Still Here. Still Very Much a Plankton.

June 11, 2012 § 44 Comments

I haven’t completely disappeared, I promise.  Have been concentrating on my children’s exams and not trying to find a husband.  (Incidentally, trying or not trying makes no fucking difference).

An obvious thought occurs to me, as I read in the Times this morning of Kate Winslet and her new boyfriend.  (I remember, bored while queuing for a millennium in my local bank not so long ago, spotting a strapline on the cover of the in-house magazine that proclaimed she was very happy being single.  I thought at the time, Oh yeah, as if!  And lo and behold!  I am a big fan of Winslet – brilliant actress and beautiful and seemingly not a toss-pot like so many of her ilk – but given that she was single for all of about thirty seconds, that statement of hers must have ranked as one of her up-there Oscar-winning performances). I digress.  Back to obvious thought.  My latest (this morning’s) one is this: if you are attractive, men are attracted to you.  If you are not, they are not.

Kate Winslet: new boyfriend.  The Plankton: no new boyfriend, no boyfriend full stop, now or ever again.  One, attractive.  The other, not so much.  In fact, the other about as attractive, obv, as a baboon’s arse.

It doesn’t get simpler than that.

Just got to face it.


§ 44 Responses to Still Here. Still Very Much a Plankton.

  • Sarah says:

    Perhaps, but not everyone looks like Kate Winslet and yet they have a partner.

    Thing is, if you don’t look like Kate Winslet you probably have to try harder to find a man. Waiting for one to drop out of the sky is probably asking a lot of Fate and is unlikely to get you anywhere.

  • Roger Murphy says:

    There is always a partner out there for us – just stop trying so hard and accept that somethings take time. I would also suggest meditation and prayer (seriously) that’s what I do

  • Dawn says:

    17 years and counting. I’ve tried actively looking, not looking, online dating, positive thinking, networking, meditating, praying, following my interests, and… Nada. Zip. I’m told (by men who do not have to put their money where their mouth is, granted) that I am pretty, beautiful, warm, funny, kind, etc.. I think I’m about average, which should be good enough. For every fault of my own, or combo thereof, I know a happily mated woman who has that fault, or a combo, in spades.

    If there is a partner out there for me, he has absconded to Outer Mongolia.

    • The Plankton says:

      Hear, hear, hear and HEAR, Dawn. Thank you for this, every word of which I could have written myself (not least about the kind words from men who don’t have to put their money where their mouth is). pxx

    • Sessie says:

      I’ve been reading this blog for a while and have really enjoyed it. This particular post has hit a nerve with me and felt I needed to comment. Thanks for not making feel like I’m alone out here..Dawn, I’ve done everything you have mentioned, plus even got my tarot cards read a few times..absolutely nothing. I’m in the process of trying to let go and not care, but that too is not working either…I have been told by many men and friends that I am very attractive, funny, and have a great personality and anyone who gets me, would be extremely lucky…..I laugh now when people say when you least expect it, it will happen…There was a long period in my life that I couldn’t even think about it, and nothing…now I’m actively putting out the message and again, nothing..Actually I have lowered my standards, which is also not working, so might as well maintain the old standards..what do I have to lose… If there is someone for everyone, mine is with yours in Outer Mongolia. Any ideas on how to get there.. 😉

  • Kimmy says:

    Dear plankon,

    I’ve never commented before although I’ve been reading for a while. Today I must.

    Do not believe for one minute that it’s all about being attractive. It’s not. It’s about being in a spotlight. The amount of men a celebrity meets cannot be compared to the amount of men an average woman, albeit with a reasonable social circle, meets. But there is a price attached to that and I don’t think you’d want to pay it. I would not.

    I have been following your story mainly because you write so well. I think the problem goes far beyond plankton – to meet a decent man is difficult in 20s, 30s and 40s alike. Women have shot up in the last 100 years – so many of us are smart, educated, well mannered, funny, responsible – there are just not enough similarly disposed men. And you – together with hundreds of others – are not interested in men who are intellectually or emotionally beneath you. Because you know that those are around and those are available.

    It has very little to do with being attractive. It has very much to do with serious shortage of men who are true gentlemen, who have standards, who are simply good enough for you. And – it has very much to do with pure luck.

