Forgive Me

March 29, 2012 § 122 Comments

Some weeks ago here I contemplated not blogging every day, was given much support for the idea by loyal commentators, and promptly ignored it.  I had this notion in my mind that I had blogged every day for several months and should stick to that, at least for one year.  A bit like starting an exercise programme and doggedly making oneself do it every day without fail, like wearing a hair shirt.

Writing this blog daily has not been like wearing a hair shirt, I have enjoyed it a lot, but I have changed my mind about the daily posting.  A conversation with a friend last night made me realise that I could be slowly driving myself mad and becoming more obsessive and that I need to get out and be doing something else entirely unrelated.  And I should be writing a book, which I am failing to do and putting off because the writing is all going into this blog.

I have not got anything to prove – “I wrote a blog every day for a whole year!”  Yeah?  And?  And I am running out of things to say every day and am becoming a bore.  My friend said I should give it up completely and maybe she’s right, but I am not sure I need to go that far yet.  What I want to do is write my Times column every week and this blog as and when the desire – need? – takes me.  I don’t intend to disappear just yet but I do intend to blog slightly less often.  I am so sorry.

The next couple of weeks, for example, are a kind of holiday.  Children away.  I might go away myself (though probably won’t).  I think I just need to clear my head, and read books and slump into solitude and probably depression.  It will be cleansing in a funny way.

I hope all the loyal and supportive readers of this blog will understand and forgive me.


§ 122 Responses to Forgive Me

  • Aggie says:

    Completely agree with you. You have written SO much on the subject already, and kept feeding the beast and us entertained when you no doubt often had little to give. Clear your head, give yourself a break, get started on your book and let us know when something interesting happens next! x

  • Hey, you’ve been doing a terrific job, and the blog has been fabulous, and hugely thought-provoking, not to mention debate-provoking. But blogging can take over your life to the detriment of other things you should be doing, not least income-producing ones, so no-one is going to think the worse of you for not blogging so much.

    But please keep us updated on the progress of your various twinkles…

  • Lindy says:

    I would like to be one of the first to say: “How sad, I will miss my daily read!” – and, equally: “Good for you!” Indeed there is nothing to prove and the last thing that any of your many supporters would want is for the writing of this blog, which adds much to our lives, to be somehow detracting from yours. I quite agree that writing every day is a sapping discipline with no particular merit per se and, although I hope you don’t take your friend’s advice just yet and give up completely, writing when you want or need to seems a much healthier option going forward. Someone commented recently that you seemed to her to be something of a people-pleaser and it would be a pity if you felt that we came under the umbrella of those who need ‘looking after’ or fixing in some way. So off you go and do something different, travel – or not – write your book – or not – and I know that I will be one amongst many who will look forward to reading your posts as and when you choose to write them. x

  • Twinkletoes says:

    Of course we will understand and forgive you, but what’s to forgive?

    Have a good rest x

  • Lydia says:

    N prob lem with that at all. My son wrote quite a popular blog at university, huge effort went into it. He was interviewed on some on line TV channels about it but ultimately his interests changed and yes he disappointed his readership but it was time to move on.

    Here it would be good to do it when you want to and post the Times’ blog too here.

    Sometimes not thinking about getting a man can be a good way of getting one.

    I saw my widower last night who is quite keen. We got on much better and saw a nice film together. He’s not exactly what I need but it’s nice. I’m enjoying it and accepting his limitations. At least he can walk. Wheelchair man writes much longer emails and herpes man writes as much as I do which I prefer. So I shall keep at it too.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thanks. I will keep posting my Times blog here once a week so, whatever happens, there will be a weekly posting guaranteed and more often than not, more than that probably. Px

  • zoe says:

    Can’t help but ask, P: is your book on the same kind of search-for-a-man-in-middle-age subject as this blog?

  • Elle says:

    Plankton, no need to apologise. You deserve a big long rest after keeping us entertained for so long. The days are getting longer and brighter and it’s good to get outside more. Enjoy your break and take time out for yourself and your children. Do nice things, surround yourself with nice people and recharge your batteries. It’s amazing what happens when we’re more rested and positive.

  • Barry says:

    Blogging is personal , you can use it as and when you wish .
    I still wont buy the Times as it cost up to £5 a copy here , lol .

    Your e-mail notification will alert your avid followers when you have “Blogged” ….just refrained from a bad taste joke there!

    Worry not ,live YOUR LIFE , stop fretting about what YOU think OTHERS think about YOU …xxx

    You come across as a person who is slowly discovering all your values are not what you thought they were.
    I had this “Damascian” experience…the road afterwards is worth the effort I promise …xx

    Bisous a tu , je t’embrace tres fort.

  • MissM says:

    As Elle said, no need to apologise, and at the same time, as Lindy said, I am a little sad that I will miss my daily read. But you really mustn’t feel you need to keep blogging each and everyday, I have noticed that blogs that have daily postings are in the minority. While dedication is a fine thing, it would be dreadful if this blog became just another chore you felt you had to do. Far better to make it something you look forward to writing when you feel the urge to share. I am confident we will all still be devoted followers. I know I will look forward to and enjoy all of your blog posts whenever they appear.

  • Amanda says:

    Quite right too and absolutley nothing to forgive. Thank you for all the enjoyment you have given me & I will look forward to your Times column and any updates xx

  • chris says:

    Here here Planky, I got the sense a little while ago you were getting a touch peed off with this blog. I think it would be an excellent idea for you to write a book, to try your pithy style in a different format.

