A Cup of Tea and An “Are you OK?” In Our Dreams.

February 11, 2012 § 162 Comments

Spoke to a plankton friend yesterday, long chat on the telephone, comparing notes.  She is completely alone with her teenage children and no money, working her arse off to make ends meet, no ex-husband or parental support, just a few kindly old mates.

She is very attractive and fiesty and forthright and said, “Married people just do not match-make because they just don’t care.”  I am not sure I’d go quite that far, but I certainly know where she is coming from.  I think some married people don’t care or, perhaps, more, they don’t think (or can’t bear to), but I feel many of them do think, but not far enough as to actually act upon it; others do think far enough, but don’t know any available men so cannot act upon it.  Anyway, this plankton friend feels very strongly about this and repeated several times that people not in our position themselves, don’t give a shit.

“Janey,” she said, “is the only exception in the whole wide world and that is because she is so intelligent and imaginative and empathetic, and perhaps this is because, even though she is so happily married herself to a real diamond, she saw her own mother on her own after her parent’s divorce, so she properly gets it in a way so few do.”

I agreed with every word of that.

“Do you just ever wish there was someone to bring you a cup of tea?” this plankton friend went on.  “I do everything for my children and for myself and there is no one, and the thing I most long for in the world is for someone, just occasionally, to bring me a cup of tea.  It’s not much to ask, is it?”

I’ve had this thought myself and though I know it’s a bit of a cliched plankton plaintive, I don’t know why, it got me when she said that, right in the guts.

“I went up for a big audition this morning,” she said, “and there wasn’t anybody to say, ‘Are you feeling OK?  Best of luck with it.'”

I didn’t say, How about your children?  Because they are teenage boys, and as I know, not very many children or teenagers think like that; not many children, much though we love them, think beyond the end of their own button mushroom noses.

A cup of tea and an “Are you OK?”

The sum of a seasoned plankton’s aspirations.

I’d say that was pretty modest.

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§ 162 Responses to A Cup of Tea and An “Are you OK?” In Our Dreams.

  • Penny says:

    Hello Plankton. I really understand what you say. I live on my own so there is no one to make a cup of tea for me either! To see it written down like that makes it even more sad! But thats life on your own. Teenagers wouldnt understand as they are in their own world of growing up! My mum says the same, she is 86 and looks after my dad, and loves it when I make her sit down and make her tea. Little things that mean so much. Enjoy the weekend.

  • Joules says:

    Great post P. I think it can be not only the actual cup of tea and are you Ok but the possibility of that. Because my ex never made me a cup of coffee (he drank tea and never wanted to learn how to make a decent cup of coffee – though I did manage to make an acceptable cup of tea, not easy for an American) and very rarely asked if I was ok. But I felt like there was the possibility that he might do it. Maybe we just need to trick our brains into thinking that it is possible that this could happen. And it does happen. Occasionally my lodger empties the dishwasher or takes the garbage out and it makes me so inordinately happy. (I make him a nice roasts supper on a Sunday night – keeps my hand in on the roast dinner front and means he starts the week with a good dinner – sets one up for Monday morning which is always challenging I find.)

    I try to remember this and do little nice things for other people too – doesn’t have to be a partner, just someone who rarely gets something nice done for them. That does include some of my married friends – who often need this just as much as anyone else.

    I think I am going to actually meet up with someone next weekend that I have been conversing with on the dating site my friends have set me up on. Problem is I facilate between telling him that I only want to be friends to thinking maybe it could be more. At first I found his emails a little over the top – I distrust too much flattery. But the last few have been more chatty about his work, what he does with his friends – a man with friends, that is interesting.

    Sorry – went on a bit but I miss the chat – too busy with work these days.

    • The Plankton says:

      No apologies needed. Thank you for this. I am lucky in that my friends offer me proverbial cups of tea often, and though my husband never did (though to be fair, I don’t drink the stuff; I made it a lot for him instead) he did other little acts of kindness, occasionally, which meant a lot. I miss those. Px

  • Penny says:

    A PS Plankton. Married people dont care about single people, they have no understanding of our lives. I actually asked a married friend and she said she never thinks about single people (i.e me!) and what our lives consist of. (Spending evenings and sometimes sundays on your own) They have no understanding as it doesnt affect them.

    • The Plankton says:

      True of many, I agree, but there are many others who do give a shit and are sympathetic and kind. Px

    • MissM says:

      I think there are people who care and have empathy, and those who don’t, and it has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not they are married. I’m sure each and every one of us plankton is familiar with the sort of woman who is actually happy with being single, who also feels the need to tell us to stop being such whiners whenever we have the temerity to comment that we are not happy with being single. I put it down to an inability to imagine a different point of view, so that it isn’t merely not understanding, as much as it is not even wanting to understand.

      For instance, although I am child free by choice, but I would never say to a woman who is struggling with the possibility of being infertile that she should be pleased with the situation since kids are awful and who’d want them anyway, or some such. Clearly the woman struggling to fall pregnant does want children, and it is not for me to tell her what she should or shouldn’t want. Maybe since I don’t share her aims I would never fully understand the depth of her desire, but I would at least try and imagine what it must be like, and know that she would feel frustrated and unhappy. She would most certainly have my sympathy.

      Mind you, the people who can’t empathise with others probably don’t have the least bit of concern for people living in poverty or suffering natural disasters either. It is just the way of the world that there is one type of person who cares about other people, even when they are different, and another sort who only cares that they themselves are doing okay.

    • June says:

      So true Penny, sadly im sure lots of my friends dont, weekeds are a killer are they not, i hate them, because sometimes i dont see anyone,apart from people passing my window, i walk into city, go for a walk, but friends i rarely see or hear from, unless girly night out is planned, which isnt that often. I rang a friend today as shed left a message , as she had left a message on my answerphone, which i hadnt checked and she was worried about me , which was nice and we fixed a meeting for coffee for week after next, sadly not at a weekend.

      Something which always puzzles me at christmas everyone gets really upset about you being alone, this year for instance i was invited out christmas day and boxing day. But the friend who asked me boxing day i havent seen for a fortnight, shes ignored two texts and an email, i dont ring as i rarely ring c oupled up friends, never want to be that pain in the arse plankton friend, but i know shes emailed and spoken to other friends and she only lives 5/10 mins away.

      Do these coupled up people never think there are 50 other weekends in the year too, when you might like a bit of human contact, no from what you said Penny, i think not.

  • Chris says:

    Reading this reminded me of a ;principle I have liverd my life by. Nobody is paid to like me. If I am fortunate enough tpo have someone tpo make a cup of tea for me it is because I have put in the work, made the effort to persuade someone to like me enough to do this for me.I truely believe that hardlyanyone needs to be alone without support. But to be with that person who will give you the love and support so many seem to crave, you yourself have to be prepared to both make an effort and compromise. If people cannot do that, well, what do they expect ?

    • The Plankton says:

      Chris, I promise you, I have spent my whole life making proverbial cups of tea for other people.

      • Chris says:

        Trouble is proverbial cups of tea are not enough. The thrust of this blog is that you seek to form a permanent loving relationship with a man, yes ? Well, to do that both peoples needs have to be met. These days everybody is focussed on THEIR needs being met, but a little resentment seems to arise about meeting the needs of another person. But everybody in a relationship has needs and expectations and those need to be met if success is to ensue. Speaking personally I always put the needs of the person I am with before my own. If the person reciprocates then I think you have the basis for a good long term relationship. If they do not they are selfish. I don’k know about you but I kind of quickly tire of selfish people, so bye bye to them !!

