Void of Tenderness

August 28, 2012 § 159 Comments

From yesterday’s Times:-

A friend has been telling me about her elderly father-in-law who was screwing his young mistress as his wife of fifty years, who loved him, lay dying.  He was elsewhere, in his what Amy Winehouse called “final throes”, when the wife was experiencing certain final throes of her own, but of rather a different order.  One can only wonder at the callousness of which some folk are capable.  Or maybe it is not active callousness.  Maybe it is less interesting than that, more banal and ordinary and chilling: a complete absence not of sentimentality – bugger sentimentality, that’s not what I am asking for – but tenderness.  Tenderness brought about by shared history,  memory, jokes, proximity, companionship, parenthood, you name it, even, dammit, nostalgia for a love that may have waned but was, once.  But no.  In stories like this, not even that.

Sometimes, when I hear such stories – my antennae are permanently twitching for consolation of sorts, so I pick up a lot of this kind of stuff; there’s a lot of it about – I can sink to thinking that maybe I am better off on my own.  Alone, a void of tenderness prevails but perhaps that is preferable to the void of tenderness which exists when one is with someone and burdened with the expectation of a tenderness that is perennially unforthcoming.  I try to convince myself that living without it on a romantic level (I am blessed enough to have children and family and friends who brim with it), is nothing if not peaceful.  There is a safety in the lack of expectation, a ballast against the disappointment in the individual that you love.  It is easier to manage the disappointments in those who you hope maybe to love, the various twinkles who dim and, invariably, evaporate.  Those investments are brief and superficial; the knocks they deal less bruising and long-lasting.

Everywhere is the brutal void of tenderness – the date who stands you up or doesn’t ever get back in touch; the blithe and inadequate appraisal of one’s being that is swiftly found to be wanting and not worth the text let alone the candle; the Game Over email or facial expression.  It’s the daily bread of the plankton; the sum of our expectations.  No wonder we come to a point when we think, despite our more youthful selves that were once so full of hope, that we are better off without.  At least no one can deep-down shaft us.  At least there isn’t someone significant to us, for whom we, like the wife in this story, are about as significant as a midge.

At least, in our vacuum of romantic tenderness, we are spared that.


§ 159 Responses to Void of Tenderness

  • AnonW says:

    My wife knew she was dying of cancer about two months before she passed on. She knew there was nothing anybody could do, but she did try to fix me up with a blind date with a widowed friend of hers. Sadly the friend, thought she was just joking and only six months after she died, did I find out what she had been up to. Imminent death or seeing that happening, makes us all do the things deep in our pysche. My wife behaved with dignity and I’ll never forget that.

    • PY says:


      Your heartfelt tale seems to have been ignored . Thank you for telling it and , even though you lost a person who clearly loved you and cared about your future , you were also a very lucky person to have shared your life with such a tender person .

      • Bambi says:

        AnonW and PY, I doubt very much that this heartfelt and very special experience was ignored. i read it and thought: ‘Wow- what could one possibly say in response to such a truly beautiful, heroic story?’ But you are correct, PY. If my only response was ‘Wow’, then maybe I should have said it. Sometimes a story strikes so deeply, we almost cannot respond to it; or maybe we simply don’t know how to. So, well done to both of you – Anonw for relating ;and PY for responding…. two braver souls than the rest of us, perhaps? And what a gracious, tender, dignified person was Mrs. AnonW.

      • Jill says:

        Yes, I totally agree with you, Bambi. My reaction was the same as yours, and my feelings now mirror yours too.

  • Chris says:

    You know, as ever in these situations the man is damned. But what of the callous young woman, a woman who cares not for the plight of a sister ( to empoly feminist rhetoric ) but merely focuses on her own selfish needs, what ever they may be. From my experience I do not doubt that the old fool told her fully of his situation as doubtless the need to ‘unburden’ would have been paramount. I never cease to be amazed at the way women will carve up other women. Why is that ?

    • Emgee says:

      Because women are humans and some humans are ruthless, it is not gender specific. Why do certain people here, both male and female, need to be reminded of this?