    I don’t quite agree that there is someone out there for all of us. I see too many women who can’t find him – decent, smart, desirable women, women ahead of the curve – they don’t want to stick with the traditional role, they don’t want to put up with being with a men who can’t be a real partner. But men did not get there yet, at least not a vast majority of them. That’s not your fault. You simply need to make a choice – what would you rather accept – your standards and expectations with the risk of not being able to find them in a man – or a compromise. Both you can regret.

    Kate Winslet is 36, twice divorced, two children with two different fathers. If things don’t work out with the current boyfriend, everyone will know. That’s nothing to long for even if ti comes with great looks, red carpet and a supply of available men.

    You are not single by choice but you still have a choice. The virtual world still awaits and there are success stories around. And you are now familiar with a virtual identity so why not take it as an experiment to see who is out there. I had a friend who lived in Singapore, met a man from Israel online and now they are married in Australia. Stranger things have happened. With a healthy dose of skepticism (which you already have), you can only be pleasantly surprised, if something works out.

    Or you can try politics, plenty of men there too :).

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you, Kimmy, for commenting for the first time. Much appreciated. I am glad you have been enjoying the blog and hope you continue to do so. Very best wishes, Pxx

  • Helle says:

    Dearest Plankton.
    Please, don´t even for a minute believe that your planktonhood is caused by your not being attractive
    Memorize Kimmy´s wise post. She took the words right out af my mac.:-).l
    Wishing you a good day and lots of wellmade lattes. And a lovely man, too.
    Best wishes

  • rantywoman says:

    I’ve definitely had the same thoughts– if I was attractive, I would be married. On the other hand, I know lots of unattractive women who are married!

    I’m not as keen on online dating as others on here. The sites have started to feel a bit “junky” to me, and I had a friend (mid-forties) recently tell me that people never write her back, unlike in her thirties, when she had decent success with it. I’ve had the same experience.

    • The Plankton says:

      I agree, on both counts. Thank you. Px

      • rantywoman says:

        Plankton one last thing I forgot to mention– I’ve had numerous people over the years tell me I look like Kate Winslet, but I haven’t had a real relationship in over a decade and at 42 can no longer score a date, it seems.

      • The Plankton says:

        I want to say schucks but that sounds too glib. I know what you mean. I hope things look up soon. Pxx

    • kathy says:

      I agree, I found that once i turned 40 (im 43) i had a drastic drop in interest online form men. My profile hadnt changed, only the number from 39 to 40.

      And now i have just taken my profile off. It feels humiliating to be up there quite frankly, with teh number 43 blaring out at men who quickly look at the next profile

  • rantywoman says:

    Also, I do think Winslet’s fame has a lot to do with it– everyone, male and female, seems to be drawn to fame.

  • MissBates says:

    No good can come from comparing yourself with a beautiful, rich movie star. There are, after all, plenty of non-beautiful, non-rich, non-movie stars who are nonetheless coupled-up. It comes down to luck and to being willing to lower one’s expectations — please note I am not suggesting that you DO lower your expectations, which I understand to be pretty reasonable as it is: age-appropriate, kind, intelligent, not clinically obese or covered in drifts of dandruff, gainfully employed at a level where at least you don’t have to support him financially. You will note that I have not included “handsome” or “well-off” or “sexy” or “witty” or any other criteria that will result in accusations of being unrealistic for our advanced stage of spinster-y decrepitude. Once you’ve decided that you’re not going to lower said already nearly-bargain-basement expectations, then you have no choice but to do that which you announced a couple of weeks back: Stop caring.

  • Emgee says:

    Yep, being attractive in the movie star/actress sense (gogeous, wealthy, and/or socially in high demand), truly makes being single a choice. One can enjoy the freedoms associated with single life, until Mr Right #43 comes comes along and you decide to let him sweep yoou off your feet.

    It’s another 1%er ‘problem’ that will never be one of mine and thus it’s irrelevent to my interests.

    What is relevent is the fact that not looking for a husband may not produce one either, but it does free up a lot of space, both in time to do other things and in mind clutter.

  • rosie says:

    Not for the first time, I wish I were a man.

  • skrundles says:

    Does the dream man exist? Are we ‘the dream woman’? no is the honest answer to that, we all have quierks that may be a turn off to prospective partners. Or we hope for things way beyond our league in life.

