The Date Itself

March 14, 2012 § 133 Comments

This is going to sound so boastful, but earlier in the day two old (male, married) friends had been full of compliments and flattery and as I drove on a long journey home I thought, well if they get the point of me, I must be doing something right, and so with any luck Long Shot might get it too.

I swear my expectations were low, incredibly low, but even so I made an effort.  As I said yesterday, I didn’t overdo things, but put on a simple dress, showed a bit of cleavage (not too much), wore heels, bit of make-up.  I am well-versed about expectations.  When they have almost never been fulfilled, you get to know the ropes.  So it was my low expectations were no more than for a merry evening and for him to be perhaps a tad more engaged than his emails had suggested.  For us to like each other enough to want to see each other again was too much to hope for but, I own, the thought was there in the back of my mind.  First fucking date in twenty years – allowed, no?  There again, foolish fancy.  Eyes off the ball.  I should never have allowed that  thought to have even crossed my mind.

There weren’t any awkward moments because I don’t do awkward moments because I am not shy and can most of the time hold my own.  I drank, but not to calm nerves and not to excess.  He didn’t make me nervous but my (low) expectations did.  I was auditioning for the part of being his friend.

Well, I failed.

Oh, we talked happily enough and I made him laugh, I think, a bit, but not as much as I had made the men earlier in the day laugh.  They doubled up.  Long Shot, not so much.  But we chatted away easily.  All about him and our mutual friends.  He didn’t ask me one question, far as I remember.  He was delightful and good company, no question, though as one girlfriend has since pointed out, quite firmly and rightly, it is not delightful or good company not to ask any questions.  But he kind of got away with it at the time.  I liked him.  He had a certain quirky charm and unworldliness and eccentricity.  He seemed to be enjoying himself and to enjoy our conversation and not to want to leave the restaurant.  All good.  But.  The waiters were hassling us out (it was still so early – 10.15, for fuck’s sake!; I could have killed them: I’d been waiting for this date since September!  You could even say, I’d been waiting for it from the day I separated from my husband, before I even met the man!)  The fact was, he didn’t come back with me for another glass of wine (he had to drive and was already over the limit), and we parted on the street, and he did not suggest another meeting and I didn’t either; couldn’t.  Nor did he respond when I sent him a text the next day to say thank you (because he had paid, though I very much offered).

I suppose what I had hoped for was the very basics of a “successful” date, not a full-blown pass, Heaven forbid that such a thing could have occurred or that I could even think it – too much! – but at the very least an indication that he wanted to meet up again.  But no such indication was forthcoming.  The writing was daubed in huge, blowsy red letters across the wall.  Not Interested; play the bill; runfrit.  Janey has said he is especially shy and I shouldn’t give up hope, but would I want to be with someone who was so unengaged, really?

Maybe not.  Almost certainly not.  It would be torture from start to finish.  But there is something about him which is better than that, despite this gaping hole in him.

What’s shit is not even having a choice to reject him myself, or not as the case may be, because I myself obviously did not pass muster on an epic scale.  That is utterly crushing.  What little confidence I had, now ground into the pavement like a cigarette butt.

Not even worthy of a seven second text back saying, “A pleasure, it was good seeing you too.”  Let alone an added, “Let’s do it again soon.”

Crawl into a fucking hole.


§ 133 Responses to The Date Itself

  • rantywoman says:

    Plankton, I’ve written this before and I’ll write it again: it’s not you– there is something wrong with him. Any time a man’s behavior is “off,” he is hiding something– a slight mental illness, perhaps, or a personality disorder, or an addiction, or sexual issues, or another girlfriend, etc. I wouldn’t say this just because a man is uninterested, because of course only a small number of people are going to be interested at any given time, but because his behavior has been unpredictable and odd, and he’s acting interested, in a way, but not coming through.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you, that makes me feel a bit better. Px

    • RS says:

      I’ve said it before too, rantywoman. The lack of questions – a basic of decent conversation – is a huge red flag, but then that one email a while back which so disappointed P because it was totally self-focussed should’ve been enough of a red flag in itself.
      This is NOT a man who will engage in a proper relationship. Too much focus on self, not enough sense of responsibility and awareness of others.

      I’m so sorry about the disappointment and the let down.

    • Fi0na says:

      I agree rantywoman

      • manalive says:

        Save me from the pseudo psychotherapists and there seem to be quite a few here who are alluding to mental illnesses either specific or general.
        Fi sits wrapped in her comfort blanket saying that

        “if a man’s behaviour is off he is hiding something– a slight mental illness, perhaps, or a personality disorder, or an addiction, or sexual issues, or another girlfriend, etc.”
        Perhaps some mirror gazing rather than navel gazing is needed here

      • fi says:

        Eh?????? I said no such thing. Think you’re confused about who said what. I think he is not nor ever has been interested in P.

  • Lydia says:

    He may just not be interested. You could have moved closer to him at the end of the evening as you left the restaurant. Did he even kiss you on the cheek after?
    You could also now ask him out to something next and see if he accepts. If he doesn’t that’s fine and you’ll know.

  • Redbookish says:

    Awwwwww, Ms P. I feel for you, really I do. Been there, done that,10 ears older than, but basically given up on men. I have a nice life …. blah blah blah.

    I occasionally see someone who sounds very like LS (let’s call him LondonBoy). We have a great time — he is kind, funny, clever handsome. But never asks me questions, although will respond as much as I like to my questions, and topics — I can ask him about my stuff, but he won’t ask me about it. And he’s asked me out to things, although it’s usually me doing the asking, but he’s always willing to meet when asked. So not unwilling, and obviously enjoys my company. But passive?

