Who Needs Friends When You Ain’t Got A Man?

January 16, 2012 § 86 Comments

In respect of friendship, I am fuck off spoilt and I know it.

This is one of my great big, billowy, bog-off blessings and, be under no illusions, I am busily busting my arse here with gratitude about it every day.  The calibre of my friends – male and female – is very high, by which I mean they are intelligent, funny, generous, warm, supportive, loyal, vivacious, sharp and fantastic company.  I suppose when you come across people like that, you would choose them to be your friends, wouldn’t you?  But I recognise I have been inordinately lucky in as much as they haven’t told me to sling my hook and they do seem keen, too, on being mine.

But there is a problem.  These friends have set the bar (or barre, as in stretching your leg up beyond your ear hole in ballet practice?) high.  Because my male friends – all married – are so great, I would find it hard to accept hooking up with a gormless dullard.  These men to whom I am close – in an entirely unthreatening-to-their-wives way, I may say – have set a standard for me in my mind of the kind of person with whom I like spending time, and who I like to suppose enjoy spending time with me.  I think, if I could find a companion like that whom I could call my own, then how happy I (and I hope he) would be!

But it is not to be, obviously.  So I am thinking, perhaps I shouldn’t have dismissed the man at the dinner a couple of days before Christmas.  He was the one with the challenging stewed rhubarb complexion.  Far be it for me to be so lookist.  It wasn’t that which bothered me – well, I am being a little  disingenuous; it did a bit – it was more that he told me at some length how incredibly stupid he was.  As a come on, call me a snob, I have to admit it wasn’t up there.

The reason I am scratching this particular record is because I have just put the phone down from a gorgeous girlfriend.  I told her 2012 wasn’t looking so great so far.  She said it in one: “You’re feeling 2011 didn’t get you anywhere so how’s 2012 going to be any different?”


“So we’ve got to find something for you to do differently in 2012 that is going to mean you find someone,” she said.  “But it’s not going to be joining a rambling group, is it?”  (This friend knows me well).  Certainly not.  And nor is it going to be the internet until I get over the one too many stories I have heard in the past few weeks alone, of the men on dating sites wanting only sex or, if not, then who”commit” to someone, let her fall for him, but are all the while continuing to trawl the aisles of women online for something other, and who ruthlessly dump the try-outs left, right and centre as they quest for better and better.  I still haven’t hardened my stomach or patience enough yet for that ordeal, though I know, I know, I know I must never say never.

Last night, another friend suggested thinking out of the box and said maybe I should join the London Library, get out of the house, go to work there one day a week.  Lots of fascinating, erudite, varied members of a place that is just up my street.  Could do.  Certainly richer territory than some swanky dating agency with about 753,402 women on their books and 13 creepy men, as well as a fraction of the cost (though still no snip).  My cousin, a distinguished ologist, told me last week I needed to go to conferences, as she just had, marvellous for meeting people.  But, I said, I am alas no ologist myself, and can’t just pitch up at any old conference like some random weirdo.  I’d have to have a reason to go there, and my line of work really rather precludes conferences, sadly.  Not sure what any of us would go to a conference about?  Perhaps, in the light of the Waterstone’s/Waterstones debate, I should organise one on the Slow Death of the Apostrophe and meet a whole tranche of Disgusteds of Tunbridge Wells.  There again…

No, I fear that what I need to do is forget how wonderful my friends are and lower my standards when it comes to my romantic life.

But I keep thinking of these friends meeting Gormless Dullard and me seeing them next to each other and thinking, What the fuck am I doing?  

I know! Perhaps I should ditch all my lovely, life-long friends and the barely new ones, and exchange them for a whole set of gormless duller than Dullards.  Then GD – if ever I am lucky enough to meet one again – would seem, beside them, to have the brains of Montaigne, the wit of Oscar Wilde, and the looks of Benedict Cumberbatch/Dan Stephens/George Clooney/whomsoever it is that rings your bell* (*delete as applicable).

Now, there’s a thought.


§ 86 Responses to Who Needs Friends When You Ain’t Got A Man?

  • Sarah says:

    Obviously a brilliant idea…

    There again you could just try the Guardian’s dating site to meet like-minded gormful bright sparks.

    • Jo says:

      Thank you Sarah. Absolutely! As I have said here ad infinitum…..
      P. Puh-leese. This aversion to dipping your toe into internet dating (Guardian Soulmates – and yes, I know there are adverse stories to be found there too but I have known of stunning successes), is becoming daft. Especially in view of your oft repeated despair at the possibility of never finding a man you may fall for (and he for you )/ not knowing where to look/running out of ideas about what to do next/what you could do differently in 2012 that you didn’t do in 2011 (?????)/fed up with parties/entertaining thoughts of the British Library et al../Seeing the years stretching ahead with ‘no possibility of meeting anyone’ etc etc etc.
      Why you persist in offering ‘others’ stories’ as evidence of what a waste of time it would be and the fact that most men there seem to ‘only want sex’ or ‘commit to someone only to drop them later…..’ seems – as I’ve said before – at odds with someone who knows her own mind and can come to conclusions of her own. Rather than basing her actions on others’ stories. Not that they aren’t so, but they are not the ONLY stories.
      But however much this is said to you and however much I and others tell you of contrary, positive stories, you choose to ignore these and to dwell constantly and solelyon the negatives and the stories of others.
      I don’t believe this as the only reason dear P. I think this excuse is handy. If you feel the lack of opportunity or possibility as much as you so regularly and keenly express, then it makes no sense.
      I’m not forcing you to do anything tomorrow by saying this, or to corner you into it. But you simply cannot rail against the barren desert of any way of meeting someone and yet and yet… Citing always similar notions of ‘hardening your stomach’ and having enough patience for such ‘an ordeal’. You write it off on the say-so of what you’ve heard, when you’ve never even tried it! How ridiculous is that?
      You say you if you could ‘find a companion (like your friends’ partners) whom you could call your own’ then ‘how happy you ( and you hope he ) would be’.
      Don’t say that and dismiss the very avenue where there that possibility may exist. The stigma of meeting someone really worth it on the internet, died out long ago.
      Here endeth my ‘lecture’ on this subject and I won’t refer to it again!
      But each time you communicate the lack of ideas as to how you could meet this person and the ever decreasing hope of ever doing so – without even trying it for yourself – I shall find it hard to take it wholly on board.
      Please don’t get me wrong P. I really do want the best for you.I know it can seem rather daunting. But what have you got to lose? How can you keep complaining of a metaphorical cul de sac and not place a (small? Cautious?) step onto this pathway?
      Nothing ventured……

