Plankton Goes into Business. Not.

December 23, 2011 § 52 Comments

Last night I stood near the most beautiful Christmas tree I ever saw – six metres high, apparently – and I met someone.

I would so like to mean Someone but, no.  I met another plankton, ten years or so younger than myself who looked ten years younger than that, and she was struggling.  The headache was finally lifting and I was at another party; same dress as at all the others, same crippling heels, same cheer but, at this point in the festive proceedings, perhaps not quite the same optimism.   (There are a couple more parties tonight and then that’s properly it; the hibernation begins).  It was in a house of incredible beauty and there was a proper Christmassy warmth emanating from the fire and the hosts.  There weren’t that many people and they were all married except for me and my new plankton friend.  The couples were very friendly, so as I ate things on sticks or in little bowls that were being passed round, whilst I had merry enough conversations.

When the plankton and I introduced ourselves towards the end, we didn’t waste any time getting down to the business of comparing our circumstances.  She is divorced with no children and has, since being single, had a few desultory relationships.  She wants babies and I stood there counting my fucking blessings, I can tell you, for all that I feel about that particular fad.  Her most recent boyfriend just dumped her a few days ago.  She feels very alone.  She has been online but says the sleazy sleaze-balls she has come across defy belief.  She has made a friend or two, admittedly, from it, but a lot of the men are used to shopping for women as they might for golf balls.  One not good enough?  Chuck her out, just get a new one.  Consumers down to the bottom of their emotional resevoirs, they are, she said, bless them, always on the look-out for something better.   Her father recently signed her up to the so-called upmarket Screaming into the Ether dating agency or whatever it’s called (followers of this blog know what I think about that!).  It cost him as much as a small oil rig and she has had one date so far with a man who had been on so many dates that he looked more bored than a died-peacefully-in-his-sleep corpse enduring the solemnity of his own vigil.  I suggested she and I should go into business and set up a decent dating agency, something which does not currently exist.  We became very animated by the idea.  Gap in the market!  Our USP would be decent available men!  We talked about it for several minutes and thought the best bit could be that she and I would have first refusal on all the new sign-ups!  We would be very fussy about who we took on and we thought about who they might be!  They could be wonderful!  What fun!

Alas, our enthusiasm was short-lived, bit like my enthusiasm for my Bring-A-Man party.  It disintegrated like so much space dust on the tongue of a seventies street urchin.  We became profoundly despondent because we realised there was a glaring handicap we faced, we realised that our business plan had one fabulous, fatal flaw: there would not be one decent available man who would want to sign up because not one decent available man needs to sign up to Jack Shit.

He can just sit like King Canute himself, and rule the waves of willing women who crash onto his all-encompasing shore.


§ 52 Responses to Plankton Goes into Business. Not.

  • Aidan says:

    There is actually such an agency. Unfortunately it was set up by a woman called Lydia and when the men who join the agency meet her they are so enchanted by this godess that they completely lose interest in any other women who are mere drones by comparison.

    • AJ says:

      giggle, giggle!! Very funny..

    • Lydia says:

      I’m just good at marketing myself. I’m sure it’s a huge disappointment on meeting… may be that’s why my idea of totally naked dating meetings in total darkness meetings in the body of the Great Hadron Collider in Switzerland with bearded scientists is the better way…..

      I am arguably less successful in terms of men than Plankton or the same – both of us are single – but I don’t seem to mind so much.

  • Steve H says:

    P – just wanted to wish you and all the other contributors here a Happy Christmas.

    Oh… and Miss Bates – yesterday’s contribution was just brilliant.Very,very funny.

    I’m going to buy me a plane ticket in the New Year and travel out to the US of A to woo the legend that is Miss Bates 😉

    • MissBates says:

      Thank you, SteveH — I’m gratified you were amused by my mini-rant. Come on over — you could be the “beau of the ball” at my plankton-filled New Year’s Eve party. Spoiled for choice, I promise you. (Proving the point made by our Plankton-in-Chief today that men need not “sign up” for her and her new friend’s dating agency…..)

      Merry Christmas, everybody.

  • Margaux says:

    Oh Plankton – BIG laugh out loud at Screaming into The Ether – bloody perfect description!
    Sympathies for the young Plankton with her body clock ticking. ( I was never afflicted by that so am happily child free but enjoy godmotherly duties)
    But I think your agency idea could have legs you know ….

    I know there are a million horror stories about internet dating but there are also success stories too. I guess you just have to be choosy about the sites you use. I have one friend ( a journo) who in her early 50s decided to approach it like buying a house. 100 dates and finally she met the man who became husband.
    (Her dating stories are hilarious btw – especially the one where she threw red wine overself so she could escape the restaurant …) and PoF sound like cattle markets of the first order so maybe other planktons could list the ones they’ve tried and their merits and demerits…

    I’m cautiously moving towards giving it a go. Just think, P, if you did too -what fun we’d have reading about your adventures!

