Powerless Plankton

January 9, 2012 § 69 Comments

Last night, after cosying up with my children in front of Sherlock – an excellent tonic, if ever there was one, the cosying even more so than Benedict Cumberbatch – I indulged in a long telephone conversation with a beloved immediate member of my family who lives abroad.

She is a few years older than me and single, but she is not a plankton because that is not how she views herself.  She has men aplenty interested in her, always has, because she is wonderful.  But, the funny thing about her – by her own admission – is that she is the opposite to me (even though we are so closely related), in as much as she craves the solitude between them.  Never for very long, mind, but she does need it, like oxygen.  But then a new person always comes along, relieves her of it for a while, and that’s great, until the desire for autonomy and privacy again arises.  I think she knows at all times that she has the prospect to change it whenever she likes, and perhaps that is the crucial difference.  I could, but something is obviously missing in me, alas, and I don’t.

I think the difference is the fact that she has no problem attracting men in the first place, and that bestows a definite confidence and – I hesitate to use the word because I don’t like it and I am not sure it’s anyway entirely accurate in this context; too strong – power.  I am not saying her situation is perfect, and she would never be so smug or complacent as to suggest anything as much, but I think her shoes may be more comfortable than mine.  What I loathe about my state – and I suspect many plankton feel the same – is the powerlessness, or what feels like powerlessness.  If a person wishes to better her situation re work, education, family dynamics, learning a language or what have you – she can in almost every respect – with dedication, ambition, hard work, confidence etc – but whatever a plankton does to find a companion is so often fraught with failure and humiliation.  The success rate is on a par with winning the Euromillions, despite all her efforts.  No wonder so many of us give up the ghost.

I guess that is what I am moaning about today.  It is a better day today, by a long shot (ha! ha! Irony!  Where he?) than yesterday.  The turbulence has been and gone.  In its place: wistfulness.

I am putting off the smiling and waving promised yesterday just a little while longer.  Wistfulness is a warmer, closer, gentler companion, so familiar.  Smiling and Waving are friends, too, but rather frenetic ones, and I am not in the mood to cavort with them again quite yet.

Maybe tomorrow.


§ 69 Responses to Powerless Plankton

  • Chris says:

    Final paragraph…..minor masterpiece ( heh heh ) But seriously, why is it you think she can and you can’t ? What is the intangible she has and you have not ? What is it that gives her the ‘ power ‘ ? So much to think about, so many unanswered questions swirling in the ether…….

    • The Plankton says:

      You are so right, Chris, thank you (I refer to your questions as opposed to your kind words about my final par, for which also thank you). I expect a lot of it is down to a state of mind, and therefore to me… Px

  • fi says:

    That’s my experience exactly and for the same reasons.

    • fi says:

      Oh god before everyone starts on me again (who do you think you are etc etc) I better qualify that. By ‘for the same reasons’ I meant the desire for solitude. And yes I do feel the ‘power’ lies with me.

      • MissM says:

        Yes Fi, the power is with you because you have had the option to choose solitude. I think Plankton-In-Chief has hit a pertinent point with this. Some of us have not had any option of turning away offers to not remain single, not surprising then that we don’t have that same sense of power.

  • MissBates says:

    “Powerlessness.” Indeed, as others have commented here before, so much of finding a partner is down to luck. We could look to the Stoics, one of whom (Epictetus?) said that the one path to happiness is to stop worrying about things that are beyond the power of our will. Well, easier said than done, and (as I suppose is the case with most Stoic philosophy!) rather comfortless, but still a kernel of wisdom.

    Re your success rate being on a par with winning Euromillions: I sometimes equate mine with becoming an Olympic figure skating champion . . .

    • The Plankton says:

      I wonder which one is the most unlikely? In my case, I suspect the latter! xx

    • Liz says:

      I had JUST been thinking (before I read this) how surely one of the causes of depression is the feeling that one is powerless over a situation, and that is how I feel about finding a relationship. For the last ten years (from 30-40) I have tried everything (online dating, set-ups, dancing, etc.) I can think of, while at the same time going to the gym daily, eating well, taking care of my finances and career, etc., and not one thing I’ve done has brought me any closer to my goal. It’s beyond frustrating.