  • Jamie says:

    Dear P

    I have just been waiting for a posting of yours to set me off and this is it!
    I have only been separated for a few months but had no hesitation in joining a couple of dating sites. Why? Because I could be honest in stating that I was going to take it slowly over diving into a new serious relationship but knew that would not preclude meeting new friends. And you have to use a sprat to catch a mackerel, as my Granny used to say. As for rendering yourself vulnerable to predators – well P, you are well capable of entering into a preliminary correspondence and working out (usually from someone’s spelling and grammar) exactly what they are made of. And there are other ways of sorting the wheat from the chaff – just join a site suited to your interests, social circle, choice of newspaper. You will find plenty of bikram yoga lovers on Guardian Soulmates (though read the article in yesterday’s Observer to put you off that particular pursuit)! My sense is that your reluctance is born out of another reason – the humiliation of someone in your social circle spotting your profile. But embarrassment about internet dating is so last decade, darling!

    And don’t believe that bad behaviour on dating sites is confined to the male of the species. Grant me a guest blog in a few months time, P, and I will regale you with stories which will make the entire sisterhood wince.

    The great advantage of them is that you cut to the chase. If you are going to rely on the London Library or ologist conferences, you could have plenty of embarrassing experiences chasing shadows.

    Lastly, I think you know that your assertion that it is impossible to find someone as nice as your married male friends is nonsense. People are freeing up in middle age for all sorts of reasons nowadays – not all divorced men are philanderers. And not all married men are as charming as they appear at parties – we all know we can be guilty of behaving far worse behind the net curtains than we would dream of revealing in public. And that applies again to both sexes.

    So my advice is – challenge your own received wisdom (which is sometimes completely misguided) and start writing that profile. And do post several photos too.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thanks for this. I missed the Bikram piece yesterday but will certainly try to find it. Any excuse not to do it, though I am thinking of doing Session 2 with a friend on Saturday. As for someone seeing my profile – I hadn’t thought of that, honestly, though you have a point. There again, it would seem unlikely that any of my married friends would be trawling dating websites, that is, if they are who they seem! Best wishes, Px

    • fi says:

      Totally agree with all of this.

      • fi says:

        Guest blog on women sound quite interesting/enlightening/entertaining. And we can be assured that we aren’t like those women. Well I’m not. Hopefully.

  • Redbookish says:

    Brilliant plan! Just one huge flaw … you’d have to spend time with the GDs. Not your style.

    I spend my life in libraries & conferences: both are lots of fun (except that I have to write my 1,000 words a day to get current bluddy book done) and some do tell me how erotically-charged the BL is (far cheaper than the LL), and how conferences are places for multiple hook-ups. But I never see it. I just hang out with my friends, who are wonderful, and also all pretty much either coupled up or terminally single like me.

    But professional men tend to partner down, so women like me scare them. The thing to do is convert *yourself* from an Alpha female to a Beta female. Then the Alpha males will come a-buzzing. Alpha males find it hard to maintain their Alphaness in the face of effortless female Alphadom.

    Call me cynical …

    I don’t

  • tvmunson says:

    Respecting rhubarb man, I do not want to appear insensitive if has a skin issues, but then tells you how “stupid” he is? It doesn’t appear you’re being rhetorical, so if that is in fact what he was doing I guess he was trying to be funny or at least appear not to take himself to seriously (?). But look-literally. Physical attraction is the “spark”. I’m reminded of Wm, Tecumseh Sherman’s remark about war as hell and there being no use trying to reform it. Well, there’s no use trying to reform “sexual attraction” either; it’s animal, basic, unsentimental. That’s why when even a little of it is there we try-TRY- to move away to something more humane, interest, hobbies etc. ‘Cuz right down to the core baby while we’re sittin’ there grinnin’ (social scene) we be thinkin’ ’bout the linen (sex). And there is nothing that can reform “you do not turn me on”. Nothing. (forgive the 60s ref; I think it still works best ‘in situ’).

    • MissM says:

      So true Tvmunson, if you don’t fancy someone they can be a friend, while a lover is a friend you fancy like crazy. There are websites devoted to men lamenting being cast forever into the “friend zone” and even they recognise that there is not a whole lot that can be done about it. Very occasionally dedication and persistence can enable a man to work his way out of that zone only if the woman finds his sheer devotion itself a turn-on.