      • The Plankton says:

        You do not understand. Give us anyone for whom we can make tea, but who will also occasionally do it for us! I am more than happy to make the tea first, if only I could find the person to make it for!

      • chris says:

        Planky, you now have me completely flummoxed. If you are as you seem to be and happy to reciprocate, I really am at a loss to understand why you cannot find what you seek. You find me graciously defeatist !!!

      • The Plankton says:

        I am more than happy to reciprocate, of course I am, so you will just have to remain completely flummoxed, I am afraid!

    • fi says:

      I agree with this. The principle I live by is I reap what I sow, good or bad. So when I end up somewhere I don’t want to be, i’ve got myself there. Then I decide whether I want to get out, and if so, I change things.

      • Margaux says:

        That’s one of my maxims too, Fi.
        And if I think I am in situation that seems unchangeable – I change my response to it. Things invariably change then.

    • Lydia says:

      I had a similar feeling. We are not all here entitled to someone bringing us a cup of tea. Ruin your relationships and have no freinds and yes no one may bring you tea. Give and you tend to receive in life.

      Mind you I don’t drink tea and perhaps a route to happiness is not to do so – you’ve got in there milk (I don’t think dairy products are that good for you – no other animal except us when grown up drinks milk); then you tend to have a load of sugar or sugar substitute; then you have caffeine – articifical stimulant. Ditch the tea and happiness may be yours. Tap water which is what I drink is a lot cheaper too if this friend is so short of money.

      No reason chidlren can’t do things for you either if you’ve brought them up like that although I’m not suggesting all mine wait on me hand and foot because they don’t. However some people do seem to bring up their chidlren on the basis they are slaves to the children.

  • Ella says:

    This struck a huge chord with me – after my divorce, I spent many years on my own, and the fact that there was never the possibility of anyone looking after me a bit, or making me a cup of tea, was one of the hardest things to bear.When I went to stay with my mum, and she made me a cup of tea, I would practically weep with gratitude. I had a good life, lots of friends, loving family, interesting work, but the lack of intimacy, affection, and companionship made things very bleak sometimes. There were various brief, unsuitable entanglements over the years, but never with anyone I would have dreamed of settling down with, and I wasn’t really looking – I truly, truly thought I would be on my own for ever.

    Then, 18 months ago, without even trying, I met someone. On Twitter, unbelievably. And when we finally met in real life, it was like ‘Oh, THERE you are’. And he’s lovely. Neither of us had any doubts at all -we just fit with each other. We’ve both had a tough time, and want to take care of each other – and we do. We’ve been living together for a few months now, and he brings me a cup of tea in bed every morning (he starts earlier than me – I do it at the weekend).

    I remain, still, COMPLETELY astonished that this has happened – and grateful for every day of this new, entirely unexpected, happiness. I’m slightly superstitious about writing about it here, in case this somehow jinxes us, but I do think it’s important for those despairing of being on their own to be reminded that you should never give up hope.

    So, don’t give up, Plankton – it can, and does, happen. Your turn will come.

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear Ella, This is a great comment. Unfortunately, it’s comments such as these which do make one carry on hoping, and the hopes have all been dashed so far, but I am sure I shall carry on regardless. Thank you. Px

    • MissM says:

      I love that story Ella. As our dear P says it is stories like yours that keep hope alive, and hope is pretty much all I have at this point, so thank you. As they say, where there is life there is hope, so I wonder if there can be life without hope.

  • MissBates says:

    While I acknowledge there are (rare) exceptions, I tend to agree with your friend that the coupled-up, once situated themselves, give little or no thought to those of us “left behind” and have no interest even in “keeping an eye out” for possible introductions to be made, much less in more active match-making. They have no interest in what challenges MY life entails, which would be fine, except that *I* am expected to be endlessly fascinated by all aspects of THEIRS, from their husbands’ career changes to their children’s test scores to the value of real estate in their suburban towns. While I am not generally a fan of the “Bridget Jones” oeuvre, I think Helen Fielding was spot-on when she coined the term “smug married” to describe these people. As a divorce lawyer, I am bitterly amused by this, as I know all too well that a large percentage of married people have noooo reason to feel so damn smug/superior/self-satisfied. Nonetheless, it rankles.

    As for the “cup of tea,” I do feel for your friend. Yes yes yes, I am keenly aware that there can be a good deal of selfishness in a relationship and that being part of a couple does not necessarily mean that the cups of tea are cheerfully forthcoming, BUT as a single person it means that no one is EVER there to lend a hand. Never. To stick with the metaphor, not even a begrudgingly-made lukewarm cup of tea, much less one properly made and served in a nice cup with a biscuit on the side. I have an arrangement with a fellow plankton (a dear friend of longstanding who lives about twenty blocks away from me) whereby if one of us is sick, the other will pitch in. Now, of course here in Manhattan this is not quite as critical because there isn’t a pharmacy, grocery store, etc. that doesn’t deliver, BUT there are still things that fall between the cracks. Case in point: My friend was laid very low by flu last winter on the heels of a particularly crazy month at her demanding job, and she had not had time to do laundry in weeks. I ran out to the Gap and bought her several pairs of socks and underwear to get her through a few more days, and put them in a care package with the latest magazines, some invalid-appropriate treats, etc. Not exactly a humanitarian mission, but this tiny gesture spared her from having to get up from a prone position on her sofa to shuttle several times between her apartment and the dank communal basement laundry room in her building, and to that extent maybe helped her regain her strength a few hours earlier than she would have. I was happy to do it; she, God bless her, would do the same for me.

  • rosie says:

    Not sure that the average Syrian would agree right now that you reap what you sow.

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, P, with the comment about married people not being able to bear hearing about single people’s lives. Some married people anyway. I live a 10-minute train ride away from my coupled-up-with-kids-and-pets sister (and it’s not jealousy, I wouldn’t want her husband for all the tea in China!) yet she doesn’t invite me over from one week to the next. Fuck knows what she thinks I’m doing here, having raves or orgies or generally living it up but she never asks, probably because she doesn’t want to have to ‘deal’ with the truth. The irony is that she’d collapse in a heap if she ever had to spend the weekend without talking to anyone apart from shopkeepers and train drivers. Then again, I don’t know how I’ve managed it all these years. Sometimes feel like I should be awarded the Victoria sodding Cross.

    That’s a lovely story, Ella, think I’ll be upping my twitter usage!

  • A Cup of Tea and An “Are you OK?” would be perfect. Why did that post make me cry? 😉

  • Jane says:

    This is probably going to make me sound like a hard bitch, but P. you are her friend, did you not say ‘hope it goes well for you’? did her other plankton freinds (assuming she has them)? I kind of get your point about married people being wrapped up in their own lives and indeed it’s that general sense of no-one caring if you drew your last breath,that makes being a single so soul sapping, but does attention and kindness only count if it comes from couples? surely a bit of mutual support from other people on their own….. and yes I know it’s doubly hard to find the time when you are the sole supporter of your family and have no one to help shoulder the weight. It could be deemed that this smacks of ‘someone elses problem’. At some point we have to be the ones that say ‘ok I am going to make an effort to be supportive’, because, let’s not make any bones about it, it does take effort to remember that this one may have a big day or that one is having a rough time and may need a hug, virtual or real. But….as you sow, so shall ye reap…or something like that anyway.

