January Slump

January 17, 2012 § 56 Comments

From yesterday’s Times:-


A few years ago my New Year’s resolution was to give up chocolate.  And I did.  For a whole year.  In about June, I thought, gosh, this has been going on for a while, faintly tedious, and asked people how long a New Year’s resolution was supposed to last.  A lot didn’t have a clue, most people said a month.  Only a couple imagined one was meant to stick to it for a full twelve months.

Finding a new husband is this year’s resolution.  It is going to be a whole lot more difficult than giving up chocolate.  In fact, giving up chocolate for ever would seem a doddle in comparison.

I jest in part when I say finding a new husband.  What I mean is taking up with a nice new person who may, if I am so blessed, decide he wishes to be with me for longer than it takes to say one night stand.  The problem with this finding business is that it is active and largely dependent on outside forces (other people; match-making; the internet; timing; luck; the will of capricious Fate; and what have you) whilst giving up something is passive and dependent entirely upon oneself and one’s own willpower.

Anyway, as I have been saying every year for several years now, “By this time next year I am damn well going to be with someone.”  Well, for all such resolve, it hasn’t exactly got me anywhere.  You can have as much willpower as Slimmer of the Century, but husband there hoves into view there none.  Before Christmas I went out practically every night for four weeks on the trot, suppers, parties, you name it.  Knackering.  But I barely met one single man.  Not quite true: I met several but none was single in the happily available sense.  One, if not officially out, was gay or I am a chicken drumstick; one, with the complexion of stewed rhubarb, declared himself to be unfathomably stupid (his own words) which wasn’t instantly irresistible; another was so depressed, he bemoaned the world and hunched over his supper like a waning dog; the fourth told me he had just flown in from Blah and was going to fly out the following day to Blah Blah and had lived in twenty different countries in as many years.  This, he admitted, did impact sorely and negatively on his personal relationships, but he was not about to give up his peripatetic existence.

So at the end of 2011, it was not looking good.  Today, there is an ill wind which has sent all my wheelie bins flying and my diary is as dead as a doornail.  Nothingness stretches into the ether.  It’s just a question of finding the willpower to transform that nothingness into Something or, more specifically, Someone.

Don’t ask me how.


§ 56 Responses to January Slump

  • AnonW says:

    I think these are my thoughts entirely. Except of course, I’m looking for a lady. For me though it’s rather different, in that when you’ve lived with someone for forty exciting years, living alone these last four years, has been very difficult, even if you are pretty well house trained and can afford little luxuries in life. You do get a bit desperate and after the sinking in Italy, I’m even thinking of going on a cruise for the first time. After my bad luck, I should be OK.

    • Lydia says:

      Lots of women on cruises AnonW including rich ones, so many that they hire men just to dance with the single older women. Couldbe a good place for you to find a woman.

    • tvmunson says:

      Can’t dance-let the ladies teach you. At our age we must be over the fear of looking awkward. I tried to surf; it can’t be worse than that. You sound like you have time and resources; take lessons. If you don’t want to say so. I am averse to it myself (dancing); in fact, it’s the reason I don’t take Viagra or Cialis because it apparently makes one want to dance-at least they do in the commercials. The drug companies failure to list this propensity is the subject of an impending lawsuit I am part of; word to the wise-sell Pfizer-NOW! I don’t mind the separate bathtubs so much but there is San Francsico firm looking into a possible cause of action there as well-stay tuned.

      • Lydia says:

        I don’t dance either and still find men so I wouldn’t worry about it. A lot of men in London join salsa dancing classes to rind women. It seems almost to be a dating euphemism.

  • Elle says:

    Plankton, this all makes me sad. It makes me realise that I will probably never meet a man who is interested in more than a one night stand. There are plenty of those about but it seems none want even a casual relationship. All they want is instant sex, zip up and go! I believe that regular participation in that sort of thing turns one into a latrine. Actually, wank machines should be installed in men’s loos for men who only want instant sex. The act would cost about £5 or £10, similar to the cost of a few drinks (what the average man is willing to give a woman in exchange for a one night stand). The machine would do the mechanical bit and there would be a screen showing porn while the act was taking place. Then they could zip up and go home alone but satisfied.

    I hope that this year I can become inured to the fact that I will probably be alone for ever if I’m not willing to settle for an endless series of one night stands. Which is no better than being alone, is it?

