Thought Crime

August 7, 2012 § 94 Comments

From yesterday’s Times (and with apologies for my pathetic lack of posts of late: it’s busy school holiday times, but I will get better soon!):-

There is not a single twinkle in my inbox at the moment.  I’m not expecting or indeed particularly hoping to hear from the Philanderer again, which puts things absolutely back to Square One.  Several years have passed, and there have been approximately fifteen false-starts, all of which have come to precisely…nothing.  I could list every one and beside each, a singular reason why things didn’t get off the ground, but it would be too real and too depressing.  It could be the very first day of my separation and I would be no further on than I am today in anything other than cynicism and diminished hope. But there are two consolations: I am thankfully less agonised and raw (time has done its healing stuff), and my Don’t Care hat (about various specific former twinkles) remains at a jaunty angle on my head.

Recently I chatted to two friends, both a generation older than me.  One has been happily married for forty or so years.  The other was a widow who was on her own for a mere two years before being found by a likely fellow with whom she is now contentedly sharing her later years.  They both put down their circumstances entirely to luck.  They have had their fair share of proper hardship and bereavement, but are reaping the rewards of later luck.

I feel I have done my innings, but my father maintains there’s no such thing and we are here for one reason, and that is permanently to struggle.  Probably true, but deeply dispiriting.  Sometimes, during superstitious moments, I think any luck that may have had my name on it disintegrated when I had a thought crime soon after I separated.  I looked at an unmarried friend who was weeping at my kitchen table about her lot – single, childless, despairing – and a profoundly unattractive, unspoken thought fought its way through my sympathy.  It was: “Gosh, despite my insincere platitudes, you might well not find anyone because you are quite brittle and tricky and lacking in warmth and have let yourself go a bit; whereas I am none of those things and have some qualities which might be considered more overtly appealing.  It may well be that I find someone and you don’t.”  With friends like me, eh?

Well, serves me right: I have been paying for that unforgivable thought ever since, haven’t I?  She found someone a fortnight later and married him; happy ever after.  And a bit like an Olympian who makes a single mistake and lives with it for the rest of her life, I think my horrible thought crime may account for my perennial planktonhood and what’s more that I deserve it.


§ 94 Responses to Thought Crime

  • Jane says:

    Oh Dear! we all have those niggly little moments that we look back on and think, yes all my trials and tribulations can be tracked back to that nasty thought. Not true of course, you’re not a saint Plankie, disappointing I know, but then neither are the rest of us, so you are in good company. I too believe in Karma, but I can’t imagine that you haven’t done a whole heap of good things that would counteract the few negative vibes that were released into the universe by that one less charitable thought. You really do need to stop beating yourself with that big ol’ stick.

    • The Plankton says:

      You’re probably right, Jane. Thanks. Pxx

      • Jill says:

        I agree wholeheartedly with Jane, dear P. Put the stick away pronto, or – preferably – burnt the damn thing and make it perform a useful purpose! I do, however, know exactly where you are coming from on this matter, as I have subjected myself to endless hours of excoriating self-blame and merciless examination of past deeds and utterances, whether voiced out loud or not. Am not at all sure I do believe in Karma/What goes around,comes around, any longer, as I have observed so many people behaving with unconscionable “badnesss” who have come up smeling of roses, and those who lead blameless (apparently) lives who seem to be the ones the fan always directs the s*** at. But, as I have always told my children, no one ever said that everything in life was fair. Maybe it all gets evened out when we arrive at the Pearly Gates and the baddies get turned away…one can live in hope if not much expectation!

  • june says:

    Been there P, so know how you feel and have had same thoughts as you, im still one who ends up alone and although wrong side of 60, in much better shape than many of my age, but im the one with no-one, Also like you i think im a nice caring person, In fact too damm caring. Do you ever feel as a single women, friends take advantage of you and just seem to want you when it suits and they need something from you,not all of course, but some. One in particular of mine, does this, if she rings i know she wants something from me, ive dragged her through breaks ups with her partner of which there have been several, she asks advice but never listens.She does do this to other friends but somehow when on own it affects you more. Other single women have told me happens to them too. When single i also feel you are less inclined to say you not happy with this behaviour, as being alone you dont want to lose friends.