    I don’t get it. Apart from anything else — and of course, I can’t ask this question IRL — what do men like this do for sex? I mean, I know what I do (nothing much) but aren’t we told that men “need” it? Are all these men visiting prostitutes? Or ‘hooking up’ to friends with benefits or one night stands? (In LondonBoy’s case I seriously seriously doubt it, but he’s a dark horse …)

    Is this sort of celibacy the last taboo for discussion?

    I don’t get it. A summer ago, London Boy & I texted & emailed 3-4 times a day, often last thing at night. We went out — slightly more awkwardly as he’s a shy creature. But lovely. Then nothing. Cold feet? Hmmmm.

    It’s the Peter Pan generation: all these lovely men who will not take emotional responsibility for themselves and others’ feelings. I know, I know, my feelings are my responsibility. But not when they’ve been played about with irresponsibly by someone else.

    • The Plankton says:

      Totally agree. Thank you for this. Px

    • Mark says:

      It’s a myth that men need sex. Sure, some are desperate for it, mainly if they are young or American, but plenty of men of never bother to seek out sex and do not really miss it. There are even some men who show an interest in sex to get a woman but then can’t really be bothered once they have the relationship. The physical urges can be deal with by some porn and a wank. Woman have a harder to fulfill need – porn is never going to put up shelves for you.

      • Joules says:

        I put up my own shelves. I will say that having dates both Brits and American men that American men do not leave you in that quandry of “Do they want to be friends or do they want to have sex? ” If they want to have sex you definately know about it and usually from the first meeting – does not mean you have to say yes but they will always ask. IF you don’t know about it then they don’t want it.

        Brits are all dark horses in my experience – difficult to see which way they are seeing you.

    • EmGee says:

      Ms P, I think you are taking taking LS’s ‘rejection’ too much to heart, and not just because you didn’t get to do the rejecting. He’a already proved himself to be non communicative and often geographically unavailable. I still believe he may be beneficial to you in the ‘just friends’ sense – a dinner date now and then, when he’s in town.

      I also agree with what Mark said (except I can hang my own shelves thankyouverymuch). In the book “Passionate Marriage”, the therapist makes it clear that among his many patients the high desire partner wasn’t primarily the male, in fact, it was split pretty evenly between men and women. I think the media does both genders a disservice by perpetuating the myth that men ‘need’ sex and most women just lie back and ‘think of England’.

      And by the way -for the benefit of the opposite sex- fyi; women can watch porn and rub one off too. It’s more likely than you may think! 😉

      • zoe says:

        Yes, I think we often mistake the observable fact that men are less selective with having bigger sex drives. It’s not the same thing.

        Women and porn. Hush now EmGee. You’ll set Scott off.

      • EmGee says:

        @ Zoe:


    • Jo says:

      Hmmmm. Redbookish. My older brother has (high functioning) Aspergers. He’s now 55. Was married for a long time and had a child – although my dear long suffering sister-in law very often expressed absolute bafflement at his ways. As did we all through childhood and for many many years. Before he was diagnosed a long time ago – and life with him was often a puzzle.
      Until he, one morning suddenly left her and their daughter out of the blue ( ‘because he just felt like it’) and absolutely, totally, truly cannot understand their bafflement, distress nor their feelings. He has no understanding nor empathy at all. Says ‘why are you both upset’? For true.
      In view of our experience of my brother and the way he has operated from child to adult (again, before he was diagnosed) your words ring rather loud bells.

      • joules says:

        Jo – think my experience with my ex mirrors the experience of your sister-in-law. His comment after 13 years was, “We had some laughs. I am not in love with you anymore. Bye”

        Bafflement is the least of it.

  • MissBates says:

    His failure to evince — or even feign — any interest in YOUR life provides you with your answer. Move on. I’m so sorry — not so much because he turned out to be a bit of a dud (no surprises there, let’s face it), but because he’s sapped your already low supply of confidence.

  • Jo-Jo says:

    Awww P, don’t give up hope just yet, he may still get back to you, maybe he is a bit of a crawler….. a snail in the relationship stakes. Try not to feel too disheartened. I think some men can be quite introvert, and are very backwards in coming forwards (is that the right expression? or does it even make sense?!!). My grandmother always said to me “plenty more fish in the sea” but at our age it is harder than when we were last single in our teens or twenties, because all the good fish have been caught, and all that is left are a few stragglers!! I don’t know what the answer is…….i wish I did!

  • fi says:

    I’m still not convinced he knew it WAS a date. What made P think it was beyond the fact that she was a woman and he was a man, and at some point she offered to pay her share and he said not to bother?

    • The Plankton says:

      Well, maybe you’re right but he set it up and it was just us and he asked for the bill; he knows I am single; I know he is. He had plenty of family and friends to see and didn’t need to set aside a whole evening just with me. But maybe that’s putting two and two together and making five. I don’t know. Px

      • fi says:

        No, that does sound like a date. Wasn’t sure how it came about but if he asked you out for dinner that’s definitely a date 😦

  • rosie says:

    P, try not to beat yourself up about it, the man is an emotional retard and the not asking any questions thing a deal breaker, I would have thought. tbh, I don’t think many men are ever *that* good at it but not to lob even a teeny weeny one across the table the whole night indicates that he’s either so far up his own fundament he’s disappeared or, like rantywoman suggests, he has some kind of personality disorder. I’m convinced my brother in law, who I’ve known for nearly 15 years and who has never asked me one single question, is somewhere on the autistic spectrum, but that’s another story.