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear Elle, I am sorry that what I wrote makes you feel like this. I hope you won’t have to become inured to the fact that you will probably be alone for ever because it may not be…? Px

    • Lydia says:

      Not my experience of men at all. Many had a good first marriage and want to replicate that.

    • fi says:

      Those machines would be excellent for the men that comment on privateman’s website. Keep them away from women please.

      • Elle says:

        I don’t know if that would work Fi, unless of course the porn was replaced with a mirror. That might turn them on.

    • tvmunson says:

      BTW there is such a product available in American truck stops. I won’t say the name. t was invented in 1955 and the FDA cannot figure out a way to ban it as it is not ingested.

    • tvmunson says:

      By way of explication lest you think I’m being snide it is dropped into a glass of water an creates a foam “cushion”-the concept is similar.

      • Lydia says:

        There have always been I think kind of toll booth things in the red light district in Amsterdam. Most men don’t want those kinds of casual encounters which are not too different from masturbating at home. They like a friend, supporter, lover, woman they can show off on their arm and someone to go through life with. They are out there. People just need to keep looking.

  • rosie says:

    P, it’s the internet or bust. They say that if you keep doing the same things you’ll keep getting the same results (I’m a fine one to talk but anyway!) and as none of your efforts to meet someone are working… well you know the rest.

    Fourteen years and counting of being on my own here, apart from the odd useless fling, and you really don’t want to get to that stage without having explored every avenue, do you? Don’t mean to sound preachy but, as you can no doubt imagine, it’s really not fun.

    The internet didn’t work for me (well it did, once, and I cocked it up) but it doesn’t mean it won’t for you. And if you really, really hate it and decide you’d rather gouge your eyes out with a rusty apple corer at least you’ll have tried.

    • The Plankton says:

      Am trying, I promise! See tomorrow’s blog which I am writing today and posting early tomorrow morning as I have to be out all day tomorrow (so, incidentally, apologies to all, probably won’t be able to manage comments till late). Px

  • Lindy says:

    I must say, I do rather agree with Jo’s comment yesterday about your apparent reluctance to dip your toe into the internet world – more specifically Guardian Soulmates. My son (attractive, bright, sweet – well I would think so, wouldn’t I?! – and 30) has just put his profile on there, having not met anyone since he split up from his long-term girlfriend eighteen months ago, and I admit it: I snooped, so that I could read what he had written about himself! Busted! But then, of course, I couldn’t resist looking at the profiles of men of my sort of age in London (hypothetically – rude not to!! – as I am happily partnered-up) and there were several who were potentially good company, at least, it seemed to me. Amusing comments, fun interests, more than adequate photographs etc. Even with a hefty dose of cynicism, they couldn’t ALL be serial rapists, misogynists or weirdos, could they? I got quite immersed…

    On another note, saw Shame last night – have you seen it yet? Despite mediocre crits, I was somewhat blown away (no pun intended). Very bleak and well-acted, I thought. x

    • The Plankton says:

      Am being very illicit – this feels really naughty – and am going to see it this afternoon. To go off to the cinema mid-afternoon ON A WEEKDAY is something I have done possibly 3 times in my life, but I am doing it, so will let you know my thoughts about it soon. Px

      • Brigitte says:

        P., I’ve enjoyed going to the movies alone for over a decade now. I always go either in the morning or afternoon when there are fewer people and more seats available. The first time I went was at night to a full house and I felt like everyone was watching me instead of the movie, much like Steve Martin in The Lonely Guy when the restaurant shines a spotlight on him when he arrives alone (hilarious).

    • Leftatforty says:

      Guardian soulmates… That is were my husband put his profile despite being with someone else and separated a month from me. Say hi if you meet him.

    • MissBates says:

      Ah, but Lindy — here’s the rub: All those attractive-enough, amusing, fun, age-appropriate men you noted on that website? Even if they are, say, 52, and indicate the age of the women they’re interested in as 35-52, in reality 99% of them will only contact women who fall very much at the lower end of that range.

  • rosie says:

    And tell me to bog off if you like but if you take the plunge I’ll give it another go. I ain’t sitting here for another fourteen fucking years, that’s for sure!

      • Erin says:

        Yay!!! Persistence is the key to Internet dating. There will be times of disappointment and discouragement but it is part of the process so don’t give up. And don’t discount the profiles with no photo. Sometimes people just want privacy from co-workers or family. You can always ask them to email you a picture. Hoping you find the man of your dreams!