    Often too i feel people think its your fault you on your own, as you are too choosey, but you do sometimes wonder where are all the decent men, are there any?. Still on POF,had a few contacts lately but i find myself thinking spose all they will want is sex.if anything. The one from 80 m iles away i mentioned who was younger,turned out had been let down by a much younger women and had several health problems.So i suppose he thought a 60 plus women would be grateful and maybe not in good health herself, now hes discovered i am very fit and dont seem at all typical of a 60 plus women, he seems to have lost interest, Mind you so have i with that. and he definitely wasnt my type. Like you P i am ceasing to believe in Karma!

  • Dostoy says:

    “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.”

    — W. L. Bateman

  • Gwen says:

    I really understand where you are coming from. I take of myself and fill my life with meaningful activities so have interesting things to talk about. My friend does nothing, doesn’t take care of herself and has recently got married. Now in my late 50s, I definitely am giving up!

  • MissBates says:

    Hmmm…Sounds like that was the last gasp of your Smug Married-ness, Plankton. I imagine it’s long since been beaten out of you by your experiences on the other side of the relationship fence. Plus, it sounds like your actions towards this friend at the time (kindness & platitudes & a shoulder to cry on round your kitchen table) belied your thoughts towards her. I don’t think any bad karma resulted.

    • thirtysomething says:

      Hi, MissBates: I don’t think one has to be Smug Married to have a mean-but-honest thought about your contemporaries. It’s a fair comment to notice, even if you’ve been single for the last 10 years, that your (also single) friend has let yourself go (esp when you haven’t, in comparison) and/or that she’s whiny/moany/hyper critical/embarrassing in public, etc., not to say that you yourself ooze perfection, yet they then end up snapping up some seemingly normal guy while you remain… alone.

      • MissBates says:

        Quite true, thirtysomething. I was merely remarking on the timing (apparently when she was only very recently separated) of Plankton’s no-doubt-accurate observation re her friend. I myself have been humbled by years of perpetual solitude into tempering my thoughts about less attractive/successful/funny acquaintances who nonetheless manage to find men while I remain forever alone. They obviously have something I don’t — maybe something as simple as luck, maybe something more profound than that — so I try not to dwell on the perceived injustice of their good fortune compared to mine.

    • The Plankton says:

      No, I was no longer married at the time! I fear I was comparing my chances with hers and finding hers wanting! Pxx

  • Elle says:

    P, I think you’ve suffered more than enough to justify that little thought. Sometimes they pop up like weeds before you can beat them down. It’s hard to stay upbeat and magnanimous all the time. I think the apparently less eligible often people find men faster because their standards may be lower or the men are looking for somebody dowdy they can control.

    You know the saying “it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease” so perhaps the moany whiny ones get the men first. If they’re scruffy they’ll appeal to men who like low-maintenance women. I know it goes against the rule of “don’t appear desperate” but if you look too successful, polished and independent men might be afraid to approach you.

    • june says:

      Think there a lot in that Elle, having always been quite high maintenance, i can identify with that, Mind you i have a very high maintenance friend who settled for a bloke not really at all suitable as she cant afford to pay mortgage by herself, she bought out her ex and she hates being alone, i know others similar. Maybe its whether what you fear most, lowering your standards, or being alone. Looking at many of the candidates on POF i think ill opt for being alone.

      • Elle says:

        June, that’s it exactly. We have two choices:

        1) Continue to be alone indefinitely
        2) Lower our standards considerably and settle for somebody who helps us feel a little less miserable

        There are many kinds of second best and we planktons have to find the one that suits us… best.

  • mike wilcox says:

    I wonder in retrospect if the ‘Gawd Awful’ husbands that got the boot now seem were not so bad after all ;~) Now that would be karma ;~)

    • Emgee says:

      I did my ex a huge favor (this was thirty years ago). We married young and impetuously, and I didn’t figure out what I wanted out of life (and I wouldn’t necessarily get what I wanted), until many many years later. He met a woman with two kids, they had another, and he’s had a very happy life.

    • Elle says:

      Mike, in reality I don’t think that many “gawdawful” husbands get the boot unless they WANT to get the boot and haven’t got the cojones to walk themselves.