      Plankton in Chief, if he doesn’t turn you on, what on earth is the point of having him? There are some standards you just cannot drop below or the whole point is lost. What you want is a partner to share your life and your bed with, not just an extra carbon based life form around the house with no greater ability than to eat your food and weigh down the couch. I don’t see any happiness in that sort of relationship. You need and deserve a relationship that makes you happy.

      Some recent study is claiming people are happier if they aim high, though the saying of aim high and be content with less comes to mind. Aim low and be content with something even lower sounds a bit dire.

      • tvmunson says:

        I think it’s possible for a woman to retain a man as a friend for him she has no interest in sexually. I rather (I’m adopting my British tone; can you tell? thank you!) afraid it is not possible for a man. If a man doesn’t want you sexually, he won’t want you around. If you aren’t interested in him either it will annoy him. I doubt he could be pragmatic enough to see that you might introduce him around. I know there are exceptions-everyone’s a lawyer these days, dissecting everything, finding exceptions. Women find men useful, and like being around them even if there’s no sex afoot. Men as a rule do not return the favor. We like friends we can be “guys” around, and that means guys. If you need to ask me what I mean you prove my point.

        Men put in the “friend” zone have been emasculated; remaining there makes them complicit in their own castration. Lamenting their state further adds to their ignominy. A male “friend” is one who has all the obligations of a SO but no sex. Such males should be involuntarily sterilized with no thought given to ameliorating their discomfort in the process as they are a disgrace to the entire gender.

      • tvmunson says:

        poor typing-sorry

      • fi says:

        Tvmunson – I’m amazed you think you can speak on behalf of ALL men. Even british ones. I wouldn’t presume to speak on behalf of all women and say that my view was theirs. Some may think like you, fine I wouldn’t want one of them as you come across as aggressive and antagonistic and seem to enjoy being unpleasant, but we have been in relationships with men both as friends, lovers, wives and we are daughters and some of us are mothers of boys. They aren’t all like you and your dodgy ‘red pill’ friends who are obviously so successful with women that you feel compelled to try to control and belittle them every chance you get. From looking at your dodgy pals website it is clear that there is only one kind of woman that is acceptable to you guys, everyone else is disliked. It seems to me that you are all pretty inadequate little men who need to feel in control of women, and bullies too. See your aggressive response to Margaux’s inoffensive earlier comment for evidence

      • j24601 says:

        “…you come across as aggressive and antagonistic and seem to enjoy being unpleasant”

        Mirror, mirror on the wall…

      • tvmunson says:

        Wow G-
        I was expressing an opinion.I even said there were exceptions-what else can I say?

        Ms. P was talking about the precise difference between “friends” and “lovers”.You’re a mother; would you want the same relationship with a “man” i e a potential suitor as you would with your son? Really?

        Do you want a companion, just like one of your girlfriends only one able to use a urinal? Does Ms. P’s article suggest to you that is what she is seacrhing for?

        I have been “succesful” with women in only one way: I met the best one God ever put on this earth in 1978, we married in 1981. Seh loves me, which I know astounds the readership

        I never said I speak on behalf of all men. I said there were exceptions. Now I’ll amend my statement further:

        “Speaking on behalf of myself and myself only, and subject to the conditions that a limited number of years imposes, and subject to the further qualification that the aforementioned is in no way an expert or even a particularly insightful observer of the human condition, and further recognizing the need for circumspection in all matters not pertaining precisely to ones’ own experience, and making further allowances not only for the difference in Anglo/American interaction but indeed in cross-gender communication, and all other conditions, warranites, disclosures appurtenant to the instant discussion be acknowledged as reserved entirely in the premises, I offer the following conditiona remarks:”


      • tvmunson says:

        What earlier comment by Margaux?

      • MissM says:

        I have been computer free for a few days so missed the drama, but I would just like to defend Tvmunson’s comment on men not wanting women around if no sex is afoot. It is something I have heard more than once from various different male sources, so I think he has a valid point. It may not be how all men think, and Tvmunson did make the disclaimer in his post, but I am sure a significant amount certainly do think that way.

        I do not agree with casting those who are the unfortunate ‘friend’ as a disgrace to the entire gender however, but that may be because I am a woman and I like male friends.

      • zoe says:

        Miss M.

        Before you ally yourself with tvmunson’s views on the usefulness of women to men, or indeed any of his views on women, please consider the polluted and polluting mind that has come up with them. You have been without your computer: you may need some catching up to do. Fi has done us all a great service by posting in Movie Plankton II what tvmunson has been saying about plankton elsewhere. As not everyone follows each strand, I reproduce it here. It speaks for itself.

        “….But these bitches go off. Fuck them. And if one of you is reading this fuck you. I mean go in the kitchen right now and find a suitable implement and impale yourself with it imagining it is the Bishop’s swollen choad or whatever else you need to get a “nut”. Because my dear that is the only way you’ll be getting it, at least on this side of the dirt, and the next time you “get it” it will be an earthworm that has penetrated the collapsed coffin you lie in and has thus entered your putrefactionous nether regions, long since unidentifiable, more muck than flesh as your corporality mulches into the good solid earth and the lucky worm has his fill of what’s left of your miserable revolting cunt. Sorry guys; those plankton bitches have really pissed me off. I’m going to call them potato chip women (Brits call them “crisps”): their flimsy, brittle, devoid of nutrients, all due to their status as the very fucking bottom of the SMP only it appears even the bottom feeders don’t want them, they cannot even being tolerated in a mercy fuck, and so they pour forth at the slightest suggestion of anything that they imagine doesn’t fit their paradigm (hard to say what that is). Would that I were a voodoo shaman and could cast a spell over them and while they were under it take some horsehair thread and sew up their twats in the manner of the mouths of shrunken heads, the perforation holes visible right next to the lips (theirs being vertical as opposed to horizontal as on the skulls) with the extra thread hanging down like a tampon string, only black, not green, and thus finish with my hand what nature and (apparenlty) the social milieu has failed to do-put an end to their dreary relentless search for dick on their own terms which the have about as much power to dictate as Hitler would have dictating terms to the Allies on April 20, 1945 (his birthday)”.