  • Barry says:

    After the ill wind , you need the Wind of Change P ……Blinkers off, fantasies stuffed firmly to the bottom of your DG hand luggage ,and lock that stable door, ‘cos the Princes’ White charger aint gonna reside there

    At least that way you wont have a guilty conscience about hitting the chocolate …you can blame ME ! xx

    • The Plankton says:

      That’s very kind of you, Barry, thank you. Very reassuring to know I’ll have someone to blame. Px

      • tvmunson says:

        I love reading you Brits, and this exchange between P and Barry is typical. Do not know the references, have only the vaguest sense of the general nature of the discourse, but damn you have Brits have a way all of you! If mankind ever does venture into outer space, the Germans will build the rocket, the Chinese will provide the funds, the Americans will handle the administration, we’ll pack it with French cooking, let the Italians handle the upholstery, but by God send the British, the only worthy emissaries for this dusty little planet, the complete embodiment of class, style and distinction. I very truly heartily mean that.

      • Lydia says:

        Wow, tv, flattery will get you everywhere (easiest way into many women’s underwear).

      • tvmunson says:

        Well I meant all British and I don’t fancy (Brit!) getting into the guys’. Also I’m starting, starting, to understand British men oddly enough just reading one or 2 here. Always respected them as I said. But no Lydia flattery will not work with a woman unless done very carefully or in circumstances where the motives of the flatterer are decidedly not to get in her pants. I’ll give an example. I had a case once with a witness, an attractive woman. I was explaining to her why I wanted to get her in front of the jury-I wanted her testimony, but also HER because she was attractive in a non-threatening way to women (more homemaker looking) and the guys will love her. One of my partners knew he rand I guess days later she was still going on and on about that remark. She could trust the flattery ‘cuz it wasn’t an attempt to get a ticket to Knickerville (Brit!).

  • june says:

    Yes P know the feeling, i make this vow every year, i vow to meet someone. Then reality sets in. Where, no-one knows anyone single and eligble, internet dating for me has proved a total waste of time. I rarely get replies from plenty fish even, and thats free, any that i do receive are awful or live too far away. If i do go out its with friends who already have partners, and to be honest going out with a load of single women such as those at the social group i belong to, all busily trying to prove what a great time they are having as single older women and failing miserably just depresses me, i feel worse than if i stayed at home on facbook.

    As i said yesterday since i was 60 ive probably had two chances only, and cause i didnt want sex straight away but a relationship first, they went nowhere and probably wouldnt have anyway, after they had the sex, im not exactly a female fatale in bed, probably why ive never kept anyone for long. An old schoolfriend, male, told me once i was attractive, looked young for my age and was a nice person, im just not sexy.

    I feel like you Elle,alone for ever sums it up. Someone told me the other day they admire how positive i seem, in spite of being on my own, im such a bubbly person, and i cope so well,im always there for others, yes but who is there for me. I told them dont believe all you see, im just a damm good actress, i cry alone,otherwise i wouldnt have any friends left. Nothingness P sounds good, because thats how it feels you cant see any way of changing it, after all none of you on here seem to be able to, and lots of you are younger than me, and live in cities where there are more eligible males than in mine. It does help one cope to say all this on here, but sadly P it dosent change anything in our lives does it, we cant make someone who will love and care for us appear, a quick f….. seems all we could hope for and even that at my age is getting more and more remote. God ive just reread this, it does sound like im a depressive, im not, and P as you often say ill be smiling and waving to the world, thank god for your blog.

  • rosie says:

    We have lift off!

  • MissNovember says:

    Plankton, that’s MY N.Y. resolution too. To find a Mr Right(for me) or else I give up. Totally.

    Spent the last two and a half years thinking I’d found him, until he casually mentioned that we were just erm, casual. Rose tinted specs shattered, along with my self esteem. Game over. Back to the drawing board.

    I don’t do ‘fun’, as in the way that most men mean it. Of course I have like having fun, as much as the next person (if not more), I just don’t want to BE the fun that was had by all. Is it so wrong to want more than a
    one night stand? Are we that desperate, to settle for so little?

    I’m trying to stay positive and am hoping that this year is going to be the one, when I meet the one.

    Here’s hoping 2012 brings all Plankton, everything that they wish for. Failing that I’m marrying my best Plankton friend after one of us has a Strap-a-dick-tomy.

    LOVE the wank machine!!!!

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear MissNovember, Thank you for this and a belated very best of luck for 2012. I know how you feel! px

    • june says:

      Hilarious, no its the fun bit that always gets me, whats fun about a bloody one night stand with someone you know beggar all about, who could possibly give you something you dont want, and at most of our ages, i dont mean a baby. Surely for it to be fun unless you are a female sex addict, its got to involve love and caring somewhere along the line.