  • Emgee says:

    Jane nailed it in the first post.

    Just remember that even though it may not seem ‘fair’ that others meet and marry in a short time after a brief singlehood, no one knows what their personal life is truly like, but themselves. They may truly lucky, and met their soulmate, or they may have ‘settled’ for a less than perfect situation.

    • Elle says:

      Emgee, they have probably “settled” for a less than perfect situation, particularly if they’re female. They’re not going to admit they settled of course, they want everyone to think they’ve won the jackpot!

    • fi says:

      I don’t think the aim or endgame is to get married, surely it is to have an ongoing fulfilling relationship with someone else for however long that lasts and continues to be fulfilling and marriage, if it happens, is really just a step on the way? I’m not being pedantic but if people see marriage or getting someone as the end of the process they will look for different characteristics than if they are actually aiming to find someone that gives them what they require to be fulfilled. It seems that where people have ‘settled’ they maybe weren’t looking for the longer term fulfillment but simply the marriage.

      • Elle says:

        Fi, regardless of whether we plankton are looking to get married or for an ongoing relationship we have to compromise. Remember, men are compromising their expectations when they go for a woman of 40 or over. It works both ways. Evolutionally speaking, a fat unkempt marginally attractive 35 year old is a better bet than a slim, elegant, well-groomed and stunningly gorgeous 45 year old.

      • fi says:

        I’m all for compromising, that’s not what I meant really. The thought I tried to get across, not very well, is that its not just about getting the man or marriage so those people who have quickly got a replacement may not have got the best person for the longer term.

  • PY says:

    Miss Bates
    Just out of curiosity, do you think your profession is partly responsible for your singleton status ?
    I appreciate that many female divorce lawyers are trying to do their best for their clients and give thought to the future of the unfortunate offspring caught in the crossfire . Endeavouring to agree a settlement acceptable to all parties.
    Others, however, come across as misandristic Harpies, more interested in the bottom line of their fee income than those who will have to live with the outcome of the negotiations.
    I have a suspicion that it is that minority who may well give men a testicular tightening moment when you inroduce yourself.

    • Jill says:

      Thank you PY, for giving me cause for a good giggle, thinking to whom I would enjoy giving a TTM!

    • Redbookish says:

      >> Others, however, come across as misandristic Harpies, more interested in the bottom line of their fee income than those who will have to live with the outcome of the negotiations. <<

      Because, of course, male divorce lawyers are full o' the milk of human kindness, and care only about their clients achieving Karmic nirvana?

      • Jane says:

        Well said lady!

      • PY says:

        Lord, no ! There are scumbags and decent souls alike in that band of brothers .

        But, I for one made a conscious decision to engage a female lawyer. With two young children to think of the decision taken was not solely for her abilities but in order to reach a long term settlement in the least contentious and disruptive way, in a ‘no fault’ situation.

        If you are confronted with a bag of spanners you choose the right one for the job.

    • MissBates says:

      @PY: Erm… seem to assume, incorrectly, that I represent primarily women. (I conclude this from your references to “Harpies” and giving men a “testicular tightening moment.”) In fact, I represent men at LEAST half the time, probably slightly more, as my firm more often than not represents the monied party, and that, like it or not, is still usually the husband. I will ignore your gratuitously insulting reference to “female divorce lawyers.” As to your insinuations regarding fee generation, I much more often than not find myself pressuring clients to settle rather than go to trial (which would of course generate far greater income for me), but many prefer to cling to their petty and vindictive positions.

      Turning to the balance of your comment, I don’t really think that I can blame my career for being single. (For example, I am the ONLY unmarried attorney in my firm of 20 divorce lawyers ….even the gay guy down the hall got married last summer…. so there goes that theory….) I DO, however, think that having fetched up middle-aged and single, my career enables me to have a bird’s eye view of “what’s out there” and as I think I’ve said here before, it has confirmed my natural skepticism about the grass being greener on the marriage side of the fence.

      • PY says:

        Morning Miss Bates

        I made no such assumption re your client base and I was referring solely to and enquiring about whether a minority of your female colleagues adeversely affect your position (in the same way that there are some pretty nasty misogynistic male lawyers equally capable of dragging out the due process and not being proponents of mediation).