    There’s also the possibility that LS could be gay and is in denial…?

  • rosie says:

    “The physical urges can be deal with by some porn and a wank.”

    Charming. Makes you wonder why we bother.

  • rosie says:

    “What made P think it was…”

    Date: an appointment for a particular time, esp with a person to whom one is sexually or romantically attached: eg, she has a dinner date

    If HE didn’t know, then that’s his problem.

  • sophs says:

    I have had similar experiences although a friend recently said that rather than auditioning and thinking “am I good enough for him?” one should think “is he good enough for me?”. I would have felt as you do but my friend claims that her romantic fortunes transformed after adopting this new mindset! x

    • zoe says:

      Completely agree with your friend, Sophs. The only question P needs to bother herself with is: does she like him? If she does, she owes it to herself to try to push it forward; perhaps by inviting him to something else. If she doesn’t like him, then none of it matters anyway.

      Never mind the rejection if it doesn’t pan out. What’s the point in getting in such a lather about possible rejection you can’t even discern the outline of your own desires?

      • The Plankton says:

        Well, despite everything, I did like him. I know, I know, I shouldn’t have, but I kind of did. Px

      • zoe says:

        Oh, P! But isn’t that the hardest thing? To find someone you actually like?! All this talk of being at the bottom of the sexual food chain is blinding you to the real problem: the issue is not being wanted, it’s finding someone to want. I really wouldn’t let that oh-so-rare occurrence slip by without trying to be a bit braver. x

      • The Plankton says:

        Thank you, Zoe, and absolutely! xx

      • MissM says:

        Very accurate Zoe, that bears repeating: the issue is not being wanted, it’s finding someone to want. That is the point at which most of us reside.

        As for Long Shot, I think he is definitely SFAR, even if we are not clear on what that reason is. Any man his age who has no history of being involved in any relationship at all, surely must have some issue preventing him from being capable of one. I don’t see why he would suddenly change from being perpetually single unless he had some sort of epiphany. At the moment he doesn’t seem to need a relationship with anyone but himself. It does sound like there isn’t a person in the world who would interest him more than he interests himself.

        So very sorry for you P, I understand how hard it is to find anyone worth falling for. If only there were more men out there it would make it so much easier to find someone who is actually worthy of you falling for him as well.

    • The Plankton says:

      I did try to think like that too, but somehow… Px

  • Erin says:

    Dear P, it is quite obvious that this man could never love anyone more than he loves himself. To not ask one single question of you reeks of narcissism. You do not want that type of man. Your self esteem would always suffer with a person like that. Best to write him off. He is not good enough for you.

    • Elle says:

      I agree. I thought it strange that he didn’t ask P anything about herself. He wasn’t being polite, he was being self-obsessed. Even the worst narcissists I have dated asked me one or two questions about myself before rattling on about themselves for the rest of the evening, obliquely dropping hints about the lack of sex in their lives.

      I can’t figure Long Shot off, perhaps he is asexual (more common than we think) or has high-functioning Aspergers. The latter are usually nice people and very clever but live in a world of their own and don’t quite know how to interact effectively with the rest of humanity.

      Onwards and upwards P. Now that LS is out of the way you have no excuses for not getting out there. Date outside your “type”, it will be interesting even if it doesn’t go any further than one date.

      I don’t think that LS regarded his meeting with P as a date, just a nice meet up between friends. And LS might be a nice friend even if he isn’t around very often.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you, Erin. Pxx

  • MsHaversham to be says:

    Better to find out now that it wouldn’t work than get romantically attached and then decide you don’t suit each other. Besides do you really want to have to play games or guess what someone thinks at this age? If he’s so introverted let him date a mouse

  • Margaux says:

    Another one in agreement with much that has been said. The ‘not asking questions’ syndrome is a deal breaker for me. It smacks of narcissism and a lack of empathy, courtesy and emotional intelligence. Furthermore – it is just downright rude. I don’t buy ‘shyness’ – shyness is just another word for total self absorbtion in my view.

    Please do not beat yourself up, P – it is certainly NOT that you were uninteresting – with some people (and I include both sexes) it is just all about them. ( I actually think it is a growing phenomenon!)

    • Brigitte says:


      I totally agree.

    • RS says:

      What is it about men and the not asking questions syndrome? Drives me up the wall. I don’t expect them to be as curious and nosy as I am but a few questions have to be asked in a decent conversation. Give and take is part and parcel of relating to another person.

      I recall a couple of years ago sitting in a pub with my then-mate. At the table next to us was a couple obviously on a first date. The women was lovely looking, about 45. The man wasn’t in her league in the looks department and appeared to be about 10 years older, but could’ve been the same age. The conversation consisted of her asking him questions and him holding forth on the topics she asked about, pontificating and offering some very questionable points of view, in an unappealing and almost aggressive way. I remember feeling so sorry for her, having to work so hard, to show interest in such an awful man. I get the feeling those scenarios are not that uncommon.

      Not for me. I’m worth more than sacrificing my personality and intelligence just so that I can sit in a pub with a member of the opposite sex… let alone having to deal with someone like that at home. Would rather be alone! My own company is much more pleasant.

  • Sarah says:

    Okay, he’s a dead loss. You tried, you followed through, but he’s just not all there I reckon. Fancy taking no interest in you by not asking any questions. How gauche. He probably has a fatal personality flaw, nothing to do with you, P.