      Yes i love the wanking machine too, could make someone a fortune.

    • FI0na says:

      MissNovember fear I may also be in a year long one night stand. What I wonder is however this satisfies a man either? Lots of great sex, completely emotionally unavailable…why do this with one woman? And why not stop wasting time (as the man in this relationship) and go and find someone you really do love?

  • rosie says:

    “I just don’t want to BE the fun that was had by all.”

    Yes, that old chestnut. “It’s been great knowing you but… see ‘ya!”

  • Elle says:

    This is a fascinating post from another blog on the subject of finding a husband. Some of it is badly written, ranty and tedious, but it’s worth wading through to the end for amusement value.


    Spies in the camp and all that.

    • Lydia says:

      Women don’t have to marry up (privateman link above). Follow my lead and pay divorce settlements to men. If you limit yourselt with too many restrictions then you reduce the pool

      • Elle says:

        Americans are obsessed with marrying up. In Ireland women were always expected to bring something to the table whether it was land, a house or a profession such as nursing or teaching. In post famine days many women emigrated to America at a young age then came back a few years later with money. This was a passport to marry a local farmer with little in the way of assets.

        I don’t know how it was in the UK but I don’t think British women are as obsessed with money as certain women across the pond.

        Even so, no self respecting man would like to feel like a gigolo.

      • MissBates says:

        Why is the desire to marry someone of similar educational attainments a uniquely American “obsession”? Through various international bar associations, I know a lot of female British and French and German attorneys, for example, and none of THEM are married to auto mechanics and janitors…… ; )

      • Lydia says:

        I don’t nkow if it’s American or not. I think Europe is a little more egalitarian in general. There are plenty of countries with women not relying on men’s money to keep them when they have babies, where both in the couple work and the old suggestions that you marry someone better off who keeps you are disappearing. They may not be in bits of America but they are getting less common in the UK and I think we’ve always been fairly romantic here anyway. Indeed there was a tradition in the Victorian age of impoverished male marrying richer woman who would save the family estate.

      • Elle says:

        Miss Bates, apologies for any misunderstanding. I didn’t say all American women are obsessed with marrying up, just some. Most American men I meet (they come here on holiday a lot) say American women are very materialistic but they are probably biased. The dating books that come from America don’t help your reputation, I remember reading the Rules back in the day and the author seemed to think that men should constantly give women “jewelry”. Her opinion was “if he doesn’t give you jewelry then he doesn’t want to marry you”.

        There is a certain amount of snobbery in every country but maybe I’m being unfair by comparing America with Ireland. I know there is a class system in Britain and the proverbial Sloane Ranger might not want to marry a tradesman from a Northern industrial city not matter how wealthy he was.

        There has always been a man shortage in Ireland so that has stopped the notion of “marrying up” becoming endemic here. Any man with land or assets would want a woman to have similar assets to her name, failing that, a good profession. I left school in the late 1980s and most of the good men were emigrating. That continued well into the 1990s. Most male graduates left the country once they got their degree and any apprentice electrician or other tradesman with a bit of drive left too. This is happening again and I see stunning girls in their 20s who can’t find men.

        I really feel for them as I didn’t find it any easier to meet men in my early 20s than I do now! Most of my peers, some very attractive, had the same problem and are still single today. They have kept themselves well and are still very attractive. The only women who “married up” in Ireland seemed to be celebrities or those who married a wealthy man 30 years their senior. That is still the case.

        Perhaps more women in America hoped to marry up because there were more successful men available (white collar OR blue collar). That would apply to women anywhere successful men are available.

    • tvmunson says:

      Elle and all

      If you do go to theprivateman site elle lists you will see my post there. You will also see how (un) seriously I take most that stuff (well, most of it; I addressed MLK the other day; I was dead-on serious about that). I was accused by some here of being “red pill”-they use that phrase, I don’t bother with their silly nomenclature. I have had it out with the “manos” on legal issues; my list on the “Movie” article here remains available for your perusal and edification. I am not a spy from their camp; most of what I read their is near incomprehensible, and they make they make the Kim il Jung’s Central Committee for Truth and Propaganda seem open minded. Confirmed Stalinists would blush at their “self-critical” form of mind control. theprivateman site is not like that. do not lump him in with the “manos”; it’s not accurate.

