Mopping Up Men

February 16, 2012 § 70 Comments

A few days ago someone mentioned an article about some dodgy dating agency which is literally mopping up men from the street because it has so many women and so few men on its books that it cannot cope with demand.  Ever since I heard this I have been feeling a sense of doom.  There is something so utterly depressing about it that the temptation is to give up all hope and crawl into the hole of solitary domesticity and decline unto dusty death.

Of course, in this mindset, the Guardian Magazine article last Saturday by an American divorcee on the horrors of her experiences of internet dating have had more impact on me than Andrew Billen’s success story about it in the Times.  I guess it is all to do with one’s world view, with an almost unconscious editing out of the optimistic stories, a highlighting in one’s mind of the pessimistic ones to suit the purposes of one’s prevailing mood or belief system.

It happens in all walks of life. There is a school in my neighbourhood which I remember thinking, aged fourteen, in that dismissive way one does at that age, was full of tossers and jerks and losers and thick wankers (or whatever particular insult was in my usage at the time); that it was a crap school full of crap people.  Well, old prejudices die hard.  I went to visit it a while ago and it seemed fine, and friends tell me of its numerous merits and felicities and I hear what they tell me but I choose only to listen to the negative comments about it, both in my prejudiced mind and coming from the parents and children who are there now and who don’t rate various aspects of it.  I am completely aware that this is my shit, and my shit only, born of a ridiculous, misplaced, ill-judged, out-dated prejudice.

So it is, I guess, with my view that there are no men, and the ones that do exist are all SFARs or gay or inadequates or emotional incompetents and so forth.  My Mystic Meg friend sees the world from an entirely different perspective: that it is full of excitements and there are whole vistas of possibility and opportunity, and it is just a matter of mindset and being disposed and open to all the wonderful things – or, in this case, men – out there, just waiting for me, tra la!

I am not sure this is a stance to which I can ever subscribe.  Smacks a bit too much of reading too many self-help books by fraudulent American “experts” who go in for titles like The Key (ie. to life is that YOU MUST THINK POSITIVELY AND VISUALISE EVERYTHING YOU WANT FROM KNIGHTS IN SHINING ARMOUR TO CAREER SUCCESS AND HUGE SUMS OF MONEY AND YACHTS AND DIAMONDS AND HEY HO BEFORE YOU KNOW IT THEY WILL BE COMING OUT OF YOUR FUCKING NOSTRILS).

That will for ever seem to me like so much bollocks, but there may be something in not always seeing the dark side and occasionally allowing oneself a little optimism, allowing in a wee chink of hope that not all men are Brandon from Shame or the husband I heard about yesterday who has been married for thirty years but unbeknownst to his devastated wife has been across the globe serially shagging anything that even vaguely has breath in it and in one city is even nicknamed The Monster for having crashed his way into and broken apart so many marriages.

Last night I went to supper with friends, feeling depressed that I was going round to see these kindly folk once again in my scratched record costume, and it set me thinking.  Whilst I am not about to go out and buy such tosh tomes as The Key or The Corny or whatever the fuck those ghastly books are called, I am going to have to shift the gearstick in my thick head.  My lovely host – it was just him and his wife and me – told me about a colleague of his whose wife was having an affair she wouldn’t end.  He left her and is now going to a very respectable singles club in the European city in which he lives.  The people who go there make an effort both sartorially and conversationally, they are all professionals, and they are – hard to believe!? – far from sleazy.

Well, whilst I have no immediate date with Amazon Books, nor am I about to book the next available seat on Eurostar, but I am going to crawl back to various websites with my tail between my legs once again to mouse through the Wanted photographs, only this time I am going to remember first, proudly and un-prejudciously, to put on my rosy-coloured spectacles.  And see what it is that the world has chosen to owe me.

§ 70 Responses to Mopping Up Men

  • zoe says:

    Yes, yes, P. You go girl! I agree with Mystic Meg. (And I never imagined I would ever say that).

    The internet is transforming the way we live now and the way we live in the future. It’s just the beginning. I think it will be a platform for forming and reforming relationships for the rest of our lives. I believe it will breakdown our conventional notions of the way relationships should be and how they should go, ultimately undermining the phenomenon and status of long term relationships. I know many find this appalling, but I find myself rather excited by it.