    If it went further, he’d lead you a merry song and dance (already has to some extent) and would drive you nuts – already has too.

    So, take heart from the knowledge his one of those SFAR, and it’s not a reflection on you or your feminine charms.

    Chin up, lass, there’s plenty more where he came from.

  • DaisyDee says:

    First time contributor but long time lurker on this site, I have been a plankton now for 10 years, the first 5 of which were spent on dating websites trying to find a relationship before giving up completely 5 years ago. I found that many of the men never ask questions. You might get a ‘hiya how yoo doin’ Joey-from-Friends type approach, You respond with a short chatty e mail and throw in a couple of questions to get the ball rolling. He responds,usually dilligently answering said questions – and questions back? Not one – at which point I give up because there is nowhere to go conversationally. I also had several dates where the men waffled on about themselves for hours. I tried to put a word in edgeways but ended up opening and closing my mouth like a fish.

    On the subject of sex, after dating many men happily in my twenties it was a shock to return to the dating world to find out that the one or two men in their forties I did date had erectile problems which they refused to discuss or resolve.

  • Barry says:

    Sorry it didn’t work out P . Have a virtual HUG …. you deserve it for your efforts and honesty xx

  • Brigitte says:

    Wow, P. What a let down. But I think the label of narcissist is correct. I think my guy at the gym is one. He doen’t ask questions either.

    Off with their heads!

  • manalive says:

    It seems to me you are the classic ‘unmet expectations on first meet’ individual….

    To enter the middle aged dating scene you need to adopt a thicker skin and don’t take it to heart if failure occurs. After all, isn’t it better to have failed at the onset then suffer the angst of failure further down the line.

    Him not asking any questions is a massive giveaway that from the outset he lacked interest. Men are simple creatures and maybe he just didn’t like the look of you and for him it all went downhill from there, he was clearly just going thro’ the motions until you parted.

    Whatever his reasons not to maintain contact, just shrug it off dust yourself down and start all over again. Quite simply, it’s a numbers game, cynical tho’ this may sound. Inevitably you’ll meet a man and the reverse will occur, or something like it, ie thge ‘thanks but no thanks etc’ response.

    You can wallow in self-pity or make a good effort, date a few men and get the hang of how it all works. Either way, you need to get real and do something about your fragile ego

    • The Plankton says:

      I am not intending to wallow in self-pity.

    • Margaux says:

      Manalive -whether LS was interested or not – there is a very big difference between showing (or feigning at least) polite interest and just not bothering.
      I don’t think it’s so much a question of fragile ego on the part of P – more like massive ego on the part of LongShot.
      The give and take of conversation oils the wheels of all social interaction – romantic or not. It’s tedious when someone just talks about themselves all the time – and very boring.

    • Mezzanine says:

      If there was less cynicism and more optimism and empathy around perhaps this world would be a slightly better place.

    • Erin says:

      Sir, this wasn’t a blind date. P has met this man several times before, they have had conversations and they have mutual friends. He knew very well what she looked like and they had had email and text correspondence in the past. He was the one who invited her out to dinner. If you go back and read past blog postings, you will better ascertain the history between these two. It is not a matter of him lacking interest, there is truly something wrong with this man in the head department.

      • manalive says:

        I stand corrected,,,

        enuf said on this topic, he is inadequate, end of story…move on….

      • fi says:

        If I want to understand why a man behaves in a certain way, I ask a man, not a woman. I sometimes hear something I don’t want to hear, but its more useful than what a woman tells me.

      • fi says:

        oh I think I must have got it wrong too. I thought she had sent him 2 emails and received 2, and they’d only met once, and they hadn’t spoken on the phone at all.

    • Jo says:

      manalive. You don’t know P at all.
      You do not know the full past history of this blog….
      P is not one to ‘wallow in self-pity’. (How bloody dare you? You have no handle on her at all.).
      “Fragile ego’? What the hell do you know, to make such a remark?
      ‘First meet’?
      Get your facts straight..

      • T Lover says:

        Here we have it – living proof that women are hard wired in a way that defies any form of basic reason.

        Give them a second hand, one sided account of a meeting between a man and a woman and away they go speculating about this, that, studying every nuance with a magnifying glass – not a jot of a care as to whether the craic is a complete work of fiction in the first place or if it is fact what the bloke might have said.

        First prize to ……Jo……who has elevated this Blogger into an imaginary friend until she (the author) is almost a deity. “How dare you “(Manalive) question our “diamond” Blogger? “What the hell do you know, to make such a remark? Get your facts straight.”

        As I shut my eyes I hear a cuckoo clock.


        You lot live in a fantasy world.

      • fi says:

        @T Lover. I refer you to my earlier post :

        “If I want to understand why a man behaves in a certain way, I ask a man, not a woman. I sometimes hear something I don’t want to hear, but its more useful than what a woman tells me”

      • T Lover says:


        That was not my point.

        Female behaviour is fascinating, wonderful – particularly if there is hint of romance doing the rounds.

        Here we have a bunch of women turning the ground over and over for the tiniest titbit, like hens working a muck heap.

        The female version of events has become the gospel, writ in stone.

        Women completely defensive about another they have never met – and offensive about a bloke on the back of pure speculation.

        No hint of reason or balance.

        Is there any wonder men say never argue with a woman?

      • fi says:

        @T Lover. I suppose what I’m saying is that some women do this stuff, but not everyone does 🙂

      • T Lover says:


        Compare notes with Rosie – see her comment below.

