Hell no.

  • Jo says:

    Dear P. Quite understandable. Totally. Musing doesn’t hurt anyone and fills the gaping hole in a fantasy, harmless way. Anything to keep you going.
    But…Remember. If LS really wanted to show more interest and move things on – sorry – but he would have done so by now. Muse away, but don’t let it blur ( unwelcome- I know – ) glaring reality. Truth.
    Hate to be the voice of reason and hope I’m wrong but…I think that’s the truth. x

    • The Plankton says:

      You know what, Jo? I think it’s the truth too. No, I know it is. But the thinking fills a gap. Momentarily, at least. Duration of a journey back from the party tomorrow night. Possibly. px

      • Jo says:

        Yes. It’s probably right dearest P.
        But if it gets you through the yawning moments of nothingness, then what the hell. ( With the ever present realistic head attached.).
        It’s panto season now. Oh I so wish I were your fairy godmother and could wave my magic wand to make your ( and all plankton) dreams come true.
        But in the absence of that, I’ll simply wish it with all my heart instead. I so wish you the very best.
        Here’s to fresh possibilities in 2012. xx

      • The Plankton says:

        Dear Jo, This is a really lovely comment. Much appreciated. Thank you. Px

  • Brigitte says:

    P., I know how you feel about not wanting to stop thinking about a man, even one that may not become a reality. I continue to think about my guy at the gym, even though he is not available right now. It’s just fun to think about what could be. Most of my thoughts are sexual (because it’s just FUN!), but many are about everyday activities (having him over for meals; Sundays in bed; overnight trips to nearby cities; conversations about his and my life). I would hate to give that up. As long as there is a chance, I keep thinking about him. Until someone else comes along, I want to keep my imagination going. But there rarely is soneone else, is there? That’s what’s so bloody frustrating.

  • Lydia says:

    I would have no truck with all these parties. My ideal night is here with the family around in silence in my office. Lucky me to love it so although I certainly don’t mind when I’ve a boyfriend round as well. Can’t you just go out with old boyfriends?

    If I want to do a lot of social stuff or even go to bed with someone I could just email 2 or 3 men I have known (known in every sense including biblically) whom I trust and was fond of and are still friends and if I made the effort I could get them to take me to social things or they would come with me. That would get you round the problem of not liking going to social things alone.

    Or hire an escort. There are gorgeous young men out there who would grace your arm and look good and your friends woudl be jealous. They would just be there for show (I don’t know they do extras etc) You can probably get older ones too.

    Again I come back to our different pasts. I think of so very very very many Christmases in our very long and unhappy marriage and of course in those situations Christmas is by far the worst time – divorce lawyers are besieged every New Year. This Christmas those ofu s alone are wonderful spared that. It is the best present we can get to wake up without that person there whom we didn’t want.

    A man doesn’t cure sadness in a woman. You ensure your own internal contentment first.

    Also loads of men want women around this time. I am so so so busy with work, so many children things to do and we’re going away to ski. In addition to that I am having to cope with more internet men than usual because it’s that pre Christmas period. One’s cup over floweth – although gosh I’m not saying I’ve found the right one, just that I haven’t really got time to remember who is who. I nearly muddled someone up earlier and I sent him on his way as he’s in his 30s and I think cancelled or so he says a meeting but cannot even remember now. it was a place I might well have picked for a first meeting so he’s probably right. So there’s a spare single male unmarried no children good ish looking professional available for a start if anyone wants him although I always assume if they’re that young they are unlikely to want an older wife.

    • Jo says:

      I am so baffled by the things you say sometimes Lydia. Your comments of all these men you have to bat off and your continuing dilemma at how many men are after you etc etc. Don’t know but, sometimes seems… Seems what? Helpful? Informative? Unsettling? What? These comments re this Plankton blog achieve what exactly? Sometimes at a loss to know.

      • Lydia says:

        My point is that if plankton tried internet dating she would find a lot of men are out there. Of course tehre is a vast difference between having a lot of email interest and meeting people (although I do meet quite a lot as I do like meeting men).

        My aim? To show that internal happiness is the issue, not really who does or doesn’t hva a man. To show that you can be in virtually the same situation at the same age in the same circumstances and one of us be happy with that and the other not. I am not saying any of these men would necessarily have married me although 3 or 4 have gone on to remarry so I am sure with the right person they would be up for it but I just don’t see this picture of a wrold for women over 40 where there are no suitable men around. The women either have too high standards or else like to be moaners but not take action or they can’t attract men for some reason perhaps because they are sad and negative or even simpler things like their skirt is too short or they don’t
        really like sex.