        Bad apples in every barrel and certainly no insult intended in a straightforward question.

        As for ‘what’s out there’ and the jading effect it seems to have had on your view, my own lawyer ( a Partner within a niche firm) retired shortly after handling my case as she felt she really couldn’t take any more of the human grief involved . For a similar reason, a District Judge I was talking to the other day stated that she was very happy that it was the only branch of family law she hadn’t practised in.

      • fi says:

        Er…maybe because you referred to FEMALE divorce lawyers as opposed to divorce lawyers?

  • Lydia says:

    You always assume the married ones have achieved happiness and if you’re singl you aren’t. That’s the interseting issue. If I never had a boyfriend again that’s fnie. I am as happy as anone on the planet. You don’t need a man’s socks around the house and his interference with your children to make you happy although plenty of women are not competent at life so need a man to do things like many of us are happy to do ourselves like change a fuse and plenty of women did not invest enough in their careers (more fool them) so need a man to keep and feed them.

  • Scott Benowitz says:

    “…but my father maintains there’s no such thing and we are here for one reason, and that is permanently to struggle….”

    Ah interesting- then you likely grew up in a household in which your parents are either Muslim, Jewish, Christian or some combination of those….

  • I like lydia’s reply, and the previous one by Scott. To go back to your original piece in yesterday’s Times, I fear that a lot of luck is involved. I don’t believe in fate, or kharma. I have enjoyed yr previous attitude, which has gradually become more ‘ don’t care’. Good for you!

  • James B says:

    It’s an interesting thing though – if we could all go back twenty (or thirty years) would we make the same choices all over again?

    • PY says:

      James B

      I don’t think I could look into my sons’ eyes and say anything else than ‘Yes’

      • Jill says:

        Nor me, PY, but while we all know what a wonderful (?) thing hindsight is, would it not be helpful to have a goodish input of foresight? A fair number of us would not then perhaps be contributing to these discussions…… I know that I would certainly have had a stern conversation with my 20 year old self about the wisdom of marrying at such a ridiculously young age. But of course, like you, PY, I would emphatically make that choice again simply because of “my” four wonderful young men.

  • James B says:

    And what about decisions in the last 5 years? Do any of you regret leaving your partners in the light of what you know and feel now? Would the benefit of hindsight have made any difference?

    • Jill says:

      As one who was left, rather than being the leaver, I can honestly say that I am glad I talked my husband into coming back on the first two occasions when he left, once in 1999, and again in 2008, as it gave our youngest son a chance to grow up and leave school/get a place at university, while totally oblivious of his father’s discontentednes. Using my consummate acting skills (!), I managed to present a good enough front to the world, and by dint of making excuses that were entirely plausible, no one was any the wiser as to what the real situation was. We staggered on until October 2010,when my husband decided to leave while I was away for a week, which gave him plenty of time to vacate the marital home with all his possessions plus the dog. Yes, doing what I did prolonged the apprehension and anxiety I continually experienced, but my sons all have told me that they are grateful to me for keeping the family together as long I as could. (And, no, in case you wonder, they did not feel that the atmosphere at home was in any way toxic or painful for them, as their father and I persisted in being civilised and “normal” especially when they were around.)

      • Leftatforty says:

        “As one who was left, rather than being the leaver, I can honestly say that I am glad I talked my husband into coming back on the first two occasions when he left, once in 1999, and again in 2008”

        My experience is the opposite. I am glad I told him never to come back nor talk to me about anything other than the children.

        As for regrets none. I fell in love 20 years ago and stayed in love. I was
        happily married until I wasn’t…

    • joules says:

      James – I had no choice in the leaving – he did that. But I do think that I would go back further than that and not hooked up wit him in the first place – I settled and now will never do that again. But then we did not have any children.

  • PY says:

    ‘Regrets, I’ve had a few
    But then again, too few to mention’

    Asking the wrong person here, James B, as a decade ago Mrs XY was the instigator (and also remains single, by the way).

    However, isn’t life all about being presented with choices or opportunities, making decisions and accepting responsibility for your actions ?