    And the good news for those who do find this unappetising – and I know you will, P – is that you’re still in the majority! Which makes it perfectly possible to use the internet as an extension of the old fashioned marriage bureau – just one that is a hell of a lot more efficient by dint of numbers.

    As for myself, however, I’m beginning to feel that no matter how old you are, or what situation you are in, there will always be people out there seeking to forge new and unexpected relationships with you. Which rather thrills me.

    • The Plankton says:

      Gosh! Thanks for this. I expect I need to take a leaf or two out of your book. Yikes! xx

      • zoe says:

        Ha! Am I sounding over-zealous? Too many fruits of the forest in my porridge this morning, no doubt. Apologies. I’m no uber modern trail-blazer when it comes to internet dating. I don’t even put up a photo, which is fantastically coy and unduly limiting in this arena. I just know it has allowed me to form relationships that I never would have had before its invention. It’s a game-changer. And I welcome, rather than fear, its potential. Good luck, P!

  • Brigitte says:

    I’ve been a plankton now for over a year and it’s looking bleeker and bleeker. I try to believe that there are men out there for the picking, but even if there are, they are so few and it’s just too much effort. I’m slowly but surely beginning to appreciate my time alone and that only means that I will be abandoning “the quest” shortly. Summer heat is coming and trying to hide my cankles in summer outfits will prove futile and certainly not attract any adoring looks. I’ve was fine alone for over 10 years (not utterly happy, maybe, but just fine) and I will do it again if only for the peace of mind.

    I also belong to a somewhat exclusive singles dinner club. It accepts only professionals, but likewise, there are 5 women for every 3 men. Most of the women look quite good, but most of the men don’t (it’s so unfair that men cannot wear make-up and are limited to dress pants and suits). Maybe it’s me, but many men seem to take a turn for the worse after fifty. Either I lower my (shallow) standards – I don’t think I can – or I accept my fate. I’ve beaten myself numerous times over being so picky, to no avail.

    • June says:

      Yes Brigitte i agree, where did the idea that men wear better than women come from do you think. I know many attractive, well groomed women in their 50s 60s and 70s, i know very few men, those that are, are tightly held on to. Many in their 40s too leave lots to be desired and many pictures on websites are nowhere near as attractive and youthful looking as most of my 40s female friends. There are moisturisers etc for men now what is wrong with using them, or keeping slim,active and clean.

      Like you i have beaten myself up about being so picky, and as you know i have been hauled over coals by several people on this blog for it. . I agree with you, i cant help it,the idea of actually sleeping with lots of these men, is not something i can contemplate, and exchanging of bodily fluids, definitely a nono. Will we be planktons for ever.?

  • June says:

    Well you go for it P and i hope your new found confidence that there are loads of suitable men out there lasts , but i sense you are basically a bit like me and it wont, I have these moments when it all seems possible but then it dies again. Yes i read the american womans story in the Guardian, it depressed me all weekend.

    However P you are younger than me and of the many websites i think My Single Friend the way to go,it does definitely seem a cut above the match,coms etc, and if i was younger it is one i would go for. I was impressed by the honest and helpful reply i received, much more personal than the others, and with a much more British approach, the others always seem very American , that for some reason puts me off.

    Zoe i wish i could be as hopeful as you that a woman of any age can meet someone. I am not doubting it is possible but it is the experience of my fellow plankton friend and i unless you are not very choosey about looks,build, whether solvent or where the man lives, you will not be very successful if you are over 60. Certainly not in our area of the UK you wont and nothing i have heard or seen, on here or anywhere else will convince me otherwise.

    • Jane says:

      I think there may be another ‘older’ website,,haven’t looked at it but saw an article which made mention. Don’t know if you have seen this or even perhaps tried it June.

      • June says:

        Yes jane i actually wrote to them and again like my single friend very impressed with their attitude and prompt and pleasant reply, However i havent had a look at what is available yet or investigated their charges to see if one needs a second mortgage to join. My single friend is reasonable so if similar probably not.

        Will keep you all updated on here.

    • Margaux says:

      June – check out too. Friends of mine that have internet dated have recommended both Loveandfriends & My Single Friend.

    • RS says:

      June, a couple of us left some comments for you on a previous post but I’m not sure you saw them. We were just asking why you don’t consider expanding your catchment area a bit since you say the pickings are slim in your city. Might be worth taking a look at those comments if you haven’t seen them… food for thought, anyway.