  • zoe says:

    You think her power is in her knowledge that she can always get another man. Maybe. But my guess is that it is as much, if not more, in her knowledge that she can be – “craves” to be – without one. It is this, I suspect, that gives her the confidence that attracts. I have had a number of live-in relationships that have lasted several years apiece. But, no matter how sad the ending, I have never been as happy as in the setting out on my own again. Partly, of course, because they ended for a reason. But also because of the quickening pulse of freedom; a renewed sense of being “me” again; and, somehow, the feeling of “coming home”. I don’t believe in seeking power in relationships but, on reflection, I do believe that this has given me a form of “power”. The power to leave a relationship when it’s no longer good; the power that you have when a man senses this about you. Also, if somewhere deep in your psyche is the belief that being on your own is not wrong – is maybe, even, “right” – it means that you are not looking exclusively for the relationship that will last forever. What you want is a relationship that will last for as long as it’s good. This I suspect is your relative’s other secret to success. She does not reject a man because she doubts that he is “the one”. She is not looking for “the one”. Instead, she is open when “a new person comes along”. That, P, is the source of her power.

    • 100% correct zoe …our Plankton will never emulate her relative if she continues to reject so many types of man . Imagine as she says, that women can achieve anything ….but not if they refuse to write because they don’t like the pen provided, or wont catch a number 9 bus because it is my unlucky numer …etc. ? You either “Go for it” or forget it , you can’t ponce around and demand only “The Best” and expect any results in anything in Life .

    • fi says:

      Yep I think the not looking for “the one”, and knowing she won’t stay for ever, gives a woman a certain elusive quality that men find intriguing.

  • Lydia says:

    I was just thinking yesterday when I put the phone down having spoken to yet another man that there is quite a feeling of power in it, that all these men want you and you can pick and choose.

    I would imagine plankton looks better than I do so why on earth would one attract and another not? is it about feeling confident? Is it just something simple like breast size, cleavage and high heels (people will now have some kind of image of me as a pneumatic doll or Stepford Wife which would not be accurate)?

    The women of England have had their chests cut open and dangerous silicone added therein because they think they can attract men, that they can take action and thus get better richer men. I don’t see why (although I am against the chest cutting and indeed foot binding and all the other stupid things women who are clothes horses and earn nothing engage in because they have no careers) you think you cannot do things to attract men more but could do things to improve other areas. There is no difference.

    • Margaux says:

      The women of England? a somewhat sweeping statement, Lyd, no?

      Aside from that assertion, I listened to a radio phone in about this issue. Many of the women callers had had reconstructive surgery after cancer and were understandably worried.

      Would you deny them the right to have made that choice?
      All said they did it for their own self esteem. And why not ?
      or do you tar with them with the same ‘done it to attract men’ brush?

    • Elle says:

      Plankton, where does your relative live? Perhaps it is a place where eligible single. men are plentiful in proportion to single women. So don’t be too hard on yourself.

      Demographics have a lot to do with planktonhood. In Dublin 3 men are emigrating for every 2 women. I previously said that planktonhood starts here at 30 but even nubile twentysomethings find it difficult to meet a man here who wants a relationship. Most men here seem to want one night stands or shagbuddies.

      • The Plankton says:

        Gosh, the shagbuddy is a depressing notion if ever there was one! Could you move from Dublin, Elle? I don’t know if America is any better? I have a girlfriend in NYC who has been on 85 dates recently – recently! Not that any have turned into a relationship. But at least men are into dating there! Px

      • Elle says:

        Unfortunately I’m stuck in Ireland, P. I am an only child and my parents are old. Most single women my age in Ireland who can’t move away have accepted that they won’t have a chance to be in a relationship, I am starting to do the same. Maybe the best thing for me is to accept being single forever, enjoy my wide circle of friends and find other things to do. Luckily I love sport and being fit and healthy in general. That gets me through.