    • Elle says:

      Have a heart Fi. Her husband was in the process of walking out on her and she wasn’t very streetwise. After years of marriage she had an over-inflated opinion of her dating worth.

      Having said that, the same thing could happen to any of us plankton but we’re probably a bit more cynical and streetwise and know quickly if something is too good to be true.

      Her husband took her back in the end so she is d*mn lucky.

      • fi says:

        Very lucky. But surely she must have looked in the mirror and asked herself why a younger high earning bloke would be interested in her, and then when he began asking her for money? Just the same as those old men who apparently attract young russian brides who also need money. Maybe I’m really cynical but its not as though we don’t hear these stories all the time – how can anybody still fall for them?

      • joules says:

        Because we want to believe in the fairy tale, not the reality. And we are all guilty of it – even if the fairy tale we want to believe in is that we are 100% self sufficient.

      • Elle says:

        Fi, she had probably read newspaper articles about celebrity women with toyboys and thought that she could have a toyboy herself. She probably hadn’t been on the dating scene since she got married, probably in her 20s so she was a sitting duck.

      • T Lover says:

        I love the way women speculate endlessly basing “fact” on the flimsiest of evidence. Real over the garden fence stuff, arms folded under bosoms.

        Two conclusions you can reach are: one it shows how desperate you women become – you will do anything to get your hands on a bloke.

        Two: some of those who “teach” our children do not have one iota of common sense.

        Frightening isn’t it? On all counts.

        Allez Bambeeeeee. Hope you are bearing up.

      • EmGee says:

        I do feel sorry for the woman, if she indeed exists. I have a hard time believing anyone could be that gullible. She never even met him, for pete’s sake. And her husband? At least he got his boat.

        And regarding T Lover’s reply, what is it with some men and this ‘you women’ attitude, as if men never have their heads turned, and gotten fleeced? What’s the first image that comes to mind when you hear the term ‘gold digger’? Yeah, me too.

        And it’s a teacher’s job to provide education, not common sense or morals. This seems to have been forgotten as more and more parents depend on the school system as some kind of foster parent. If she can teach my child to add, subtract, and use good grammar, her personal life is none of my business (it isn’t like she was molesting kids, stealing, or committing other crimes).

    • maria says:

      Fi, I agree with you. I will never understand these stupid women who trust their finances and money to men they’ve never met. I wouldn’t trust anything involving my finances or my money to my brother and he’s family.

  • june says:

    I havent always agreed with Fi but in this instance i have to say i do.If a bloke sounds too good to be true he probably is,and why do women still fall for it. Guess it is fear of being alone that makes lots of them do. it., And yes that can be crap,also peoples attitude to women on their own. I know very well that all my coupled up friends think me far too choosey and seem to think i should be prepared to hook up with anyone,who actually contracts me say on POF, whatever they are like,and even if i have nothing in common with them as at my age i should be “grateful”.they infer.If you wont they seem to imply thats your problem and dont complain, One even suggested last week I could have a “fuck buddy”, what an awful expression,.I pointed out i really wasnt interested in that. Maybe i need to review my friends,but again if single you always feel loathe to do that. Surely you have to feel some kind of physical attraction to a male, and some connection otherwise surely you are b etter off, in spite of sometimes feeling lonely. But guess most of us planktons on here, feel ,the same way, thats why we are planktons.

  • James B says:

    A message for Ms P here. Do you think you have now labelled yourself as a “Plankton”? Do you think that this might have something to do with your situation? I do believe that so many things are possible in life and that we are often our own worst enemies. Although there is great comedy in your written work here, I wonder whether you have allowed irony to become an actuality.

    Frankly, with your personality, wit, intelligence and originality I am sure you could look like an 86 year-old fat, spotty witch and still find a genuinely good man. I know how hard it must seem to all of us, but I preach positive thinking. In my life, without going too deeply into it, some of the most extraordinary things (good things) have happened to me when I took new steps and tried new things with energy and enthusiasm. Look at the quality of your blog for example, the Times column and, I suspect other parts of your career (which I bet are going well). Your personality shines through and is an inspiration to many here.