  • Elle says:

    I read the Guardian article on Margaret Overton and decided to investigate the woman herself. On her blog here:

    Margaret wasn’t happy with the way she was portrayed by the Guardian. They did not mention that she had been very seriously ill. She was dating so frantically because of that illness and a sense of her own mortality.

    That doesn’t alter the fact that she met some creeps. She was also raped which is chilling. This is more common among middle-aged women than one would believe. Many don’t report it even though they either knew the men concerned or met them on the internet or via other dating methods.

    Dating agencies can be very callous if women report experiences like this. There is almost an underlying belief that women who use dating agencies are so desperate they should take anything they get and they are lucky, yes, lucky that any man would make sexual advances towards them.

    The reality is that rapists care little about the age or anything else about the women they rape. To them rape is power and domination. Men who rape go for all sorts of vulnerable women with low self-esteem. These can be naive teenagers, self-doubting middle-aged women just out of a relationship or elderly women who are too feeble to fight back.

    Worse again is the low conviction rate for reported rape. Women are made to feel like they asked for it or they should be grateful that anyone wanted them, or both.

    I hope that Margaret Overton reported her rapist and that the outcome was favourable. If so this should be highlighted in a newspaper or magazine article. I expected more from the Guardian and am appalled at how a woman with a fatal illness was made to look like a desperate middle-aged woman on the dating scene.

    Plankton, if you intend to “crawl”, as you put it, back to various dating sites your attitude might leave you open to “tossers and jerks and thick losers”. Better to get yourself into a more favourable state of mind before hitting the internet. You need to be emotionally strong for internet dating. Take care.

    • The Plankton says:

      Good advice, Elle, and thank you for it. xx

    • Lydia says:

      On the rape issue unless you’re planning on meeting men and jumping into bed with them right there I really doubt anyone should be put off dating because of worry about rape. If you’re sensible about whom you meet then I don’t really see it any more risky than leaving your house to catch a bus.

    • June says:

      So true Elle, i often get the inpression that people think if you go on an internet dating website you are desperate and will accept anything, even people you know seem amazed you dont go out with just anyone who contacts you even if they seem totally unsuitable and resembles quasimodo. This is particularly so if you are a more mature female. It seems once you hit a certain age you are supposed to be prepared to put up with anything, as you are so desperate. Well no i say i may be 60 not 40 but i still have standards,and like Brigitte i sometimes beat myself up about it, but i really cant drop them.My dear dad always comes to mind, i can imagine him saying june for gods sake why are you wasting yourself on him, you deserve better, he always gave me great self esteem did my dad, i know sadly lots of womern whose dads didnt and he made me think i was worth something so at least i know one man who did, some dont even have that.

  • Elle says:

    “He left her and is now going to a very respectable singles club in the European city in which he lives. The people who go there make an effort both sartorially and conversationally, they are all professionals, and they are – hard to believe!? – far from sleazy.”

    What is the name of that European city?

    The dating scene seems to be completely different in Europe than it is for us Anglophones. I’m just back from a ski holiday and was talking to men from all over Europe – Germany, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands. Some were divorced and couldn’t believe how difficult it is for women to form relationships in Ireland. They were incredulous that grown men would prefer to get drunk on a night out than have a one-to-one conversation with a woman. On the continent they don’t appear to have as much of a problem with a woman’s age and both women and men seem to have an equal chance of meeting somebody after a relationship ends. At any age. They also seem to appreciate women more and for the first time in ages I felt attractive.

    One Dutch man said to me “it is not good to be alone for too long”. Indeed.

    I also noticed that most of these continental men take very good care of themselves in terms of appearance, diet, exercise and not drinking to excess. Some of them are just as up for one-night-stands as Irish and British men but I got the feeling that they wouldn’t judge the woman in the morning or put the encounter down to excess alcohol.

    On the other hand an Irish man from the large group I travelled with took his wedding ring off on the last night of the trip and tried to bed anything that moved. The stupid man was too thick to realise that we all noticed his wedding ring earlier in the week!

    • MissM says:

      Evidently I need to consider moving to Europe. Australia is definitely one of those countries where men find a night out on the booze with their male friends is by far the most appealing way to spend time.