      • The Plankton says:

        I totally get what you are saying. Do you mind me asking how old you are? Do you think you could ever broach the subject of moving away to your parents? Do you think they’d understand, or is it out of the question? Would you have anywhere else you could legitimately (and happily) go? x

      • Elle says:

        I’ve just turned 40 but my parents health has been shaky for the last 20 or so years with a good few hospital spells for them both and I’ve always had to be on call, so to speak. Even when I was younger I had the responsibility. I remember a gang going to Australia when I was 24 and I couldn’t go because my Mum had been in and out of hospital that year with a heart condition. A few years later there was a chance for me to go to the Middle East for a year but again Mum’s heart was giving her trouble. I remember coming back from my first holiday away with a boyfriend and having to rush to her hospital bed where she was hooked up to all sorts of equipment!

        Dad has had his problems too, mostly routine repair work such as hip replacements etc.but there have been close calls too.

        I won’t deny that these responsibilities have put a strain on relationships in the past and made me rethink my concept of relationships with men. Any relationship I could have would have to fit in with my responsibilities. It does get me down sometimes when I have to deal with it alone all the time with nobody to give me a hug when I’m sad and scared. However what can you do except keep the chin up and get on with it.

        I do have a full time job and a good circle of friends but there’s always the possibility of a phone call if one of them gets ill. It’s like a sort of cloud really, a cage of sorts. Therefore moving away isn’t an option.

      • The Plankton says:

        I do completely see and you have every sympathy. px

      • Lydia says:

        Import a man from abroad then. Men do this all the time and often end up with a lovely well educated pretty Russian or whatever. I am sure tehre are plenty of countries where people want to leave and com to Ireland or take your parents to emgirate to somewhere with lots of men or hire carers for our parents who come from abroad and are male and something good might come of that.

    • Elle says:

      Lydia, I find your suggestion crass and insulting both to me and to people from abroad. At best it reflects that you lack empathy with the rest of humanity which is sad, at worst it makes you a troll of the lowest order.

      Would you risk your island, the stratospheric income you keep telling us about and your other assets too numerous to mention so you can marry somebody you barely know from abroad or indeed a local person? I do not have any such assets myself but I do have integrity which I consider to be an asset even though integrity is intangible and isn’t of monetary value. And therefore wouldn’t be of any value to certain people.

      I have dated foreign men in the past because we got on well, just as I have dated local men in the past because we got on well. My main criterion for being with somebody is that we get on well. Neither men nor women are commodities to be imported at whim like livestock.

      I think that my parents are worthy of care from trained professionals with traceable, identifiable qualifications or else caring family members.

      If people choose to select partners or employees from abroad on specialist websites and marry them despite barely knowing them that’s their business but it isn’t how I operate.

      • Jo says:

        Well said Elle.
        Lydia. Please. Do you do this on purpose? I’m starting to think so. I think you enjoy being provocative and enjoy the reaction to your words. But there is provocation and there is being downright rude. Both of which you do with -seeming- relish and on a regular basis. You constantly inform us of how intelligent, high-powered, erudite, educated, cultured et al you are.
        Actually often what you say is idiotic, stupid and ignorant.
        ‘Import a man from abroad’?!!….etc. Oh come on now. Utterly ridiculous.
        As Elle rightly says. What you’ve said is crass and insulting.
        Elle. Your predicament is very clear and I feel for you.
        I really wish I lived near to you to offer some sort of respite for you. (After being suitably checked out of course. I mean that.).
        You’re still young and have had to bear this for so long. We would do anything for our loved ones. But it’s so hard for you. Much sympathy to you. For whatever its worth.

      • fi says:

        This is why I can’t believe Lydia is genuine. I can’t believe that she would treat her parents in the dismissive way she suggests Elle does. Surely she is just being provocative?

      • MissM says:

        That is not what I would describe as provocative Fi, it is just downright offensive and rude. That is why I do believe Lydia is nothing more than a troll.

        You have my sympathies Elle, you are doing the right thing but since the world is not based on fairness the rewards that should be yours do not appear to be forthcoming. I know the feeling of being trapped by responsibilities. Perhaps that is why the bitches so frequently win out, they ignore others in order to just get what they want.

