Different SOH

February 1, 2012 § 57 Comments

In the spirit of keeping you abreast with any online developments for your delectation and as a way of eking out this blog so it may retain its daily habit, I thought I would impart the good news, the latest from my tentative forays into the world of internet dating.  Yesterday I saw a man’s profile on one of the dating sites I have been a-trawling and it looked quite promising.  It hit my inbox and I thought, Hey, 48 (tra la! not an OAP!), perfectly nice-looking, seems OK, doesn’t live in Far Flung… Not bad.  I could even contemplate pressing the Contact Him button…

But then I looked at the further photographs he had provided of himself.  The first few were fine.  It was the last which gave me pause.  He was blacked up like a performer in the Black and White Minstrel Show: dark suit, bright waistcoat, top hat, affro wig, face covered in boot polish or whatever was the theatrical make-up of choice.  I am sorry, may be rather po-faced of me, but I thought, Hey, you know what, I have the feeling this man and I … Well, the chances are he would regard me as someone who had a SOH on a rather different level than his own, and he would almost certainly regard mine as the inferior one.

I shall not be clicking the Contact Him button after all because I already don’t suppose I am the woman for him.

But, I remain undeterred I swear it.


§ 57 Responses to Different SOH

  • Redbookish says:

    Ooooo absolutely, Ms P. To get to 48 (I’ll be hes actually 53) and not know that ‘blacking up’ is really offensive. I think you missed a bullet there.

    Here’s a lovely blog post about internet dating, BTW — the original blogger’s post is in the link: this is her guest poster:

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you, Redbookish. A friend told me about this blog and I have been meaning to look at it. She is more clued up than me, obviously, as she is making money out of hers (!?), but apparently it’s great. I shall definitely take a look. Px

      • MissBates says:

        I don’t think she makes money out of it, per se (as in money to pay the rent or school fees or set up a retirement account); rather, if you scroll to the bottom of each of her posts about a terrific new hotel or luxurious spa or what-have-you, she properly discloses that she was a “guest” of said hotel/luxurious spa. In other words, she receives promotional goods/services in exchange for a mention on her widely-read blog, which is, essentially, one great big advertisement. The hotel/luxurious spa gets its exposure to the kajillion people who read her blog every day, and she gets free goods & services.

    • T Lover says:


      Nanoo, nanoo, Mr Behindthedoor here tuning in from a distant galaxy.

      By what feat of magical female reasoning do you conclude that if a man says he is 48 he is actually 55?

      And why is “blacking up” “really offensive”? Does it not depend on the context?

      • EmGee says:

        Yes, context is everything, but where none is provided , one can either assume the worst, or at best, assume the guy is too dumb to realize he ought to provide some -if the had an acceptable reason for doing it.

      • Jo says:

        First of all T Lover. See rosie’s comment at 5.47pm.
        Secondly. There is NO context in which ‘blacking up’ in 2012 is anything other than really offensive.
        That you have to ask, says a lot. Enough said.

      • T Lover says:

        EmGee, Jo,

        Thank you both for rising to and taking the fly.

        Given you, EmGee, accept that context is everything why do you assume the worst when there are other perfectly innocent explanations? Is it because the subject of your derision is a man?

        And Jo, I think if you try really hard you might concede that it is all too easy to jump to the wrong conclusion You have not seen the picture nor the accompanying profile still less spoken to the individual. Nevertheless the verdict is “guilty”.

        As your American friends tried, in their way, to point out there are lots of perfectly decent blokes around. Don’t be so judgemental, don’t always assume the worst and you might just find one.

      • Jo says:

        T Lover. I NEVER assume the worst. I always try to assume the best. That’s the way I am. (You don’t know me at all.).
        It’s got nothing at all to do with the fact that you are a man! What nonsense.
        If you read through my comments since July ( when this blog started), you will see that I do not ‘easily jump to the wrong conclusions’. Indeed I strive always to be fair and to see both sides of any equation.
        Also, I have ALWAYS been at pains to point out that there are perfectly decent blokes about. (Though not so easy to find. That’s the reality.).
        I am not a judgemental person. Never have been.
        I never assume the worst. Far far from it. As for your final point about ‘you might just find one’? I have and he is a diamond.
        Enough said.