    • Lydia says:

      There are lots of good looking ones abroad in Europe. Some women just limit themselves too much in their hunt. You can start a relationship with someone in Paris or Madrid and do a bit of commuting and see how it goes if you want (if you can afford flights). I don’t do that because I don’t need to as there are lots of nice men around presumably all rejected by planktons on here leaving them all for me.

  • Erin says:

    Yay – good for you Dear P! Just try to remember not to put too much stock into the wording of the profiles (except the ones that claim to be “extremely good looking” and are looking for a super model) as these men were put on the spot to come up with something clever just as you were, and some people just don’t have the creative writing gene. Also, please don’t discount the few extra pounds or chubbies either. You may indeed find your James Corden type in that crowd : ) Single dads are also a good bet, expecially if they have kids around your kids’ ages.

    Most importantly, take as much time as you need emailing and talking on the phone till you’re comfortable enough to meet someone face to face, and always meet in a public place until things move along to the next level. Expect some disappointments but laugh them off and look forward to the next email in your inbox. As corny as it sounds, try to think of it as an adventure – put a positive spin on it instead of negative and it will help you not to get discouraged.

    Hoping you find your Mr. Right!

  • There are quite a few articles about online dating at the moment. Here’s another you’ll enjoy, P

    And there’s one for June too although she might not recognise the description of her age group:

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you very much. Px

    • June says:

      Just read it sarah i have put it on ,my favourites page, i am sending it to my fellow plankton friend ive menioned on here.

      Love it it made me laugh, yes i agree we baby boomers are younger, well some of us are, sadly not all. On tuesday i went out for lunch with two younger friends, and one of ,my friends mums, about my age, shes a lively lady, just reco vered from a serious illness, but enjoying life again. The venue was full of older people, her and my age.and we were having a good laugh,enjoying ourselves, but we got very odd looks from lots of them, quite disaproving. so not all baby boomers are lively and fun loving.

      I liked the glamourous description, i would hope i try and be that, as it says in article, how many women are grey haired,at 60 plus, mine is mahogany and after having short dark brown hair for years, ive grown it,everyone likes it. So yes i do see myself as glam, what depresses me is how society sees us over 60s and its right that this should change, the clothes for older women get me. I still go to top shop, oasis etc im small they fit me, im certainly not into J.D Williams mail order.Also i have been known to have a night out with my younger friends, i dont feel any older. Sadly though one of my problems is so many men of my age do seem much older than me, yes much older than Bill Nighty . and here we are back to square one again.

      • EmGee says:

        One of my dearest friends is 62 or so, a young 62 like you June, and although she’s got a (younger)guy at the moment, she’s been a Plankton more often than not the last few years. A couple Fridays a month we split a steak at the local saloon, and do lots of creative stuff together. My other BFF is 32, and we also have a ball, shopping, going out for a beer in the evening after meetings, dinner out at least once a week. I’m 49, and as I’ve said, have a bf now, but he’s out of town now and then (has been for about 4 days atm, coming back tonight), my younger friend’s husband is a workaholic, and she’d be sitting home alone most evenings if not for me and a couple other girlfriends.

  • ex-pond-slime says:

    Plankton, I’m trying to say something helpful here, but when I read it over, it sounds somewhere between the rant of a harridan and the gush of an American self-help fraud and my finger hovers over the delete key. But what the heck. If I had your powers of expression, I’d have my own blog. Please read it anyway!

    I think you need to tackle your negativity first to have any chance of finding a man.

    As you say, you have a choice of a positive and a negative story on internet dating, but you choose to focus on the negative one. The funny/sad thing is, the negative one has already been selectively edited to make it into a negative story. I followed Elle’s link above and the author herself says that the Guardian’s selection was unrepresentative “I certainly had some bad dating experiences, as do many people who utilize the Internet. And I was clearly naïve about men when my marriage ended – I address that in the book. But many of these dating stories are in the book purely for comedic purposes. I chronicle a few relationships because I learned something important from them. I also met a number of men who aren’t in the book. I met nice people. I continue to meet nice people every day. Mundane stories don’t make it into a book for a very good reason.”

    Even just reading the Guardian article in isolation, it clearly doesn’t live up to its headline of “dangers of internet dating”. Her internet horrors amount to: Ed, a sex-sleaze but upfront about it. Angel – OCD, poor man. Hank – dull and sad. That’s hardly dangerous. Alex – newly widowed and not ready. It was not the internet but a dating agency that fixed her up with a rapist, and a holiday which led to the long distance relationship that didn’t go the distance.