  • MissM says:

    It is true you can only reap what you sow, but sometimes there is a flood and all the seed is washed away, or a drought so that nothing can grow, in which case you can not reap anything, despite all your efforts and through no fault of your own. Methinks a little charity and a helping hand for the replanting isn’t such a lot to ask.

    That still doesn’t explain the mystery of all those right proper bitches who manage to find themselves a devoted doting husband. Theoretically if they get anyone at all (and really they shouldn’t) it should at least be a right bastard, but that never seems to happen either.

    • Miss M, I’m with you on this one. Some women manage to roll from one relationship to another apparently effortlessly. How? It defies logic….

      • fi says:

        They’ve obviously met someone whose needs they meet. Maybe they are willing to compromise more or are happy with less, but they are in a relationship because someone wants them and what they’re offering. I find that the women I know like that are very adaptable and laid back and focus on meeting their blokes needs rather than looking for him to meet theirs.

      • MissM says:

        True littlebrownbird, and the only women I know who didn’t end up as plankton were the ones who chose to ditch their husbands after they had secured a new man to take them, which I personally don’t consider to be the most moral of behaviours. That would indicate it is the bad behaviour that is rewarded.

      • Fi

        I hear what you’re saying but that probably means either, I have nothing to offer or, I have yet to meet someone whose needs I meet. The latter hopefully.

      • fi says:

        Well they seem to prefer the trade off of meeting his needs to being on their own. Personally it’s not for me. But like all relationships we have with colleagues, friends and family etc, the more easy going we are the better the relationship.

      • Lydia says:

        When my sistser (who I hope doesn’t read this blog) talks (chosen to be single for many years) about what it would take to make her take up with a man it’s lal about what he would have to offer – money, hours of babysitting, stuff around the house and I think well hang on if you just made it more about how you might see to his needs you might find it easier (not that she’s looking at all by the way).

        An old boyfriend said to me once – “just give” and he wasn’t being sexist he was talking about both men and women in all relationships. I think that works quite well.

      • The Plankton says:

        Giving is all I ever seem to have done, but now there doesn’t even seem to be anyone to do that to!

    • MissBates says:

      Hi Miss M — Re the mystery of the “right proper bitches” — there is a popular “self help” {{shudder}} book entitled “Why Men Love Bitches.” I’m not tech-y enough to know how to insert a link in this comment, but if you look it up on Amazon you’ll see it. No, I haven’t read it, and have no intention of doing so, but it has been a fixture on the bestseller lists for years. LOL!

    • fi says:

      @MissM. Dire things happen to us all. The sow as you reap bit comes in when you have a problem and your friends rally round. Or don’t. Or you don’t have friends. 🙂

      • MissM says:

        My friends don’t have single male friends to match make-me with, wrong sort of friends maybe. Should have looked more closely to what it said on the seed packet.

      • MissM says:

        Oops, the hyphen should have been for ‘match-make’. That is what happens when I type after midnight, bed for me before I turn into a pumpkin or something.

    • Absolutely agree … case in point … uni acquaintance from back in the day who was a proper sour faced cow. Got married, had a long distance/long term email affair with an ex, left her husband and 3 boys to fly interstate to said ex, stayed there for a couple of weeks then came home back to husband, said they all should relocate a 4 hour drive away from his family to be closer to hers. Left him anyway. She’s now married (very very happily) to a lawyer (who apparently is a fantastic, happy guy with a yacht. (Im certain the lawyer was her own settlement lawyer, just putting it out there) She’s still a sour faced cow though,

  • rosie says:

    @Sarah, she has been round once or twice but as it’s a small flat and she’s got kids it’s a bit of a squash. I’ve given up inviting her to the cinema, for drinks etc as there’s only so many times you can ask without it sounding like begging, and I’d rather die than beg. We’re not close and and have a very different outlook on life but we’re not at the ‘don’t get on’ stage. Yet.

  • rosie says:

    @MissM, I’m wracking my brains trying to think of any woman I’ve ever known who’s happy being single (for longer than a few months, at any rate) and can’t think of one. Enough who say they are who you then discover are seeing married men or doing online dating or generally tying themselves in knots trying to put an end their singledom.

    • MissM says:

      I’ll give that point to you Rosie, I don’t know any who are truly happy either. I do know a couple who are practicing the ‘fake it till you make it’ theory and lying like crazy about how it is great with the hopes of it coming true (heck, I tried that myself for years, it doesn’t work). Perhaps I shall have to say ‘women who claim to be happy single’. Though I keep an open mind since there are all sorts of people out there I guess it would be possible even if I don’t know any. There are people who get off on murdering other people, I don’t know any personally, but I believe a few of them are locked up in jail for their crimes so I accept they do exist.

    • The Plankton says:

      Totally agree! And when they do, they invariably protest about the joys of singledom far too much and it’s as transparent as a glacier mint. x

    • Lydia says:

      My state of happiness is not determined by whether I am with a man or not and I am genuienly not making that up. I’ve been married and unmarried and happiness doesn’t follow one or the other. It is annoying when people don’t believe that men or women can be happy single. I like men. I like sex. I like relationships and I hope I always have them but I am also very happy when I don’t have a man. I have a varied interesting life and I genuinely don’t need a man in it to be happy.

      • fi says:

        Lydia – I don’t even bother responding to this sort of stuff anymore. They just can’t conceive of it as being possible because it’s outwith their experience.

      • MissBates says:

        Actually, I think that people CAN be perfectly happy single. I know a few of them. I’m not one of them.

      • MissM says:

        In all honesty I truly hope it is possible to be perfectly happy single, since it is the state I appear to be stuck with. I have yet to master the art of it however, I really prefer to have someone in my life that has needs that I can attend to and it makes me feel good to do things to make another person happy. Doing things just for myself is hideously dull after a while. I fear I am simply not the sort of person who enjoys life alone.

      • Lydia says:

        Well may be that’s the rub. I have a host of children whose needs I can see to and all those relating to my work, never mind other non work roles I have. I love having a man to care for as well but I’ve more than enough care whether there is a man around or not.

        The absence of additional socks to wash does not result in my crying into my pillow every night.

    • Liz says:

      I agree, I can’t think of one woman I know who has ever been happy to be single long-term, although I know some who claimed to be content who then turned out to be incredibly desperate to land a man. Sometimes I think day to day I am quite happy to be on my own, but overall, something feels missing without that connection.

  • rosie says:

    I spot a gap in the market: ‘How to be a bitch and hook that man’ classes. Two hundred quid a pop. They’d be queuing round the block!

  • rosie says:

    If this goes on for much longer (and I can’t see any reason for it not to) I will be that murderer but at least in jail I’ll have company over my morning cuppa.

  • leftatforty says:

    Spot on post. Those are the things I miss the most.
    I have two little girls and work full time job as a rocket scientist. Last week I lost it, I was so tired. I had a shit day and came home to cook dinner and prepare the bath for the girls. My eldest had some problem of one kind or another and I yelled: How about me! I have no one to even get me a cup of tea!. Hours later I heard the girls arguing in the kitchen: The youngest saying ‘but of course she takes milk with her tea’. Minutes later I was drinking a lukewarm white tea… It tasted like the best tea ever.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you for this. One of mine took my two heavy shopping bags as I came in the door this morning and then unpacked them and put the food away. Without being asked. Unprecedented. I couldn’t believe it. It earned a bigger hug than the child could possibly have imagined the task warranted. x

  • EmGee says:

    “…the thing I most long for in the world is for someone, just occasionally, to bring me a cup of tea. It’s not much to ask, is it?”
    My late husband never brought me a cup of tea, and no the ‘possibility that he might’ was no comfort. Wish I had time to elaborate, and this is topic has touched on a lot of emotions, wish I didn’t have more immediate things to do at the moment.