        Another thing women do – bristle at being told by a bloke that they are all the same – just different chassis numbers.

        It’s completely true, believe me, I’m a bloke!

      • fi says:

        T Lover. Er nope. Not since I was a teenager have I sat around speculating and creating dismissive generalisations on men as an entire sex, speculating on why men do stuff and what it means. I don’t see that it matters WHY somebody does something, for me really its enough to take note of what they did. Secondly, to be told that I display the worst qualities of womanhood ( the neuroticism, hysterics, irrationality, bitchiness, cliqueness etc), simply because I’m a woman is one of the most offensive things that anyone could ever say to me.

      • T Lover says:


        “Not since I was a teenager have I sat around speculating and creating dismissive generalisations on men as an entire sex”

        Oh yes you have – it was only a few days ago you were saying that all the men in your area were fat drinkers.

        “Secondly, to be told that I display the worst qualities of womanhood ( the neuroticism, hysterics, irrationality, bitchiness, cliqueness etc), simply because I’m a woman is one of the most offensive things that anyone could ever say to me.”

        Well if that’s the worst thing anyone could ever say to you you must have had a sheltered life. And no-one has said that to you.

        And and look what’s happening, two women (Fi and Rosie) who, five minutes ago were biting bits off one another, have turned on? Guess who? A poor innocent bloke. Moi.

        Fi, does this mean we are no longer an item?

      • fi says:


        1. I haven’t sat saying all men are liars for example, or all men are untrustworthy.

        2. It demonstrates how offensive I find the statement and does not reflect at all on whether my life has been sheltered.

        3. Rosie and I have not joined forces in turning on you.

        4. Yes I’m afraid I can’t really associate with someone so intellectually lazy they make sweeping statements about someone’s personality based on their gender.

      • T Lover says:


        “1. I haven’t sat saying all men are liars for example, or all men are untrustworthy.

        2. It demonstrates how offensive I find the statement and does not reflect at all on whether my life has been sheltered.”

        I have no idea what you talk about when you sit down or stand up but one thing is certain, I never said all women were liars so I don’t know where you dredged that one up from.

        Just as I also stand accused of saying: “Secondly, to be told that I display the worst qualities of womanhood ( the neuroticism, hysterics, irrationality, bitchiness, cliqueness etc), simply because I’m a woman is one of the most offensive things that anyone could ever say to me.”

        Typical woman, words into a bloke’s mouth.

        Or tactic two, insult.

        “Yes I’m afraid I can’t really associate with someone so intellectually lazy they make sweeping statements about someone’s personality based on their gender”

        I take it you would also find it offensive if I said all women have breasts?

        As you are breaking off our engagement any chance of sending back the ring?

      • T Lover says:


        I didn’t say you had joined forces with Rosie either.

        That’s just your spin.

        Come on, let’s not fall out.

      • fi says:

        TLover – OH MY GOD. I think that was a menopausal temper tantrum!!!! Sorry. I went mental there. OH MY GOD. That was psycho rage.

      • T Lover says:


        I think women are lovely.

        And I wouldn’t pull your collective leg if I didn’t like the banter.

        Trouble is, we can’t always see the mischevious smile behind the email.

        Off to the races.

        No more banter till….

    • Elle says:

      Manalive, Plankton knew this man and the date had been arranged in a loose way for some time. If he (as you say) “didn’t like the look of her” he wouldn’t have bothered in the first place.

      Cynicism might be the easiest option but it’s not the answer. Despite this many middle-aged men wear their cynicism like a chest full of medals. In my opinion, cynicism is simply solidified self-pity and it isn’t attractive.

      Any of the regular posters here will tell you that Plankon is not wallowing in self-pity.

      • manalive says:

        I’m new here, I read her article and took the content at face value, not understanding there was a history between the couple…so I retract some of my statements. Nonethelesss, middle-aged dating is fraught with pitfalls and having gained something from this negative learning experience, perhaps she will be better-equipped for her next date.
        My defence mechanism when active was that all of my first encounters were meetings rather than dates. This approach evolved out of mismet expectations and after having to deal with several disappointments…. men bleed too!!!

      • The Plankton says:

        Thank you, Elle, very much. Pxx

  • Lindy says:

    Got to agree with the majority above, but can tell that you are still a little hooked and hoping. I wonder why? You don’t say that you found him physically attractive, but alluded to it in The Times by saying, if I recall, that your own fears prevented you from feeling what might have been that ‘elusive spark’. If that is the case and he is clearly intelligent and good company, it is a difficult hope to let go of. BUT, someone who shows such little interest in you that he can’t ask you one question! And after that disappointing e-mail too, when he might have redeemed himself somewhat! Such self-absorption surely couldn’t keep you hooked for long? – I do agree with Margaux’ comments: there is such a thing as shyness perhaps, but we should have learnt to cover it up by our twenties and one of the best ways is by being interested in someone else! I really have my fingers crossed that you can move on andn upwards soon – to not even reply to your text with, as you say, just a ‘nice to see you too’ is plain rude. Can’t believe, especially with all the nice things your two old male friends said to you earlier in the day, that your memory is already so selective that you want to crawl into a hole. He’s NOT WORTH IT! x

  • Mezzanine says:

    Hey Ms P

    I think he is a commitment phobe and just not that into you or any woman even. I think he likes his lifestyle too much to allow any woman or even male friends to enter his space. It could go deeper, who knows. I say the above with deep respect for you but please, for the sake of your low self-esteem and further down the line, sanity, move on. You can do so much better. He – the one – is out there :0) x