    However, although the headline “dangers of internet dating” was misleading, the internet does have its specific dangers for you Plankton. The danger is, if you spot a possible profile, and particularly if you get an email response with potential, you will spin and spin until you are totally in love with the character you have invented. You will put all your energy into loving this imaginary person, and when you finally meet and he is a huge disappointment, and what mortal man could fail to be, you will put all your energy into grieving for your imaginary loss.

    And when you are not doing that, you will be getting glammed up and dragging yourself across town, despising yourself and your date, for a meeting with someone you just know will either be unfanciable, or will not fancy you, or both, and when he duly delivers what you expected, you will feel so low that you want to curl up and die, and spend months in a wallow of misery, over something that was really nothing but a minor inconvenience.

    I know because I did this, over and over.

    Then I stopped looking, stayed in and fixed my thinking. I really worked on believing I was someone with a lot to give, that the world was full of lovely people and I really should do them a favour and give them a chance to meet me, that along the way I would meet loads of people who weren’t for me but that wouldn’t matter at all, and might actually be amusing on occasion. Then I went out and met my husband.

    I guess I’m greedy. I not only have my lovely man to stay in and do nothing with to my heart’s content, and my collection of 9 years of Valentine’s Day cards, but I also want to talk you into giving yourself the same chance for happiness.

    Oh, and something else about the dating horror stories. I bet Margot from the Guardian article features in a few told by men. I bet I do! The man whose complaint I read somewhere that his date turned out to look like Bilbo Baggins – that was probably me. He insisted he wanted to meet me despite my warnings when we talked on the phone that I was about ten years older and eighteen inches shorter than him, but the look on his face when we met told me that all my warnings had failed to make a dint in his dreams of leggy model-types. Ha! Now I laugh. And you know what? I wouldn’t have missed it.

    • EmGee says:

      “Then I stopped looking, stayed in and fixed my thinking.”
      Ex-pond-slime, truer words were never spoken! It’s remarkable how learning to maintain a positive attitude, positive outlook, and positive self image on the inside, increase one’s attractiveness on the outside. But for most of us, it’s like a muscle that has atrophied, and it takes work to build it up and then maintain it.

      An added benefit for me is that I am far less critical of others, and more apt to accept their minor faults, because I am learning to accept my own.

    • Erin says:

      Ex-pond slime – what an excellent post!

    • The Plankton says:

      Wow! I am glad you did post this comment. Very helpful and almost certainly spot on and I have taken it on board, I promise. xx

    • Lydia says:

      I am sometimes amused that plankton seems a kind of opposite of me and wonder why that is so.

      The bottom line is no one likes someone negative. I just saw my sister. Every single word was negative. It’s very hard to endure that as the recipient.

      There was a mantra in the 1930s – every day in every way I get better and better – I think it went. It’s not a bad thing to repeat. The 1400s Julian of Norwich had something similar – she said all will be well all will be well and all manner of things will be well. If you look for the positive and good then life is fun. There are lovely men out there.

    • Margaux says:

      Great post ex-pond-slime ! I am a firm believer it all starts with what’s going on in our heads.

    • Lizzie says:

      At last – a voice of reason, logic and practicality. A whole lot more positive than this blog tends to be and a constructive path to follow for all of us.

  • Yoga Gurl says:

    Read this article of love found much later in life, with a nice looking younger man, no doubt!

    These stories ARE out there but we don’t hear enough of them. I don’t know a lot of people but I know a good handful of relationships started later…people I’ve known a long time and new people. My mother found a mate until death (lasted 25 years) at age 50. A woman I just met in my bicycling group, who was overweight and not a “hottie” by any means, found a bf in the group and is happy. I know I know of many more…I’ve relayed them to others…just can’t think of them now.

    Maybe someone needs to start a website of love that started later in life to remind us of that possibility.

    • MissM says:

      Absolutely a wonderful idea to collect all the good news stories of finding-late-in-life-love. It does make it just that much harder to keep my chin up when I have none of those happy tales in my own circle of friends, and I just adore hearing about happy endings.

    • EmGee says:

      NIce article. Although I am always leery of people who turn their recovery into a career (“Steve, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and Angie, a certified life coach”), it’s important to note that they got to know each other well in an informal setting, and a relationship bloomed out of that.