      • tvmunson says:

        I should clarify. There are many “mano” sites that are as you describe. You can get there from tpm, but his is balanced.Some (many, most?) aren’t.

      • Elle says:

        tvmunsen, not everyone on theprivateman seems to be balanced as you. Everyone has a right to their opinion but I would not want to meet some of those guys alone in a shady alley or on a dark night. Even though they would think I am well past it. Heaven knows what the other sites are like – a serial killers convention?

      • tvmunson says:

        Well elle not quite “serial”, but very dark. Several push the envelope with “Nazi” stuff. They don’t come out with it; Americans fought Nazis, so they tread carefully. But wander away very far from tpm and it gets “a bit ‘thick'” as I think may be the British expression.

  • Lindy says:

    GOOD FOR YOU, P! If nothing else, you can amuse us with Tales of the Unexpected, Internet version, and make us all laugh! I also saw Shame on my own in a somewhat furtive way (not quite in a dirty mac) – not entirely sure whom I would have wanted to sit next to (definitely not the aforementioned new partner, as Michael F is rather excessively endowed!!) and so immersed myself in it totally. Think you are very wise, if a tiny bit wicked. Surprised at how many smart looking professional types of both genders were also there on their tod…..x

  • James says:

    Well done for taking this positive step! I’m sure you won’t regret it. I agree with those who recommend internet dating – see my comment on


    I hope you will enjoy the search and not be disheartened if you meet unsuitable men, because the good ones are out there too.

    I am wondering whether you should tell your dates who you are – and whether you should write about them (without names of course). I am sure you are asking yourself the same questions.

  • june says:

    Erin i do hope Plankton gives internet dating a go, as i honestly think in the London area it possibly is different.I was contacted on POF by a man of 49 who told me a friend of his over 60 gets many contacts, His words to me were i dont think youd have a problem in London, id certainly take you out, which was very flattering. Possibly men there are less agesist than in provinces. So P being that much younger would definitely be ok.

    But in the provinces its a whole different ball game. My fellow plankton friend who is my age says same. We live in the only large city in our area, surrounded by countryside and the coast, and we both find internet dating basically a waste of time. If we get any contacts they dont live in the city,some cant understand why people of our age want to, well we both were born in small towns, we dont want to go back, some of the men are a bit rural, not for us, we like city life,there seem to be very few actually in city, any that are seem to want only younger women, any that dont seem so old for their age. Shes been doing it for 6 years since her divorce and she said to me recently, honestly June i think its a total waste of time, i just dont think weve a hope. She remarked that she sometimes gets younger men from London area contacting her, but like me she doesent want a long distance relationship.

    So P certainly you might be luckier with it.you cant lose anything, for instance at moment match.com is doing a free month, test the waters so to speak.

    • Elle says:

      What’s wrong with rural men? Often they’re more down to earth and less glib than their city counterparts. If you don’t give men a chance you’re setting the odds against yourself.

      • june says:

        No Elle, i grew up and lived in a small town, for many years, so i know lots about small town men, and believe me i wouldnt want one, they are too bloody down to earth, boring springs to mind. Ive seen friends married to them and they are now divorced, married to much more worldly men and much happier.

        I like the city, and have no desire to live in the sticks, i did live there for a long time, and i have no desire to return, so if that is all thats on offer , im not interested. You need compatibility in a relationship and i wouldnt have that with someone rural. id rather be a plankton. I have been on a few dates with some i met online and it was obvious we had little in common.

  • EmGee says:

    peripatetic. Had to look it up. Another bonus reading this blog.

    I’m looking forward to what surprise you have in store for us tomorrow!

    • The Plankton says:

      I hope I spelt it right? And I hope tomorrow’s post isn’t a let-down!? Px Apologies again that I can’t manage/approve comments throughout the day as am out and about and in and out of meetings. I’ll get to you all the moment I can, though it may not be till late tomorrow night! xx

  • EmGee says:

    Ooops, forgot to tick the notify box. Drat.

  • rosie says:

    “A lot of men in London join salsa dancing classes to rind women. It seems almost to be a dating euphemism.”

    ‘Rind’. Now there’s a euphemism. Lydia, for all your obvious superiority and expensive schooling, your spelling, grammar and general grasp of English are a joke. I’d be asking for my money back if I were you.
    Wordpress very handily provides a dotted red line to indicate a misspelled word (and, yes, I know ‘rind’ is a word, just not in the context of any salsa dancing I’m aware of) or are you colour blind as well?

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