Tactless Friend Strikes Again

February 9, 2012 § 28 Comments

Yesterday my Tactless Friend was going through her mental rolodex – or, perhaps the expression should be brought up to date, and I should say she was working through her mental sim card – and she came up with a man for me.

“He’s an actor, well-known, regional accent and very single.”

I had heard of him, just, but didn’t understand the significance of that “very” and, this being my Tactless Friend, I chose not to ask.

“I am not sure,” I said.  Craggy and belligerent were the two adjectives about him which sprung to mind, from somewhere.

“He’s divorced!” she said.  “And I am seeing him tomorrow, I could do a bit of probing.  I think his wife – or wives – left him.”

“Do we know why?”

“I think he used to beat her up.”

Curiosity killed the already under-whelmingly curious cat.

“I don’t think so, thank you,” I said primly.  She laughed.  “Just how far do you wish to take this schadenfreude of yours?” I asked her only half-joking.  (I like to think I have an SOH.  I’m certainly going to need one if I am going to carry on writing these excruciating online profiles about myself; an SOH seems as basic a requirement as gender).

It’s a wonder TF is still a friend, but she is.  Wisdom decrees dropping her, but we go back a l-o-n-g way, and I am very fond of the other bits of her which aren’t tactless.  She is one of my historic ones and, as she said herself yesterday over a cup of coffee, you can’t make old friends.  I am not sure I entirely agree.  I have a habit of making friends and Charlotte is definitely a new one that’s old, if you get my meaning, as is Mrs Standard Bearer.

But still, in these austerity times, no one can afford to lose the old, old ones.  Lot of history, and history’s more than important, it’s practically everything, (as only the divorcee knows when he or she loses it).  Would be a bit careless of anyone, however many friends, to go round shedding old muckers.

Even if they do suggest match-making you with a wife-beater.


§ 28 Responses to Tactless Friend Strikes Again

  • leiq says:

    I think I know who you mean (MEAN!). I have fancied him madly since he was in that very-popular-with-women TV dramatisation in the early nineties. At an women’s assertiveness seminar recently, someone mentioned him beating his wives. I spoke without thinking: ‘It’d almost be worth it though’ and attracted well-deserved outrage!

  • MissM says:

    So many questions. Just what does ‘very’ single mean? Does your friend have a really odd sense of humour that she is amused by threatening to set you up with a wife beater? Or does she have some other motive? And just how attractive can this mystery man possibly be that leiq thinks ‘it’d almost be worth it’?

  • MissBates says:


    A year or two ago, one of my nice and very married male colleagues wandered into my office and sat down, clearly in a chatty mood. Apropos of nothing, he said, “you know, I think you might hit it off with my law school roommate.” I was mildly stunned at this, as I NEVER EVER discuss my personal life at work, and this particular office mate is sweet but rather obtuse, so I assumed there must have been some gossipy blahblah about me by other colleagues to have prompted his line of thought. But anyway, back to the thread of this anecdote: I wasn’t about to turn up my nose, and I thought to myself, “OK, so maybe his roommate — from Yale, no less — is still single and/or recently divorced.” So I said cautiously, “oh really?” “Yes,” he replied. “So smart — really well-read, just like you, and just a great guy all-around. He was in touch just last week and I think he’s lonely, although….” I laughed, knowing there would be a catch. “….well, he lives in Houston.” [That’s 1,600 miles away, in case all you U.K. readers are trying to conjure up a map of the U.S.] “With his mother. And the last time I saw him, at our twentieth reunion, he weighed over 300 pounds . . . ” Even my nice-but-obtuse colleague was laughing at this point. He gave me an appraising look and concluded, “Never mind.” Sigh. Indeed.

    But even this portly gentleman, resident with his mommy in a distant city, was not a wife-beater. That’s just what you need, Plankton — someone against whom you’re going to have to obtain an order of protection. No thank you, Old-but-Tactless Friend.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you, MissBates, I very much enjoyed this anecdote. They are two a penny, it seems, alas. Pxx

    • EmGee says:

      Perhaps his lawyer friend in Houston asked him if he knew any single women he might know, and inquire. I am guessing you were the only one he knew, so he dutifully fulfilled his mission, regardless of the fact that it was a non starter.

      At least, since this topic has come up a few times here from the other perspective, that may be the case.

      • MissBates says:

        Hi EmGee — yes, that is certainly possible. As I recall my colleague said his friend “seemed lonely,” so he was probably trying to do a good deed for both of us. (Although I can’t imagine his friend would have been much cheered by the prospect of some random woman half a continent away….LOL!)