    • RS says:

      Nice article but – oh dear! – Steve is sporting the dreaded BEARD. Strictly forbidden by many round these parts! 😉

  • Caz says:

    Wow ex-pond-slime…. such a good response which must have resonated with many on this blog. Some very salient points.
    I fully subscribe to positive thinking ….. you do attract what you want in life, in every sphere.

  • Zambesigirl says:

    P, you are in great form today – a pleasure to read.

  • Margaux says:

    Excellent post, P.
    As with the rest of life – it’s all about re-framing how you view something. ( she says …sounding like a self help book 😉 )

  • MissBates says:

    I have never ascribed to the cult of “The Secret” or whatever the f*ck that cheesy new age self-help book is about asking “the universe” to deliver riches, love, sex, adventure, etc. and expecting it to happen. As an aside, I’m not sure why so many of the commenters here think that this is a peculiarly American trait — the founder of that particular movement is an Aussie, but I wouldn’t say that our Antipodean friends all ascribe to such banality — : ) Anyway, YES, it is important to maintain an optimistic viewpoint if one can because it is generally more attractive than a pessimistic one, BUT there’s a great deal to be said for being realistic, too. Being realistic entails accepting the unhappiness or loss that comes into our lives. I confess that the acceptance of the fact that I almost certainly will be un-coupled for the rest of my life is not coming easily to me, but I suspect that I will survive to tell the tale.

    • Margaux says:

      I guess because all the top selling ‘selfhelp’ authours seem to be American, MissB . Yes, The Secret was pioneered by an Aussie but all her contributors appear to be American too. ( yes, I admit I read it…!)

  • Caz says:

    Interesting view point Miss Bates. Someone gave me a copy of The Secret last yr – and yes, it is pretty cheesy…..and lots of talk about visualizing the empty space in the garage for you future husband’s car etc and other cringeworthy scenarios. On the other hand some parts do make a lot of sense. There is a fine balance between these view points and not always meeting trouble half way.
    Interestingly I met someone not when I was out on the town with a girlfriend actively looking but when I strolled in one bank holiday monday – on my own and feeling especially upbeat and probably smiling.

  • rosie says:

    P, hope you come up trumps, even if later rather than sooner. You’re probably not on there but I was reading something this week (is it just me or have there been LOADS of articles about online dating recently?) that described as the ‘Lidl of internet dating’. Made me laugh and wish I’d thought of it!

  • rosie says:

    I agree there is a lot to be said for positive thinking and confidence does make someone appear much more attractive – no one wants to be with a miserable bugger – but you can be as smiley and self-confident as you like and it will never change hard facts. And the hard facts (and these are the ones I’VE been confronted with since my mid 30s, I’m not speaking for anyone else) are that smart, attractive, AVAILABLE men have the pick of womankind, while smart, attractive available women are forced to fight for their attention.

  • Caz says:

    fair comment Rosie!

    I did laugh about your Lidl analogy – it must be because of Feb 14th I guess.
    If that’s the Lidl….what is the Waitrose?

  • rosie says:

    Hmm, I think that one has yet to be invented. Or it might be this one: Sounds yucky. Imagine applying and being voted off!

  • Twinkletoes says:

    Rosie, that made me laugh. I think a certain fishy site would also qualify 😮

  • Caz says:


  • Caz says:

    …it would be v interesting for you to have a guest blogger about dating web sites P…as it seems as if your heading that way yourself.
    I expect one or more of your loyal followers has done their research and it would be very entertaining for some w/e fodder. Especially, as Rosie says, after all the publicity in the press.
    Why not throw it open and we’ll have a field day?

    ps…fab blogs for half-term, thank you!

  • rosie says:

    Something else just popped into my head… I remember listening to Jonathan Ross on his Saturday morning radio show (I do miss that, was occasionally brilliant) talking about how he was always being asked by women he worked with – and bearing in mind this is radio and TV where everyone is about 13 years old – whether he ‘knew anyone’. Never by blokes, he said, sounding genuinely puzzled. Bless him.

  • Lydia says:

    I just fundamentally disagree with “smart, attractive, AVAILABLE men have the pick of womankind, while smart, attractive available women are forced to fight for their attention.” It doesn’t make sense anyway. There are lots of single men and women. The birth rate after early deaths etc are taken into account is much the same for men and women. Some women and men might want to stay single and chaste. Some may still single and have 4 or 5 casual partners. But if there are equal numbers of men and women over 40 who are not married then there will be equal numbers for everyone.