  • Margaux says:

    P – I missed you yesterday so was sad to read you were having a shit day. Glad the turbulence has subsided.

    Lovely paragraph about wistfulness -it feels tinged with winter sadness. May you be smiling and waving soon – but only when you want to be.

    Ah – The Power. That’s in charisma territory.
    Does the confidence come from the Power to Attract or does self confidence then become attractive to others?

    I’m sure we’ve all known people ( M & F) who aren’t particularly ‘lookers’ but whose self confidence then makes them attractive, leading others to buzz round like bees to the honeypot.

    I figure it’s all about faking it the majority of the time. ‘Act as if , ‘fake it til you make it ‘ etc etc

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you, Margaux. I am sorry you missed me yesterday. I have been a bit late in the day with my posting recently. The usual schedule is due to resume on Thursday, with any luck. Px

  • Caz says:

    Dear Plankton – you are spot on when you said that your friend does not view herself as a plankton. I know that is the whole raison d’etre of your blog – but I believe that if you perceive yourself as leading a happy, fulfilled and well balanced life then you will attract those elements into it as you will appear self confident and happy within yourself. I think it is a great aphrodisiac….especially in older women.

    I love different company… a nice man, children, friends, family and am very sociable…. but always look forward to my own space in between.

    A rather belated Happy New Year! as I have just caught up with all your fabulous Christmas installments – it was like coming back to a favourite novel.

  • Margaux says:

    No worries P – I missed you because of my own distracting stuff .
    You post when you like! It’s your blog after all! x
    I was just sorry to not lend my support at the time…

  • Caz says:

    ps…have just read zoe’s comment … my thoughts exactly, well said!

  • june says:

    Yes P think youve summed it up well, thats rather how i feel, just dont attract anyone, seems an impossible task. You are right you do feel powerless to change it, what exactly can you do, you cant create someone out of thin air. You so manage to describe how it feels to be a plankton, you do it so brillantly.

    Well Caz im quite self confident and happy within myself and that is suppposed to be attractive in an older women!,well sadly it hasnt done a lot for me im sorry to say,i sometimes feel invisible to men. I cant even attract anyone on POF! which doesent exactly fill me with confidence, would there be any point in paying money for a dating site if i cant attract anyone for free, i have paid before. I am rapidly coming to conclusion that there are few spare eligble men in my neck of woods, well any who want someone the wrong side of 60, something my fellow plankton friend, who has been looking since her divorce 6 years ago.confirms.

  • MissM says:

    Judging by the comments, you are spot on with the idea that whether you have the option of changing status is a significant contributor to how you feel about it. People like Fi and Zoe have had the offers to not be single, but have made the choice to remain so, and seem rather more indifferent to being single than some others here. It is so much easier to live with something you have opted to do as opposed to making do with a situation you just find yourself in with no alternative.

    People like yourself, possibly Rosie and Miss Bates, and certainly myself, have not had the option of turning men down, and as such there is nothing about our situation that is of our choosing. All we can hope to aspire to is an acceptance of the things we are powerless to change, as Miss Bates so wisely pointed out. (If there is any further evidence required on the randomness of being single, Miss Bates is the perfect example, how anyone has not snapped her up is beyond me.)

    You are so right in pointing out that a person who “wishes to better her situation re work, education, family dynamics, learning a language or what have you – she can in almost every respect – with dedication, ambition, hard work, confidence etc” but not so when it comes to finding a companion. Such a frustrating state of affairs. No wonder we spend so much time on the subject, if it were as simple as performing steps one, two and three to change our lot we’d have all done so by now.

    Put of Smiling and Waving for as long as you need to, I am sure they can get along just fine for a while without you. No need to perform for us, you are welcome to have a cosy place on my couch any time and simply *be*.

    • The Plankton says:

      Once again, MissM, thank you. Px

    • EmGee says:

      Frustrating indeed, MissM. I wistfully await the next post from Plankton.