    Something that has occurred to me over the monthe though is how many of your contributors are really looking for a permanent relationship with a man ? Because it is not that hard to find someone, but with a big premise. And that is, if you want someone you have to give them what they want, you have to focus on their needs. In countries like Russia and the Ukraine where there are surpluses of women, the ladies tend to make the running and focus on the needs of the man they desire, or to be more accurate, actually have a hope of getting. Now in the light of what I have just written, how many women here would be prepared to put themselves second to gain what they purport to seek ? Not many I would wager. Remeber in Britain there is a slight surplus of females to males, so women are hardly as rare as Pandas !! think about it girls, how much do you REALLY want a man ? An honest appraisal may save a lot of angst and heartache

    • RS says:

      Chris, we want the man who is right for each of us. And in many cases that means some small sacrifices and compromises, as with any healthy, supportive relationship. However I think most here have been pretty clear that there are things we won’t compromise on, and we are OK with that. Putting ourselves second isn’t something that appeals to most – we desire equality – and if a man expects that of us, then by and large we don’t want him. There has been plenty of honest appraisal here regarding that.

      If some men want to go purchasing their wives from other countries because they want someone subservient, someone who’ll worship them, then that’s their perogative. But let’s not pretend that the women are with them purely because they think they are the most wonderful men on the planet. Even if the guys try to tell themselves that.

      • chris says:

        Well, in he first place I never did go looking abroad. As I said I met all the ladies I have been out with in this country. Funnily enough all had originally been ‘ imported ‘ by Brish men who had married them and abused them to varying degrees. All were ( and are ) rather attractive ( well, I supose a guy would not go to the expense bringing a foreign wife in entails ion order to import a ‘ minger ‘ ). nyway, I am quite happy with the situation, but why these womens original husbands had to bhe so unpleasant to them I don’t know. Perhaps that says something about the psyche of British men who seek wioves abroad.In which case you lot are better off without them. As for ‘ putting yourself second ‘, both parties in a relationship have to be prepared to do that. Lets face it, many a women now expect the man to put himself second in order that her needs can be met. Lastly, as this blog now seems to be winding up, I wish you allsuccess in your search for personal happiness.

      • MissM says:

        Good point about putting yourself second in a relationship, however both parties need to do that not just one or the other, regardless of which gender they are. Sadly, as your friends found out, the sort of man who specifically seeks a woman who is willing to put herself second, tends to have no inclination to do the same himself, and tends to behave as though it is not true that women are people too.

    • MissM says:

      RS has given you a fantastic reply to your post Chris.

      I am curious as to why you would think what we want is any man at any price as opposed to a partnership with an equal who values us as a person as much as we value them as a person? If you are looking at Russian bride sites and such like online, remember those women are not interested in men as much as they are interested in getting out of their country. You are quite right that they have made the assessment that servitude to a male is the price they are willing to pay to get that.

    • Margaux says:

      RS and MissM have summed it up Chris – a man in return for a life of subservience? I don’t think so…..

  • Brigitte says:

    Take a much deserved break, P. There are plenty of blogs on the internet to keep us entertained (I read about 8 everyday). I think we are all sinking into a rut of “poor us” and not achieving results, although it does feel good to unload our burdens here and receive sympathy and know we are not alone. I am so thankful to have found your blog. Thank you for bringing this subject up for discussion in a safe environment.

    • The Plankton says:

      A pleasure, and thanks for sticking with me. Pxx

    • MissM says:

      Not sure why we need to “achieve results”. For me the sharing and not feeling alone, the unloading of burdens and the sympathy, those things are entirely enough. Where else on the net can we go to get those things? For those who are result focussed there are more self-help and advice columns out there than I could ever possibly read in a hundred lifetimes.

      • The Plankton says:

        Let this still be a refuge for all those things (unloading of burdens and sympathy), even if I am not posting every day! pxx

      • Brigitte says:

        I agree MissM.

        I have read numerous self-help columns, books, etc. and found very few that dealt with the issue of middle-age women and dating. I found refuge here amongst those of my kind and am forever grateful towards P. for having the courage to open up dialogue on the subject. Lately, though, P. has said herself that she has not had much happen to write about (except for the new twinkle, of course) and we have resorted to fighting amongst ourselves. It’s like we have lost our way without P.’s words or wisdom.

      • The Plankton says:

        Wow, Brigitte, thank you. Kind words. I am only bowing out for a few days and then will be back, if slightly less frequently. Whatever happens, I’ll be posting Monday’s Times columns on Tuesdays. Pxx

      • Brigitte says:

        That was supposed to be “middle-aged” women.

  • rosie says:

    I’ll be sad not to have my daily fix but completely understand, P. It’s a massive undertaking to keep up a daily blog, especially if you’re not feeling particularly inspired.

    Hopefully some time out will allow you to decide what your next move is, although I hope that won’t be to give up on it forever. I’ll look forward to the Times’ column each week in the meantime.

    And I know it’s as ridiculous as saying ‘please don’t break a leg’ but please don’t slump into a depression!

    @Zoe, if it was I’d lay bets it would be a best-seller.

  • june says:

    Nothing to forgive P, you have entertained us, made us feel we are not alone and provoked many interesting discussions, never stop it altogether, its a good forum for us planktons to let off steam. I do see your point, you can keep going on an on about it in your head,this being a plankton but deep down inside you know damm well what can you really do about it. So enjoy the break, and come back refreshed.