      • MissM says:

        Good question, Jo. I could be taking it the wrong way but to me it appears that Lydia is simply reminding us of her superiority since she can get men when we can’t. Extra points for them all being rejected by her as not good enough, but they are still described as good enough for one of us, since we are inferior of course. Don’t forget the skiing holiday and highly paid job either. It is very important we all know about those too, given how frequently they are mentioned. Not sure why we need to be reminded all the time and I could be missing the real point, but I’m guessing constantly touting her superiority goes some way to making her feel so happy. Whatever works I guess.

        As to your suggestion of a meet Jo, I love the idea, and if I were not on the other side of the world I’d be there to clink glasses. As Patricia and others have said, the support of other plankton is a great comfort. This may sound somewhat perverse, but I am pleased in a way to see so many plankton that are obviously lovely, intelligent people, because it just goes to emphasise that planktonhood is not a result of something that is “wrong” with us, rather than it being bad luck resulting in not having met the right person at the right time, or perhaps that there are simply not enough men with intelligence and basic grooming skills to go around.

      • zoe says:

        Lydia has a distinctive voice and is always irreducibly herself. This is, I believe, to be celebrated.

      • zoe says:

        And, also, I agree with Lydia in her previous post when she said that there is virtue in putting sex back where it belongs. Remember that? When all that counted was fancying someone? Get that right and often so much else follows; the laughter, the affection, the friendship, the joy and, yes, even happiness. Forget the shopping list of perfect partner requirements that deadens and complicates and is more about the idea of things than the reality of things. Remember instead that you and everyone you know will one day be dead and what then of being mindful of apostrophes or the social embarrassment of having said “I like you” first?

      • Bambi says:

        Ditto, Jo, MissM and Margaux…..

        Zoe, I disagree… I do not wish to make a personal attack, but I have found Lydia’s comments a yawn from day one…..

        P, I am in a different place from you right now (mostly to do with length of time since the demise of marriage and some other stuff….yet still, theoretically at least, ‘Plankton’), but how I wish there had been a blog like this 7/8 years ago -when I was in exactly the same place and thought I was a freak! I can’t say that I believe you will meet The Man of Your Dreams at the party tonight (is it tonight – I am also in a different time zone at the moment, so never quite sure!), but I am with you on that journey to and from…. so you are not entirely alone. And just think – the event you are attending will, undoubtedly, be the source of another wonderful, well-written, entertaining blog…. which may be funny, poignant or controversial (or all of these), depending on your mood… I am looking forward to it already!

      • The Plankton says:

        Thank you, Bambi, kind words indeed. That is something I am going to have to live up to tomorrow when I write my post, but I will do my best. Px

  • Brigitte says:

    Re: Zambesigirl’s comment about intimidating men.
    I know I have done this over the years without knowing it. I am not very shy and rather comfortable in my own skin, so I suspect that I have “scared” men away. I know an intimidated man my not be your ideal portrait of a man, P., but LS is perhaps worth another shot. Maybe he’s not so much intimidated as waiting for a sign from you. Should the occasion present itself again, maybe your next e-mail response to him shouldn’t be so “perfect” and scripted. And stop waiting the “proper” amount of time to respond (waiting days sends a message of indifference). For bloody’s sake, just type: “Nice to hear from you. Will you be in town at some point? Maybe we could catch up over a beer”. Then hit SEND.

  • EmGee says:

    😦 Sorry you can’t feel more upbeat about this birthday gathering, I hope it exceeds expectations.

  • terracotta says:

    Oh dear Plankton – if you were in Winnie the Pooh I think you’d have to be Eeyore.

  • Well, you have now succeeded in making me feel kind of sorry for you, though I’m pretty sure that’s actually NOT the reason that you set up this blog site….

  • Margaux says:

    I wish Lydia would get it into her head that not everyone wants to be a social hermit.
    Lydia, you appear to advocate that everyone just stays at home with a coterie of random internet men to call on to service one’s needs as required.

    Your comments are governed by the miserable marriage you endured – but it doesn’t follow that everyone else in a similar state of planktonhood should wear the hair shirt and shun friends and social gatherings. Particularly at this time of year.

    P – have a great time tonight ..today’s mantra for you!:
    ”he/she who expects nothing will never be disappointed”
    (Alexander Pope)

  • Picture this….you go to the party…blank. You meet people and enjoy the moment “face a face”…no pre – judgements , no fucking pessimism, no bloody self interests , it’s a PARTY fer Chrissakes …PARTY ON . Funny hat ,blowers , flirting and a snog ….what ferkin’ FUN .
    You really deserve a fun time ONCE a year Plankton …have it now ….