      Indulging in victim roles by proxy is not the to go through life.

    • Bambi says:

      Hi Chris – I hope you meant ‘some women’, …. I was asked out last November by a man whose wife was dying. I declined – because I actually did care for the plight of a ‘sister’ (though I don’t use the term myself, not being a subscriber to feminist rhetoric).
      Circumstances may vary greatly, On the face of it, both parties to such an arrangement would appear to be totally selfish and devoid of feeling, but who is to say that it is not the pursuit of tenderness (maybe previously denied) – or simple fear and human frailty – which drives people to offer/accept in situations such as these…
      As Barry Manilow would say….’Some girls will, some girls won’t…..’

      • Scott Benowitz says:

        Barry Manilow says a lot of things- He claims that the songs that he writes make the entire world sing… …. doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to use the lyrics to his songs as any sort of guide to attempting to date women …..

        “Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl…”

    • The Plankton says:

      I wish I knew. Selfish opportunism? Pxx

    • Jill says:

      And men don’t do that, Chris? Hmmm, when I was a young bride of 21, one of my husband’s oldest and best friends told me that he never felt he got to know his friends’ wives well until he had slept with them….???!!! Unsurprisngly, he and I never became very friendly.

  • Dawn says:

    I have come to the same conclusion, P. It has been made easier for me because my ex-husband was quite psychologically manipulative, so my expectations of how I would be treated are not very rosy in any event. Logically, I know not every man is like him, but I still expect nothing but lies and an utter lack of empathy, so it doesn’t feel like I’m missing out on much.

  • MissBates says:

    Yes, I guess that it is a similar assessment (expressed much less eloquently, and made from my front-row seat at the demise of hundreds of marriages) that contributed to my decision officially to Give Up a few years back.

    Still struggling, but there seems little REAL alternative, does there?

  • George says:

    The elderly father-in-law lies at one end of the marriage spectrum. At the other end is the man looking after someone who is legally his wife but who illness has left mentally incapacitated so that she is no longer in any sense his mate. His own family and friends may support him in his wish to find a new partner as they know he will always be there as a carer.
    Such a man is effectively barred from seeking female companionship – until that is he either abandons his partner or puts her in a home. The carer husband has proved himself capable of Plankton’s tenderness by the bucketload but would come up as “married” on an internet searches and so be immediately eliminated.
    George Stuart

  • fi says:

    I’m bored with this “all men are awful, no all women are awful” stuff. I think with a few exceptions most people are nice. Maybe this elderly man had his reasons for seeking out another woman. We don’t have the full story and aren’t in a position to judge.

    • SJPinlondon says:

      I completely agree, Fi x

    • MissBates says:

      As far as I can tell, “awfulness” & “niceness” seem pretty evenly meted out between the sexes.

    • maria says:

      Fi, come on. I can’t believe you’re defending the old bastard. Whatever the reason he should stand by his wife and support her, now she needs him more than ever. The least he could do was to wait she was dead to screw someone else.
      Whatever happened to decency and loyalty towards your partner?

      • fi says:

        I suppose because I don’t think this story rings true either and if if it is, there’s more to this than meets the eye. All we’ve been presented with are bare facts (if true) and steered to draw a particular conclusion and that makes me, a natural sceptic, question the evidence even more.

  • kathypan says:

    its really what happens in life- people die and people move on. Some people move on before people die. We are a speck on a speck of a planet in an infinite universe. Have fun while you can. The old guy probably realises his time might also be up very soon.

    • fi says:

      Or maybe she’d made his life a misery for 50 years. Or maybe she had Alzheimers and didn’t know him. Or maybe he’d loyally looked after her every minute of every day for the last 10 years till he eventually found a woman who gave him support and out of the blue, while he was with her, the wife unexpectedly died. It’s all in the presentation.

  • Marellus says:

    Reblogged this on The Commenter and commented:
    The Sexual Market Place … dammit.

  • Scott Benowitz says:

    Yesterday (Mon. 08/27/12), I wrote a readers’ comment in reply to one of the articles in the relationships page of The Times, I asked the two Times Online sex columnists, Tanya Byron and Suzi Godson if they’d be willing to assist Ms. Plankton here- They are the experts in this field, or at least they claim to be.