  • Erin says:

    I had to laugh at the ridiculousness of your friend but then two words sprang into my mind – Sean Bean – and for just a second, I too went hmmmmm. Just kidding, of course : ) No woman deserves to be a victim of domestic violence, although sounds like your friend might be a victim of Asperger’s. Thanks but no thanks.

  • rosie says:

    Really, Sean Bean? I’ve head ‘stories’ about him too. Such as shame – if it’s true, just in case his lawyers are reading.

    Tactless friends are a pain in the arse. Nothing to do with planktonhood but I used to have a neighbour, a very lonely, depressed man (he worked from home, never went out and never had any friends round as I don’t think he had any, poor sod) who lived in the flat below mine and used to complain incessantly about the ‘noise’ I made, to the point where he once asked me to close the door millimetre by millimetre so it didn’t make a sound, ffs. I mentioned this to one of my friends and her response was, ‘Well you are heavy on your feet’. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to throttle someone as much as I did right that minute. Not really connected to that incident, although in a roundabout way it probably is, but she’s now an ex friend.

  • rosie says:

    And, P, you’ve had a lucky escape in more ways than one. He could have turned up looking like this!


  • rosie says:

    Hmm, intrigued now.

  • EmGee says:

    P, your tactless friend might also indulge in magical thinking; that love conquers all, that victims of domestic abuse deserve it or are somehow at fault, that no one would dare harm a hair on your head, and… He’s Famous! For some, that trumps nearly anything else, to be the friend of someone dating someone well known. I can hear her panting to her other friends:

    “Can you imagine that my Dear Friend, the infamous, invisible, now Former, Plankton, is dating So & So, and I made it happen!”

    Sorry if she isn’t like this at all, but this is how I envision her motives.

  • Margaux says:

    Coming in on a different tack here – I disagree with hanging on to friendships just for the sake of history if said friend is regularly putting you down or pissing you off in any way.

    Just like relationships, friendships change and when the pain ( irritation, tactlessness, whatever your ‘pain’ is ) outweighs the pleasure it’s time to call it a day. Either that or you confront the behaviour that pisses you off and see what happens….

    ( You can tell I’ve shed a couple of friends recently can’t you! lol! saves on the Christmas cards though…..!)

  • MsHaversham to be says:

    Oh wow! Being a plankton means you should be so grateful for anything, anyone or any crumb? So much so that you’d put up with domestic violence. I am laughing but it’s in a bemused over the top of my glasses and down my nose sort of way. Is that the dating equivalent of a backhanded compliment?

  • Bharti says:

    I had a very handsome husband, charming everywhere we went and so popular. The last time I found myself flying through the air in my kitchen, as glass shattered around my five years olds feet, and I thought, just don’t let my head hit the tiles first as she really shouldn’t see me unconscious, I seriously reassigned looks and charm in my list of priorities. Definitely, planktonhood has it’s charms, it wins hands down on this one.

  • June says:

    I am amazed any women would suggest to any other woman a man who is a wife beater. Dear god surely in 2012 that is not accepted behaviour , and no women would wish it on another. Sadly dear P though some think if one hates being alone that much anyone will do, so guess it isnt surprising, but like the others i have to say there are worse things than being a plankton and being alone, and that is certainly one if them. My dear dad one of kindest and nicest men i ever knew , used to say any man who hit a women is the lowest form of human life, he would never even tell me off when i was a child as he hated even doing that, my mum had to do it.

    Yes P sometimes some friends do infuriate you and you feel like saying no more, i have one or two like that, but you think of their good qualities, the fact they are intertwined with your other friends so you dont. I have one who if has a crisis i am first she calls, but rest of time she often seems indifferent, but it isnt just me she treats this way,i guess it just way she is, but i do find it hard to not say anything, She seems to constantly seek out new friends, whilst not always treating old ones right,and many have not stayed the course and are no longer her friend, but she cant see shes doing anything wrong.

  • Jo says:

    June. Why is she still a friend?
    Also, people can only treat you in the way you allow them to.

    • June says:

      Probably Jo because like P i find it hard to drop friends, im fond of her but shes so many issues, and it isnt just me,shes like it with everyone, even her partner, they have split up numerous times . Also if your friends are in same group its a bit difficult to finish with them.. I hate falling out with people, life is too short, and we should value friendship. Many seem to take it for granted sadly,til they have lost all their friends, then they ask why.

  • Jo says:

    I’m not talking about ‘dropping friends’. Just responding to what you’ve said about this person and how she is towards you.
    But each to their own.

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