    • The Plankton says:

      Please do elaborate, EmGee, but in your own time… There’s no hurry. This blog ain’t goin’ nowhere and will be here still when you have done your more immediate things… Px

    • EmGee says:

      All right here I am, a new day and a few people have put in their 2¢ topic-wise since yesterday.
      ToneDeaf’s recollection of her husband’s inability to fetch her a glass of water was a good illustration of what I was getting at. Selective hearing is one aspect, another is grudgingly doing a simple task like washing some dishes (when I’ve shopped for food, cooked the meal, set the table, and cleaned the cooking pots and pans as I finished with them during meal preparation, all the while he’s been parked in front of the television), and then when he does the task, sulking all the while, he expects to be lavished with praise. Why this immaturity when it comes to domestic chores and inability to indulge in the simplest kindness inside the home, when to anyone outside the domestic circle he is almost generous to a fault, is a huge mystery. The only answer I can give is that his seeming generosity stems from a need to impress people, and a wife is already captive, so there is no need to waste energy on her.
      Perversely, when he did do something for me and I thanked him, he’d immediately shoot back with, “oh you don’t mean that”. If I said “I love you”, he’d respond with “yeah, I know”. It was always a no-win situation.

      I have learned not to put any faith what people ‘might’ do – it’s just an unrealistic expectation that could fester into resentment. I see it manifested here: People have an expectation that since we are Planktons, we will always treat each other with dignity and respect. Whenever someone’s button gets pushed, whether intentionally or not, the need to defend oneself takes precedence over anything else and online bickering ensues. It’s a conditioned response to years of being unheard, ignored, emotionally and verbally abused, you name it. I have behaved that way myself -the trick is that once you catch yourself doing it, stop! It gets easier over time, and eventually I have learned not to take things so personally, especially online with people I don’t really know.

      I agree with Joules, if he has no empathy whatsoever or stops once he feels he’s won you over, then end the relationship. If what ‘might’ happen (but probably won’t), gives me comfort, then I am in a sorry state indeed.

  • Joe says:

    It would be useful if anyone ever thought to their children the meaning of empathy.

    • Joe says:

      (or if I could ever write a clear sentence)

    • fi says:

      I have friends in london with children and spend a lot of time there, nd just as there is a huge difference in attitudes and behaviour between folk from london and people further north, there is a huge difference in parenting too with a resulting difference in their behaviour as well. I realise I’m generalising, but that’s all I’m trying to say, in general this is what I’ve found. Its more obvious when you take london children further north.

  • ToneDeafSinger says:

    I am away next week (half term) and I don’t think I shall have access to the internet, so have fun in my absence (I’ll look in if I can).
    In today’s Guardian magazine there was an extract from a book about a woman who split up from her husband in her 40s and tried to meet someone else through a dating website (Match). All the men were horrible and/or losers.
    This post rang bells with me. Here is a little story.
    When my daughter was a baby and I was breastfeeding her I was constantly thirsty, desperate for a drink of water. (Probably dehydrated?) Night after night I was so tired I could no longer feel my legs. I’d take the baby upstairs to a Moses basket and flop into bed. (Ex slept in another room because he did not want to be disturbed). Most evenings I’d realise I had not taken a drink of water upstairs and I could not muster the strength to go back downstairs. I’d call him: “John!!!! Please bring me a drink of water”. He always ignored me although he could hear me. Sometimes he would turn the tv on louder to drown out my voice. Once I heard him come up the stairs, when he was on the landing I asked him to bring me a glass of water. From the landing he answered: “I only came upstairs to go the toilet and now I am going back downstairs again”. And he did not bring me a glass of water.
    I fell asleep only to wake up again, my mouth felt pasty/crusty, horrible, almost like I could not open it any more.
    In all the months I breastfed he never, once, brought me a glass of water.
    I have no hesitation in saying that after four years, and no dates, I am still sure I have done the right thing and I am very much happier than when I was married.

    • Joules says:

      I am sure you have to.

      I think it was the knowing in the back of my mind that this is how my ex would have treated me in this situation that kept me from having children.

      A pact – no matter who we meet, no matter how desperate. At the first sign of a lack of empathy kick him out the door.

      Now to bed. And I am taking my own damn glass of water up with me.

    • Absolutely … this was my life also and 6 years separated/divorced I’ll walk downstairs (and groan the whole way) to get myself a glass of water rather than have to live my life with a self centred twat like that. You have done the right thing. Its a no brainer, some of our married friends are still living lives like that, twenty years later (we know because we have to listen to their stories, because when you are single you become a sounding board for married women to bag out their husbands) …mind you, I would love someone to say ‘do you want a cuppa’ and actually bring it to me. (the cup of tea might be a metaphor for care/affection/time/love/worthiness/future ….?.)

  • rosie says:

    Sorry to be blunt fi, but I’ve lived in London for almost 25 years and am from the north and that’s just rubbish. Is there no such thing as individual choice or is everything in your world really that black and white? Funny that you label everyone else a loser because they ‘just can’t conceive of it as being possible because it’s outwith (whatever that means) their experience’, when you’re the biggest culprit.

    • fi says:

      I did say I was talking in general. And I didn’t mention loser. Are you always this volatile and given to leaps of wild exaggeration and conclusion? Frankly you seem a bit bonkers.

    • maria says:

      Rosie, you’re so damn rude to anyone who dares to disagree with you.
      I happen to agree with Fi and Lydia, I’m single and even though I’m not ecstaticly happy, I’m sure I’m much happier than many married women I know dealing with cheating uncaring husbands, ungrateful obnoxious children, etc.

      (I apologise for any misspelling as I’m not a native speaker)

  • rosie says:

    Here’s the thing: person who’s Not Very Switched On sets the cat among the pigeons, can’t handle the fallout, gets upset and blames others for the very same crimes they’re guilty of committing. Zzzzzzz. Maybe it’s time to start walking around with your eyes OPEN. Or maybe I’ll just skip your posts from now.

    And, Maria, if you’d bothered to follow the blog I think you’d find it’s not me who’s rude to anyone who dares to disagree with me.

    • fi says:

      Bonkers. Or have you been drinking? If not then I think you’ve very clearly laid out why you’re on your own.

      • maria says:

        Fi, spot on. No man could handle such an obnoxious woman. On the other hand, how come she’s still on her own when she’s such a bitch?

    • maria says:

      Rosie, you’re wrong, I’ve been following the blog since its beginning and you’re rude to a lot of people, especially Fi.

      • fi says:

        Maria – thanks for this and its really appreciated. I’ll have to have a think about what she’s said re being self righteous. I don’t think I am but maybe it does come across like that.

      • Jo says:

        Rosie. I’m afraid it IS true that you can at times be unfair and rather – knee jerk – severely scathing. I have found myself in this position several times and became thoroughly exasperated. Eventually the water flowed under the bridge and we moved on.
        We must all ask ourselves really very tough questions at times and examine whether there is truth in what others may say.
        Fi. Again. Don’t go.