    • The Plankton says:

      Massive thanks. Hoping you are right! xx

      • Jo says:

        A rare drop-in out of the ether again P, because I must comment on this.
        I’m so sorry things have gone this way for you. I can well understand the disappointment, ‘flatness’ and hollow feelings that have ensued, following your (finally) meeting up with LS. The fact that – all the negative aspects notwithstanding. The lack of questions, words of a future meeting not forthcoming, not even the merest brush of a cheek on parting and most especially the quite staggering rudeness of no reply to your ‘thank you’ (no matter that it may yet come after aeons of time, comme d’habitude…) – you do like him, despite yourself is difficult for you. How much better if you could have walked away with feelings of dislike and relief that this could now, thankfully be ‘put to bed’ (as t’were), with no leftover feelings of any kind.
        But that is not the case is it? And still having feelings of ‘like’ is depressing. Especially (crucially) when there are no other twinkles in sight. (At the moment..). And feels never likely to be, from where you are – although none of us have crystal balls.
        So, what’s to be done? I must confess I am baffled by your dear, very wise and lovely friend Janey’s words that ‘he is especially shy and you shouldn’t give up hope’. Not because that may well be so, but this whole story has been going on for monntthhss………….and now after this, now begs the questions, how much longer for this ‘hope’?
        How much of this ‘shyness’ can be endured and qualified and explained and excused?
        How would any of this past history and/or behaviour manifest itself even if there were a full-blown relationship? I get that his times away. His elusiveness. His being only part-time around, would not worry you unduly. In fact, would fit quite acceptably with the structure of your life, family, solo stuff etc etc..Even if it would not for others. Plus, of course HE KNOWS YOUR FRIENDS. (Not shouting, just emphasising!). I get that, in one of his infrequent forays to these parts and with family and other people to see etc.. he chose (and had asked) to meet up with you.
        But here’s the rub P…
        Shy though he may be.. (Imo. Enough already on that. For fuck’s sake.).
        Not worth ‘giving up hope’ for he may be.. (Again. Imho. How long is this string of hope? Held together with one frail thread now I feel.).
        I think that for whatever reason, the way this man goes about things is utterly exasperating.
        I myself would now be have been put right off after the latest episode in this ‘story’.
        But I am not you. And only you know what you think.
        Right there in your gut. Gut feeling.
        There’s no accounting for it.
        But you have accounted for it over and over and over.
        I don’t agree with your friend Janey.
        But she knows him.
        She knows you.
        And only you know yourself…
        Much love to you P.
        And all. xx

  • rosie says:

    “you need to get real and do something about your fragile ego”.

    Hmm, I’m hearing the words ‘pot, kettle and black’. Men’s egos are famously the most fragile of the lot.

    • Redbookish says:

      And what is wrong with a fragile ego? Most people’s egos are fragile anyway. But most people don’t put themselves on the line to be judged.

      • MissM says:

        I want to know exactly what it is that one does do with a fragile ego? I ask because I have one and would much rather not, but I have not found out where to got to get it upgraded.

  • Lucy says:

    Dear Ms P, I’m thinking about this in a slightly different way. Didn’t you just need to really get started “dating” (awful word) again? So you’ve been on one. The guy sounded self obsessed, but the main thing is, you’ve done it and will again, I am sure. Especially since you know a lot of people and clearly have a lot going for you.

    Maybe this is just for starters. And by the way, I’ve noticed for some years that a lot of people talk only about themselves and never ask questions. It used to be thought rude to do this; I remember my mother telling me this. For the last 10 or 15 years, there’s been a lot of monologists about (females included). It seems to be a modern virus.

  • “I was auditioning for the part of being his friend.” Ms. P, that is simply dreadfully put.

    You are a woman — from reading here, an attractive, engaging and bright woman — who needs audition for no role or part.

    Clearly, you are filled with warmth, humor and generosity as illustrated by your dear, close friendships and even your community here. Simply allow yourself to be filled with those qualities from within and share them, and you will find you are irresistible!

  • Jo says:

    Last thing P.
    Apart from meeting up with you. I’m sorry to say that,from where I stand, there is nothing LS has done to demonstrate or communicate that he is interested in you. Hard, but true. NOTHING at all.
    Even this prime opportunity to do so, was unfulfilled.
    On this ‘date’ finally. NO questions? AT ALL? No interest in anything about you? Bloody hell P.
    P. It’s not just shyness. Shyness does not manifest like this.
    If you are interested in someone, you want to know about them. In fact, you can hardly wait to do so. And welcome the chance to find out. Even if only a little.
    As pater from ‘The Royle Family’ would say.
    Shyness? My arse..
    I truly hate to say this.
    But he’s not interested.
    You’d know by now goddammit.
    And certainly would have done after that evening.
    The very best to you P.
    I really am away

    • The Plankton says:

      Not so away that you will miss this comment, I hope? Thank you for both your comments, Jo. They make a lot of sense. Whilst everything you have said about him stands, I suppose I have been a bit unfair because I haven’t really expressed the good things about him, the upsides. I guess there just aren’t enough. Pxx

  • Alison says:

    So sorry to hear that it didnt have a better ending P. As you friend Janey knows him, could she do a bit of digging for you and find out once and for all what is going on, I know it sounds a bit school-girlish but someone needs to ask the question – and lets face it, he isn’t asking any as has been pointed out.