    Enjoy your parties tonight ! Go knock ’em dead girl! M x

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you, Margaux, for this nice comment. Not sure there’ll be anyone to knock dead tonight, but I take your point. All best wishes, Px

    • Joe says:

      OK Cupid is, by far, the best one, second best. (same parent company, by the way). Plenty of Fish has plenty ‘o members, but members don’t seem to take it seriously since it is free of charge….

    • Jo says:

      Margaux. The site that has yielded the success stories of plankton I have known over the years – from late 40’s to over 60- is Guardian Soulmates. Of course there are no guarantees and success rates remain fewer than non-success ones yes. But it is more than worth a try I think. And I speak as one who vehemently disbelieved it. Until their success. There may be crappage along the way, as I’m sure others may recount here about G.S. But hang in. Keep a realistic head and keep going. Or not. But hey, give it a go. Why the hell not. One can always stop. But at least give it a go.
      Happy Christmas you gorgeous lot. xx

      • Margaux says:

        Thanks Jo. That’s the one that keeps coming up. Happy Christmas!

      • Lydia says:

        I think you need a beard and very left wing views for GS but I may be wrong. It is quite interesting how often I’ve not been able to progress things with men because of very different political views.

        However try all routes and have fun on the way.

  • Brigitte says:

    My experience with a dating agency also cost me dearly (mentally as well as financially). LifeMates charged me $4500 (CAD) for 10 introductions and professional photographs. I’ve been on 6 dates so far and all the men have been toads. I am not being picky here, they were truly hideous, all of them. It was so bad that I asked the agents if they were using my professional photos at all, because they were not matching me with equally attractive men as they had said they would. They have 3 categories of attractiveness: ducks, geese, and swans. I figure I’m at least a good goose, but the men have been below ducks (said “toads”).
    Now, I realise LifeMates cannot control who applies for membership. Most likely, the ones having trouble finding dates populate it. I am one myself, being a plankton and working with mostly women. But God, it is so discouraging to realise that any attractive, decent man is snatched up in a split second after any relationship (“castle slits”). They certainly don’t need the help of a dating agency.
    I still have 4 more introductions and I don’t even care anymore, it’s so bad. I’m still paying off my line of credit for this experience, but I still just don’t care if I meet another toad.

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear Brigitte, All the more need for my special dating agency, I think! What a horrible experience. Poor you. But best of luck with the four last toads. Corny as it may sound, I hope the last one may turn out to be a p…No, I just can’t bring myself. But you get my drift. Px

    • Lydia says:

      I wrote here once before that I went just after my divorce to a dating agency with a UK $5k fee on the basis that I wanted someone ideally around my own income level but the deal on offer was so poor – like that mentioned by Brigitte above. They would not even let me see any pictures before meeting anyone and guaranteed 5 dates only.

      Given I like to spend qute a bit of time talking to someone in advance and emailing so we can check out life and sexual compatibility issues and see if we’re at similar level of looks it sounds a very bad offer on their side so I didn’t go ahead and have met quite a lot of men through internet dating in general who earn what I do without too much trouble at all. I’m not saying I’d discount anyone who didn’t pay 50% tax and I don’t but sometimes if someone is on your level in terms of IQ, education, class, income, assets and looks the rest fits together more easily.

      • Jo says:

        I don’t get these places who charge a small fortune to subscribe. That’s not the deal with G.S.
        Everything you talk about wanting to do on a dating site is available at G.S.
        But hey, you don’t need this site do you ‘Lydia’? They’re all falling at your feet anyway aren’t they? According to all your posts.

  • rosie says:

    Oh god, I don’t know whether to laugh or fall to the floor and sob hysterically. But I am going to try and slip ‘he looked more bored than a died-peacefully-in-his-sleep corpse enduring the solemnity of his own vigil’ into a conversation before the year’s out!

    This reminds me of a friend, forty four, who signed up to a dating agency and was introduced to one ‘60-yr-old dwarf’ for the duration of her membership, the fee for which – she said it cost twelve grand although she is prone to exaggeration – she demanded back.

    The ‘delustory relationships’ bit also strikes a sickly chord as it’s all I’ve had in 15 friggin years. I suppose I should be thankful that I never wanted babies as I really would be a basket case by now. I’ve seen enough friends who do want children go through the same thing and it causes real misery.

    And to the charmer who dumps his girlfriend a few days before Christmas a pox on his house.

  • Steve says:

    A decent available woman with no children who wants children? This is the product of fantasy, methinks! I doubt such a creature exists!!