    Chris you may have a point about how much many of us really want a man, most women do compromise so not to be alone,thinking of all my friends with men,they have. If i admit it really, the only women i know who are alone,are those who deep down inside are too choosey and yes ill admit i am, at my age i probably want a lot more than what id get. Most women dont choose to be alone, if they have a partner they not happy with, they have a replacement lined up before they ditch the one they have, or if he leaves they soon settle for anything. If they cant find a replacement , they stay. I am in good shape for a women of my age and i am told i look much younger , but i know being over 60 my options are limited,younger men however i look wont want me, but as i find most men of my age totally unattractive,
    especially the odd one or two ive had contact me from POF, then i guess im choosing to be alone. If i was really that desperate i would compromise, but i wont, and i bet most of us planktons are the same,a sad but true fact which i know most of us wont face up to, i know im guilty and seeing what most of us say on here, me thinks most others are too.

    So P never feel your blog hasnt been worthwhile i think its made many of us planktons come to terms with our situation better, it has me. Lots of my friends i am sure think what people on here have said but are too close to say it to me.Sadly i dont think it will make me compromise,sometimes i wish i could , especially when being alone sucks too much, but we are what we are and its hard to change when older.

  • ex-pond-slime says:

    Ditto everything above (except maybe Chris … though he has a point…).

    Well, and except for alternativegeometry. Sorry to disagree, but much as I would love to be updated on twinkle progress, that right there is another good reason for you to take a break now. I really hope things may develop, with ST or someone else, and this blog could be the kiss of death to that.

    I’d say draw on past experiences for a weekly column, and steer right away from writing about anything – good, bad, or nothing-to-report – about the present. Until you can update us in the form of a guest post from your new husband. Now that would be a nice end to a proper love story!

    Good luck, and thank you!

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you, expondslime. I have often worried about this blog being the kiss of death on that score and thought I’d cross that bridge when I came to it. I haven’t come to it, I hasten to add, but I hope to some day soon so… Anyway, I am still here, just not every day. Thanks for your wise advice. Pxx

  • Bambi says:

    Look at what you have achieved already, P…. So much has been ‘outed’ by you and many people feel less alone as a result of the topics you have raised. Would be great if you were to post The Times article here, if you can. If not, don’t worry – you have done so much already, THANK YOU!

    • The Plankton says:

      A pleasure, Bambi, and yes, it is absolutely poss for me to keep posting the times article here on Tuesdays (and I’m sure I’ll be doing odd ones as well in between. I think I just need a wee break now, and not to do it quite so often). pxx

  • T Lover says:

    Can I be blunt? In your shoes I would give up.

    The whole thing is becoming repetitive. It must be impossible to find new nuances. Those posts which attracted 100 plus comments are becoming rarer.

    Once a week based on the Times article but spiced up by more interaction with/from the author might be an answer.

    I would be fascinated to see pictures of and know more about the commentators. What happened to some of the old boys like Dan?

    Whatever, thank you. The blog has helped me through some sticky times.

    • The Plankton says:

      I am not sure I agree that the over-100 comment posts are becoming rarer but I take your blunt point TLover. I am glad the blog has helped you through some sticky times and hope it still might, sporadically. Pxx

    • I can’t figure out how to upload a picture of myself into the icon that appears next to my name here…. And yes, I’m using my real name here, although I do understand that there are quite a few reasons that people would prefer to write into a blogsite like this using a pen name…

    • zoe says:

      Brigitte posted her photo in that Facebook page the other day. It was great to put a face to the posts.

      • T Lover says:


        I imagine that the commentators are nothing like my mind picture either in looks or personality.

        Perhaps those who have been knocking spots off one another might find they rather like the enemy after all…..

        Sadly, Mrs T Lover has in my case said “no” and you know what it’s like. Must obey.

        It was the mention of that Bambi and mind pictures that did it. Straight round to see Father O’Feugh, ear in a vice of a grip, nearly twisted off me skull and more Hail Marys than I could count….

      • Well, you’ll all get to see what I look like in mid May, if Ms. Plankton permits it, I’ll post a link to my youtube video of how to assemble a jellyfish costume. And then you’ll all get to welcome me into the first year of p’tonhood….

        By the way, the multicolored glow sticks and the Christmas tree decoration lights have arrived now….

  • Erin says:

    No need to feel guilty dear P – the blog will become fun for you again when you don’t feel pressured to make entries. Then you can sporadically post a grand one on the order of the “sheep’s front rear end” magnitude when you feel the need to have a big vent : ) We will all still be here rooting for you and hope the next posting finds you over the moon in a serious relationship. Life is to be enjoyed – you have many things going on in yours and it’s time to think of self. All the best of you!

  • But if you do succeed in finding a new boyfriend within the next couple of weeks, you’ll tell us, right?

  • Steve says:

    We’ll all still be here when you get back, P.

    And if your message regarding taking a break has warranted almost 40 replies, you can rest assured that any topic you propose (even if there is no prose to accompany it) will stimulate plenty of debate.

    See you soon!


  • Take a break! Commit to post only once a week (twice if events warrant). You’ll feel it less of a burden and [knock wood] it will get the creative juices flowing again. I had a book blog with daily posts that got 1,000+ hits a day, but had to give it up because it was Just Too Much to maintain along with my career and social life. I enjoyed it while it lasted, but miss it only occasionally.

    Enjoy your time off.

  • Margaux says:

    All good things are worth waiting for. And your life is for living! A blog should never become an all consuming thing – so write when you feel like it not when you think you should – and have a lovely break! you deserve it ! x

  • paolo says:

    We’ve all benefited from your generosity in sharing your daily thoughts on the tribulations of Planktonhood. Now it’s time for you to take a break. Maybe start writing that book. Or better yet, stop thinking about men for a while. Because you know that, as soon as you do, you’ll finally meet one, and let us all hope that he is beardless, witty, and wise.