      • Jo says:

        As a matter of interest T Lover. What are the ‘perfectly innocent explanations whereby blacking up is acceptable’? As you have written.
        I’d really like to know. Serious – not facetious in any way – question.

      • Jo says:

        Btw T Lover. No need to thank EmGee and I for, as you put it ‘rising to the fly’. (!)
        We don’t play games here.

      • T Lover says:


        Thank you.

        You don’t know that I am a man. What is my ethnicity?

        Read in the round, my impression of the comments (the comments which have appeared over the months) is that they are full of received wisdom about men, have feminist leanings and err towards the politically correct.

        Do you think it was for those reasons the blog was targeted by the PrivateMan? They saw it as “feminist”?

        In a later comment you swing the boot for both Jim Davidson and the late Bernard Manning:

        “As well as Jim Davidson, he [a man pictured using black makeup] probably thinks that Bernard Manning is the dog’s bollocks.”

        I love the way women claim an expertise in what men are thinking.

        Their [Davidson and Manning] humour may not be to your taste but to say you are not judgemental rings a touch hollow given your comment.

        Anyway, I shall put my stirring spoon back in the draw and make another coffee.

      • Jo says:

        T Lover. I alluded to the fact that you were a man because of your ‘MR Behindthe door here’!!
        Don’t know why you’re asking me about your ethnicity.
        As for my being unfairly judgemental about Jim Davidson and Bernard Manning? Anyone who makes a career out of peddling racist, homophobic, sexist, anti-semitic, jokes is definitely ‘not to my taste’ as you put it. To put it mildly..
        If that is being judgemental. Too right.
        You talk about ‘rising to the fly’ and ‘stirring’.
        D’you know what? I can’t be bothered with that. It’s boring and childish.
        It’s too important a subject for that.

      • T Lover says:


        Years ago, I worked in the same office as an African/West Indian girl whose nickname for me was “Honky”. Shall I pass you the smelling salts?

        You know, it was brilliant. Did we laugh? The office banter was sometimes hysterical. There was not one drop of malice. The fact that we were all different and came from different social backgrounds was celebrated – not tiptoed round.

        But this is not the point. The general impression I have from the comments which appear on this blog is that they are judgemental (about men), lean towards the feminist and turn on received wisdom rather than reality.

        Example: you conclude from a second hand (and maybe gilded for literary effect) description of an internet profile that a bloke (who you have never knowingly met) is “ugh” and must be a Bernard Manning fan.

        How do you manage to work any of that out? Don’t you think a more measured approach would be to bite your tongue unless and until you knew the facts? At least talked to the person concerned?

        Do you know that amongst Bernard Manning’s biggest fans were his Indian next door neighbours? Or perhaps that is received nonsense and only you know the real facts?

        Please understand, I am not having a go at “Jo” as an individual rather the anti man, wooden mindset behind a proportion of the comments.

      • Jo says:

        T Lover. The fact that your colleague called you Honky is not the same thing as racism at all.
        Not at all. Although doubtless you’ll claim it is.
        I’m not going to spend anymore time explaining this to you. It’s clearly pointless.
        *Now waits for long diatribe*.
        Justify it by whatever means you like. I’m not wasting more time on it with you..
        *Prob. Diatribe number two*
        Btw. We’ve heard ad finitum the reasons you quote for the PrivateMan’s views about us (yawn) and answered extensively.
        Not going on that merry -go – round again.

      • T Lover says:


        Thank you for your reasoned response – it was most illuminating.

      • EmGee says:

        @ T Lover:

        EmGee: “Yes, context is everything, but where none is provided , one can either assume the worst, or at best, assume the guy is too dumb to realize he ought to provide some -if the had an acceptable reason for doing it.”

        T Lover: “Given you, EmGee, accept that context is everything why do you assume the worst when there are other perfectly innocent explanations?”