    By now, they are quite familiar with her situation, she’s been writing an article every week in the relationships page of The Times since last year…

    Perhaps they can think of something useful for Ms. Plankton here…. …

  • june says:

    There is some truth in what you say P, i have often mused on this myself when i see friends with partners where no tenderness or even love is shown,and they constantly moan about said partner, or it seems that said partner shows no understanding of how they feel. I often think well perhaps better off by myself, as you say theres a void of tenderness when on own, but maybe having someone and still having that void is worse.

    Like Miss Bates i often feel thats it, i just cant be bothered anymore, i never meet anyone anyway. The joys of POF are scarce. The meeting for coffee i had recently i decided not to bother again, he would have but i just had no desire to see him ever. . The man from 80 miles away hasnt contacted for ages, possibly because i suggested meeting! there was a local one who messaged couple times, but he hasnt suggested a meet, and o yes a much younger one, who i told i wasnt interested in some time ago, popped up again, he doesent sound a great prospect, he didnt before and he doesent now, sure hes only chatting to an older women as i cant imagine anyone in 40s would want him. Have you been tempted again with online dating P,you are younger you might get somewhere, but then possibly you might find men of your age all want 30 year olds.

    • The Plankton says:

      Whisper it: no, I haven’t been tempted to try online dating again. Much though that will provoke outrage in some. pxx

      • Jill says:

        Not outrage in me, P, but certainly curiosity. Was your earlier experience of online dating so off-putting ? – I have only come recently to visit your musings on singledom, so I probably missed out on the whys and wherefores. I have been giving the online dating thing a whirl recently and, although I haven’t yet met The One, I am still fairly buoyant about it all. At 50 something, after a long marriage embarked on at 20, it seems a sensible way to start meeting potential “Twinkles”, as so far I have not been “set up with” one single single man bar one (who had recently been widowed and who left the wedding reception at which we were seated next to each other in tears because it was all too painful for him.) Incidentally, what is the thinking about registering with an introduction agency? I know they are expensive, but am seriously contemplating flogging the redundant engagement ring to fund a bit of professional help! Time waits for no man – or woman……!

      • The Plankton says:

        Somewhere there is a post on my thoughts of those expensive agencies – forgive me, I am in haste so can’t give you the link right now – but I have an American widow friend who was SHAFTED by one, having spent frigging THOUSANDS. Personally, I think they are all shisters and, apart from anything else have about a million women on their books and two men. If anyone can tell me differently, I should be interested to hear. But I would steer WELL clear. As for online: I have heard a good many good stories but so many horror ones that I am not sure I have the will. Though I wouldn’t listen to me. I’m sure I am full of shit on the subject. Pxx

  • rosie says:

    It’s my experience that men – the ones who can get away with it – treat women pretty much as they always have done. Of course women are human too and there are any number of screaming, bunny boiling harridans out there but from where I’ve been standing all these years, when it comes to matters of the heart, men are the past masters at callousness and casual contempt.

    • Marellus says:

      Rosie, if you are a ‘screaming bunny boiling harridan’ , then I am going to affix some bunny-ears to a crocodile … oh wait … no … that’s cruelty to animals …

    • june says:

      With you there Rosie, and i have to say many of the bunny boiling harridans have been made that way b y men,. especially their dads I am amazed by number of women who have had crap fathers, My own dad was a lovely man, kind and caring,not perfect,he wasnt great with money and lived a bit for his job, but he brought me up to believe i was as good as men, not inferior, was allowed to have opinions and be myself, something sadly lacking in many peoples fathers. I am sure reason im still on my own is iv e always measured men by him and they have never come up to his standards,ive always expected too much and not found it. He was one of good guys, sadly still think them rare.