      • T Lover says:


        I think this is a mistake. I should perhaps keep mouth buttoned. But here goes.

        TVmunson is Captain Ahab. Two monikers same person.

        Captain Ahab was, of course, the fictional character – the whaler who hunted Moby Dick.

        Or, in urban slang, a Captain Ahab is the practice of/sexual predilection for “harpooning” an obese white woman (a whale) in the “blow-hole” and, to add extra realism, whilst she is backside up in water.

        So, whilst what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bath is their affair I don’t want to be lectured by someone who thinks it is clever to allude to his sexual preferences in public.

        And, we are lead to believe that this is a person who has had a long and happy marriage.

        Really? Does he have a wife who finds this sort of thing attractive in a man? To publicly fanfare his sexual predilections with the associated inference that she must be obese and likes it up the back passage?

        Scratching my head about that one.

      • fi says:

        TLover. Urgh. Urgh. Urgh.

      • T Lover says:



        The use of the name “Captain Ahab” is repulsive in the context of this gentle blog.

        If you read his comments he claims to be an Attorney to boot.

        Lucky woman that Mrs Ahab.

      • tvmunson says:

        To T Lover and fi

        My reference to Capt. Ahab (I was unaware of the usage you allude to) was contained in AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PLANKTON which was posted at theprivateman.com under his blog title “Train Wreck Across the Pond”. I posted it 12/28/2011. Your very own Ms. Plankton decribed me as “charming”., and the post itself “courteous”. Seh aslo said what a lucky woman Mrs. Ahab must be. Go read it and confirm Ms.P’s response.. Of course you won’t. In fact fi why don’t you post it in its entirey here? Of course you won’t do that either.

        Any readers care to? It will only take you a couple of clicks.It will of course make no difference to me but if you choose no to what does it say about you, I mean such as you yourselves would confirm about yourselves?

      • The Plankton says:

        Ho hum, tvmunson, the nuance of sarcasm has passed you by, there again, British irony is a fine thing indeed and beautifully subtle, too subtle for some.

      • tvmunson says:

        As to my “claim” to be an attorney, I was admitted to the Idaho State Bar on Setember 25, 1981. My bar license number is #2748. I am admitted to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.s.Supreme Court (the former in 1984 and the latter 1989).You can check the rolls of any of these as they are a matter of public record.

      • fi says:

        Tlover – she’s a very lucky lady. I’m off down the chip shop now to load up and fatten up and get my very own Captain Ahab. Oh and start running that bath 😉 Or maybe not.

      • tvmunson says:

        Saying I like to fuck fat white woman up the ass-sublte? My wife BTW is a size 2 American. That I misrepresent myself as an attorney-subtle? Yes indeed TP much must be lost in transalation though we,ostensibly, speak the same language.

      • fi says:

        And here it is, in response to his usual stuff: “Captain, What a charming fellow you sound. So courteous and dignified. Your wife is a lucky woman”. Oh my god. He’s probably thinking that I really AM running that bath and eating chips…

      • MissM says:

        Oh dear, Zoe, I liked it much better when I was completely ignorant of such pieces as the one you quoted for me. I would be amazed if anyone filled with such hatred can be fully function in life without difficulties. I’ve met psychopaths with a better attitude to women. Are we sure he is not posting from some sort of cell?

    • Wallace says:

      Dear Mr TVMunson,

      I am not sure whether I agree.

      Am I a shallow person? Probably. For ever I have been attracted by looks. The thought of being seen in public with a woman who didn’t hit a benchmark. Yuk Would friends think I was seeing her for a bet?

      But you know, recently, I have met a woman who by any physical benchmark is not me. The best thing since sliced bread. Funny. Mega bright. More than interesting. Brill. And she turns me on.

      Now I am in agonies. Funny isn’t it? Perhaps it’s an age thing.

      Topic two. You seem to have been tarred with the American pornographer’s brush. I feel embarrassed by the reaction and discourtesy of some of the comments. Speaking as a bloke I can see exactly what you are saying even if we don’t entirely agree.

      Well most of the time I can follow so the tone of the stick you are getting is a shame. For the past week or so I have delighted in the interaction between the lady commentators doing what women do best – all talking at once about womanly things in that harmless, gentle way they have about them – a lovely treat spoiled by some of the reaction to the things you say.

      Or are you Ironwood having fun and my turn to be the village idiot?

      • tvmunson says:


        While we appear to be speaking the same language, I have absolutely no idea what you are saying. None. I have no response whatsoever.(Note the readership applauding).

      • T Lover says:

        Morning TVMinton.

        Just up.

        Looking at the lawn right now. It’s covered with mushrooms. Magically, another bucketful has appeared in the night. Here, there everywhere. American mushrooms.