    PS: Merry Christmas dearest P 🙂

    • The Plankton says:

      A merry Christmas to you too, Steve. Ps. I promise you she wasn’t a figment of mine.

    • Lydia says:

      Steve, their of legions of them. They turn 30 and then want a man about their age to settle down with and as their biological clock ticks towards the 35 crunch point (fertility plummets at 35) they accept worse and worse men. I really think you should have no problem.

      • Elle says:

        Personally I’d rather have no children at all than have them with somebody who doesn’t tick the boxes – fit, intelligent, healthy, sane, gainfully employed etc. So I have no regrets. I’d accept somebody who didn’t tick all the boxes if children weren’t on the cards.

        Why bring children into the world if one of the parents feels that the other parent isn’t up to scratch? It isn’t fair on the child. Too many people have children for selfish reasons. Yes, children are lovely but there are more than 7 million people on the planet!

      • Steve says:


        Legions? Really? You couldn’t point a few out, could you? Either I am SFAR, blind, or there aren’t too many in south east London.

    • Ian Ironwood says:

      Please. They grow on trees around here.

  • Elle says:

    Indeed. As I said before, planktonhood starts at 30 in my country. You put our predicament across so well Plankton. I am a bit like the woman you met under the tree but I have never been married.

    I know two very nice, well brought up ladies (one single, one married) who set up a dating agency in Ireland. There were several branches all over the country. The idea was that if there were more women than men in Dublin then there might be more men than women in Cork or Galway and that would balance out the numbers.

    Not so. It lasted a little under a year because there were not enough dateable men ANYWHERE for an endless supply of lovely women. There were SOME men available but sadly most were SFAR, living with their mothers and alcoholic into the bargain. Epic fail even though both ladies have run very successful business in other areas.

    Happy Christmas Plankton, I hope you and your children enjoy it.

    • The Plankton says:

      God, Elle, this is such a bleak story, but thanks for letting me know, just in case I was still harbouring any thoughts of going into business with my new friend! Happy Christmas to you too! Px

      • Elle says:

        It wouldn’t surprise me if these two women gave their dating agency another shot in 2012 as they don’t give up easily and are otherwise very successful. However, as Scotty says, ye cannae change the laws o’ physics and you can’t change the laws of demographics either. One man into ten women won’t go unless all concerned are part of a polygamous sect.

        Never mind, have a great Christmas all!

    • Lydia says:

      Across most of the planet except India and China where they kill so many girls in utero or even after birth there are about equal numbers of men and women.

      There are plenty of men who can hardly find anyone who have very little to offer and ditto women.

      In cultures like ours where women support themselves, have good careers and earn a lot there is no excuse for more women wanting a man than vice versa. Where men aren’t meal tickets there is a good balance. Of course you could plot a chart – 20 something girls have their pick of lots of men. 30 somethings need one quickly for babies although gosh I know a lot of women who have babies on their own – you certainly don’t need a man; 40 somethings post children have their pick of divorced men who don’t want a second family etc etc.

      They are all out there. If the process people are using isn’t working change the process – look elsewhere, change your bra or whatever it takes.

      • Jo says:

        Oh sorry. But take a hike Lydia. Your views are crap.

      • Ian Ironwood says:

        Yeah, I have to agree. The fact is that the demographics favor men, because women are just so gosh-darn picky that they’ll turn down a dozen “decent” guys in their youth because of their perceived flaws, and then when their sexual capital starts to run out and Prince Charming hasn’t appeared, those guys are talking to the younger models.

        “Don’t need a man”? Sure, you don’t. And a lot of men are deciding they don’t need women — at least not in any permanent sort of sense. When women can support themselves, and sex is so freely available, why should men get involved unless they want a wife and kids? The “decent guys” are more and more turning into MGTOWs and living out a libidinous bachelorhood . . . or finding third-world wives whose first impulse after a fight isn’t to call a lawyer.

        I have to agree with Jo . . . it looks pretty bleak out there for a woman who didn’t find a mate in her 20s.

  • Margaux says:

    I am just listening to Radio 4 ‘s look back at Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex & The Single Girl on iplayer while reading your blog
    (thanks to Rosie for flagging it up)

    Still love that book! Younger Planktons who’ve never read it – it really whipped up a furore at the time.

    Hilarious clip of an old interview with HGB from when it came out (1962)

    Interviewer : You married at 36 . Were you getting panicky?’

    Has anything changed ? (!!)

  • rosie says:

    Will let you know if I manage it, P. Might have to write it on the inside of my wrist!

  • june says:

    Another joy plankton, i laughed out loud, you really help us planktons get through planktonville brillantly. Sad for the girl you met,so glad i was never that maternal, so that was one thing i could live with. Now its strange,think i feel quite maternal towards two of my younger friends, one whose mum is dead and another who does not get on with hers. Perhaps as i felt i would never meet anyone, i just didnt think about it.

