Going Out to Find Someone With Whom to Stay In

February 13, 2012 § 25 Comments

On yesterday’s Desert Island Discs lovely, big softie James Cordon admitted that he used to go out so much so that he could find someone with whom to stay in.

He has been lucky.  He met his current partner when he was out at a party, I think he said, and it was love at first sight.  They have a baby and are soon to be married.

I was already a fan of his after seeing One Man, Two Guvnors the other night, but more so after listening to the programme because I liked his honesty about how he’d fucked up in the past and why he’d been an arsehole for a while, and about love and so on.  His words about going out to find someone with whom to stay in struck me.

So often I have walked or driven about Soho at night and seen crowds on the pavements outside restaurants and clubs and bars and wondered how many of those people are enjoying themselves, I mean really enjoying themselves?  Often, I have watched them and speculated as to what proportion are playing at having a fun night out?  Often, in my youth, I did the same and the genuine pleasure and enjoyment factor was probably outweighed by pain at a rate of about 2 to 1, if that.  So often, I was feeling slighted by someone I fancied, ignored by a boyfriend or lover, or full of some kind of misplaced hopes for the evening and beyond, which were invariably thwarted.  I used to go out all the time – a permanent fixture at the Groucho, various gallery openings, the Cafe de Paris on Wednesday nights, parties.  Sometimes it was fantastic, but more often than not it was far from it.  I was young and foolish and felt I had to be there to see and be seen, but did it make me happy?  Of course not.  There was always some kind of narrative going on, and often some emotional drama with friends or lovers.  Those nights, I was playing the part of going out and having a good time when all I was really there for, precisely as Cordon so succinctly put it, was so I could find the person with whom at last I could stay in.

So, the wheel has come around, and it is time to go out again, and again, and again, because a plankton cannot rest on her laurels, oh no.  She must be “out there” to have any chance at all, and as much as humanly possible, before it’s too late, even though it already seems too late.  She may even happen upon some incidental pleasure and fun with family and friends along the way, nothing to do with finding someone.  That does happen and it is a bonus.  But she certainly can’t complain of finding no one if she sits in at her kitchen table each evening with a Lean Fucking Cuisine (do they still exist?) and some televisual equivalent of comfort food (Downton?), or a even a worthwhile book, however damned good it may be (currently, Tomalin’s biography of Dickens).

No, she must go out in order to find someone with whom to stay in.



§ 25 Responses to Going Out to Find Someone With Whom to Stay In

  • MissBates says:

    Exhausting, debilitating, largely pointless. Major factor in my deciding to just. give. up. I simply don’t have the mental/emotional/physical energy to devote to such a pointless task. Not a very cheerful perspective this Monday morning, but there it is.

    • Dawn says:

      Nor do I, Miss Bates. Nor do I. Whether this social ennui is temporary or permanent, I know not. Nor do I care. Just happily pottering about by myself, enjoying the peace and quiet.

      • Twinkletoes says:

        Another vote for can’t be arsed here. The pottering and enjoying the peace and quiet is exactly how I am now too.

  • anniebub says:

    I think I mentioned right at the very beginning of all this, when the debate was really raging about internet dating, and omigod there is a lot of it in the papers in the run up to VALENTINE’S DAY, the nightmare of all nightmares for the singleton, about the very exclusive dinner party club I had heard of. Where you only get to meet interesting single people. But you do have to pay up (qute a lot) to join, which is a bit of a dampner to start with. Sort of really having to make the investment, emotionally and fiscally, so to speak, which ups the stakes! Apropos of going out etc., Also just wanted to say, as a married person, that we do think A LOT about the plight of the plankton. My mother-in-law was widowed thirty years ago, at the age of 45. She constantly berated the world and his wife for utterly ceasing to notice her existence, and the difficulty of getting to meet anyone EVER again. Her biggest complaint being that wives would not ask her to dinner parties for fear of having their husbands poached. She attempted the dating agency as it was known in those days, once or twice, but was terrified, and it was a dismal failure. She eventually settled in to a long term, doomed love affair, and when that ended with his death, she resigned herself to the bridge table. Not a happy tale to tell you, but just to let you know that I do know where you are coming from. Lots in The Times today about finding love second time around. Thought you could have written it, except that internet dating was being flagged up!!! Don’t give up. Put on your dancing shoes and go have a ball, even if you are dead the next morning!!