  • anniebub says:

    Dear P. You have done so well and kept everyone entertained and informed even when your heart is bleeding and you are fed up and there is nothing left to say. Do what I do, (and I would really love it if you would find a moment to reply to the email I sent you a few weeks’ ago when I invited you to read an entry from my blog and give me your opinion – when you asked for a guest blog etc) – just an idea, and write WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE IT. This is no less disciplined, just may give you more satisfaction. That’s how I feel about blogging anyway. Have a good break. Am still rooting for you but have been through a huge maelstrom myself in the last few weeks… do so hope new twinkle lights up for you. xx

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear anniebub, thank you for this very much and I am so sorry I didn’t reply to your email. Please could I prevail upon you to send it again to and i promise I will respond, next week with any luck. Pxx

      • Fi0na says:

        A sign of how extremely busy you’ve been. You also missed my proposal for a guest blog… All the best. As someone else said even if you just grunted you’d probably elicit lively debate here!

      • The Plankton says:

        No, funnily enough, I was thinking last night that I forgot to say in yesterday’s post, GUEST BLOGS STILL WELCOME! So please do send me yours if you’d still like to. Pxx

  • ToneDeafSinger says:

    Hi Plankton, well I have already said it… I think you should write when you feel like it rather than every day come hell or high water!

  • Ms. P

    Abraham Lincoln once said “You’ve got to let your well fill once in a while.” Only you know when you’ve drawn it down a little too far. I’ve already noted your extensive involvement with family, friends, acquiantances, others. A self-imposed daily blog requirement that has become burdensome does you no good nor, in the final analysis, does it do us any. A refreshed and newly engaged Ms. P is in everyone’s interest. Enjoy.

  • Ah, who are you kidding? We all know that you’ll be spending the next 2 weeks perusing male porn websites… …..

  • RS says:

    I’ll just echo the comments of most in thanking you for all the hard work, entertaining writing, and for also baring your soul this past while.

    I think it’s so wise to take a break and shift your focus, or at the very least broaden in to some other interests. Sometimes too much introspection and focus on one’s own feelings can keep a person from moving forward.

    Have no fear that when you do see fit to put your thoughts down here, there will be a stampeded to read what you’ve written.

    And please, please take yourself off to Paris.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you so much, RS. I love the idea of the stampede when I do next put my thoughts down. As for Paris: thanks for the encouragement, but maybe next time. This time, I think I just need to have a few lie-ins! Pxx

      • RS says:

        Ahhh but do you love the idea of a stampeded? 😉 Arrrgh. Must read through before hitting the post button!
        Lie-ins are good too. Not as good as lie-ins in Paris, but pretty good on their own. Do some nesting. And do some things that are a bit out of the norm too. I think that would be good for you. It’s been good for me in the past. xx

      • The Plankton says:

        Absolutely! Thanks. pxx

  • Joules says:

    Dear P

    Just to second or third or whatever it is up to now everyone else. I will miss your daily missive, even if I don’t always respond I always read it every day.
    I hope you get away. I am in Vienna, waiting for my sis and her family to arrive. Flight was not fun (rough and an aborted landing) but I am here now and looking forward to seeing new things, in new places with people I love.

    I also understand not commenting on things that might be developing nicely – at the very least you owe it to whomever that it develops between the two of you and not between the two of you and all of us.

    Take care, lots of love and go do some exploring outside the realms of the blogosphere.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thanks so much, Joules. I don’t have much faith that Surprise Twinkle is going to come good (though do I ever?) but just need to take a wee rest for a few days. Pxx

  • EmGee says:

    I second pretty much what everyone else here has said. Thanks for all you’ve done, and I look forward to posts in the future. Cheers!

  • Mel says:

    Take a break P – and don’t feel guilty, enjoy it! And yes – GO to Paris, or somewhere….get out and about to new places when you can. I’ve just come to Brazil for 2 weeks – alone….scared but excited. Remember – a change is as good as a rest. Take a rest! Best – and thanks too…. Mel

  • Dawn says:

    Be free, lovely Plankton! Not that we all won’t miss a daily post, but you’ve earned a break. I’ll look forward to reading your column. Wishing you all the best!

  • Lizzie says:

    Absolutely impossible to keep writing every day – even every couple of days – you would be running out of steam let alone imaginative missives on a neverending topic.

    We all identify with you. We all commiserate. We all understand the logic that should prevail and sort our lives out. But it’s just not that simple is it? It is a complete learning curve upon which some are quicker to catch on than others. Wishing you all the best. Look forward to the occasional post.

  • Lydia says:

    You’ll all have to make do with my reports. Poor you. So spoke to two today almost noe after the other, both for the second time and the one I realyl want to speak to (the widower) simply wants to meet next week and doesn’t speak much on the phone but I’m getting to know what he’s like. I can live with it for now.

    Wheelchair man wanted to speak (he’s abroad) – he’s nothing like as fast I am and he doesn’t ask much about me. I’m not at all sure even if he could walk and weren’t on a heap of pills that even then it would be okay. I did ask quite a bit about his tablets, there are loads. It sounds awful, Poor him. he told me about his vasectomy too. I should issue a rule book for men – how to make women want you… first of all ask them about them, secondly tell them they are beautiful etc etc. It’s absolutely easy and so many fail. I could sell on line courses in it.

    The other one had annoyed me when I rejected him by working out my identity and telling me, then he kind of skulked back realising I am much better than most but tonight (and he is very very keen to meet) I just felt and in fact said that he might be cold, not caring in the way other men I know are. Too materialistic. Long initial discussion about bank lending (which okay I can do as I’m pretty bright on most topics) but that’s not how you get into the knickers of women. He may just want sex too, you can usually tell.