    I agree with Jo, but the fact remains that you wanted something to come of this or at least to know that something may never come of it and to get some closing on it (hows that for therapy-speak 🙂 ) why not send him a text asking him out, he did the asking last time, make it light and humorous, something about it being your turn now and see what happens and if his appalling rudeness continues by not replying or leaving a long gap before a reply, then you will know for certain without any lingering doubts.

    I have to say though, Jo could not have put it better, the harsh truth is that he probably isn’t that interested and is very self-absorbed and any further involvement could really hurt you.

    Lots of hugs and arnica for your bruised ego

  • Jo says:

    Thanks Alison!

  • Erin says:

    To whoever mentioned Asperger’s syndrome, that popped into my head too. And if indeed he does have it, he cannot help his actions. I am not making excuses for him here. You still would not want a relationship with someone with Asperger’s – very very difficult. Please get back on the horse, dear P – the sooner the better. It would only take one good date to make thoughts of LS fade away forever.

    • The Plankton says:

      You are so right! Asperger’s has definitely crossed my mind. And you are also right that another date might just blow thoughts of LS out of the water. Onwards and upwards! Pxx

    • EmGee says:

      Just thought I’d jump in here, since Asberger’s has come up repeatedly. My bf probably has it, although he’s never been diagnosed, and only recently has become aware himself that he may have it. I do know a few people who have been diagnosed, and while the affliction itself is not one size fits all, there are behaviors, body language and mannerisms that are pretty obvious if you know what to look for.

      It isn’t that they don’t have emotions or feelings, but they don’t know how to express these feelings correctly, which often leads to confused, and often hostile reactions from others, so they will often avoid emotional situations, or when they can’t avoid them, hold in and mask their emotions until they can’t stand it anymore and the resulting outburst is more of what appears to be a psychotic episode. Since they lack the natural ability to pick upon social cues from others, they learn correct emotional response from observing others, and when behaviors such as avoiding eye contact, nodding and subtle rocking are called to their attention, they make extra effort to mask these habits, in order to appear ‘normal’.

      I am always a bit leery of throwing out the term Asberger’s whenever someone appears to be antisocial, because sometimes antisocial behavior is just that; some people are just self centered, narcissistic, manipulative, selfish, etc. I just finished reading an autobiography of a person who was diagnosed with Asberger’s later in life, Called “Look Me In The Eye”, by John Elder Robison. It’s an interesting book for anyone interested in knowing more about people who are high functioning autistic.

      • Redbookish says:

        EmGee, I agree with you re Asperger’s. The partner of a good friend of mine is high-functioning ASD, and it’s not a “non-emotional” syndrome at all. Quite the reverse, and the ‘melt downs’ as you describe.

        I think it’s a bit of an insult to ASD people (neural atypical might be a better phrase) to describe anyone who is emotionally unresponsive as ASD. Sometimes, they’re just not very nice people, not ASD.

        But I think it’s also a tendency towards a particular kind of masculinity encouraged by our culture. Yet another bit of “home/housework” that a lot of men leave women to do. Feeling is feminine, and a burden on men. See all the buzz in the feminist blogs about the stupid, sexist promotion of 14th March as “Steak and Blow Job Day” and opposed to 14th February Valentine’s Day. That s, feelings and love etc are for girls. Red meat and guilt-free sex are for boys.

      • EmGee says:

        Redbookish, thanks for adding your comments about Asberger’s. It helps to have a confirming opinion when trying to set the record straight, so to speak.

        At my co-op gallery, the artists ‘sit’ one weekend every quarter and yesterday was my turn. What a nice surprise when my bf showed up with a thermos of hot tea (expected) and when he got there, he brought in his guitar and played it for awhile which totally came out of the blue. I don’t know how long it’s been since he played, but it’s been a long time since he played in front of me.

        Well if we have Father’s Day as well as Mother’s Day, I don’t see any problem offsetting a dreadful, totally commercial holiday like Valentine’s with an equally dreadful ‘holiday’ like Steak & Blow.

  • Jo says:

    God. I must go to bed….
    But really, very last thing P. (!).
    From what we, your great fond followers here, your dear friends, your male (married) appreciatives et al know of you, I can say this.
    You are worth infinitely more than what LS has demonstrated/offered/provided thus far.
    You are a diamond.
    Don’t do yourself down. You deserve better. X

    • Erin says:

      Word! : )

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you so much, Jo. And don’t go! Pxx

    • Redbookish says:

      A pedant writes: it’s AsPerger’s Syndrome” not AsBergers” — named after the Austrian doctor, Hans Asperger, who first documented a range of symptoms of neural atpyical children in his practice. I suppose in certain American versions of English, it might sound more like the ‘b’ rather than the more plosive “p”.

  • Jo says:

    Goodnight dear lovely P.
    Good luck.
    Good wishes.
    Goodbye for now. (Reluctantly!).

  • Lizzie says:

    Agree with most of what has already been said here, but one other thing jumps right out at me:
    “For us to like each other enough to want to see each other again was too much to hope for”.

    From the sound of this, you let go of the alternative – that he could be your friend, along with all your mutual friends, which could work well.

    If you pursued another meeting, rather than letting the situation go like a balloon floating away into the ether, you would, possibly, maintain a friendship hopefully free of any ‘does he like me’ ponderings.

    You could meet up with him with your mutual friends every time he is on your shores, creating an easy, natural ‘great to see you again’ friendship.

    Only then, over time, would you really get to know him and get to the bottom of his elusive and maddening personality traits.

    Only then could you relax in his company and communicate with him the same as you do all your other close friends, with warmth, humour and a genuine compatibaility status quo.