        Do you know about things mushroom? Are these edible? Magic? Hallucinatory?

        Anyway, the point. Do NOT take any notice of that Wallace. He is definitely an oddball.

        And language: do we share a common language? Poor old Ironside had his knuckles wrapped by one of these gals for (mis)spelling nom de plume I see you spell it “d’ plume’.

      • Wallace says:

        Well take notice of this T Lover.

        It’s knuckles rapped. Being trying those mushrooms?

      • tvmunson says:

        T Lover

        All I can say re spontaneous mushrooms is do not eat one unless you know what you are doing. We have some here that can kill.

      • T Lover says:

        Dear TVMincing,

        Death by laughter?

      • fi says:

        Oh no. Stop me please someone. I’ve been unable to restrain myself and started commenting on PM. I have never read a blog or commented until this one, and now I fear I’m on my way to becoming a fanatic and out of control.

    • tvmunson says:

      BTW TPlankton would you be so kind as to confirm that you were indeed first introduced to me in my nom ‘d blog as Capt. Ahab, that you did find my remarks courteous, and that likewise my trim and attractive wife was a lucky woman?

      • The Plankton says:

        I confirm, but I should also like to point out that the British, and I am British, are well known for something called irony, a concept which is a tad too subtle for some.

      • fi says:

        I’m going to stop now as its too too easy to wind up someone with no sense of humour or subtlety, and who is as touchy as tv. I can sense him dragging out his semi automatics from the back of his wardrobe now and looking for a holdall to put them in before heading for the airport coming a-lookin for the smart mouthed lady…

      • tvmunson says:

        This was meant to be ironic? Ok I’ll plead to it being much much too subtle for me. Like Bukowski says, I am guilty of the most ergegious sin-obviousness. Titters behind the fans y’all.

      • The Plankton says:

        My dear, It was so saturated with irony it was drowning in the stuff, but still too subtle I fear…

      • tvmunson says:

        Ms. P, if this is true, and I am compelled despite my strongest inclinations to accept it as such as it is coming from you, you whose credentials are not only impeccable but completely unassailabe, then I am thoroughly and utterly discredited as a rhetoritician. There can be no middle ground, no surcease from the agonizing disgrace I bear. I , who embraced early Joe Klein’s description of the “unironic” as the worst slur imaginable, who has spent a lifetime attempting to say in undercutting if not out and out underhanded ways the most nuanced, polished, entendre within entendre, complex, intricate and non-obvious ways all sorts of vituperative, malevolent, unkind and yes occasionally full on batty sorts of things have missed this in a manner so clear to the colloquium that my very missing it has become part of the compound joke-no, I can go no further. Allow me some slight pretense of dignity; it is the eptiome of Britishness that they allow those they have vanquished the small recompense of an uncommented upon wihdrawal, no mutterings of contempt, that they (the British that is) retain the stiff upper lip in victory that they maintain in adversity,adopting as it were their tone of natural assurance that registers no surprise at the final outcome, that accepts as their natural lot that indeed the divine providence that governs al things has seen to it, yet again, that the British prevail. I shall, like Gen. Navarre at Dien Bein Ohu, of course draw the necessary conclusions and proceed upon them just as comprehensively. I bid you all good day.

      • fi says:

        Tv – I’m sure by the time you’re back on PM you’ll be back to your usual self, referring to us as cunts etc and thinking up ways to debase and degrade women, probably involving some kind of violence.

      • Wallace says:

        High fives.

        My mind picture. There’s that Fi. Gorgeous and fiesty. Please, no more chips.

        And you Captain Ahab, sail away and come back a nice person. The time has come.

        Or, as our neighbours the French would say: A l’eau. C’est l’heure.

      • fi says:

        Thanks Wallace. Feisty is a nice word. One of my male friends says I’m “very attractive” but ” spoil it with my smart mouth” 😥

      • T Lover says:


        I’m warning you, no more jokes in French – you are wasting your time with this lot.

        Fi, forget PrivateMan and start giggling.

        Slowly, after me (preferably in a broad-ish Yorkshire accent) ;: A l’eau c’est l’heure.

      • fi says:

        Hello settler?

      • tvmunson says:

        No, no more references there.

      • T Lover says:


        You are hard work sometimes.

        It’s also spoiling what I hoped would be a last bit of fun at the expense of a new best friend – guaranteed to fly straight over his head.

        “A l’eau” is, allo ie hello.

        “c’est l’heure” is saileur (sailor) if Frenched/camped up.

        So: “to the water” (Captain Ahab) “this is the moment” becomes ‘allo saileur or “Hello sailor”.


        BTW, it is stolen from Miles Kingston who stole it from…whoever.

        And I think it is funny but have an imaginary best friend called Wallace and am not that bright so you are completely forgiven if it’s not you.

        Hey ho.

      • fi says:

        It’s my french pronunciation I’m afraid – I put the ‘t’ in ‘c’est’. It is witty AND a clever play on words!

  • Lydia says:

    I thought we, the English, love people who are self deprecating? Surely he’s just not blowing his own trumpet in that awful American kind of way. Would you rather had had sat there listing his brain criteria? I could do stuff like list univesity prize, exam results, my mensa result and the like but we don’t do that = we’re English so we down play it all and we like men who down play it too because they don’t need to show off, you can see if they are bright or not from their conversation.

    However you didn’t fancy that one so move on to another.

    Plenty of people are nice in company but appalling at home or to their spouse so don’t assume all is sweetness and light with the married people.