    Enjoy your parties. I and i must be totally insane, but it is christmas have agreed to go with my one of,my younger plankton friends to POF night in the city. I have been before and she said she knows i didnt like it, she said to one of our mutual friends,who she works with, do you think June will want to go. She said well ask her,so im going,well i am at 5 to 5. God knows how i will feel at 9.p.m Still she is also pretty, choosey and she is going with others i dont know outside our normal circle of work friends so i might make another plankton friend, like you did.

    Yes i have sometimes considered setting up my own agency,however like you i realise it would be full of attractive, spunky,lively women all looking for the type of male not available.

  • maria says:

    Merry Christmas, dear P! I wish you all the best in the coming new year, including a lovely man.

  • Lizzie from Oz says:

    Merry Christmas to all fellow planktons and contributors – I have loved following this blog and todays piece was pure brilliance Plankton! The humour in it all, day after day, is just what we need!
    Fellow planktons, enjoy life, throw yourself into every hobby/pastime you adore, and talk to everybody you know or meet as if they are the most fascinating person you have ever met. Good luck for 2012. xxx

  • Joules says:

    Perhaps what we need is not a dating agency but a “boot camp” of sorts that trains all the SFOR etc. who do not at present have what it takes and makes them into something acceptable.

    There is a lot of raw material there but you know what they say about Alaska.
    The odds are good but the goods are odd.

    • The Plankton says:

      I’ve never heard that expression. Great! Thank you. Px

    • Lydia says:

      Yes, I could do it for men too. A very nice one I’m speaking to just doesn’t know how you make women want you. It’s dead easy. I should be giving lessons.

      Ditto with some women (not all).

      I think in general in life if people thought more about what they could give than what they could take and instead of wallowing in misery had fun and helped others less fortunate than they are they might find life easier. If you’ve fun to mope work harder, I would say. Perhaps aim to increase your working hours by 50% next year (not easy in a recession I know) and you might get happier

    • Ian Ironwood says:

      There is one. It’s called “taking the Red Pill”. And there’s a lot of men doing it.

      The problem is, once they fix their problems and realize just how valuable they are in the SMP, then their expectations of womenfolk go up considerably. If you build better men, then they’re going to want better women.

      And no, it’s not “dead easy” to learn how to make women want you. In point of fact, most women don’t know how to explain how to make women want you, because they don’t realize it themselves. The information they give guys is about 50% wrong and 50% fantasy, and then they complain bitterly about how we “got it all wrong!”. For instance, women keep saying they want “nice guys”, when in point of fact the objective evidence demonstrates that they drop “nice guys” like used dishrags.

      The fact is, women want Alpha, even if they’re talking about Beta all day. And when they get the Beta that they said they wanted, they usually leave the moment they find the Alpha they’ve been seeking. So the only way for a dude to really attract women is by taking the Red Pill and quit worrying about what women say they want.

      • P Ray says:

        When women talk about the qualities that only nice guys have …
        they are wishing that it is present in _the guy they are currently attracted to_.
        Too many men interpret what the woman says about “I want a nice guy” to mean “if I am nice, she’ll be interested”,
        when it actually means “Why can’t the guy I’m interested in be the nice guy?”
        What happens after that is the guy changes and gets burned by the girl “Let’s just be friends” “It’s not you, it’s me” “I want to marry my best friends — friends ALWAYS agree on everything!”
        It may also be that women don’t tell men what’s attractive for 2 other reasons:
        – They know, and are embarrassed to say,
        – They need the guy around and unattached just in case.

  • Chris says:

    Happy Christmas Planky. Don’t be so hard on toads. I have known some creatively ugly women whose golden personalities shone through and enabled them to be rather attractive to men. I know one guy married to a lady of very irregular features, but they are so happy…but then she is so nice….and he ain’t no toad. Lesson there ? What would I know ?

  • Margaux says:

    Lydia – re your comment …bit of a proud leftie here !…but no beard yet!

    • Margaux says:

      PS – so which site do you use to sift through all your hundreds of men Lydia???

      • Jo says:

        Margaux. I don’t think she does. i think she enjoys winding us all up.
        It’s nearly New year. She can take a hike. Her views are crap and ridiculous and have long been so..Ludicrously shite and smugly self-satisfied…I DON’T BELIEVE IT. To coin a phrase. And there an end to ‘Lydia’.
        Happy Christmas Margaux and to you all.
        2012 Here we come. x

      • The Real Lydia says:

        Ok,Ok,Ok. Coming clean. I’m unemployed and have 6 children (all by different mothers) but work part time as an office cleaner (cash in hand) and when my current girlfriend isn’t looking I use her laptop to post here. Jeez guys. Lighten up!!

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