  • rosie says:

    Oh yes, the frantic pursuit of a Good Time. I’m almost glad I’m a plankton and don’t have to do it anymore, but then I do have to do it if I want to meet anyone. But where? The thought of hanging around clubs and bars is just too sad (if they were full of other plankton, fair enough, but when your competition is sprightly 20-and-30 somethings you’re on to a bit of a loser before you’ve stepped foot in the place) and there’s not much action to be had at the cinema or theatre – unless you meet someone in the interval and how likely is that?

    I’m not particularly a Smiths fan but these lyrics from How Soon Is Now have always resonated:

    There’s a club, if you’d like to go
    You could meet somebody who really loves you
    So you go, and you stand on your own
    And you leave on your own
    And you go home, and you cry
    And you want to die

    I think I really am glad I’m a plankton! Well almost.

    • MissM says:

      Not a huge Smiths fan but I do love that song, and those lines, so concise and yet bursting with emotion. I suspect it is one that a lot of people feel they can identify with. It also includes the lines ‘I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does’ which I love as well.

      I am sure Morrissey would not be short of love, but he still nows how to speak for the rest of us.

  • rosie says:

    oops, bars, clubs AND the internet, I know, I know!

  • EmGee says:

    Thanks for revisiting this topic. I don’t want to rub salt into it (because wait! There’s more…!), but it was delicious this morning to feel a warm body snuggling up against me, and better still when that body arose and made coffee, sigh.

    He’s leaving today though, and is unsure when he will be back – a few days, a week? Which also means he will not be here tomorrow, either. In light of the fact that he eschews Valentine’s Day, I suppose it eliminates an awkwardness. I will just have to fight off any hopeful anticipation (read:expectation) that he’ll rush back tomorrow night and surprise me with an armful of roses. I’m not even all that crazy about roses anyway, and when he does come back, he will have brought something I really like.

    Damn Hallmark, or whoever was responsible, for this totally made up day, just to sell cards, flowers, candy, diamonds, and dinners! Put like that, it loses it’s romantic sheen, doesn’t it.

    Don’t believe the advertising trying to convince us that every woman but me is having a 2nd Xmas tomorrow.

    • MissM says:

      Yay EmGee I am so happy for you that you got to enjoy one of life’s purest pleasures this morning. It is not rubbing salt in the wound at all, it really put a smile on my face to read that.

      Yes V Day is dire and does simply raise those ugly expectations that turn into resentments for some people. It would be far better to not have the damn day at all, but those in marketing would disagree. It is no wonder the advertising industry gets so little love.

  • June says:

    O yes P how true, how true.

    After another lonely weekend, where i admit i shed a few tears because i was so fed up with my own company, i can empathise so. You think if i dont go out ive no chance to meet anyone, so its double edged sword isnt it. Thats why i have totally gone off the social group i joined, the people there and there are a hell of a lot of women early 50s upwards, whereas the men whatever their age, go for the younger females. All seem so desperate to prove what a wonderful time they are having as single people, and constantly are on the website stating they are going to this and that event, even ones arranged for the summer, it all seems terribly sad to me, some of them seem to go to every event, god knows how they afford it, i cant. But they are out thats it. I honestly would rather go out with coupled up friends, at least they are going for a laugh and bit of fun, its not so seriously intense, but sadly that dosent happen often,unless its opera and o yes we are going to see Dirty Dancing on its tour . But of course they dont need to go out do they , they have a partner to do things with. If i venture to the single club events i honestly find it depressing and i just dont want to go anymore.