      • Jo says:

        ‘Many of the bunny boiling harridans have been made that way by men. Especially their dads’.
        ???! Generalisation or what? Crikey……

  • Lydia says:

    He probably just needed some comfort and it probably did not mean very much, although he certainly picked the wrong moment. We don’t know how awful his dying wife was. My mother would not let my father into the room in their marital home in all the 6 weeks in which she was dying (they did not get on). I think after 50+ years of marriage that was a bit cruel but perhaps that was the only way she had left to hurt him. He only got in to see her once she’d died and he and a nurse hearing no noise went in that particular day.

    Men and women can be equally nasty or nice but over all I have found people, most humans, very nice. People seem innately to be good and the men I’ve known have been lovely and most looking for a long term relationship. The Times columnist Cavendish wrote about her dating last weekend – met rather a nice man at some event with 100 men and 100 women, got talking in the dark to him,. he asked if she was after something long term, no just a fling she said – ah what a pity he said walking off, as he wanted something for the long term. There are lots of men like him out there.

    • The Plankton says:

      I have to admit, that’s not quite how I read her piece. Pxx

      • Jill says:

        Nor me, P. And thank you for your response to my enquiry about your experience of internet dating and thoughts on introduction agencies. (I’m having to post this reply here as my Googlemail inbox appears to have “lost” your reply.) Update on my internet dating experience, in case you are interested: my subscription expires tomorrow and I have decided not to renew it – at least pro tem – but I thought I had nothing to lose by contacting a rather delightful-sounding man I have had my eye on, and – by Jingo – he not only took out a subscription in order to respond to my bold approach to him,but we have now swapped email addresses and are in contact with each other…. Watch this space!

      • The Plankton says:

        Very much watching! Pxx

  • Dostoy says:

    You get what you expect in life. If you expect ‘all’ men to be awful, they will be. If you expect any relationship to be ultimately awful, it will be. There are many people on this blog who have very fixed expectations. Just choose different ones. It really is that easy. Or at least it is if you expect it to be…

    • Gigi says:

      Very well put. If you exude skepticism, you will attract skepticism. You have to change what you are sending out into the Universe. It’s a very simple concept, but often difficult to do.

      • fi says:

        Or another way of explaining it is if you go to a party expecrting to have a nice time you will. Go expecting to have a crap time you will. Because you notice what you’re focused on. Like when you’re pregnant you see loads of pregnant women. I’ve hardly seen any since I had my kids and that was 20 years ago. There’s a lot to be said to thinking of your 10 things to be grateful at the end of every day – it makes you focus on what you have got instead of what you haven’t.

      • Scott Benowitz says:

        @ Fi- Yuuuuuuuuuurkh- be a doll, will ya sweetie? Grab another round of cold ones for me and the boys, will ya?

        Guys, aint she the best?

      • fi says:

        Scott. I wouldn’t have said I lived a sheltered life, but I don’t think I’ve met many people like you before.

      • EmGee says:

        fi: “…but I don’t think I’ve met many people like you before.”

        I’ve met too many; they want to lead adult lives but refuse to grow up. The trustifarians are the worst.

      • I’m trying to make Fi feel better about not having a male partner at the moment- The evenings out to the theaters, the dinners out, the parties, the romantic walks and bicycle rides together in scenic areas can be fun, but she needs to remember that ultimately, many of us will want to retreat into our man caves and watch sports on television with our other male friends, and we like to consume generous quantities of lager, ale and “bar food” snacks while doing so…. errrrp, ‘scuse me…. Yerrrrp …..

        And I feel that I’ve met too many women like “EmGee” before too…. and I don’t even know anything at all about her … : (

      • EmGee says:

        @ Scott:


      • @ Emgee- Perhaps you have me confused with someone else- I am a Pastafarian, I believe in His Noodlleness The Flying Spaghetti Monster…

        That’s Pastafarian …

      • fi says:

        Scott. What? What? Why do you think I need to feel better?

      • fi says:

        All I’m looking for is someone to clamber on my roof and fix my skylight. 🙂

      • Bambi says:

        Lol, Fi. Maybe Jill’s 78-year-old would do it for you….?

        …..fix the skylight, that is 🙂

      • EmGee says:

        No, I just said trustifarians were the worst, not only immature, but think they are entitled. Not that you were one.