    Then I had a massive influx of new emails on one site – I think because it’s nearly Easter. I notice these patterns – lonely men or men wanting a girl friend around holiday periods. Perhaps they are on holiday or they are thinking about another holiday without a girl to show off or something. That got a bit much although it was fun for a few hours. I was trying to work. Anyway two are married and we had with one a nice little chat about the marriage problems, and my usual spiel about what a bad deal the unmarried person gets and it’s not for me – his problem seems to be univesrity fees. Cannot leave the wife whilst he still has school and then univesrity fees to pay as she lost her job. I made some unhelpful comment about people making bad career choices which mean they are trapped with their partner. He is finding it hard to find someone who wants to be his bit on the side, believe it or not…..

    There were so many they are merging into one. I can remember the ones on the phone. One sent a photo – bit of a bulging tummy though, glasses – that’s okay. trainers which never look that good on middle aged men – but I think I offered to speak to him. Cant’ remember. I Hope I have a note. I think I can’t seem to see a note here about someone tomorrow. May be nothing was arranged. Perhaps I asked him and am waiting to hear. Oh yes he wanted only to meet so that usually means dreadful accent or incoherent on the telephone and I always speak first on the phone so I’ve asked him what his difficulties are with using the telephone. Some of them think if they cannot really speak that when you see them you will be so impressed with their looks you will fall at their feet presumably wearing ear plugs so you don’t have to hear their lumbering diction.

    If the widower would just get himself organised (although he’s not well today actually so that’s not his fault but he’s definitely not into much contact which is a pity) that could work. He’s very nice. I expect I’ll have to arrange everyting again for next week.
    Children broken up from schoo, rush of work right through to Good Friday and then away for work abroad almost immediately after so really not huge amount of time for all these men today but they are interesting and lovely.

    • MissM says:

      I enjoyed reading your ‘report’ Lydia, thank you for posting it.

      You are so right about how easy it is for a man to make a woman want you, but the trouble is, no matter how good the book, most men simply will not want to read it. Whether it is because they think they already have what it takes so they needn’t bother, or they don’t care that much about women in general, I do not know. It is a pity since telling a woman she is beautiful is so simple, it will give such good results for the man, everyone will feel good, and the situation would be win-win.

      There never seems to be a shortage of men looking for a bit on the side, I understand there are whole sites that cater to them now, but I am not sure there is enough women to satisfy the demand. Maybe that is the problem, while women are looking for meaningful relationships, the men are looking for relationship free sex.

    • RS says:

      I too like reading Lydia’s reports of her internet dating site experiences.

      Agree with both you and MissM regarding some men and their absolute uselessness at conversing with a woman. MissM has hit it on the head – a compliment costs a man nothing and gets him so much. How lovely it is to have someone tell you you’re gorgeous, or that your hair looks nice, or that you look particularly fetching today, etc etc. There is ALWAYS something about a woman that a man could find to compliment with sincerity.

      Here’s a teeny report of my own!

      Just now I had an email exchange with a man 17 years older than I am. When I pointed out the age difference was an issue he replied that I was so predictable (which leads me to think he’s had a similar reply in the past). I asked if he wouldn’t think I was a bit inappropriate if I were going after 29 year olds and am afraid that I also retorted that the main predictable thing in our exchange was an aging guy going after a considerably younger and more attractive woman, which wasn’t very nice of me! Heh. I will often call out men when they do this, if they have that superiority complex some seem to. Not all, by any means!!

      And oh, you do not want to know about the fury that I unleash on the married ones!

      • MissM says:

        Good for you RS. I think in fact I might indeed enjoy the fury you unleash on the married ones.

        Whenever they tell me age is not relevant to them, I ask them how many women who are 12/15/20 years older than them they have approached, since I am suspicious that it may only be irrelevant as long as the woman is the younger one. I have had the occasional admission that they are “old fashioned” thus they believe the woman “should” be younger. But I also get the reliable escape clause that yes they would ask out a woman 12/15/20 older than them as long as “they found her attractive”. No prizes for guessing how many the found attractive.

        But my all time favourite was by another woman in her forties whose reply when she was approached by a man of sixty, was to ask him if the world had run out of sixty year old women! I never got the chance to use that, those age filters on dating sites are a godsend.

      • RS says:

        @ MissM – Oh yes, that old chestnut about age being irrelevant!
        What I find very interesting is the number of men in their 30s (and 20s but we won’t go there) who really do not care about age. Many of them won’t put any sort of limits – they are interested more in the person – and it’s the older men (well a certain type of older one) who are so rigid. I will have to use your friend’s line!

        I’ve posted this link before but here is it again… interesting reading especially in the comments (make sure you have the “all” discussions button pushed when reading and make sure to open up all the replies). The Jezebel commenters are mostly younger women but a lot use internet dating and I found this a fascinating read.

        Also the Daily Fail (I know, I know, but it’s a hilarious source of pearl clutching outrage) has this Bel Mooney column where the first letter from a guy is pretty interesting, as are some of the comments again.–blueprint-love.html

        Regarding married men skulking on dating sites looking for someone on the side, the word weasel features prominently in my replies.

      • Lydia says:

        I’ve had an older boyfriend and it worked well and one 10 years younger who was one of the best. However like most people we tend to find more in common with people our age. Men say to me they have had their children and women in their 30s want children or they have nothing in common with younger ones. The widower was about his wife’s age, slightly younger so I imagine as most people seek to replicate things that work and he wants someone who is a mother that someone about his age feels about right.