    I wish you all the fun of the festive season xxx

    Invite me to the pub ….it’s only 1000 miles , but I would come to meet you face a face to statisfy my curiosity at what I missed ….see , Jamie and Jo have ‘sussed us men out . x

  • rosie says:

    Here’s another one in favour of giving LS one more go. I think men are indeed intimidated by intelligent women (hence wanting to come back as a not very intelligent stunna), even if they say they’re not and even if that’s what they really want. LS may be a big cheese professionally but that doesn’t mean he’s got it together – he obviously hasn’t – in his personal life. If I was judging him by his email alone I’d give him a wide berth too but as you’ve already met him, P, and thought he was great company (I think, or am I getting him confused with someone else?) you haven’t got anything to lose, have you?

    Daydreaming your life away about something you can’t have – as I do re the gorgeous ex, although I have deleted my FB account so I can’t look at the bleedin’ pictures of him and his young girlfriend having fun, which is at least a start – is bad enough but when it’s about something that could become a reality you’ll forever have that horrible niggling feeling of ‘what if’.

    That’s not to say I don’t know exactly what you mean and why you’ve decided to bin him – I’d have done the same – but sitting here reading from afar with an objective head on just makes me think ‘noooo!’ It could have taken him days to put together the email and that could well be a sign of his solipsism but could just as easily mean he wanted to impress you and, yes, was a teeny bit intimated. He might even be sitting there right now reading it back with his head in his hands, wanting to top himself! Could you not give him just one more chance and if he fucks that up then he really is toast?

    And Lydia, sorry but I’m also baffled (and a bit bored) by your comments. You say you’re ecstatically happy on your own but spend half your time trawling the internet looking for men. It doesn’t add up.

  • rosie says:

    Having said all that I can’t remember (my memory’s going to pieces as well as my body) whether you sent the last text, P, or if you left it dangling? If it’s the former I’d stay clear too.

    • The Plankton says:

      I sent a very brief email to him about two weeks ago, which I could have sent to anyone, so breezy was it. Nothing back from him since and not expecting it, but it certainly means I need to stay clear! Px

  • Steve says:

    FYI, not all men are intimidated by intelligent women….

  • rosie says:

    Steve, I’m sure there are men who aren’t but I’m convinced they’re in the minority and god help you if you’re smarter than they are. I’ve even been dumped before now on the grounds that ‘you’re too intelligent for me’. wtf does that mean? The bloke in question wasn’t exactly a dunce himself and it was obviously his way of ending it but what a strange turn of phrase. Can’t believe there are many men who’ve been offloaded on the same grounds.

    • MissM says:

      Men do come up with the darndest excuses to end a relationship, or not start one. I’ve even had “Mother wouldn’t approve” from a man in his forties. (Admittedly he lives with Mother who is a plankton herself and is doing her best not to be left alone by holding onto her son.) I have come to the conclusion that no matter what colour the cloak of camouflage, the reason hiding beneath is “I think I can do better”. No one has ever dismissed a person for being too high a quality for them unless it is because they think they deserve even better.

      I agree with Steve, and in my experience it is the truly intelligent men who really do want a woman who is also intelligent. The ones who find it intimidating are the ones who are not quite the brightest themselves but have been relying on bluff most of their lives, and therefore fear that their cover will be blown.

      • Fi says:

        I don’t think ‘intimidating’ is the right word. I’ve never yet met a man who doesn’t believe he’s entitled to have, and interesting enough to win and retain, a supermodel with Einstein like brains, if he wants her. In my experience they never seem to question whether what they offer is good enough for her, unless it’s to criticise her for wanting more than they offer. Even the thickest illiterate believes the strength of his personality will overcome her need for intellectual stimulation.

      • MissM says:

        True Fi, though I have met a lot of men that are quite content with just the supermodel aspect and wouldn’t care at all if she had the intellectual capacity of a box of rocks. The rest about not accepting that what they have to offer is not on parity is still completely true though.

        There are those that are too incompetent to even recognise that they are incompetent. It is real and known as the Dunning–Kruger effect (described as a cognitive bias in which unskilled people make poor decisions and reach erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to recognize their mistakes). But I bet the world seems like a better place to them than it does to those of us with the ability to recognise our limitations.

  • Twinkletoes says:

    “what colour the cloak of camouflage”

    What a lovely phrase, Miss M.

    I once had the immortal, “This isn’t working for me, but it’s not you, it’s me”. Yes, really. Up until then, I had thought that this was actually an urban myth that nobody really used.

    And I’ve been told that I am “too independent”. Ha ha!

  • MissM says:

    Thank you Twinkletoes, your compliment is much appreciated.

    Indeed they do come up with some bizarre excuses. I think the plan is to try and say something like you are “too independent” so as not to sound as insulting as if they said you are “too fat/ugly/unlike-the-lingerie-model-that-I-deserve”. The “it’s not you it’s me” is actually correct in a way, the ‘me’ in that equation has decided ‘you’ fail to meet his expectations of the sort of woman he should be able to get.