    • fi says:

      Maybe also though both Lydia and I have had kids, and have spent a number of years (still doing it in Lydia’s case) bringing them up. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t feel the way I do if I had never had kids, or if I were younger and worrying about running out of time to have them. I also feel that having brought up the next generation and see them settled on their own paths now, I have a second chance at life, picking up where I left off before I had them, but older and wiser with more money.

    • MissBates says:

      You’re very kind, MissM. You are correct that I have not had any opportunities in many a year to accept OR reject a man for a date, much less a relationship. I had a couple of chances in my youth that I turned away, and upon reflection I believe they were the right choices because I don’t think those marriages would have worked out. At this point, am trying to focus, as Plankton’s wise relative advises in her next post, on everything ELSE in life. Cheers —

  • Jo says:

    Zoe. In total agreement. Well said.
    Dear P. As I said yesterday – along with sending a tidal wave of sympathy at what caused you such distress and the biggest, warm enveloping hug – please don’t smile and wave until you want to. Again from yesterday (or was it earlier today? I’m having a senior moment.. ), we all have to do enough of that elsewhere. You don’t have to do it here if you don’t feel like it.

  • rosie says:

    Oh, P, that’s rubbish, but I’d try not to beat yourself up over it, even if I’d be beating myself up over it if I had a friend like that. It would be interesting to know what part of the world she lives in as her experiences of men wherever she is might be very different from those she’d have here. French women, or so I keep reading, think British men are hopeless when it comes to romantic interaction. They might have a point.

    I used to know a woman who was small and slightly dumpy and not particularly attractive (not saying any of this applies to your friend!) but she would get chatted up regularly whenever we went out as a group, which of course pissed the rest of us off no end and resulted in hours of soul searching and, yes, a little light bitching, we’re all human after all. We could only put it down to the fact that she must have had some kind of ‘aura’, which is probably the same thing as confidence, power or whatever you want to call it, and most people do find that attractive.

    But P, your friend’s situation is so removed from that of most women, never mind the middle-aged ones – (and I’m obviously not speaking for anyone else here, it’s just MY experience and what I’ve observed from the year dot) – as to make her the exception that proves the rule. Folk on here may be batting away drooling suitors like so many flies (although why they would then need to be internet dating is anyone’s guess) but I’d like to know where these age-appropriate, *available* men exist. At the NYE party I went to at least two of the men – married, wives in attendance – flirted outrageously, which may or may not have given some women a kick but is not my idea of fun. It just made me feel more planktony than ever.

    Surely a ‘nice man, children, friends, family….with space in between’ is the holy grail of emotional fulfillment? Who wouldn’t want that? Telling someone who wants it and can’t find it that they should perceive themselves as leading a ‘happy, fulfilled life’ though is just a wee bit patronising, no? I certainly don’t walk round in a fog of doom but the it ain’t happening for me. The man bit, anyway.

    There is no one-size-fits-all policy. If you feel that being on your own is empowering or ‘right’ or you like solitude (or say you do) then good luck to you. It doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone else though. I doubt you’d be saying the same thing if you really had been on your own for years and years and years on end.

    I remember someone, somewhere telling me that if you walk round the place like you think you own it, people will think you do. Maybe I’ll give it a try and then they’ll come flocking.

    • The Plankton says:

      Walking round as if one owns the place could be another way of saying behaving like a bitch. I think there is a lot in that! Only, I am not a bitch. Perhaps I should start behaving like one and the chances are men would come flocking! (My Immediate, btw, about whom I wrote, is not remotely a bitch, but I have observed in life that women who are a pain in the arse do seem to attract an inordinate amount of men! Whether they keep them or not is another matter, and arguable). Px

    • fi says:

      Rosie. I don’t think I’m batting men away like flies, but I have an active social life doing things I like, and there are also men there, and I’m friendly to them but not viewing them as potential partners, and as some of them are single, inevitably they are interested in me as I am in their eyeline. They have the same problems meeting women too you know and can’t just walk up to someone in a checkout queue and ask them out. I’m not bad looking, but I’m a 50 year old woman who has kept in shape and looks alright, like every other woman on here I imagine, so I don’t think there’s anything about me that makes me different from anyone else here. However as I’ve said before, I’m not hunting one down, but if one crosses my path that I like, great. None have though, and as I’ve also said before I’m so used to managing on my own that I’m getting choosier and choosier and weighing up what they can offer me, and I’m afraid most blokes I meet I just don’t want to go to bed with. Or I’d go to bed with them but I don’t want to lead them on when I don’t want anything more and I think they do. And I really do think they do – especially ones who have been married who now find themselves on their own and lonely. I tried internet dating and had a number of responses, mainly from blokes under 40, but you know what? When it came to the crunch I couldn’t be bothered and didn’t want to give up doing the other things I do with my time that are rewarding anyway on the off chance that this one wouldn’t bore me. I guess the reality is I’d like to have a good relationship with a bloke that met my narrow criteria (not needy, clever, independent, happy seeing me once a week) but probably won’t as I’m too selfish to consider what they need and too old to change. And this perversely seems to make me more attractive to them. But one thing I’m not is a bitch and that also helps.

    • june says:

      Good points here Rosie, sometimes i think some women,do have a sort of aura to men even if we females cant see it and to us they may look quite ordinary and not very attractive, not saying your relative is P, but it can happen. Look around you,at the planktons you know they are often quite attractive women. And my friend who is terrified of her partner leaving her and becoming a plankton, she is very attractve to.

      I dont actually mind living alone, its just not having someone significant in my life, im not sure i actually want to live with someone all the time. But after you sit on your own in your flat for seven solitary nights it can become just a bit tedious, you just long for someone to have a conversation with, if its only to say should we have the tv on, Or at weekends should we have a drive to the coast . I could go to numerous events with the social group i belong to, some do, but i dont constantly want to be out all the time, i cant afford it and it gets wearing after a time, to just go out for the sake of it, with people you dont always have lots in common with. Ive got friends, i dont really need any more friends, its that special someone in your life, to do the ordinary thinga others take for granted that you miss. Think P conjurs that up so well with her blog.

      • Jo says:

        Absolutely right June. Well said.

      • Brigitte says:

        I also don’t have the energy or desire to go out all the time. I would rather spend most Friday or Saturday nights inside watching some fun TV, idealy with “my guy”. Last year, my boyfriend and I often watched stand up comedy on TV after supper before going to bed. We had only 2 weeknights together and rarely weekends (he was separated with kids) and we couldn’t stay up late. I loved those nights, just having someone to laugh with at the same jokes. I often wonder if a guy might find me boring because I’m very content just staying in and sharing some laughs. I don’t have to go out every weekend.

  • Yoga Gurl says:

    Powerlessness….hmmm not a fun feeling. I don’t know if this will make you feel better but if you are only feeling powerlessness in this one area…you aren’t doing too bad.

    Many are feeling powerless with their job situation, with money, with health, with relationships (friendships and family) as well as with love relationships. I read about this all the time.

    I feel powerless in some areas of my life, too, areas perhaps you don’t feel that way. I am betting I feel powerless in more areas of my life than you do, or so it seems.

    I guess the best thing to do is to accept it. It doesn’t mean to not try anymore but just accept you are feeling powerless…but still do what you can to mitigate that.

    On a practical note…I would ask myself if I am doing everything I can do to meet someone. Am I looking after my body as best I could? Am I choosing flattering clothes? Am I giving men a chance? Am I trying all the tools to help me meet men? Am I open? Etc etc.

    Not saying you don’t do these things but doing something about an issue we find ourselves powerless about really helps make you feel more powerful.

  • Sarah says:

    How is your relative meeting all these men, P? Does she just bump into them on the street or meet them in the supermarket, or get introduced by friends and friends of friends?

    If you can work out where they are coming from perhaps you could see if her luck could be yours.

    I know you are waiting for a personal introduction but I think you are also reaching the point where you have exhausted the possibilities and should be thinking of Plan B. Your relative might be able to offer some tips?