    I am seeing someone after having given up any hope on the internet and as a last ditched attempt dispatched said email via clunking website….. to someone who sounded vaguely acceptable by my standards, and here I am actually enjoying seeing someone who looks nothing like I thought I would ever find attractive. My friends will be surprised when/if they meet him. Having said that we have similar lives, kids, lifestyle expectations, intelligence but neither of us would have looked twice across a crowded room. I go through phases when not seeing him of going off him because his teeth aren’t straight or his trousers aren’t right or his nose etc etc I know so shallow I embarrass myself.
    When I see him again it all goes out the window and we have a great day, he is a gentleman, attentive, caring, interested in my life as I am in his.
    So, looks aren’t everything, lifestyle isn’t everything but getting on with someone you gradually get to know is everything.
    Girls, it’s so not all about looks! I am reformed.

    • Dawn says:

      It’s never been about the looks for me (as a photo album of exes would attest). Decent, kind, sense of humour, solvent (not rich, just sel-sufficient as I can’t afford to support someone else), able to walk and chew gum at the same time… is that too much to ask? Of course there are other preferences, but they’re negotiable. I don’t waste any time fretting about being alone but it does occasionally occur that it used to be fun to have a companion. Meh. Whatever.

  • James B says:

    This is a really interesting post Ms P. As a man in my late 40’s I have to admit that most, if not all of my contemporaries are initially looks obsessed when first judging whether we are attracted to a women. If a woman is very overweight (note ‘very) or poorly dressed or has bad skin or any other obvious physical minus then that might count against an initial physical attraction.

    After a few seconds of talking though, more human characteristics break through, thank goodness, and men can be attracted by a nice voice, a good smile, a fast comment, a glint in the eye or a myriad of other social-sexual cues. But getting that first glance right – making an impact on the men is still, sadly a matter of looking sexy enough to get that vital moment going.

    The good news is that beautiful is not really that important. “Sexy” is, by which I mean sexually attractive as opposed to simply dressing in a short skirt. And almost every woman can be sexy, it’s just a case of finding one’s groove; knowing how to be and feel sexy. That will attract almost any man’s attention. Sometimes it’s dress sense. Sometimes a dance move, or posture or a good smile or well aimed eye contact. In general though, men like healthy looking, well dressed women (whatever that means)! Then the personality-chemistry comes in to play and dominates forever (thankfully).

    Most importantly though – even if ladies are at their sexiest comes the sad truth about the male species, however evolved we are trying to be. It’s about the immediate available female competition.

    In the first few seconds of any encounter, most males will look at the ‘most’ attractive females in any group and will unwittingly pay attention to those women. So – you’d better be in that group. This is why the Internet dating scene must be so depressing for so many women. Suddenly your profile is up against all kind of Photoshopped sexual stereotypes – and you are in direct immediate competition. How can you compete against 500 ‘beautiful’ alpha females?

    So what’s the answer? I think that all women can find their own true way of making a good sexy first impression if they ask their friends (and I include male friends in this) for real advice and criticism. I know this is shallow. The male sexual response is shallow – and largely visual.

    Anyway, once the (admittedly dullard prehistoric) male has noticed you – then you are off to the races and you will have the upper hand. The real issue is how to get around the problem of online dating. I think the real world has a lot to offer. There is a need for physical meeting places and events in the singles community I think. How can you possibly judge whether someone is attractive from an Internet ad?

    I know this post might be taken as a stereotypical chauvinist piece. It’s not meant that way I promise you. It’s just that the vast majority of males are predictable creatures. And all women have the capability to be very attractive these days. Which is good news, I think.

    The other issue is whether, actually, that there are men around, but that as many of you have said, that there are not enough good men in supply. That’s I think the real problem. Even as a man, looking to increase my male friendship base I can tell you that I find most men to be dull ignoble creatures from whom I would kidnap my daughter for own safety if she were silly enough to date.

    But don’t give up – get out there – it only takes one person after all!