    Also most divorces are initiated by women these days so all the time there are heaps of men cast on to the scrap heap just waiting for women to scoop them up.

    It is all to play for, Have fun. At least you can walk. I am not in the ranks of disabled/quasi OAP. Think what that’s doing for my erotic capital. I’m having to work even harder in emails.

    • MissBates says:

      “That awful American kind of way”? Well, that gave me a laugh because I confess that I have rarely met a fellow American who blew his/her trumpet more than you, Lydia.

      It is also a complete fallacy that “most divorces are initiated by women these days.” Yes, it is true that divorce statistics show that the vast majority of plaintiffs in divorce LITIGATION are the wives — HOWEVER, that does not mean that they are the party who initiated the breakup of the marriage. Those two things have little to do with one another. Rather, the fact that wives are most often the plaintiff means that they are the ones who had to start litigation in order to protect their rights. For example, when you have a traditional husband-as-breadwinner/wife-as-homemaker type of marriage, and the husband moves out and leaves the wife high and dry with no means of support, she had to start an action for divorce as a prerequisite to making a request for interim support for herself & children during the pendency of the litigation. OR, in some terrible instances, the wife has been abused by the husband and has to start a litigation so she can seek an order of protection from the court. OR the husband, in preparation for leaving the wife, is spiriting marital assets away into off-shore accounts and the wife has to — you guessed it — initiate an action so as to seek a restraining order protecting the marital estate. In each of these situations, it is very much the husband who is throwing the wife on the scrap heap, not the other way around, even though technically she “initiated” the divorce.

      [I will insert my usual disclaimer here: I represent just as many husbands as I do wives; YES, wives can be god-awful harpies who drive men away, and/or cheat on them, etc. etc. I in fact prefer representing husbands whether they are the party at fault or not, because, quite frankly, they telephone me far less often, and thus make “easier” clients. However, it is simply not accurate to state that women initiate most divorces, because they don’t, other than in the most narrow, technical, sense of the term.]

      • The Plankton says:

        This is riveting stuff MissBates. Thank you for that. Px

      • tvmunson says:

        Speaking as an American attorney with some limited domestic relations experience, even when the situation is not as dire a described as above, in fact is amicable, the parties have the wife file the comlaint.. I have never heard anyone address explicitly the reason for “ladies first”, but can attest there appears to be some odd gallantry element to it, an expression that it is she who is dong the rejecting regardless of the actual circumstances.I mean no deprecation of the issue raised by Miss M but only offer this because I believe it also inflates the percentages.

      • Elle says:

        That is very interesting. I often wondered why so many wives apparently initiate divorce when they lose so much social clout from it. I’ve never been married or divorced myself bit I’ve heard of friends falling away and invitations drying up when a woman gets divorced. Then there’s the very real possibility she will never find another man again. Why would any sane woman initiate a divorce given the effect it has firstly on the children, secondly on family finances and thirdly on her social life. Miss Bates has to be right.

      • Lydia says:

        That will be an element but just about 100% of the many men I hvae spoken to who are dating were divorced by their wivse. It is very very very high and often they were coasting along but then she found out about their adultery or she got sick of his fat tummy or nasty habits. Women have the upper hand, change things and find a better man. Not what this blog suggests but it’s my view.

    • Steve H says:

      P – Did Lydia write the paragraphs describing your friends? 😉

  • rosie says:

    P, a Gormless Dullard would make your flesh crawl before he’d even had a chance to take his gloves off, never mind what your friends might think of him! I’m all for refining one’s criteria (even though the only criteria I have is that they are intelligent, not overweight, give or take an extra pound or two, and don’t smell, which I don’t think is asking the Earth yet obviously is) but copping off with someone who admits to being stupid (*and has a face like stewed rhubarb) has got to be lowering your standards a bit too far? Not exactly guaranteed to make you go weak at the knees, like you say.

    * I’m not lookist either but they’ve got to have SOME redeeming features.

  • rantywoman says:

    I’ve worked in libraries most of my life and have never met a man through my profession. A good percentage of my male coworkers are gay, and a good percentage of my patrons are homeless/ mentally ill, unfortunately.

    But you are very lucky to have such a nice social life. I’ve started a blog about the difficulties of even having that much going for me as a never married woman over 40: thebitterbabe.wordpress.com/

    • MissM says:

      Thank you Rantywoman, I’ve just added your blog to my bookmarks, so I can return there and add comments when I have more time. (I have to do a bit of travelling for the next couple of days, so no computer.) But during a quick perusal this jumped out at me – I’ve lost count of the times I have heard people say, when they’ve become sidetracked by “shallow” concerns or life stressors, that they remind themselves that the most important things in their lives are “my husband and kids” or “my wife and kids.”

      That is something I encounter all the time also. Clearly those close loved ones are the foundations of life, too bad if you don’t have any huh? It sounds like you are speaking for me also, please keep up the blog so I can join it when I get back.

    • ToneDeafSinger says:

      I’ve left you a comment on your bitterbabe blog, rantywoman. P.S. Once upon a time I was going to be a librarian and I am still jealous of those who made it!

      • rantywoman says:

        The profession has changed quite a bit since the mid-nineties, and not for the better, in my opinion. The internet has helped with reference and made the day go faster, but it has brought in a whole new type of difficult patron and made the job more like being a clerk at a Kinko’s. Also, wealthier people are now able to avoid libraries entirely, while the growing number of homeless use the buildings as shelters. And the market is now flooded with librarians, allowing employers to treat us all poorly.