        Guess I wasn’t clear? My point was, given only one piece of evidence (a photo of a white man in blackface), most people would (and indeed, most people here did) assume the worst, given no reason to believe otherwise (eg. perhaps he played the lead in a stage play about Minstrels).

        If he posted a picture of himself accepting a humanitarian award, one would assume the best: that he is a good and charitable person, when there is also a minuscule possibility that such an action could be a facade hiding a darker personality.

        I wasn’t actually condemning him outright as a person, just questioning his judgement in posting a picture like that, if he wants to make a good first impression. Or, maybe that is exactly the impression he wants to make.Takes all kinds and there is someone for everyone, as they say.

        My own take is that he probably isn’t horribly racist or bigoted, just insensitive to other people’s feelings.

      • T Lover says:


        I agree with 90% of what you say.

        It is a mistake to take too much at face value. We all make personal errors. We all write things that are misinterpreted.

        I would rather eat my own scrotum than black up under an Afro wig and have to admit that my first impression was “how naff”. But to make a judgment and be so unkind about someone without at least hearing their side of the story is plain wrong.

        And all relationships between men and women are subjective. One man’s meat and all that.

        And so is racism. There are all sorts of academic controversies about different “racist” words such as “nigger” – whether it is an offensive word at all given its usage amongst blacks.

        An up to date example is the Liverpool footballer Suarez. He uses the word of Evra the black Manchester United player. The whole world vouches Suarez is not a racist but the eight match ban is imposed for using the word not the (lack of) intent behind it. Even when it is debateable whether it is an offensive word at all.

        Was Douglas Bader a racist? Would you reject him as a potential husband because his dog was called “Nigger”?

        What I was trying to say was: if you want to find a man (or woman) cut a bit of slack. Start with an open mind. Don’t be judgemental until you know the real facts. Etc

        Sorry – Jo is right. This is another pompous diatribe. Don’t tell her. She will start shouting at me again.

      • EmGee says:

        T, 90% agreement is pretty darn good, imo. 🙂

        I was afraid people would ‘assume the worst’, so I censored my first post and deleted a bit in order not to unintentionally raise ire. Well, that worked so well…@_@

        What I deleted was, I was also going to suggest that, generally speaking, would there be no harm in contacting the guy to find out why he posted a photo like that, rather than make a snap judgment?*

        However, I didn’t want to give anyone the impression that I thought Plankie herself should pursue the issue.

        *Like one poster said, maybe he was made up to look like a tv character (that I had never heard of), which might be innocent enough.

      • Jo says:

        T Lover.
        I was not shouting at you. I was being rather calm and reasoned.
        What do you imagine was the ‘intent’ behind Suarez calling his black team player Evra a nigger? I think you’ll find that Evra found it offensive and he – more than you- is the one who knows best how offensive it is. You also say ‘it is debateable whether it is an offensive word at all’!
        Further, you add that ‘if you want to find a man (or a woman), cut a bit of slack. Start with an open mind. Don’t be judgemental until you know the real facts’. That is very very different from ‘cutting a bit of slack’ for someone who thinks that in 2012 – with well-documented debate and example and black people themselves declaring it insulting and offensive. Unequivicolly so. – it is acceptable to black yourself up. Let alone post a photo of it. Anywhere. But also on a dating site?!!
        The fact that he hadn’t questioned if it would cause offence or not? The fact that he hadn’t questioned whether this would be insensitive or not?
        Speaks volumes.
        Btw. That you yourself should equate your boy ‘going to Lansdown Road wearing green face paint’ in the same vein, says it all.
        A stupid and ignorant analogy.
        Enough said. As I wrote before. Clearly a waste of time. All that you’ve written subsequently confirms that.
        End of story.

      • T Lover says:


        You are shouting.

        Leave imagination out of it. Stick to the facts.

        Get and post a copy of the photograph so we can see for ourselves. You have no more idea what this picture actually shows than does our cat.

        Why then have you jumped to all these conclusions about the person shown in this photograph, why he was dressed as he was and even that this unidentified person likes the late Bernard Manning?