  • DaisyDee says:

    Get out there? But where? There simply is’nt anywhere for 40s to 50s age groups to meet. Where are men likely to be found these days? Pubs and clubs are full of teens and 20s. Forget singles holidays, evening classes, band nights in pubs, badminton clubs, salsa, ceroc and Feng Shui-ing your relationship corner. (Believe me I’ve tried all the above) So that leaves internet dating where you can for your money be completely ignored by hundreds of men. I’m over 50 so I’ve got absolutely no chance, but some of my younger prettier friends have had no luck either. Mostly I try to forget all about it now, but there is a man in my sphere – young, married, absolutely not available, but so handsome, intelligent and witty that my heart flips every time I see him. It is a constant reminder of what I don’t have, nor will ever have again.

    • The Plankton says:

      I so know the feeling! Thanks for this. I agree with it all. Pxx

    • june says:

      So true Daisy Dee, where indeed do you meet men, as you say over 50 and in my case quite a way,however good you might look for your age, mostly i have to say ,much better than male of specis, nearly impossible.Like you i know women in their 40s who have given up all hope of meeting anyone and women in their 40s,attractive ones at that, who stay in dead and wrong relationships, because they know how hard it would be to meet anyone else. And there are so many of us worldwide, so sad we women have a sell by date. Its a paradox really isnt it, we all stay much younger these days in mind and body,yet women past the first flush of youth, still have such a problem meeting men.

  • DaisyDee says:

    Get out there? But where? I agree -there simply is’nt anywhere for 40s to 50s age groups to meet. Where are men likely to be found these days? Pubs and clubs are full of teens and 20s. Forget singles holidays, evening classes, band nights in pubs, badminton clubs, salsa, ceroc and Feng Shui-ing your relationship corner. (Believe me I’ve tried all the above) So that leaves internet dating where you can for your money be completely ignored by hundreds of men. I’m over 50 so I’ve got absolutely no chance, but some of my younger prettier friends have had no luck either. Mostly I try to forget all about it now, but there is a man in my sphere – young, married, absolutely not available, but so handsome, intelligent and witty that my heart flips every time I see him. It is a constant reminder of what I don’t have, nor will ever have again.

  • june says:

    I was only thinking other day P you had been very quiet lately, nice to see you back.

    Like you my love life is nil, nothing to report, well i was contacted by a man from scotland, younger than me, on POF , all of 300 or so miles away i suppose, saying men in my area must be mad as i was a very attrac tive women and could we talk, why whats the point, i pointed out distance too far, i like living where i do and had no desire for a long distance relationship. My plankton friend has been out with man lately from POF, but has given him the heave ho, he was our age, but seemed much older, and insisted she gave up seeing an old male platonic friend of hers shes know for years, she said certainly not and bid him farewell, Think the person who said women have come a long way and men havent caught up are right. The three most successful relationships amongst my friends i know, are three couples who do things together, do things apart, trust each other, are people in their own right.give each other freedom and space, the men here have caught up, as my own dad,a man way before his time had with how women are now, sadly these are very few and there P you have it.. These couples are in 60s, 50s 30s and 40s, and as i said my dad was same , so isnt an age thing, its just a rare thing.

    It seems to me all of us on here are attractive, personable, intelligent spunky women and we want men who are our equals, sadly we cant find them, thats the problem,its not with us, its them. Some women, many i know, put up with all sorts of crap,just to have someone we wont.

  • James B says:

    Gosh. I think the two issues here are (1) There is a need for a new method of meeting single people in the flesh (the real world) and (2) There is a need for a retrained male population with a higher degree of emotional and social intelligence. I am, weirdly, optimistic on both counts. Oddly, this blog teaches us males much of your mysterious ways…

  • kathy says:

    For me, a 43 year old Plankton, i put it all down to one simple thing:


    Its not your fault that you are Plankton. Men our age (or any guy basically above 39) are biologically wired to seek out a woman who is under 35 because of procreation. Men also avoid women over 35 because they assume they are bitter and twisted and desperate.

    Look take it from me, its just easier to lose the anger about it and just give up.

  • James B says:

    No No No – please don’t give up hope out there. My other male friends who are all in our late 40’s prefer women in their 40’s too. Sure, if a man wants kids he will probably consciously look for a younger woman. The same goes for an immature trophy seeking show-off. But most men my age want someone they relate to, sharing similar cultural influences and life circumstances. The issue is that most good, stable men tend to stay in relationships for 10 years plus or longer and as I have said, the methods of meeting like-minded people in the real world are rare. It’s a business opportunity for an intelligent entrepreneur.