  • Barry says:

    Business as usual then P ?

    Change or Wither I feel ….sorry an’ that , you are too rigid at the moment to get a result . the message to me is “She has it; I want it” . “You can’t always get what you want”, another 60s ref for todays misery,
    but the second stanza may apply ?

  • june says:

    Yes P where would we planktons be without our friends, even if they cant introduce us to men. Had lunch with 3 today, none of them planktons though.

    I think websites do have men looking for sex, sadly though as i mentioned with the one i met last summer, they sometimes masquerade as pleasant, nice caring men, they meet you, realise you are not going to have sex with them instantly and thats it. I was so taken in with this man that its made me much more wary and im loathe to pay out money to join one. Is instant sex what men expect now, even middle aged ones, the only other time since my 60th birthday i have been fancied by a man was on a weekend trip to Paris, he was a widower, again we seemed to get on, he started on about sex. I said no i didnt believe in til i knew someone better, that was end of that,this was a man of 60. Neither of these men were in bad shape, and not unattractive, but i wanted to get to know them first, sorry but thats me.

    So i am thinking if the remote chance that i actually meet anyone who fancies me, very remote i know,but spose it could happen, stranger things have,do i have instant sex, because im not sure i want to but neither do i want to be alone any more. What do fellow planktons think. This is all hypothetical, as at moment my chances of meeting anyone are zero, as it seems with most of us apart from Lydia.

    • RS says:

      Regarding the man on the weekend trip to Paris, June – had you gone to Paris together? If that was indeed the case then I don’t think he was terribly out of line to think that sex might be part of the deal. I think if I went on a weekend trip with a man I would expect to have sex too.

      I don’t know about “instant sex”. But I think it’s fair to say that sex is a very important part of a relationship, especially to a man. Whereas a woman might prioritize companionship over sex, men probably see them as equally important, or perhaps sex as having an edge. I think a man would want to see that there is potential for sex, and not in the too distant future, should the pair of you hit it off. He wouldn’t necessarily be expecting to leap into bed on a first date, but maybe by a third.

      • Brigitte says:

        I’m definitely of the opinion that we cannot afford to lose any of the very few available men to a negative on early sex. Not on the first date, but by the third if he’s interested (with a condom, of course). Maybe I’m more physical than most women, but I have always wanted to have sex within the first few dates. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for a man to want it early on. I am beginning to appreciate the male stance on the issue of sex. It’s not only the players that want it – normal, decent men that are capable of relationships want the wonders of sex as well.

      • june says:

        No i sat near him on the coach, RS ive never been so fortunate in having a man take me to Paris, dear god chance would be a fine thing, He was a nice enough man, obviously missed his wife, he told me he liked slim, well groomed women with opinions, well that was me, but im sorry i told him how i felt.

        Sex to me is something that comes after you establish a relationship, it may not be how men think but its how i do, i realise this has probably contributed to my plankton status, but i think its possibly how lots of middle aged and older women feel but maybe they are more inclined to have sex more readily as scared of being alone. None if my friends seem like raving sex godesses and most are younger than me, they just seem to do it to keep a man, sometimes they make it sound like a chore ,but as much as i sometimes hate being alone im sorry i cant be like that, and for me the third date would be far too soon.

    • zoe says:


      Forgive me if I get this wrong. This is dangerous territory. In a sense I do not speak to the person – we must all be mindful of that distinction – but I speak to the character I see in the texts.

      At first, I thought your issue was negativity. Then I thought it was unreasonable expectations. Now I’m sure it’s sex.

      You need to find your inner sex goddess, June! Or, if she’s too well hidden, try and meet men through non-dating and non-singles activities where you can get to know someone in line with your own sexual tempo; or become more open to meeting older men who are no longer so interested in sex; or explore the asexual social networks for people who feel outside the swim; or get back on the internet and be completely upfront about how you think so that you can maximise your chances of finding your niche match. I know none of these is likely to appeal to you, but if you ignore the crux of the issue your quest is doomed to failure.

      Please don’t think negatively about the men who are wanting sex sooner than you. This is normal. (And Amen to that). Of course, never ever have sex with someone if you don’t want it. But recognise that most people are looking for sexual intimacy – and that this is what drives them to date in the first place. If you approach a new man from a point of antagonism, thinking the guy’s a dog because he “wants a lover”, you will kill it before it begins.

      I don’t for one minute think that the man you were so excited about and interested in deserves his bad press – nor that he deserves to become the touchstone for your disillusionment with men and the internet. He was younger than you and seemed initially open to having a relationship. You found him interesting and exciting and different. In truth, he sounds like he might have been perfect for you. Your challenge was to negotiate the gap in sexual expectation in a positive, friendly and non-critical way – in a way that keeps alive his hope for the future while allowing yourself the space you need. But because that requires some deft finessing you need more practice! Rather than see this experience as the justification for giving up on the internet and men, can you not find a way to see it as a rehearsal?

      • fi says:

        Zoe I think you are spot on but until you said it I hadn’t realised – I’ve just been thinking negativity. And I think Plank’s issue is judgementalism and snobbery. No idea what mine is, but I bet other people on here can see it through what I write. Wouldn’t it be much more helpful if we were honest with each other than simply all bolstering each other up in a “it’s not you its them” kind of way which goes nowhere as I suspect it is actually “it’s not them it IS you”. And re the internet dating – its extremely easy to get a sense of the person you’re communicating with – we’re doing it here too.