        I have also said to those who are older that the older person gets all the advantages (unless the older one is very rich and they virtually never earn what I do). Also they usually want someone who doesn’t work without children so I say look seekj the unemployed impoverished woman of 60 without chidlren around and she will have all the time in the world to follow you on your travels across the globe. They tend not to want her as they’ve just paid a huge amount out to a housewife on their divorce and want someone who earns her own keep now.

        Someone asked me today what brand of watch I wore when I went on a night out. I let him down gently. Iv’e nothing to prove. Could buy any watch I like and thus like one that doesn’t make me feel I’ve something to show off about. I bet he didn’t understand… pause.. ah he’s not replied to that one. He looked quite good but didn’t write quite well enough. I need brains higher than looks even.

        Yes, it’s not that hard to make women (or men for that matter) feel good. It’s all in the flattery.

        Onwards and upwards.. survived waxing today and then a broadsheet sent a photographer which was mildly exciting (not the man… didn’t fancy him)… and much work. Not spoken to any men, just a text from the widower who does the minimum possible to retain contact which is not wise really but his choice.

        I’m never very nasty to the married ones. People find themselves in all sorts of situations and have to work out the best compromise for them. Mostly they aren’t wicked, whether male or female although it’s not how I would choose to behave. I take pleasure in giving them advice on how to improve things or solve their issues.

      • EmGee says:

        Re: RS’s Jezebel link, and the replies posted there:

        The article took a nice poke at the writer’s peers, and really pulled their covers. Who better than a guy to know how other guys think?

        I can only shake my head with bemusement when the me repliers trot out the noble “maybe he just wants to start a family” defense as opposed to the tawdry “he needs to feed his fragile ego”.

        While I agree there may be a few men for whom the fertility of a younger woman is important, there is also the unappealing emphasis in our society when it comes to how many children a man can sire. I mean, what’s the big deal? It isn’t like takes a physical toll on his body, doesn’t have anything to do with ow much sex he’s had, I just don’t get it.

        I also am appalled at older men who are so proud to have a kid in their late 50s and on, when chances are their child will be fatherless before they reach adulthood, and the mother at that time may very well be close to or in her forties, alone with a child, and looking forward to being a Plankton. Hurray for the old fart. The woman must be equally short sighted, to think this guy’s going to be able to support her, when in fact, if he lives, as soon as her kids leave the nest, he will be in need of nursing.

        I have at least one guy friend who is 62 and was disgusted by an older friend who had a child at 60. Even though the guy is well off, it maddened him that the child nay be without a father when growing up. It was refreshing to hear, since most guys tow the line (whether they believe it or not) that it is some kind of accomplishment.

  • Catherine says:

    Dear P,
    I have a hard time keeping up with your blog let alone tending to my own (which only happens once a week and now there are technical problems to be seen to). Be easy on yourself. Blogging is terribly time-consuming and only marginally useful, whereas a bigger project might tip everything in a different way.

    I’m rereading now, hope all is going well for you xxcat

  • Redbookish says:

    Absolutely nothing for you to apologise for, or for your readers to forgive.

    I think blogging is a really interesting phenomenon, and personal blogging particularly so. I started reading blogs at a minor crisis point in my personal life & I’ve been intrigued by the almost-anonymous confessional ever since (but you protect your anonymity fairly well, although I’m sure no-one is safe from a bit of really detailed cyber-stalking — not that I’m proposing that!) One blog I found really interesting to read just stopped because the blogger got sick of the commenters telling her what to do, and I suspect her identity wasn’t as protected as she’d hoped. Another blog I read is constantly teetering on the person being “found out” by real life friends. Fascinating stuff: we read writers’ diaries when they’re published, but reading a blog is a little like reading someone’s diary as they’re writing it.

    Another fascinating thing is how we seem almost instinctively to form communities and alliances, even in this disembodied form. And animosities as well …

    I’ve really appreciated this blog as an indication of a shared personal situation (although I’m obviously heading for complete invisibility and permanent celibacy as I’m a little over 50 and an alpha female with high standards in some things), and as a (relatively) friendly and safe space to say it how it is from the inside, at our worst, or our most private thoughts. Thinking of myself as a ‘plankton’ is not something I can talk about IRL, as it upsets people too much. My dear married friends get uncomfortable, or defensive, or say “Don’t give up yet, Red,” but when challenged to introdce me to eligible single men (and I don’t really have a list except kind, funny, cheekbones, clever, & preferably dark hair) cannot. Or they enthuse about Internet dating, safe in the knowledge they don’t have to do it themselves.

    I don’t go around as a rag of misery or resentment — most people who know me would describe me as energetic, happy, funny, kind, and a nice person to be around (if a little to talkative), but there are private moments & thoughts which they don’t know or see, or I’m too ashamed to express. Because I also *do* get angry and resentful. I’m a good, nice person, with a lot to offer & kind and open and honest. But hey ho, I’m an affluent clever high-powered professional — all things that would make me extremely eligible if I were a man, but the death knell as a woman. Or maybe I just smell.

    I think this blog is a little like this very brave article in today’s GUardian. Again, I don’t suppose the author of the article gopes around rantng like this all the time. I imagine it’s the reverse — I imagine that she tries hard not to show her deepest feelings, because they’re not pleasant or cofortable ones to live with oneself:

    So write when you like, as you like, about what you like. And thanks for doing it (I read blogs, but have never had the courage to write one — also I have a book to finish before September — hey ho!)