  • plumgrape says:

    I think the problem here is the kind of relationship you want or expect? There is absolutely nothing to the service of a cup of tea and if a household had several contributors to the menage then to be a “diamond” is also no problem. But I must say certain things:
    1. Do you have to sacrifice anything?
    2. Do you have to do any work.
    3. Is it necessary to make an effort after effort to connect?
    4. Are you criticized?
    5. Are you nagged?
    6. Are you happy?
    7. Can you achieve your objectives and goals in the face of your own shortcomings?
    8. Can you overcome your shortcomings and difficulties
    8. Are you patient?
    9. Do you understand how sensitive and difficult problem solving is and how long it takes to prevail?
    10. How are you coping with the current economic climate?
    I hear up to 1 young person in 4 in Britain today is unemployed!
    Why?
    Tea?
    What about a Google Hangout, Plankton?
    Tea, virtually?

  • rosie says:

    No fi, not bonkers or pissed, just human, an alien concept to you obviously, something you’ve made abundantly clear in just about all of your sneering, self-righteous posts.

    • fi says:

      I don’t think my posts are either sneering or self righteous. I don’t think they’re perceived that way by other people. I do think you’re a bit unhinged, paranoid, aggressive and I’m afraid, boring. Repetitive even. And its becoming a tad tedious to be on the receiving end of your abuse which isn’t even clever or interesting but consists of simply disagreeing with whatever I say followed by insults. I’m afraid I’m not going to respond to you anymore as I think its encouraging you.

      • MissM says:

        I agree it would be a good idea if the both of you ignore each others posts in future since there seems to be some button pushing going on. EmGee had it right when she said: “People have an expectation that since we are Planktons, we will always treat each other with dignity and respect. Whenever someone’s button gets pushed, whether intentionally or not, the need to defend oneself takes precedence over anything else and online bickering ensues. It’s a conditioned response to years of being unheard, ignored, emotionally and verbally abused, you name it.”

        For what it is worth I agree with Rosie that there is an air of sneering and self righteousness about your posts Fi, although I tend to let it slide as being one of those unfortunate aspects of only being able to communicate via short pieces of text with which it is so difficult to express the tone intended. But you have to admit you have at times thrown out a fair few unprovoked insults of your own, especially the infamous ‘sad sacks’ which were perhaps meant with good humour (I don’t see how but I’m trying to look on the positive side here) but in text form only comes across as insulting.

        Telling June there was ‘no possibility she was right’ about her town that you do not live in just blew me away also. If you believe in accepting viewpoints that are different to your own there was a prefect opportunity for you to do so just there that you did not take. Maybe it was a difficult concept for you since it was outside your experience, but you didn’t appear to make even the slightest effort to think about how it might be to be another person in another situation than yours, but rather dismissed someone’s personal contribution without hesitation. Yet dismissing other people’s different views is something you are quick to point out when others do it.

        Some people might not notice such things because they don’t happen to push their own personal buttons, for others it is like a red flag to a bull. For myself I am going to try and train myself to let such things slide, since I cannot control other people but I can control my response to them.

        Besides, there is a saying around on the net, (apologies in advance, this is very un-pc and uses words that are considered offensive to some, but at least I didn’t make it up myself and I mention it with the humour with which it was intended) that arguing on the internet is like competing in the special olympics, even if you win you are still retarded.

      • Jo says:

        I’m not taking any sides here, nor getting drawn in to any – unnecessary. Unpleasant. Please stop it girls – ‘combat’.
        But I have to say that, for me, Fi has never come across in the way that she has been thus described.
        You’ve both made several salient, funny and thought-provoking posts on this blog. I hope you both stick to that and move on from this.

      • Jo says:

        Again, in fairness to Rosie and MissM, I seem to have missed the post where ‘sad sacks’ appeared. So apologies if I seem to be condoning such a comment. I’m not.

      • fi says:

        1. Ref to June. I simply challenged Junes claim that (if I remember rightly) nobody ever went into a pub ever on their own in the city in which she lived. I don’t see how she can speak for her ENTIRE city and everyone on it, regardless of their age.
        2. The references to sad sacks. A throw away remark made months ago, not naming anyone at all and therefore not personal, in which I said I said something about it not being a good idea to sit around at home complaining.
        3. I am fed up of the endless insults from particularly Rosie and supported by MissM when I don’t agree with them. I only ever respond to ROsie blatant challenges and insults, and ignore her passive aggressive statements and have never instigated them. The pair of them are quite bitchy and catty bullies who make snide and needling remarks and never stop. At best they back of for a couple of days then start again. They just go on and on and on. Quite frankly its not surprising Rosie in particular is on her own. MissM is just her sidekick.
        4. And frankly thank you Maria for being the only person who has even challenged Rosie on her attitude and behaviour, and on the accuracy of what she says.
        5. Lastly, this isn’t a forum for expressing alternative views, there’s in fact only one that’s allowed here, and life’s too short for me to try to justify why other people including me should have a voice. So I’m fucking off.

      • Jo says:

        I’m sorry you don’t feel that I have defended you Fi if I feel you’ve been unfairly maligned. I always have done and anyone else thus treated.
        We have all had some run-ins with each other at some point and challenged these episodes.
        I can’t tell you how sad I feel that you are going. You’ve posted great stuff and I respect you enormously. I’ve often thought that you’re a fab woman. I’ll really really miss your contributions and very much hope you have a re-think. It’s awful. xx

      • Jo says:

        Fi. One last thing. I must confess there have been times when I have seriously thought that I have had enough. Especially at times like these. Then been drawn back in because of things P has posted and the majority of some great and astute women on here. So I know how you feel. I sincerely do. But yours is a valuable voice and we would be the poorer without it.

      • Jo says:

        Do reply Fi. I feel ridiculously sad that you’re gone. But I’ll say this anyway for the record. You are unique and I shall miss you. xx

      • fi says:

        Thanks Jo. I recognise you’ve defended me, as has Zoe. But I didn’t actually say you hadn’t. I said nobody except Maria had challenged Rosie on her (bullying) behaviour, attitude and the accuracy of what she says (in relation to taking things I’ve said out of context). And I’ve enjoyed chatting here and heard some really interesting women say things and frankly if they lived in my town I’d want to meet up with them for a drink and a chat. But you know…its just not fun anymore. It’s like coming home to a fight with your partner, having to explain yourself constantly as they misinterpret what you say, when all you want to do is watch tv in peace. If this blog was a man, then I’d not be looking forward to his key in the lock of evening, I’d be saying “this isn’t working for me anymore”…. I am the woman who can’t commit to anything I’m afraid.

      • Jo says:

        Fi. Where DO you live? I would love to have a drink with you!
        If you consider that, then I will email P with my details. But don’t worry if you think otherwise.
        Take care and keep on rockin’ you lovely woman!

      • fi says:

        Ah thanks jo. But I’m in scotland. Miles away. Between Edinburgh and Stirling. Where everyone thinks its still 1980. Which is why all the men around me are physically wrecked and fat (too much drinking and poor diets). But maybe I’ll come back when everything’s blown over a bit then – I didn’t think anyone would give a toss if I went. Enjoy the blog 😀

      • Jo says:

        Yes Fi. Do come back when things have blown over a bit.
        I think you’ll find too, that I’m not the only one who gives a toss that you wish to disappear. Warmest wishes.

      • zoe says:

        Yes, too right, Jo. Come back soon, Fi.