      • The Plankton says:

        I hold my hands up entirely. I completely agree: I am judgmental and a snob. But I am working on it. Slowly, admittedly, but working on it nonetheless. Px

      • fi says:

        Sorry P – it’s only on re-reading that I realised how awful that sounds. I meant we’ve ALL got issues, and sometimes other people can see them more clearly than we can, and if we were to address them I bet we’d be more successful. It doesn’t help to just have our prejudices reinforced and I think its good to be challenged.

      • The Plankton says:

        You are quite right! Px

      • Margaux says:

        Zoe – very well and deftly put..much food for thought in what you say and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.
        It seems to me June has got into a spiral of ‘internet dating is crap-I’m old- they just want sex anyway’.
        Maybe if something isn’t working- maybe it’s time to challenge some preconceptions ….

      • Jo says:

        June. I have to say I agree with Zoe and Margaux. I know it’s hard to hear and you’ll defend vigorously. But there’s something in it. Especially Margaux’s view.

    • fi says:

      June, please don’t take this in anything other than the spirit in which I intend it, but its as though you don’t really want to meet anyone. The impression I also get is that you’re relieved when other people don’t as it vindicates your position. You say over and over again that men aren’t interested in women your age, then when somebody comes back to say they know of older women that have met men, you respond by saying its different where you live, or they’re all ugly and old, or they just want sex, or you’re not prepared to travel. I can’t help conclude that by narrowing your criteria to a man who is attractive, slim, lives near you, has money, isn’t interested in having sex for a long time, you are intentionally choosing to impose such narrow criteria that you will never meet anyone. Which is fine. If on the other hand you do want to meet someone then you would do better trying to find the positive in the men you meet instead of the negative. Its almost as though you prefer to sit around with other women who can’t get a man talking about how unfair it is because every single post you make, even commiserating with P, says that.

      • Jo says:

        Fi. That’s it. That’s true. Very very well put.
        June. I know these comments are hard to take. But they are true. This is what comes over whenever you post a comment. Again and again. Further. If – as Fi says – anyone ( not just me) comes back to say that they know of older women – including over 60 – who have met someone right for them ( not many I know, but they have), you counter it by not only saying it’s different where you live, the men are all ugly and old, or they just want sex, or they must be quite nearby etc, but you also say, many times (which I have objected to several times), that these women can only have succeeded because they must have – to use your own words- ‘very low standards’, are obviously ‘not discriminating’, don’t care if these men are ‘overweight, repulsive and unintelligent and will take anyone’. You on the other hand (and you always include P) are not of this persuasion. The painting of these women as such is something I have always found unbelieveably rude and not a little disgusting. I have always said as such, everytime you have offered that view. Which is many. This was even before my own situation, so that had nothing to do with my objections. I simply felt I had to defend these women. Numbering as they do, the plankton I have known over the years who did succeed. Interesting that, whenever I did there was no notice taken of it and the same damning statements would be repeated tirelessly again, at some other time.
        It is of the utmost importance to say – difficult as they are – the comments from us here are in no way an attack. Believe it or not, they are there to be of some help. Because we care about you June. We care about each other. Sometimes the things we can hear are not always sweet. But perhaps they can help to eradicate obstacles that are truly not serving us well. That are perhaps hindering. Certainly, not helping. Who knows what will happen. No-one can wave a magic wand. But maybe the chances can be optimised a little bit, by thinking about what we may be doing/thinking to obstruct our path. With warmest wishes June.
        Do think about it. That’s all.

      • Jo says:

        June. The other thing is, that the thought of meeting someone right can sometimes – strangely enough – seem frightening. Actually embarking on a relationship and challenging one’s status quo. However much it is wished for. Not for everyone of course. But it can be so. It can be easy to fall into, unconsciously, a ‘better the devil you know’ thing. Familiar and strangely comforting. Thereby placing obstacles in front of any possibility of it happening. Whilst being completely unaware that one is doing so.
        No guarantees that not doing so will make the slightest difference. But it doesn’t help either. Worth a thought.

      • Jo says:

        Sorry to go on. I do speak from experience here June. My closest friend – at risk of a falling out – offered some choice words to me about some of the ways that I was thinking and some rather unpalatable views. After swallowing hard and metaphorically tying myself down rather than leaping up defensively, I listened and (forced myself) to think about it. It was really difficult. But she had a point. She was right. It did NOT mean that this guaranteed me to meet someone. Far from it. There are no guarantees about anything. But it made me think. And we’re still friends!

  • Margaux says:

    But P – even friends can surprise sometimes….A couple I know who were always my standard for the perfect relationship have just imploded spectacularly. They were 8 years together ( choosing not to have kids) and looking like they were in it for the long haul.

    So well suited I envied them both a little for having found each other.
    Both hit 40 last year-and, wouldn’t you just know it – he’s decided to have a ‘midlife’ and has run off with someone he’s only just met, right before Xmas.

    As for Rhubarb man, well, the brain is the sexiest organ after all. So if his didn’t do it for you – no point.

  • Margaux says:

    P, T Lover & Fi … priceless !

    Tv – loving the charming courteousness over at Privateman..

    “Well fi, if I’m so fucking psycho why doesn’t plankton ban me like you dried up cunts want?”

    Such eloquence … *sigh* …

    • fi says:

      Maybe he thinks we’re not “trim and attractive” like his wife? Well I’m not as I’m stuffing my face and preparing to get in the bath face first. (Tv – not really)

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