    All the best, and good luck with Surprise Twinkle! I have a series of lovely days out/evenings with objects of my unrequited love. It’s nice while it lasts, but oh the come down! Off to eat chocolate & drink cava tonight to get over it.

    • MissM says:

      Wonderful post Redbookish, this would have made a terrific guest blog, and has so many valid points in it. Indeed there really is not the opportunity in our outside lives to express the negative feelings associated with being a plankton. So true that what is seen here is not necessarily going to be anything like how the person is in their everyday life, we are only presenting one facet of our lives online, while in reality we are complex and multi-faceted.

      I see those who write blogs, and those who comment in them as being quite brave given it leaves us so open to criticism. I can well understand the blogger who simply stopped blogging because she was tired of being told what to do. The discussing of a subject involves an exchange of views and an extended communication on a topic, it is not a request to be told what to do.

      Ah, yes, what a funny world it is when being an affluent, clever, high-powered professional makes you very eligible indeed, but only if you are not a woman.

      Good luck with your book, and I hope you can go against the odds and not become invisible and permanently celibate. Meanwhile, definitely enjoy the pleasures of the chocolate and cava, there is no point in those things existing if we can’t enjoy them.

    • june says:

      I read that article Red Bookish , it struck a chord with me, although ive never been paticularly maternal, i did identify with some of things she said, she sounds likes shes a plankton too, no significant other it seems. When she said well being a single women living alone is tiring and expensive at times with not many compensations, like motherhood , i felt the tears coming. Noone really understands what its like to be a plankton except other plankton or those who have experienced it. I know many of my coupled up friends dont, they give me all the platitudes but few deep down are that sympathetic. They think if you have a bit of a social life thats enough, and if you that desperate anyone would do. I feel now someone i thought of as one of my closest friends is cooling towards me,she has a rocky relationship and i think as shes childless and not close to her family, she feels if she did lose her partner, shed be like me and she cant face that, i just remind her of what she might end up as.

      Interesting you are a high achieving alpha female, whereas i am not, i had a fairly routine job with a large company,from which ive now retired,so it seems planktoness is there at all levels of society . I did feel i was always ahead of my time and background though,im quite bolshie, speak my mind and never knew my “place” and that was unusual for a women who grew up in the 60s in a small provincial town, i did have very liberal parents for that era and situation so maybe thats why.

      I think that has been the joy of Ps blogs, we cant say things on here our friends dont want to hear, people think im a happy and positive person, what else can you be,but like you i have my dark moments and here i can express how i feel about them, as have so many others, it does make you feel not quite so alone.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you very much for this thoughtful post, Redbookish. I agree with it all! Pxx

  • june says:

    Well of course Miss M those men you mention had never considered a 60 plus women, however grotty they are,they still think younger women will not be able to resist them and going out with a women of over 60, just doesent occur to them. What they often fail to take on board is that lots of us well preserved women over 60 wouldnt want them.

    I was out last night for a birthday meal with an old friend, also over 60 another joint friend of ours and more friends of hers i dont know well. She is also a very attrac tive lady and like me finds lots men of our age quite unattractive.. The others bit younger than us, all coupled up said well you should look beyond looks, well yes maybe you should but its easy to say when you have a partner. After all we are the ones who have to be with these men, and sleep with them, if you find their fat stomachs, combed over hair, old mens clothes and old men attitudes unattractive what hell are you supposed to do,stock up on paper bags, lie back and think of england,shut your eyes and think at least ive got “someone”,. Dont know bout you Miss M but thats not for me. Men of over 60 do not have to be unattractive.I met up with another old friend the other day with her husband i dont see very often as he works abroad. He is 66 and honestly looks 50. He is slim, has few wrinkles,ni ce hair, nice teeth, youngish clothes, if he can do it why cant others, so many just dont bother.

    • MissM says:

      I’m with you June, if I can’t find them attractive enough to me to want to go to bed with them, then I don’t know why I’d want them at all. Of course personality does play a role in attractiveness. But still, given that so many men seem to do nothing at all about their presentation, even the tiniest effort could do wonders for their appearance. Whether this is because they look in the mirror and mistakenly think they are gorgeous, or whether they think women are not supposed to care, I don’t know. You can be sure that men are not after a woman that is not physically pleasing enough to sleep with, not sure why they think we don’t have the same requirement.

    • MissM says:

      Oh, but have you seen any of those more mature gents that think it is a good idea to post photos of themselves shirtless? I assume they think it is alluring. I’m not impressed when a twenty-one year old does it, when fifty-one year old does it, all I can do is laugh.

      • june says:

        Yes Miss M i have to agree,its hideous, i was thinking very same myself when trawling though the wonders of the POF site the other day. It isnt nice and i dont want to see it.

        As you say why would they think we females dont need to find someonme physically attractive like them i dont know. I find lots of women coupled up ones in particular though rather than being sympathetic to you , think the same,if you are that lonely anyone even if he resembles quasimodo will do. I always, when they quote the old platitude “you are too choosey Junethats your problem” feel like saying would you want them. No of course they damm well wouldnt, its easy to comment when you have a partner.

  • Lian says:

    Yes – Thank you for your blog – You deserve a break away from this.
    I was thinking of starting a photography project about single women over forty accompanied with a small narrative as to how they feel about being single living in today’s society. I was thinking of calling the project – The Plankton – Life at the bottom of the sexual food chain. In honour of your blog which inspired me. Would you also be open to viewing some of the portraits?

    • june says:

      Sounds good Liam, think would be interesting.

    • RS says:

      Why must you use the exact same name as this blog? Plankton was clever enough to coin the term and catch-phrase. While I think your project sounds interesting, it would be nice if you could pay homage to this blog without taking its entire name.