    I did once have a guy tell me the woman he was leaving me for was “not as pretty, was fat and had really bad skin”. He was actually trying to be nice as opposed to rubbing salt in the wound. I believe he was working on the assumption that this information would make me feel better about myself, as opposed to the rather obvious alternative conclusion that my personality was so awful that even superior looks couldn’t compensate for it. He called me again later after the woman he had described to me as not pretty, fat and having bad skin, had dumped him. I held in my laughter until after the phone call ended.

    • TwinkleToes says:

      I laughed out loud at that! Don’t you just love it when they try to come back and you say no?

      I have been told I’m too independant and then been given a list of examples as to why, e.g. I can take my car in for a service all by myself. So I think I really am too independant and that suits me.

      The “it’s not you” line was certainly a cover up though.

      • Fi says:

        Spoke to another bloke tonight from the pof site. Not that I wanted to but he was so persistent, and came from my town, and goes to the same pub I sometimes do, I thought I’d give him a chance in case I was turning down something amazing. Plus there would be a chance I’d bump into him and as my face is plastered on my profile, he’d be bound to recognise me if he saw me. Anyway….he has a dog that he walks. He’s unemployed. Apart from walking his dog, he spends every evening (apart from saturday when he watches strictly come dancing with his mother, voting for Harry) with his mother watching Deal or No Deal. He asked for the correct spelling of my name (presumably so he could go away and google me?). Luckily I didn’t give him my real name but a friends, and she’s now mega pissed off with me in case he tracks her down (ha ha). So apart from providing entertainment for my friends and work colleagues, I am as yet no nearer finding Mr Right. But I still haven’t given up yet..

      • Fi says:

        To be fair to him, he watches game shows every night, but Deal or No Deal is his favourite. And he told me he’s sterile. “Why did he tell me such an odd thing in an introductory telephone call?” I asked a male friend. “Because he wants to shag you without a condom” I was told. Lucky lucky me! I’ll have to grab him while he’s still available. Oh right, that’ll be the rest of his life then.

      • MissM says:

        I’m glad that gave you a laugh Twinkletoes. I must be too independent also. I was thinking that if I were able to actually service my own car that would be independent, but apparently successfully making a phone call and driving it to the service centre is a feat in and of itself. I should be more impressed with myself.

        Oh dear Fi, what a classic, but technically that man is not available, he has Mother. He would not go on a date if it clashed with watching Deal or No Deal with Mother. He might promise to leave Mother for a partner in the same way a married man tells his mistress he will leave his wife for her, but never does. Mother probably told him what a delightful catch he is, but even so, what cheek he had in making the being sterile comment! I’d never have guessed that it was code for desiring unprotected sex, we need a book that translates all these secret messages.

        Of course he is still available for casual sex, almost all men are available for casual sex. I suspect rather a lot less are actually getting it though.

      • Twinkletoes says:

        Your friend is correct, Fi. Watch out for the other excuses too, such as “I’ve had the snip” and “I’m allergic to condoms”.

        I always google their dating site nicknames… you can find out a lot from that sometimes. One I was chatting to was also on a sexual encounters site and open to any sort of encounter going. Fair turned my stomach!

        Before anyone jumps on me (perhaps the wrong phrase to use there!), this man was not just on the fishy site, but also on a number of paid dating sites. The pervs often have plenty of money to spend on finding their victims.

      • Bambi says:

        Just picked myself up off the floor…. you mean to say you women take a car for a service ALL ON YOUR OWN??? Wow!

  • EmGee says:

    Fi, et al, ROFL!!!!!

    • Fi says:

      Had another great one today – farmer, smiley face and twinkly eyes, checked shirt. Looked promising. But. This one doesn’t like sex AT ALL. Thinks its ‘dirty’. Dating websites – a hilarious way of passing the time.

  • Jo says:

    Sorry for being dim EmGee. What’s ROLF mean?

  • Jo says:

    Sorry. I misread it. ROFL. Not ROLF!

    • MissM says:

      ROFL is Rolls On Floor Laughing. If it was even funnier it could have been ROFLMAO, being Rolls On Floor Laughing My Arse Off. Similar to LOL being Laughs Out Loud, alternatively Lots Of Laughter may pass as correct. But it is definitely not Lots of Love as a friend of mine thought it was until just the other day. She is not the only one though, someone else who thought it meant Lots of Love sent a sympathy message to a friend on the death of her father, it went something like “Sorry to hear your Dad passed away LOL”.

  • EmGee says:

    Still, if you need edification:

  • Ezra Bricker says:

    This is one awesome blog article.Much thanks again. Awesome.

  • Im obliged for the article.Really thank you! Cool.

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