        Rosie has been reacting disproportionately to your posts. The reason is that she is always reacting to the “sad sack” comment so long ago. No matter what you write, that is what she hears.

        But there is also something to heed in what Rosie is saying. Those of us who are gung-ho about being single in middle age need to be aware that for some this doesn’t always come across as an interesting alternative view, it can come across as a belittlement.

        But it’s true what you say Fi. And you are always quick to point out an injustice when you see one yourself. Even in defence of tvmunson for goodness’ sake! So it’s doubly unfair that you were left to fight that corner by yourself.

        Sorry.

        Fearless Fi, come back and fight another day. The blog needs more voices like yours. The world needs more voices like yours!

      • T Lover's Mum. says:

        Fi,

        Our T Lover tells me you are OK. Bit fiesty but alright.

        So, have a nice cup of tea, dunk your bisciut, chin up.

        Don’t be bullied. Laugh. Laughing is the key not running away.

        And don’t say fucking, It’s not ladylike even for a Jock.

        And if you say my T Lover is a fat drinker again I’ll be round with the rolling pin.

      • MissM says:

        Clearly many people would give a toss if you left this blog Fi. You have lots of supporters who dearly want you to keep contributing to this blog site and I think it would be rather a shame to disappoint them. Only two people who have received your posts in a negative way, and those are the ones you’ve called Cinderella’s ugly step sisters, bonkers, catty, bullies and probably a few other things besides, so it really shouldn’t bother you. We are all entitled to have our different opinions, and my perspective is only my perspective, even though I am entitled to it as long as I feel that way. You are not required to agree with me, nor am I required to agree with you.

        No I wouldn’t miss you terribly myself, but others would, and I would feel bad about that. (It is true I have no tact, but at least I am honest.) I have already said I intend to let those things you say that irk me slide. If you really don’t like Rosie’s remarks perhaps throwing insults back at her is not the best response, you could try taking the high ground and just not respond at all. Although I suspect like most people she would prefer empathy and compassion, and a little kindness does go a long way.

        Please consider all those people who have asked that you continue to join in the discussions, before you decide to leave.

      • maria says:

        Fi, don’t go. I really enjoy your comments as I feel we share a similar view of Planktonhood. It’s a shame we live so far apart (I’m from Portugal) as I’m sure if we met somewhere we would click right away and be great friends.
        Please reconsider dear Fi, the blog will be so much poorer without your comments.

        PS: You’ve never felt sneering or self righteous to me.

      • fi says:

        T lover, Zoe, jo and maria-
        😀

  • rosie says:

    At the risk of descending into playground politics, I think you’ll find that you’re the one who dishes out the insults. What was it you called me, totally unprovoked? Oh yes, ‘sad sack’ was the official term as I remember. You seem to take great delight in belittling others, and in my experience those people are the most paranoid, unhinged and aggressive (and unhappy) of the lot. Freedom of speech means allowing others to have a voice, not rounding on them because their views don’t chime with yours.

    Nothing wrong with rating yourself, which you quite evidently do, but there is a fine line between self belief and arrogance and you appear to have crossed it. Case in point, telling June there ‘is no possibility that you’re right’ when she tries to tell us something about the town SHE lives in. Crikey, I actually gasped when I read that. There is a more conciliatory way to get your point across, y’know, or are you just not that bothered?

    I find myself disagreeing with what you say because, guess what, I don’t agree with most of what you say. It’s not witty or constructive or illuminating, just the same old inane platitudes about how we’re all negative or pathetic or not doing it right and that by applying some half-baked ‘cure all’ we can all be as fabulous as you. Funny that it doesn’t seem to have worked for you.

    And to top it all, to then go sucking up to ‘Lydia’, who you slagged off to the hilt not two days ago. Any way the wind blows, eh? Classy.

    Anyway, I’m off to go meet some friends in the pub, where there might even be some men and I might do some smiling and greeting and they might fawn all over me and I might become an ex plankton. I’ll be sure to let you know as you’ll no doubt want to congratulate me.

    You’re right about one thing though, this (and I include you here) IS incredibly boring so I’ll return the favour and ignore you too from now on. Best all round.

  • zoe says:

    Apologies, P. Not on-post here – I guess this belongs to the post from a few days ago – but did you hear Hugh Grant on the Today programme on Friday? What an impressive interview – quite put the highly talented Evan Davis in the shade.

    As we’re all supposed to be only six degrees of separation away from everyone on the planet, including the US President, and as – reading between the lines – you seem to be part of a Notting Hill set, I reckon you can’t be more than two degrees of separation from HG. Can’t your tactless friend effect an introduction to the likes of him rather than celebrity wife-beaters?

    I mean he’s obviously had enough of the movie-star thing and is looking to segue into something more fitting: you could be just the ticket for his reinvention. I know he’s looking a bit ropy these days and probably a bit too into SFAR territory for your liking, but just think what a great ending for your blog it would be! Especially as some entries tend to read as scenes from a Richard Curtis script anyway. Book deal in the bag. Movie pre-cast…Yes, I’m warming to this…

    • The Plankton says:

      Hugh Grant? I don’t think he would look at me as more than the shit on his shoe, even though I did think he was impressive on the Today programme. Nice idea, Zoe, and thanks, but I don’t think so, even if there are only a couple of degrees of separation between us. I think he’d think there were a million! xx

  • MsHaversham to be says:

    Every so often the theme of a post resonates so much it hurts. This was one. I am extremely self sufficient; I can do my own mechanical maintenance, basic plumbing, all DIY etc but I have no choice. I am proud of this fact but it would be nice if I didn’t always have to be so damn strong and self sufficient.

    I actually cried once whilst changing one of those blasted sunken in ceiling lights (look nice but a bugger to change) as I could barely reach whilst standing on a chair (im short) and my arms ached as I got grit in my eye. For all the aches I needed to get on with it as there was no one to assist.

    There isn’t anyone to help when things go wrong in my home or I’m upset. If I’m scared, upset or something needs fixing, there’s only me. It would be nice just once to have someone else change a lightbulb, make tea or fix a loose washer. Sigh.

    • The Plankton says:

      Sigh, indeed. And I know EXACTLY what you mean re changing those particular bulbs, the grit in the eye, every time! Long for someone else to do it once in a blue moon. Sigh, sigh! x

    • EmGee says:

      Why, Ms Haversham to be, you don’t need a man, you need a ladder!
      (I am kidding, sort of)

      On the emotional side, it’s perfectly legitimate to feel your feelings (cliche’d as that may sound), it’s not stupid, it’s just another good example of having someone around to bear some of these small burdens as Ms P said already. Bear in mind, there’s no guarantee your man-to-be will be taller than you, or come with a ladder as standard equipment though, so do get a ladder.

      PS I love your moniker, even though as a Yank, I am probably missing the joke.

      • MsHaversham to be says:

        EmGee- Lol! I know a ladder would fix the aching arms. If only all my problems could be so easily solved! It was more the feelings that episode triggered- the realisation that I’m totally reliant upon myself which is utterly exhausting at times. Moreover, that there isn’t and won’t be a man in my life to provide
        emotional support or just make me
        feel safe, which I think everyone
        needs every so often.

        Lydia- you’ve missed the subtle nuiances of my point. I don’t desire a lodger. What I desire is just to know that there is someone there prepared to support me (not financially) and be
        in my corner should I ever need them to be. For no matter how dear my friends are, it’s not quite the same as having someone of your own.