  • Brigitte says:

    I was one to be single several years (3-5) between all my boyfriends. This was not a problem as I needed the break after having had enough of a relationship gone stale. However, the last big break lasted more than 10 years after my usual 3-5 years stretched out indefinitely and I decided I enjoyed the single life after all. I should have taken that as a warning of things to come. I wish I had known then what I am living now. I might have made a greater effort while I was still in my 30’s.

    On another subject, my guy at the gym chose a mat next to mine yesterday to do his workout. He had a choice of other mats, but chose one beside mine. This pleased me, but after I asked him a couple of questions (to which he gave yes and no answers), he threw himself right into his workout and couldn’t talk much. He definitely is sending mixed messages. I decided to leave after about 5 minutes since I was done cooling down. I’ve decided that if he is not more forthcoming with his conversation, that I will not force the issue. I have been doing this ‘leaving’ bit and changing my schedule as a little test. My mother told me to be absent a little and more aloof (“make him miss you”) , and lo and behold, it’s working. He seems to be making more of an effort to look for me and work out near me. But still, he doesn’t talk much to me, yet chats up other women who are (sometimes much) less attractive. I so hate these little games of manipulation. Were I looking for a long term relationship, I wouldn’t put up with this crap, but because I’m a plankton with little choice and just looking for a boyfriend (however long that lasts), I’m willing to play the game (up to a point). Wish me luck.

    • The Plankton says:

      I wish you the best of luck. Keep us posted! Px

    • Sarah says:

      He’s probably shy. He can talk to the others because he doesn’t fancy them, but gets all tongue-tied with you.

    • Jo says:

      Good luck Brigitte.

      • Elle says:

        I’m not being mean by the way. I really think this man loves his own reflection in the gym mirrors (preferably steamed up) than anything else. He may fancy you but he fancies himself more.

        Putting up with crap because you’re a plankton achieves nothing. I did that with a man 11 years my senior who played me with at least half a dozen women, walked all over my feelings and left me feeling far worse than I did before I met him.

        All because I wanted to date an older man instead of the younger ones who usually ask me out. I mistakenly thought an older man would treat me better and would be more likely to hang around. Not so.

    • Elle says:

      I wish you luck Brigitte but if I were in your trainers I’d suspect the gym bloke is getting a kick out of talking to lots of women in the gym and seeing if he’s still “got it”. Does he look at himself a lot in the gym mirrors?

      • Brigitte says:

        Hi Elle,

        I would be inclined to think likewise – that he’s getting his kicks, but for some reason, he isn’t with me. I’ll take that as a positive sign.

        As for looking at himself in the mirror, they all do (the men esp.). I honestly don’t look much at myself (only to check my form so as not to injure myself) because the lighting is harsh and my early facial sagging seems 10 years advanced (yikes!). I find that other middle-aged women don’t look much in the mirror either and I’m sure it’s for the same reason. The younger ones do.

        Thanks to all for the encouragement. It’s rough out there.

      • Brigitte says:

        Hi Elle,

        I don’t think you’re being mean at all. I’m hoping to learn from the many different opinions and experiences of the plankton on this blog. Thank you.

  • rosie says:

    P, I agree. Doubt I could pull it off even if I tried!

  • rosie says:

    Elle, it’s really not worth getting worked up over Lydia. I said I wasn’t going to read her posts anymore but have just come across this pearl:

    “I have some problems of my own but I just try to keep going. I even called a man although I can’t stand the South African accent so we were off to a bad start, then got into why his wife earns nothing and was a ugh.. housewife… and well we had things to say and he’s quite nice but I don’t think he would be right for me but then again may be that is another brilliant single man about my age I am letting through my grasp. Am not that keen on his photograph either. His child even goes to a state school, Heaven Forfend…”

    Whoever she is I think she needs help.