    You clearly have a magnetism/charisma which leads people to follow you. Is there perhaps any truth in the fact that really, your career and your children dominate (quite rightly) your life so much that at the moment you do not have the time or the inclination or the patience to go fishing in a wider pool of needy, lesser men? I imagine your standards are VERY high. I bet in a few years you’ll be happily partnered up to a very witty journalist/author/screenwriter with a film/TV/book deal of your own – and why not, you undoubtedly will deserve it!

  • Ross says:

    Ms P, have you considered that perhaps “Phil” picked up on your apparent indifference and took it as a sign of disinterest?

    On the other hand, if you are interested, why not give him a call?

  • Lydia says:

    You certanily have to be pretty obvious with men and say exactly how you feel. My last boyfriend thought after our first dinner I wasn’t interested!

    As for regretting things – I regret nothing. I have 5 lovely children, an absolutely marvellous well paid career, a lovely happy life working for myself, a house I adore, island abroad most of all I am very healthy, never ill and very happy – those latter things matter most even if the pricce of divorce has been so financially difficult for me ( stil have massive divorce debt from paying him off).

    However I wanted the divorce. The chilren wanted the divorce. He was awful. It was in that sense the easiest divorce there can be on our side and very very sad for him. So of course I am happy. I wake up every day absoultely delighted he’s not there. If anyone reads the Dominator book about abusive men that describes many aspects of him to a T.

    • Jo says:

      Sorry ‘Lydia’. But if you have ‘an absolutely marvellous well paid career’, ‘a house you adore’ and ‘AN ISLAND ABROAD’ (which of course we have heard many times of old since July 2011!), then how on earth can ‘things be so financially difficult’ for you? Plus still have ‘massive divorce debt from paying him off”?….
      We know you of old. Since last year. So I can’t believe I’m dropping in from mine and my dear ffriend’s struggles to reply to your comment. I KNOW you never reply…
      But anyway. Here’s a thought. Why don’t you sell your idyllic island abroad, clear your debts and be more comfortable. Debt free?
      Just a thought.
      That’s all for now.

  • fi says:

    Is it just me or does anybody else get accused of trying to steal other women’s husbands simply by speaking to them? I want to say “why? Why would I want your husband who YOU YOURSELF don’t even like like, when I know all his faults and failings which YOU CONTINUALLY moan about to whoever is within earshot, who is fat and unattractive so that you don’t even want to have sex with him?”. Oh yes that’s because I’m unattached so I must be DESPERATE for any man, even your cast offs.

    • EmGee says:

      Some people are just overly possessive that way. I bet it can make their spouses absolutely miserable, too.

      Personally, no, I haven’t been accused of stealing someone else’s husband, afaik. That is to say, no one has ever said anything to me.

      • fi says:

        Maybe it’s because I live in a small town with provincial attitudes where men socialise with men and women socialise with women. Just as single middle aged men think we want them, so wives of middle aged men think we do too although it takes a drink or two before they loosen up enough to warn you off their man. As if! Having heard all about their husbands gambling/drink problems, vile temper or how smelly/fat they are, both the women and their husbands think these men are a catch for a single middle aged woman because in the absence of a husband/partner/whatever ANYONE will fit the bill.

      • Emgee says:

        While it can happen anywhere, you are right about a prevalence in particular regions and sicial backgrounds. I know it would be much more lucky in the very small farming community I grew up in in the midwest US, than the area of SoCal where I live now. Similar ppopulation density, but mostly retirees and a lot of artists. Iin fact, simply being an artist, or artistic would belooked at askance back home. It would be easier to be gay. Well at least the wives wouldn’t worry about their husbands. O_o

      • fi says:

        Funny 🙂

      • EmGee says:

        🙂 I typed my last reply on my little tablet which I still struggle with, what mess of typos and misspellings! Oh well, I guess you get the gist of it.

    • MissBates says:

      @fi — Chiming in a bit late to this conversation, but this attitude (married women assuming that any middle-aged single woman must be preying on their husbands) MAKES ME CRAZY! I really don’t think it has much to do at all with regional differences, and/or living in a small town, because I certainly experience it here in New York City, allegedly one of the capitals of sophistication. *snort* I am particularly amused by the LOOKS I get at professional functions where my law partners and other colleagues bring their wives. (Ghastly bar association functions, by and large.) Despite being dressed in conservative business attire at these events, you would think that I am wearing some cleavage-baring, slit-to-the-thigh cocktail dress from the way these women grasp (literally, holding onto) their husbands if I approach to say hello. I feel like saying, “Honey, your paunchy husband farts in front of me at the office, has bad breath, and his only non-business topic of conversation is golf. Really, I’m not interested, no matter HOW pathetic you think I am for being single.”