    • The Plankton says:

      Hi Lian, Thank you for this and I am very flattered. The reason I haven’t replied sooner is because I am not sure what I think about it. I have just read RS’s comment and wonder if I don’t rather agree with it, but to be honest, I just don’t know. I suppose I hesitate because I am rather pleased with the name of the blog (and indeed the blog itself: I don’t wish to be boastful, so I am not talking about the writing itself, but how it seems to have touched a nerve and been comforting to so many). Yikes! Not sure what to say! Can I think about it, or do others have any advice? Pxx

  • I’m a new reader of your blog, having found you through Mumsnet. I love your writing style, however, yours is an intense blog and after a while, I’m sure the commitment of daily writing must wear a bit thin and perhaps you have become a bit stale. Random posts when the mood takes you are probably the way forward. A complete change of scenery usually works as a tonic for me, something outside the usual comfort zone to spark the imagination. Hey, what do I know & who am I to give advice? Wishing you all the best, P, whatever you do!

  • rosie says:

    There’s no copyright on ideas but there is on words and titles so if you went ahead and used the same name (I agree with others that you should think up your own and perhaps mention P’s blog if you want to ‘pay homage’) you could end up in hot water if P decided to get dirty!

  • rosie says:

    … in the UK (England?) at least. Not sure where Lian’s based or how the law would apply if she’s in another country.

  • rosie says:

    I think men (the Brits at any rate, they’re a bit more image conscious on the Continent) get away with paying less attention to their appearance simply because they can. It makes me weep how women are bombarded from every conceivable corner and on a daily basis with images of what we’re ‘supposed’ to look like.

    I overheard my nine-year-old niece the other day singing the words to Dontcha Think Your Girlfriend Looks Hot Like Me. She probably has no idea what they mean (then again she might) but what kind of future do young girls have when their role models are the likes of Rihanna and Cheryl bleedin’ Cole? Whatever happened to kick-ass women like Chrissie Hynde, Siouxsie Sioux and, haha, even Suzi Quatro? I used to love watching her prancing around in her leather biker outfit, giving the blokes and their guitars a run for their money. At the risk of sounding like Victor Meldrew, all you get now is stripping and simpering. And crap songs. Pathetic.

    When men’s health and fitness magazines first hit the shelves around the early nineties I remember reading something about the rise in suicide among young men and how the ‘experts’ thought this was connected to these new-to-the-market pictures of unattainable male beauty. While I obviously wouldn’t wish suicide or depression on anyone (apart from maybe my worst enemy, I’m not Mother Teresa) I remember finding it really hard to drum up much sympathy. If the same benchmark were applied to women we’d have been throwing ourselves off cliffs for centuries.

    • marriednotsmug says:

      Love Siouxsie! My first ever gig aged 15 was Siouxsie and the Banshees in 1981. Saw her at the Roundhouse a couple of years ago for her solo tour. We definitely had the best music! Today’s is, as you say, crap!! So glad I’m not young today.

    • Bambi says:

      Sadly, women HAVE been throwing themselves off cliffs (metaphorically speaking) for centuries…think of those crazy corsets that were worn in ancient times (causing all sorts of health problems) and anorexia, bulimia, young girls smoking in order to keep their weight down….

      P, I think this post is going to keep going till your next one! Not that there is anything wrong with that! 🙂

  • EmGee says:

    Amen Rosie! Although the commercial music business is no longer about music but a racy image, and the Leonard Cohens and Bob Dylans of today don’t stand a chance either.

    There are lots of strong, talented young people who would make great role models. The irony being, if they ‘play the game’ by today’s rules, they cease to become great role models.

  • rosie says:

    Absolutely, Simon Cowell is the anti-Christ!

  • zoe says:

    “Almost half of the girls described themselves as ‘average’ and ‘ordinary’ with a further 10 per cent feeling ‘plain’, ‘unattractive’ and ‘ugly’, according to the research, which was commissioned by Dove”.

    In the article, the experts worry that these negative self-perceptions will hamper their chances of becoming lawyers and businesswomen

    What is the nature of this crisis, I wonder. Is it really a cause for despair and beating of breasts? Or is it another excuse to pathologise the lives of teenage girls? Ah, no, hang on, it’s none of the above, it’s about selling Dove products…

    So half the girls feel “average”. Well, yup. Half of them will in fact be average – by definition. In fact, half the girls will in fact be below (median) average! Is it so wrong that they recognise it? Sounds to me that they’re being pretty realistic. Far from being a trait that would ill-prepare them to be lawyers and businesswomen, it sounds a rather useful one.

  • MissM says:

    If only women were valued for qualities other than their appearance alone, the way men are. Wouldn’t it me nice if intelligence, talent and dedication were given acclaim rather than looks? That way it would be acceptable for women to be “average” in appearance. Of course it does become much harder to sell beauty products to people who are confident and comfortable with who they are.

    Every now and then I think since women are held to such stringent ideas of acceptable appearance, it would only be fair if the same pressures were applied to men. Perhaps only when they know how it feels to be under such constant pressure to match an unattainable ideal will things be able to change, because right now the status quo suits men just fine.

  • Lian says:

    In response to the some readers insinuating I was ‘thieving’ regarding of the fact I was ASKING PERMISSION from the author of this blog before going ahead with a possible project in honor of ‘The Plankton’.

    I will evidently not title the project The Plankton – but, shall contact the author when I have a substantial amount of portraits to present to her via email to see if she would mind if I at least mention the blog which gave me the inspiration.

    It’s time to fight back from societies discrimination!

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