        Suarez: is of mixed race. His defence (which I believe was accepted) was that he is not a racist. Why do you want me to imagine some other malign explanation when we know the facts? He was “convicted” of using the word but not of the intent you infer.

        Evra might have found the use of the word “nigger” offensive but what Evra felt and what Suarez intended are diametrically opposed. Does that make Suarez a bad person if he did not intend offence? Not prepared to give him a break? Blinkered by unthinking political correctness?

      • EmGee says:

        Oooh! Cat Fight!

        Oh, wait….

    • sorry . When I was leaving my essay earlier, I forgot to say THANK YOU lovely Redbookish for the link in the first place *slaps wrist* Bad me. LLGxx

  • rosie says:

    Urgh, he probably thinks Jim Davidson is the height of sophistication.

    Better luck next time!

    • Hey MissBates

      Given that I have a had a flood of traffic to my blog ( thank you everyone) from The Plankton – a blog which I love – today, I wanted to reply to your comment as it is clear it has been seen a by a lot of people, and I don’t believe it accurately reflects the reality of my blog, which I have been writing since 2006.

      By your standards most print (newspaper & magazines) outlets are ‘one great big advertisement’. You do realise that no publication in the UK bar CN Traveller and, I think The Indy, pays for hotel or travel for its travel pieces? I take no more ‘free services’ or hotel stays [actually far, far fewer], than any journalist or editor in my field on a print publication. This I know as I have been an editor and journalist for over ten years. And I definitely make far more disclosure than any print publication.

      As you correctly point out, I operate a full disclosure/transparency policy, but tbh I return and/or turn down offers of most of the goods and services I am offered. I have no desire to shill for people, run external content, or imply relationships exist where they clearly do not. I also have a small flat and have no desire to sit under towering piles of STUFF. I wobbled off to the post office today with a pile of jiffy bags containing returns. Black & purple exercise poncho anyone?

      I need to earn a living and much as I would love to run a blog that only existed to trade blog space for free sh*t and hotel stays, I’d soon be in a debtor’s prison if I went down that route. I do not have time to spend my life in fancy hotels, or taking advantage of free services – I’m guessing you mean hair, nails etc?

      Sure, I am offered them, but I have to work instead of spending my days lolling in spas. Of the hundreds of experiences I am offered, I get my hair cut for free once every six weeks if I can fit it in, have the odd facial or treatment, and, on average, stay one night in a hotel for free per month. Of course there are other things here and there, but it’s a very small part of the blog – and they are always disclosed. I’m also going to add that if I do take a freebie and it is crap, then I will either say so or not write about it. I never, ever laud anything in the transactional manner you imply.

      As much as I wld love to be able to pay British Gas with a free hotel stay or a bottle of glitter nail varnish (groo), sadly that is not the case. As Rosie queries, I do not make money from the blog itself or run ads ( bar a small amount from affiliate marketing links which pays for hosting costs etc). I have a consultancy business, and still freelance as a fashion editor & journalist. I am also writing a book (cliche) and have a couple of modelling contracts – that have come about because of the blog. The blog has given me a platform that earns me income offline, essentially. Which is how most pro-bloggers monetise the time they spend online

      I’m afraid I do rather take offence at the description of my blog as ‘one great big advertisement’. Much of the blog is diary style in format, or op ed – such as the hitherto mentioned internet dating strand, and mentions no partic place or product. Of the product, places & experiences I do mention, much of it has been paid for by me.

      Take my recent 10 day holiday in Marrakech, which furnished umpteen blog posts, Tweets and whathaveyou. I paid my own hard earned cash for every single flight, hotel, meal and experience about which I wrote.

      I try very hard to strike a balance on the blog, and I would hope that anyone reading it would see that it is far, far from the flack-happy space MissBates implies.


      • EmGee says:

        Are you aka Lydia, per chance?