      • MissM says:

        Well said Ms Haversham to be, lodgers, cats or even ladders are no substitute for a significant other, and yes friends, no matter how good never supply quite the same dynamics.

    • Lydia says:

      That’s very sad. Love comes and is available in a huge number of forms from our chidlren to our parents but also others in our lives. If I had a real problem I assume lots of people would help. I don’t need a husband for that although I’ve nothing against getting a husband.

      I still by my mantra of act not moan though. Just about every problem highlighted on here ever can be fixed. If MsH to be wants someone around to care and help you could easily get a lodger, get close to that person even or have some reciprocal arrangement with someone else – you do their X and they sort out yor light bulbs. I being so delighted to get out of a happy marriage sit here fixing things thinking wow aren’t I lucky – divorce has meant I have had to learn all sorts of skills in areas previously left to him (he did the children drips to the dentist for 17 years, I did our tax returns etc etc most couples divide tasks up).

  • fi0na says:

    Just on a lighter note about tea. At one stage in our (often unhappy and maladaptive) relationship my ex and I struck a deal where I would iron 5 shirts for him on a Sunday night and in return he made me tea in bed every day. That worked well until he lost his job and didn’t need the shirts. So the tea stopped. The better way is most definitely to give give give and do things out of love an compassion for the other person.

  • Margaux says:

    I’ve had a busy week workwise so only managed to speed read P & dip in and out of the blog.
    Fi, Jo -you are both conspicuous by your absence …:-( I wondered where you’d gone and so I have scrolled back to here to find you.

    I, for one, have always enjoyed what you both had to say – it didn’t matter whether I agreed or not as I like to revisit my own views in the light of different opinions. It’s always good to shake one’s thinking up a bit and you both did that –
    Anyway, I miss you both…and hope you will both return …

  • Jo says:

    Ahh.. Hi Margaux. Thank you!
    I have been away and returned this evening. And as it happens, I posted two comments 30 mins ago! How timely.
    One was on ‘Navigating The Minefield’. The other on ‘Mopping Up Men’.
    Don’t worry. I haven’t gone anywhere! xx
    But, on dipping through, I also wondered about Fi.
    I too hope she returns.

    • fi says:

      Hi. I’ve been coming on every so often to see what’s happening but its all a bit……same old same old. Moaning about not having a boyfriend…..lydia’s count your blessings…….june’s refrain about older men…..there’s not really anything new – no innovative thinking, alternate viewpoints,. Its a bit like spending your coffee break at work with the same old faces saying the same old thing. You guys who aren’t boring know who you are..

      • fi says:

        Or rather I know the point of this blog is “being a middle aged woman surrounded by more attractive younger women” but god, its so boring talking about nothing else other than how to get a boyfriend. How hard it is to get one. How hard it is to meet men. When’s the best time to get one. How other women get one. Where should you go to get one. What age should your one be. What to do if you can’t get one the right age/where you live/as attractive as you want him to be. Its just boring. and a bit depressing that there is literally nothing else that is talked about here.

  • Margaux says:

    Excellent – pleased to hear you are back, Jo!
    Hoping Fi relents and reappears too…!

  • Margaux says:

    ….and welcome back Fi !

    • fi says:

      Eeek. Preparing to brace myself. 😀
      Which would be better than nodding off through boredom.

      • Margaux says:

        You betcha! ha ha
        To be fair, the nature of this blog – P’s search for a partner in middle age – will throw up all these discussions of a similar nature. But maybe we are all sounding like a stuck record at the moment.

        I do sometimes feel a bit like Switzerland here- trying to see things through all the different view points while maintaining a fairly neutral stance. So I nail my colours firmly to the ‘yes, I am single but it’s no problem and I enjoy it’ mast. ( The last one effed off abroad a year ago )

        That’s not to say I am not open to someone new coming along.
        So everyone’s experiences here are illuminating. And yes, sometimes depressing. But I do feel that if one just got a grip, took a long hard look at what isn’t working and made a conscious effort to change it – then change must happen. I apply that to myself as best I can.

        So this is a long winded way of saying I appreciate your straight talking, Fi – we need it to shake things up a bit! Not P’s writing, which attracted me for its quality as much as its subject matter, ….but the Planktonsphere in general. But if you stick your head above the parapet – and to me that is admirable- you risk being shot at. But you know that. Good to see you back 🙂 ….

      • fi says:

        Margaux – thanks for the welcome. Its the endless repetition of the same few themes that bores me. With everyone endlessly repeating their viewpoints over and over again, day after day, week after week, month after month. I think it would be nice to see something about being childless and a plankton – is it different if you still want kids as opposed to if you don’t? Really examining why we’re on our own (because I bet most of the time it’s as a consequence of decisions we’re making). How much effort are we really prepared to make to accommodate men into our lives? Really examine the issue rather than just the same old superficial generalisations such as “there are no men in my town” or “all men are x”. Its just that I’ve heard nothing new in the last 6 months and its a tad boring. Not from P, who instigates the discussion with her interesting stories, but from the commentators.

      • The Plankton says:

        Thanks, Fi. I fear I am becoming like a scratched record myself, for which apologies, but I guess it’s inevitable, having set myself up to post every day. I know I don’t need to, it’s just I like to, for some reason. The challenge, the debate, the ability, then, to put down a single small thought, as well as the bigger ones. Would you consider doing a guest post for me, perhaps on some of the things you mention in your comment? I laid down the challenge yesterday, and nobody’s taken up my offer so far, alas. No pressure, just a thought? Pxx

      • fi says:

        Oh maybe this blog isn’t the place for that sort of discussion. Does anyone know anywhere I can go for that?

      • EmGee says:

        Hi Fi (tee hee at least your name isn’t Jean, eh?), welcome back.

        Some people’s posts are like a broken record because their lives are a broken record – stuck stuck stuck! And face it, sometimes the blog post may be new, but the topic’s a repeat, how many ways can one examine a Plankton’s Life? I have to hand it to P, I think she does a splendid job, the proof is that I look forward not only to her posts, but the comments too.

        I too, would love to have you be a guest blogger here.

      • The Plankton says:

        Thank you, EmGee. Px

      • fi says:

        I too love Ps bit. What about if I do a guest post on ” Ageing planktons? The years ahead”?

      • The Plankton says:

        Sure. I am open to anything… xx

  • Margaux says:

    Good subject …Go for it Fi !

  • Jo says:

    Hi Fi. You see? That’s why I admire you. I know I’m brave, but you are a braver girl than I. I have been away for various, valid reasons. But yes, when I looked in I felt I had little to add at present, as – with the odd exception – it was the same old refrain, repackaged sometimes, but the same recycled stories and accounts. One in particular is so so exasperating. Because no matter what the topic, the suggestions, the ideas, the questions, the understanding that are put forward, this particular commentator persists in posting the same, limited, moany groany, knee-jerk dismissive narrative – with its all – encompassing – negativities – again and again and again and again and again……ad infinitum. Always the same words. Always the same story. Always the same same same….
    This and all the points you mention have been what has kept me off commentating myself, for some while. There didn’t seem any point. I always find P’s words a pleasure to read. But often what has followed has been stuff we have seen and read sooooo many times and sadly, I was bored witless to keep reading the same.
    This is not at all because of my circumstances (before I’m accused of such.). It is because even before those, I have always found Life to still hold things to give joy and pleasure and find it hard to read about those whose lives seem to hold no pleasure at all, if there’s no man in it.
    I can’t comprehend that life is almost worthless and stripped of practically all pleasure because there is no man. I must stress again, that I felt this even when I was on my own. Someone to enhance my life. Not to be the sole reason for it. Nor to complete it. (I’m not saying that this is true of all the commentators here. But it appears to be true of some.).
    I do feel that there is cause for a large amount of self – examination in all this. I think it is crucial. Very difficult but necessary. We can bemoan all the things about men – which Fi has outlined very succinctly above – in circular fashion, until the proverbial cows come home, but until we kickstart some of the stuck records within ourselves and shine some sort of light onto our own shortcomings and ways of thinking, we will be doing ourselves no service at all.
    I’m not saying at all that – poof! – we will all then miraculously meet a mate. Not at all. But we may – just may – feel better able to sit more easily with what life still has to offer without one and be even more our greatest selves if we do pair up in the future.