    So please don’t give up ….

  • rosie says:

    James, are you and your friends all partners of women in their 40s or are you actively looking for them, because that must be like shooting fish in a barrel?

    And guess who’s going to lose out with the ‘looks-obsessed’ men – the slim, well-dressed, smiley 40-something who can throw a mean shape on the dance floor or the 30-something of exact same attributes standing next to her?

  • Oxonian says:

    I’ve experienced a bit of the same indifference (a bit I emphasise) as a male of sub-optimal sexual attractiveness in my 20s. It is frustrating, in an otherwise complex, various and fascinating world, to constantly bang one’s head against the same superficial criteria. A large proportion of men and women become stupid when it comes to mate selection, it would seem. There is a certain dignity and self-respect in withdrawing from a marketplace that seems determined to underrate and marginalise you. And in myself I see a pride and stubbornness about not wanting to give my supposed superiors the satisfaction and power trip they get if I play along. If you are ladies are correct and the tables are turned as I age, I hope I can manage to be more sympathetic as a result of these experiences.

    There is a more general question I occasionally ponder though, and one which will have some relevance in future decades as we develop the ability to engineer our offspring. Would I have wanted my imperfections (low stature, no sense of (or interest in) style, a certain want of zip and animal spirits) to have been ironed out at the embryonic stage, so as to provide me with optimal sexual and romantic satisfaction? Would you self-described ‘plankton’ have wanted to live in an age in which the more superficial evidence of age in females had been done away with for the same reasons? Or do these traits have a certain value as testament to our differences and the lives we have lived? I am very much on the latter side. There is a basic tension between the things our minds, imaginations and morals value and the things our hormones do, and I would hate for it to be the former that were ‘adjusted’ to conform with the latter.

  • Margaux says:

    Here she comes …Ms Positivity ..(again)

    Here’s what’s wrong with Internet Dating for ‘midlife planktons’. You have to state your age in your profile. That immediately invites pre-judgement – by both sexes. The cut off point in people’s thinking ( no one over 40 ..or, god one over 50 or 60 ) is fairly ludicrous in my view. No one knows anyone’s age in real life – no one knows what ‘age’ looks like anymore.

    That’s why I personally don’t do it. In my mid 50s I am well aware of ageism in the online dating market. I am told I don’t look my age, (I had an apology from someone who had to print it recently – worried they’d got it wrong ) yet, I have the wrinkles and grey hair someone my age should have.So what do I do? the greys get coloured for a start.

    Although I am no raving beauty – I do believe that you get back what you project. Walk around with a ‘Don’t look at me I’m old and past it’ attitude and no one will. Get out there, project some sex appeal in your identity ( James B is right), put your glad rags on and act approachable and you will be. It’s about the vibes.That’s what makes men and women ultimately attractive. I am speaking from experience here.

    Why is she still single then? – the Planktons cry. Because unless it’s someone who really rocks my boat I would be rather be so. If it happens – great – if it doesn’t – that’s fine too. That’s my acceptance. But – the difference is I still believe it could happen.

    So how do you get out there? Just keep interested in what’s going on – local events, social invitations, visit friends, travel, get involved in something going on where you are …

    I actually forget how old I am (as you know if you read my guest blog a while back that P kindly printed)…..the day I start thinking I have to look or act a certain way because society says I have to according to my ‘age’ just aint going to happen. As I said before – if you didn’t know how old you were – how old would you be?

  • Happydays says:

    I have followed ‘plankton’ with some interest over several months. I think a positive way forward is to understand that there is nothing peronal – the world is not against you – it is statistically difficult for ‘olders’ to meet eligible/ suitable men. Women are fishing in a smaller pond and thats the trouble.
    Also I suspect that many men think the same way about women if they are in the same boat. I don’t think its accurate to believe there are only women planktons.
    I’ve thought about joining an introduction agency on several occasions but always come round to thinking that here are too many advantages being on ‘one’s own’.
    Instead of whinging – it would be much more effective and useful to blog about positive ways forward in life – how we can develop ourselves to enjoy the many many areas of life which do not involve ‘having a partner’. I may never have a partner again – perhaps tough – however no way is that going to stop me really living!
    Best wishes to all.

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