      • The Plankton says:

        Dear LLG, Thank you very much for this. In fact, I had a long chat about you and your blog a week or so ago with a good mutual friend of ours and she was speaking admiringly of what a success you had made of it. I was rather hoping I might ask you some advice about how on earth to earn a bob or two out of daily blogging but it seems that it is easier said than done!? Anyway, it is lovely that you have commented here and it prompts me to go straight to your blog about which I have heard so much. (I am relatively new to this whole game!). With all best wishes, Plankton

      • Jo says:

        Very well written LLG.
        Ignore the ‘Lydia’ comment. Your words were eloquent, clear and made a lot of sense.

      • RS says:

        I am a huge fan of yours, Sasha. Nicely put! I was just typing a reply to MissBates when I saw yours.

  • rosie says:

    ps, I thought you could only make money from blogs if you sold ads and I can’t see any on hers…?

  • Jude says:

    I’ve done a bit of internet dating over the years – met some nice men, none of them weird or objectionable at all, and all have looked like their photos. But, wow, never come across a photo quite like that. ABSOLUTELY right to avoid him like the proverbial barge-pole! He obviously doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with it – bet he describes his political leanings as “liberal”!! Keep looking though, don’t give up……..

  • Jo says:

    Oh god. How nauseating P. As well as Jim Davidson, he probably thinks that Bernard Manning is the dog’s bollocks.
    No way Jose. Ugh.

  • MissBates says:

    You see? We TOLD you that the internet would provide fodder for you! Not a date, necessarily, but fodder . . .

  • Empress says:

    Good grief. How can anyone think that’s acceptable in this day. Well avoided Ms P, definately NOT someone you want to know better. Though I suppose you (and we) should be glad he made his unsuitablity so obvious so early on, at least you didn’t waste any time on the cretin.

  • Aidan says:

    I can understand where P is coming from but this is terrible news for former members of the Black and White Minstrals.

  • ToneDeafSinger says:

    I must have looked at hundreds of profiles. I think on average there is about 1 in 10 or 1 in 15 worth contacting, and then about 1 in 100 of those I contact bother to reply. Think of it as a job of work.

  • EmGee says:

    Well, the fellow may be perfectly okay, there may be a plausible explanation for why he was in blackface, but posting a photo like that with no context is a bit obtuse. A shame really, but indicative that he is sfar.

    There probably would have been no harm in contacting him, even having a coffee with him in future, if the contact wasn’t uncomfortable, but perhaps you are just not ready to hit the ‘Contact’ button just yet. Bravo for just keeping on w/ the online thing. I couldn’t do it.

  • rosie says:

    Don’t mean to sound po-faced either but if someone needs to ask, in 2012, why blacking up is offensive, I’d suggest they were a just leeedle bit out of touch.

    • Jo says:

      Spot on rosie!

    • Dawn says:


    • T Lover says:


      I’m frightened to admit that my boy went to Landsdown Road wearing green face paint.

      Have we offended the population of Mars?

      • Jo says:

        No T Lover. I’m not shouting. So amazed you can see me in my house, you sound so absolute about it.
        I suggest that you are the one who is blinkered….
        As I have said – and which becomes ever clearer as you go on – it is patently clear that it is a waste of time explaining this to you. So I shall do so no longer.
        Over and most definitely out.

  • marriednotsmug says:

    My first thought was that he was probably dressed up as Papa Lazarou, a character from BBC’s “The League of Gentlemen”.

    • The Plankton says:

      I’ve never seen L of G, but you may be right. xx

    • T Lover says:

      The League of Gentlemen was filmed in part in and around Hadfield (Glossp) in north Derbyshire.

      The shop in the show was I understand “Mettricks” which used to be the best butcher in the world, won one of the BBC food awards a couple of years ago and still supplies the Chatsworth farm shop..

      This is, of course, completely useless information but for the fact the commentator might be on the money. Papa Lazarou it is.

      Enter Jo with her flamethrower…..

  • poester99 says:

    Thanks for keeping it real! … but for god-sakes grow some balls…
    Will re-visit often.

  • Jo says:

    Sorry to deprive you of any catfight with T Lover, EmGee.
    Not going to waste more energy on it.
    Doesn’t get you anywhere..
    Night night.

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