    • fi says:

      I did send P something that I whisked up over a (well 2 actually) glasses of wine. Its a bit daunting saying something actually as everyone may think its incredibly tedious anyway, (assuming that P prints it) although its quite fun – having quite a large space to pontificate with NO INTERUPTIONS. I think it would be quite good if we all did a little story of ourselves – a sort of how we ended up a plankton. I bet the stories are all different but its interesting how all our paths have converged on Ps page. Its almost a hollywood movie! Or maybe that’s just me after 3 glasses of wine.

      • Jo says:

        Well done Fi.
        I’m thinking we have had some idea already about what has brought people to planktonhood. But it’s a good suggestion.
        I too am willing to post a topic for discussion if requested.
        Aaargh… WHAT AM I SAYING?!!!!!

      • The Plankton says:

        I am requesting! Px

      • fi says:

        Yes go for it! It would be great to hear from you. Go on….you know you want to….;)

        I’m intrigued by the idea of everyone’s story though about ending up as a plankton. I mean we’ve all made decisions that have brought us here, but what were yours? The turning points or crossroads where you made one decision instead of another. That sort of thing is quite interesting to me.

      • Jo says:

        Ok P. Just let me know when. (Not the first 3 days of this week).

      • The Plankton says:

        Any time you can / fancy! Many thanks. px

    • Jo says:

      P. I did not mean YOUR words were the same refrain. Not you!

    • fi says:

      @jo. I’m starting to find those posts (referred to as negative) quite funny actually in an eeyore kind of way. The tone of them I mean. I find myself looking each day to see what fresh outpouring of misery, depression and negativity there is. The pleasure in living miserably. The joy of other people’s misery. … Every cloud has a black lining. Round every corner there is more crap. When one door closes all the others slam shut. What’s for you will definitely go by you. At the end of the rainbow…well there just isn’t a rainbow. 😉

      • Jo says:

        Hmmm. Fi. Gotta say. I’m not quite with you on this one. In that I don’t find them funny.
        I just get rather exasperated. And bored.
        There is one commentator in particular who I think this does apply to – as I said above.
        I feel whatever anyone says to her to help/advise/try/encourage/think freshly/explore etc etc..it’s batted away with the same old refrain and narrow focus. Or an extreme retort about what some of these kind and/or generous suggestions mean. This retort often bears no resemblance at all to what was actually suggested.
        I’ve given up.
        But as for anyone else, it’s about about getting stuck on the same stories, that have got rather boring and circular.
        I do think – as I’ve said – that turning a light onto ourselves and asking some real hard questions, is, well crucial. Being honest about our ways of thinking and our own shortcomings, is necessary. And I think here there seems cause to do that with some people.
        I have long thought this. It’s not recent. And I have had to do it myself. And it was neither easy nor comfortable. But I hauled myself through it.
        I don’t mean I’m some perfect specimen now! (Who is?!). But I certainly had a good clear out and it has to be done.
        I don’t have any feeling of somehow being ‘superior’ (before such accusations are fired), or having it all ‘sorted’. Far from it. But one can get stuck on the same merry-go-round, thinking and quoting the same old same old. And sometimes it’s time to get off….

      • EmGee says:

        I too, find some negative posts humorous -and exasperating! A friend gave me a book called “wired for Joy” and one of it’s theories is that that our thinking strengthens our beliefs (circuits). So the more often a certain poster insists that her status and environment is unchangeable, the stronger that belief circuit becomes. No matter what options anyone else throws at her, her response will be the same and ironically that response will strengthen her belief even more. So unless she wants to break that circuit and form a new. more positive belief circuit, her posts will never change.

        And people do find a sort of comfort in misery. The aren’t happy, they may even be in emotional pain, but it’s familiar and comfortable, and change is scary and hard.

      • fi says:

        @jo. Totally agree with everything you say. I’m referring to the same person you are and I totally agree with what you say when they are talking about themselves, but what I am beginning to be amused by is how quickly they revel in not only their own misery but any that anyone else has. So if P talks about being down, they’re straight in there making a mountain of misery, revelling in it, loving it, almost orgasming in fact. Saying things like Poor us…haven’t we got awful lives…..what hope is there for us……nobody wants us…….sadly we have nothing ever in the whole world to look forward to…its all over…. I’m beginning to find it entertaining to come here and see the pleasure that someone else’s misery is inducing. The rest of the time I just ignore the postings because its the same old stuff. My post tomorrow apparently so I’m expecting hate mail 🙂

  • Jo says:

    Yes. I see what you mean now. I think I gave a potted version..
    The other thing to consider of course, is that a good number of people made no ‘decision’ as such about being a plankton. The turning point, crossroad, decision or whatever was made for them. In that their partner fucked off.

    • fi says:

      What are you going to write about as guest blogger?

    • Jo says:

      Fi. Yes you are right about when anyone (especially if P) sometimes writes about feeling low, this person jumps aboard and posts her recycled words of negativity..
      It’s the comfort of the familiar. Even if that familiar is seemingly what she desires to climb out of.
      It’s the ‘better the devil you know’ syndrome. Even whilst purporting to hate that devil.
      I call it ‘the ecstasy of misery’.

  • Jo says:

    Not said harshly. Though it seems to read so.

  • Jo says:

    Whatever I do. These posts pop up in the wrong place!
    My penultimate post should have appeared after Fi’s ‘hate mail’ piece!

  • rosie says:

    “Oh maybe this blog isn’t the place for that sort of discussion. Does anyone know anywhere I can go for that?”

    Yes. How about witchescauldron.wordpress.com

    • Jo says:

      Very unfair Rosie.

      • Jo says:

        It’s very late. For reasons I’ve outlined on ‘Ageing Plankton’, I’m somewhat sleepless.
        But, final thing Rosie. Get off Fi’s back. She’s a good (and wise) woman.
        I know there may be things in the past that people may have disagreed with. Granted. But, I’m sorry, you are being utterly childish, unpleasant and spiteful. For sure.
        That’s it.
        Over and out.

  • rosie says:

    No, Jo, YOU think she’s a good and wise woman. I happen to disagree. You might not think that some of the above comments are childish, unpleasant and spiteful, but I do.

  • rosie says:

    Yes, I am going to do at some point, if that’s ok with P. How about you?

  • rosie says:

    Eek, will get my thinking cap on, P!

  • rosie says:

    I’m currently giving birth to mine so will email it to you asap although don’t think it will be there by tomorrow, sorry!

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