      • fi says:

        Ha. 😉 I think they’re scared of us as why else would they have to grip those awful specimens of manhood so tightly when we come near them?

      • Emgee says:

        Oh, one can encounter it anywhere, and I am not surprised that some women married married to professional men would guard their investment jealously. One thing you can’t sue for in a divorce is social status, or guard against the taint of scandel if he strays.

        On the other hand, if you haven’t ever primarily lived in asmall town, imagine the social gathering mentioned above, and apply it to nearly every aspect of your life.

      • MissBates says:

        Hi EmGee — Oh, I grew up in small town and many family members still live there, so I’m aware that the social scrutiny is much more intrusive in such settings.

        As for loss of status post-divorce: As a lifelong plankton, I am used to having a less-than-zero social status in the eyes of married women, so I suppose it’s only fair that I give them a frisson of fear at these functions. LOL! Although God knows I’m not exactly sidling up to the husbands, cooing in their ears, and laughing uproariously at their jokes….more like saying, “hey, are you going to cover the court appearance in the XYZ case tomorrow morning, because I have a deposition,” and when I get my answer I offer a few pleasantries about the weather, their children, their recent vacation to some DisneyHell, and then I move on. It’s clear that the women are threatened in part because I am talking to their husbands for all of thirty seconds about something which they don’t share — i.e., his work life, but still….they act as though I’m about to throw a net over their precious (albeit paunchy, flatulent, golf-obsessed — see my previous comment) spouses and carry them away to my Secret Spinster Lair. *cackles and rubs hands together* (I envision the SSL as something like the hideouts that the Batman villians used to have in the 1960s TV series — all underground, cartoon colors, slanted floors ….Not that I’m building one or anything. *cough*)

      • EmGee says:

        ” my Secret Spinster Lair…”

        I love it! Can’t wait for it to be featured in ‘Better Lairs and Dungeons’.

        Seriously, I do think they feel threatened, not only because you speak their spouse’s lingo, etc, but you also know how to turn a phrase. I hate to say it for fear of backlash from certain quarters, but heaven knows those guys whose wives are (incidentally?) jealous, probably didn’t marry them for their brains.

      • fi says:

        A secret spinster lair 🙂 That’s where the nice knickers and balcony bras hang out instead of the massive grey supermarket knickers and playtex bras that hang out in the married lair, where the bed has a fur cover instead of a neat bedspread. No wonder some of them (the ones with less than happy marriages) can’t stand us being around. If they’re going to start haranguing me for flirting with their men when I’m not, then I’m afriad I get my own back by doing it.

      • Elle says:

        Secret Spinster Lair. It sounds like something out of an early Bond movie, the sort of place Moneypenny lived and 007 would have enjoyed if he went back there.

        I think that the wives are well aware of the flatulence, golf fetish, belly button fluff and blubber but are willing to overlook all that (no mean feat) for the status that comes from being a wife.

      • fi says:

        I have to say I’ve never thought being a wife conferred any kind of status (beyond being trapped) and consequently never felt I was viewed negatively for not having one. Which is maybe why I don’t feel negative about it either. Although I have had two (but had rather carelessly lost them both by 30) I decided not to bother again – thought I’d save some poor bloke the misery of being attached to me 🙂

  • PY says:

    A touch of the ‘Lady Bracknell’s’, I suspect.

    As for a wife desparately clinging to her husband’s arm, this blind but rational fear springs, of course, from increasingly available supplies of ‘Planktonite’. A little documented but powerful residue of the imploded planet Singleton (ruled for many years by the Empress Valerie, I’m told).

    It arrives as meteorites which annually bombard Earth, threatening civilisation and the social norms of suburbia as we know it . Men are defenceless against its alien influence.