    It’s a win win situation. You have him in your circle of relatives and friends and he gradually becomes someone you can get to the bottom of. After some time, I feel, you would be growing to like him more, or you would be thinking ‘thank goodness that never went anywhere’!

    A win win.

    PS. It’s easy to miss a text message. If you answer the phone quickly without looking at the ‘message notification’ icon, that icon then disappears, and the only way you would realise that you received that message would be to look back through your phone and search for it.
    Just saying. I’ve done it many a time.

  • Dawn says:

    I was told by a man long ago that if a man is interested in a woman, nothing will stand in his way in the declaration and/or demonstration of that interest. There is calling (ringing up), texting, e-mailing, postal mail and actually showing up on the doorstep jabbing at the doorbell. There is sending flowers, telegrams, candy… in other words, there are many, many options with regard keeping in contact with a person. I have always taken a lack of contact to mean a lack of interest. So far I’ve not been wrong on this count (although on most other things).

    If he’s not interested, it’s his loss. On the bright side, it frees you up to find a man you don’t have to decipher like a sudoku puzzle, which will be a whole lot more fun.

  • Burt says:

    P: Don’t be discouraged. A while back you recounted how the men you’ve been attracted to tend to be idiosyncratic and self-absorbed. (I’m not quoting here, but that was the rough idea.) He may be interested, but interested only in the way an idiosyncratic and self-absorbed man can be.

    Somewhere someone on the net is memorizing a new seduction technique: Don’t ask her any questions! She’ll lose all certainty and confidence, and be dying to call and arrange to see you again, against her better judgment! Say something nice about her to your mutual friends! Then, email her in a month! Bwahahaa!

    Of course, LS may just do that spontaneously. That’s his charm, isn’t it?

    • The Plankton says:

      Well, not really, but I take your point. Px

      • Burt says:

        Look closer. (I’d say “Look more closely”, but it’s a quotation.)

        I have it on good authority that women don’t particularly like considerate men; they want men that they are otherwise attracted to to be more considerate, which is different, because a good part of the reason women are attracted to the men they’re attracted to is they’re not particularly considerate.

        It’s going to happen again. Embrace it.

      • Burt says:

        That is, the reason women are attracted to the men they’re attracted to is those men are not particularly considerate.

      • EmGee says:

        I like considerate men.

        PS Please tell me who your ‘good authority’ is, it would clear up a lot of the confusion caused by all the ‘poor authorities’. 😉

      • The Plankton says:

        I can’t seem to find the “good authority” reference in order to answer your question!? Apologies. Can you direct me to it? Pxx

      • EmGee says:

        Burt’s got the scoop, you’ll have to ask him:
        BURT: “I have it on good authority that women don’t particularly like considerate men;…)

      • Burt says:

        No argument from authority here, at least not that I’d care to share, just a suggestion that I didn’t invent the idea that the men who women are attracted to are only adverbially considerate. Like P’s idiosyncratic and self-absorbed men, something other than a woman animates them, and there’s an accidental quality to their consideration, such as it is.

  • catherine says:

    I think some people are just not question-askers, out of habit or culture. Here for example, I find many people quite happily have train-track conversations, with no crossing over in between. It can leave you feeling very bereft. And exhausted. My ex who is really a dear has probably never asked me more than two questions, leaving me talking and talking like a silly thing.

    I’m curious – and equally out of practice – what did you speak about, with no exchange or deep compelling questions? You speak of delight, but was he really going to crack open your mind the way we wish?

    I’m still rather cross he didn’t reply to your text. Manners!

  • rosie says:

    “Brits are all dark horses in my experience – difficult to see which way they are seeing you.”

    Unless you’re on a date with Russell Brand, in which case it’s probably a foregone conclusion.

  • rosie says:

    “Women completely defensive about another they have never met – and offensive about a bloke on the back of pure speculation.

    No hint of reason or balance.”

    SOME women. Find some balance.

    • T Lover says:


      There I am getting a wigging from a new girlfriend.

      She to me: one thing that gets right up my nose. When a bloke says women are all the same.

      Me to her: they are, all barking.

      Me to complete stranger passing with wife and two teenage children: excuse me, are women all the same?

      Stranger: (after a millisecond’s thought – perhaps as to whether he dare answer in the presence of three women including his wife and teenage daughter) of course they (mild swearword) well are!

      I think it is absolutely great, men complement women and vice versa. Vive la difference. But you have to laugh don’t you?

  • rosie says:

    @TLover Your posts make me feel more like crying, but there you go.

    • T Lover says:


      Sorry, don’t mean to have that effect on you.

      • Mezzanine says:


        I’ve got to say T-Lover’s posts nearly always make me laugh. He, like Ms P, has a way with words and he does make some valid points! Just my opinion for what it is worth :0) x

      • Mrs T Lover says:


        The daft old bugger has just fainted.

        Not sure it was what you just said or when I read what he had said and I hit him across the mouth with a rolling pin.

        If you see an overwieight dwarf (horizontally challenged short person to you Guardian readers) spitting out bits of teeth at the festival tomorrow, that’s him.

  • Margaux says:

    Mrs T – ( oooh, that’s scary to a Guardian reader!) -methinks you confuse me with my fellow Plankton, Mezzanine

    But do I think that husband of yours – Mr T -needs a good spanking. 😉

  • He hould have repsonded to your felicitation.

  • leiq says:

    Plankton, let me tell you what my wonderful but sadly departed mother used to say to me on such occasions:

    ‘Never mind darling, plenty more bastards in the sea.’

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