    • Jo says:

      Have to say Rosie I think you’re spot on. After past comments like ‘He even had a regional accent’..and the stuff about the elite ski-ing crowd and now this ‘state school’ nonsense, I think she just gets off on the provocative. (See my comment about Lydia and her enjoying provocation and the ensuing reactions, on a post yesterday.).
      I now firmly believe she gets off on provoking, by her ridiculous comments and sits back and relishes the outraged comments, which she knows full well she’ll attract.
      Whatever is commented upon re: her ludicrous views, she’ll not respond to, but sail blissfully on. Regardless of her assertions at how intelligent, high-powered, erudite, top-end etc etc she is. Patently untrue of course. In view of the fact that most of what she says is ridiculous, ignorant and stupid.
      She quite clearly enjoys writing provocative nonsense. Bottom line? Let’s not rise to it. She’s plain daft. Or believes her astonishing nonsense. Either way, rather sad and best treated with a pat on the head and a ‘there there dear. If that’s what you believe. You stay in your own silly world’. But you won’t be taken seriously. Poor thing.
      Let’s not expend anymore valuable energy on outrage. It soars over her head and is a complete waste of time. Best use that energy on better things. Like watching paint dry perhaps…..

    • MissM says:

      If Lydia were real indeed she would need help. But I cannot accept that someone making such incredibly ridiculous statements that are so completely out of touch with reality could possibly be real.

      • Jo says:

        Quite right MissM. I hereby renounce any further consideration of Lydia’s ludicrous views. I shall simply skip them.
        Have – in fairness to her- persevered thus far. But enough is, most definitely enough. That’s it Lydia. Can’t be bothered to endure your ‘views’ anymore.

      • fi says:

        She? S/he’s never expressed herself in a way that makes me think s/he’s a woman. Unless s/he’s a woman without any female friends and Aspergers. That’s what my female instinct is telling me anyway.

      • Elle says:

        Fi, I think you could be right. People with high-functioning Aspergers can be highly intelligent and very successful but have poor social skills and find it difficult to make friends. Lydia could fit that profile. I work in science and there’s a few of those types here. Some of them are decent people who are too naive for their own good but others are downright priggish and condescending. It’s all part of the condition.

        However Lydia did tell us that her daughter’s starting salary in her first job was £60K pa. I find that hard to believe. Professionals such as doctors and solicitors don’t start on that money. I don’t know what City bankers start on, but does anybody know of a career where the starting salary is £60K pa? A legitimate career, I hasten to add. If so please tell me, because I have a very clever godson of 11 and I can tell him to start working towards this wonderful job now. At the moment his career of choice is a Formula One driver.

      • zoe says:

        It’s probably right, Ellle. I know a recent graduate who claims he’s on £60K. He works for a top investment bank. Depressing, isn’t it? Perhaps we could organise the revolution once we’ve sorted the bloke issue.

      • Lydia says:

        Just about every one of these has a starting salary of £60k http://www.rollonfriday.com/InsideInfo/UKCityFirms/tabid/68/Default.aspx

        Good tip of the god son. One problem women have is they pick low paid careers and are not even aware of what other women earn and that makes their harder. They can’t afford school fees, they are reliant on men for money etc

        As for my views it would be a dull planet if we were all the same and gosh there are few rooted into class as plankton in some ways – this a Times blog for the determinedly middleclass. I will be one of the least “posh” amongst that bretheren,.

        All good fun.

        Are you lot telling me you have children in state schools? Is that because you don’t earn much? What aer your accents like>? No wonder you can’t get men… now look just enjoy life, take none of this seriously and get well paid work you enjoy and take elocution lessons if you ahve to. There endeth my lesson.

  • maria says:

    Come on, leave Lydia alone. I find her comments extremely funny.

  • Jo says:

    Lydia’s comments can be ‘a hoot’ yes. Can be ‘extremely funny’ yes. But they can also be – as Elle said about her extremely poignant and painfully honest account of being there for her elderly parents (and their painful health situations) and thereby being unable to properly pursue her own life – crass and insulting. Not a hoot in the slightest..
    I have vigorously defended her right to say what she likes and not to be – as someone once suggested – blocked. But in no way would I describe what she says as humourous if/when they hurtfully insult.

    • fi says:

      Er..I don’t find them ‘extremely funny’. They’re repetitive and consequently predictable and, dare I say it, becoming tedious. I’m afraid she bores me.

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