    It may be that men want sex and aren’t too bothered about the woman as long as she’s pretty and some women have a list of characteristics as long as your arm (more fool them). Given fewer women than men as they get older seem to want sex surely you find there are more men looking than women?

    • Elle says:

      Lydia, regardless of the stats you come up with (wherever they come from), widespread anecdotal evidence suggests that “smart, attractive, AVAILABLE men have the pick of womankind, while smart, attractive available women are forced to fight for their attention.” If the smart, attractive, available women can find a smart, attractive, available (meaning one who wants a relationship) man in the first place!

  • joules says:

    Interesting graphic of census data.

    • MissM says:

      Excellent link, thank you Joules.

      From that I see that there the number of men and women is only equal until the age of thirteen after which it declines so that by their mid twenties the ratio of men to women is approximately 48 men for every 52 women until they reach their sixties, at which point the number of men declines even further.

      So in fact the numbers really are against women.

      • MissM says:

        Oops scratch that, seems the numbers change after I hit the ‘next’ button a few times. My bad, I’ve just shown the world that either I can’t read online interactive graphs very well, or I will post a comment before thinking it all the way through, or a bit of both. However while the percentage of men to women is much closer in 2001, women still outnumber men.

  • Dawn says:

    While doing research prior to a provincial election a few years ago, I discovered that locally, the ratio is 2.5:1 women to men.

    How disheartening is THAT?

  • Twinkletoes says:

    That reminds me of the singles club I joined a few years back. At any of the events, there would always be 2 or 3 women to every man. Disheartening indeed.

  • rosie says:

    I’ve never been able to bring myself to join a singles club but I did once go to one of those dinner dating things, ostensibly for ‘research’ purposes but with the ever-present, if cobweb-thin, hope at the back of my mind that there might be *someone* there. There were at least six women and exactly three men, one of whom turned up half-way through the meal and left after he’d eaten his starter, another who stared at his plate and did not utter a single word and a third who seemed okay (at least he had the nous to look embarrassed) until he came out with the killer admission that he had a girlfriend and was only there ‘for something to do’. Can’t decide which is worse: that he was telling the truth or he thought the women on offer were such hideous old trouts that he wouldn’t touch them with someone else’s bargepole.

    One of the most depressing evenings of my life. And the greedy, money grubbing charlatan who organised the whole sorry affair had the nerve to email me afterwards and ask me what I thought. So I told her.

  • TwinkleToes says:

    Lol! Rosie, good for you! 🙂

    The singles club I joined liked to described themselves as a ‘social club for single people’. What a load of bunkum.

    I mentioned to one of the members that I was thinking of trying another singles club in a different area. His response was, “oooo, don’t go to that one, it’s incestuous”. When I asked what he meant by incestuous, he said, “they all sleep with every body else”. It didn’t sound too different to me – there seemed to be a lot of very short term relationships within the one I had joined. Some people appeared to stay together for a maximum of 3 weeks before splitting up and going off after other partners. I suppose in that situation, relationships are easily disposable.

  • Jo says:

    Attagirl P.
    I would say optimism and realism should go hand in hand. (By that, I don’t mean ‘settling for’ something/someone you don’t want at all.).
    I would also add persistence. In whatever sphere you choose to pursue. Then at least you’ve given it a hell of a go, if you then decide not to go on with it. (Whatever it is.).
    You asked me a while ago to keep you updated on my own romance. I’ve hesitated a bit as I didn’t want to seem as if I was rubbing salt in it.
    But, all is well. In fact. It’s all gorgeous.

  • Jo says:

    Btw P. Apropos of nothing at all here. Have you read Caitlin Moran’s ‘How to be a Woman’? (Don’t be put off by the unappealing – and rather misleading – title.).
    I am loving it and consider it a required and hilarious read for every woman. It’s fab. Do read it girls!
    She also (in view of past exploration here), writes the best description of what ‘feminism’ actually means, that I have ever seen.

    • Joules says:

      I have read it – think she had a wilder time in the 90s than I did. But it is a good read and well worth picking up. Goes quickly – better than “One Day” that I was reading at the same time – don’t know what the fuss was all about, lots of twaddle. I think I must not have a romantic bone in my body.

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