    I remember reading once what a widow said, “ive got plenty of people to do things with,ive no-one to do nothing with” and there you have summed it up. So yes Rosie that does just leave the internet but if you are the wrong age, like me, god knows what you are supposed to do.

  • Caz says:

    P….I just want to thank you for your blog; I logged on as a plankton last year and have been fortunate enough to meet a nice man in the last few months. Unfortunately one of my friends had him in her sights too – and although they weren’t going out and he was showing no signs of being interested. Anyway – to cut a long story short he asked me out after we bumped into each other @ a jazz festival (each on our own…so it IS worth making the effort!) and I was very unsure at first…as I’m a bit more used to a “wow” factor which I didn’t feel. However – as I was following your blog and listening to all the comments I realised that I really should give him a chance.
    We are now an item and he’s a really lovely person to know and I like him more each time I see him. We’ll see what happens – but I like our LAT (living apart together) way of living, about a mile apart.
    I am saying all this suggest that one doesn’t give up on finding a companion. It may not be a coup de foudre but a slow burning friendship which gets closer.
    Unfortunately I have lost a girlfriend over him – but he’s since told me he found her quite stalkerish which proves the point that men don’t like to be chased….and just wasn’t interested.
    So – it it hadn’t been for you I don’t think I would have persevered. As one get older different approaches often work better and it’s good to be open to all possibilities.
    All the best tmrw and plan a mad day out! x

  • Josephine says:

    Heard of two plankton friends at the week-end both in America, 51yrs old, both divorced, no kids, just got married having met there husbands at work within the last 18 months, both are high-powered career women, so never give up, just keep on keeping on. onward & upwards, who knows whats around the corner

  • Caz says:

    thanks EmGee!…I wouldn’t have gone near him if they had been an item, I do have female loyalties – but I think she still feels I stole him just because she fancied him. He regards it as a lucky escape.
    It’s all a bit teenagerish – and I’m the wrong side of 50! You can’t lay claim to anyone unless it’s a 2-way thing. She saw me the other day in waitrose and I’m surprised her glare didn’t turn me to stone. I didn’t suggest coffee…..

    • MissM says:

      Caz, you did nothing wrong with regards to your female friend, but she is currently unhappy and is just looking for someone to blame, whether rightly or wrongly. There is nothing you can do about that.

      I like the idea of a slowly developing love rather that something instantaneous, since I suspect if someone can fall in love easily it is also possible for them to fall out of love just as easily. Something along the lines of easy come easy go. Slowly falling for someone who is initially a friend sounds like it can produce something deep and lasting. Best wishes to both of you.

  • MissM says:

    Absolutely beautiful resonating post again Plankton. It is exactly how I feel. If I have my choice I prefer not to go out. All I need is a partner who wants to stay in with me, but I am not likely to meet one unless I go out, but when I do go out I don’t meet anyone anyway, so I may as well stay in and enjoy myself. It does get rather circular.

  • Caz says:

    Thank you MissM – it is tricky to go out, especially in this weather!

  • rosie says:

    I don’t actually mind Valentine’s Day, probably because it’s just the one day, there’s hardly any build up to it (ok, there is a bit) and it’s all a bit naff anyway. I’d rather chew my own head off than spend an evening in some restaurant that’s been kitted out for the occasion, dining with a load of other mooning couples. Shudder. Added to that, it has no significance for me whatsoever as the last time I got a Valentine’s card and pressie was in 1989 (fucking hell, how sad is that!) so it’s completely off my radar. Christmas and New Year is when I really want to get the gun out.

  • rosie says:

    But if someone turned up with two first-class tickets to the Caribbean and a magnum of Cristal I could be persuaded to change my opinion of VD in the blink of an eye!

    • MsHaversham to be says:

      I’m going to assume you picked those initials (VD) purposely. Thank you for the giggle. Definitely sums up my view of how attractive valentines day is!

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