    If a chap is exposed to it in a confined space – such as an SSL or even Waitrose chilled foods aisle – he will becoming intoxicated, losing all self control and surrendering to the charms of the first woman to cross his path . Society should feel pity for the hapless fool as no antidote is currently available, with the symptoms lasting anything from a single night to a lifetime.

    The only defence to this bewitching space dust is, apparently, a pair of lead lined boxers. Which are sartorially challenging to say the least.

    • Jill says:

      You are indeed in fine form this week, PY! Is it the absence of Ms P’s restraining influence, or perhaps your head has been turned by the apearance of a glimmer of sun? I shook my head with compassion at the sorry picture you painted so graphically of the hapless fools who come under the spell of the female Planktonite. But this idea of the lead lined boxers is more worrying – you speak as one who has had personal and painful experience of same……

  • PY says:

    Just lunchtime musings (aided by No.1 son getting into uni) – and no direct experience in the protective underwear department – usually very much open to the elements and external influences .

    I further understand that the lead lining may have a counter-balance effect, beneficially aiding those with excess girth . Much sought after by those wishing to avoid follow through on the golf tee, so I’m told .

    • Jill says:

      Well, congratulations to the young man on his success, and I’m sure – as they say north of the Border – that drink was taken to celebrate his achievement, which may account for your freee-ranging lunchtime musings. May I also assume from what you say that you are accustomed to wearing a kilt (or perhaps a sarong?!)

      However, I am very puzzled by your claim that the lead-lined boxers would counter-balance any excess girth; surely the lead would encircle the relevant area and therefore there would be no beneficial effect, just a rather heavy downward dragging sensation. Better by far to procure a set of the newfangled Spanx underwear for men, which confine any excess girth while not causing the knees to buckle under their weight. I am sure that you would find them light as the proverbial feather, but as to their effect on your golf and avoiding “follow through” (?!), I have no idea, and no wish to do so either……

      • PY says:

        Sadly not , any exposure to the elements is accidental and possibly age related rather than exhibitionism parading under the guise of heritage. Which leads to :

        Wee Flora and wee Callum a-wandering through the glen . He hitches up his kilt and she wheels away declaring ” Och , Callum ! It’s gruesome !”
        “Aye , have another look , Hen . It’s grew some more ! ”

        As for Spanx , not required , thank you very much and certainly not going to make a difference to my standard of golf . I have to say that the first time i got to grips with such a garment in a moment of passion and without forewarning, was both very confusing and rather disturbing.


  • Jill says:

    Oh goodness, a close encounter of the Spanx kind….. no wonder…that explains a lot – such an experience can be very psychologically damaging.

    As for Flora and Callum – haven’t heard that one before – but it will now be included in my repertoire – I am a shameless plagiarist!

    In return:- How many Spaniards does it take to change a lightbulb? Just Juan…..

    • fi says:

      You two may have more in common than your love of fishing. Poor jokes for a start. 🙂

      • Jill says:

        I have taken your comment very much to heart, fi, especially as that was one of my better jokes! (Will someone please tell me how to add those emoticon thingies to these postings?) And other insertions too …..however, I note that T Lover’s YouTube excerpt was “pulled” shortly after he posted it. How/why that?

      • EmGee says:

        “Will someone please tell me how to add those emoticon thingies to these postings?”
        Here you go:

        You’re welcome. 🙂

  • Jill says:

    Thanks, EmGee, I am now enlightened: :): Your assistance is much appreciated: ;-D;.

    • Jill says:

      Oops, I think i need more practice at this! :o:

      • fi says:

        Yes thanks EmGee. I’m going to broaden my repertoire too.
        Jill – your jokes aren’t poor 80

      • fi says:

        Darnation I need more practice too.:)

      • fi says:

        OMG. Its friday night and I’m watching a programme on bbc4 about easy listening, on a blog chatting with strangers, drinking wine for one. I just need my cats to come in and then I’m having a proper spinster evening. 😦

      • EmGee says:

        “I just need my cats to come in and then I’m having a proper spinster evening.”

        I’m doing just that! Me, my kitties and a glass of wine, haven’t picked a program yet.

        You all will get the hang of teh smiles, if all else fails, just copy/paste!

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