      • fi says:

        Bambi 🙂

        Although I think I’m going to have to do it myself. My dad doesn’t want me to and a (male) work colleague is frankly apalled that I may have to. But hey ho. The downside is that with every ‘masculine’ skill I acquire there’s less and less of a potential role for them. The more things I get used to doing and then enjoy doing with friends or on my own, there’s less of a potential role for them there. There are very few remaining man shaped holes in my life as it is. Very very soon I fear I will cease to see the point of them at all. And I don’t really want to get to that stage.

      • maria says:

        I think Scott is nuts.

      • fi says:

        Maria. 😉

      • “Nuts” in the eyes of the beholdee ….

      • “Nuts?” Hey- I did not start a blogsite dedicated solely to exploring all of the possible reasons that women might not want to have sex with me …. …..

      • Bambi says:

        Um…Scott… re ‘I did not start a blogsite dedicated solely to exploring all of the possible reasons that women might not want to have sex with me ….’. Would you reconsider?

        Fi, be consoled, I can hardly believe it myself, but only yesterday I got a man to CHANGE A LIGHT BULB for me… i mean, I have been changing light bulbs all my bloody life, married, unmarried, with parents, orphaned…. I feel so demoralised!!! I don’t know what got in to me, apart from the fact that I couldn’t get the damn broken bulb out of the fitting and was getting really frustrated at my own inadequacy….

        Ah, T Lover, the soggy hillside – the natural habitat for this and so many Bambis…. I have to say, I do miss it a little, having recently swopped it for the bright lights of London. (Oh, and btw, the antlers are already airbrushed – no need for such form of defence in the City). So…. you and Fi sharing a Saturday morning cuppa in her jim jams (!) – how lovely, but you know you will have to move over now that Former Admirer is on the scene (well, nudging onto it anyway). I never knew about the 2.30am cut-off for ravishing, Fi… i thought it could happen any time of the day 🙂 or night….

        Enjoying reading all the comments, but missing Miss Bates. Jill, do let is know how you handle your situation….

        Off to cook dinner, that being undeniably ‘woman’s work’…. and there being no one else to do it anyway….

      • Jill says:

        Brilliant posting, Bambi. Thank you for making me chortle on a rather grey and depressing evening here in deepest Hampshire.

        Since you so kindly enquire, I will reveal that I “bottled” it with my more senior admirer yesterday when he and I spoke. We have a “date” in two weeks’ time, which I am not going to disappoint him over, as he has taken trouble to plan it and for which he has bought rather expensive tickets. I tried to let him down gently a while back, but he was insistent, so I now intend to offer to pay for my ticket in the first place, and will then tell him at a suitable point in the proceedings that I do not feel that I am the right “girl” for him. I will make it seem that it is all my fault – too busy, too many ties and obligations, etc. I hope in that way to avoid him thinking it is anything to do with him or his age, for which, incidentally, he looks amazingly young and fit.

      • Mrs T Lover says:


        How do you do it? You have such a way with women.

        Is it something you picked up naturally or did you have training?

        If you get the chance, be a sweetie and whisper the secret in my hubby’s ear. He’s always eying other women, it’s so irritating. If you could just cut him in on the secret that will be the end of his philandering.

        Mrs T Lover

      • fi says:

        There are some really funny people on here. And then there are the humorous ones 🙂

      • fi says:

        “Um…Scott… re ‘I did not start a blogsite dedicated solely to exploring all of the possible reasons that women might not want to have sex with me ….’. Would you reconsider?”

        Hysterical. Oh god I love this site.

      • Crank says:

        “There are very few remaining man shaped holes in my life as it is.”

        Am I the only one childish enough to have laughed out loud at this?

      • Emgee says:

        @ Crank:
        I larfed, but I’m also a member of the fi fanclub for plankton. ❤

      • fi says:

        EmGee – gee thanks!

  • James B says:

    A genuinely beautifully written blog piece this week. “Tenderness brought about by shared history, memory, jokes, proximity, companionship, parenthood … even, dammit, nostalgia for a love that may have waned but was, once”. What great writing!

    But let’s look at all this. Firstly, the real tension is as always the male need for variety and new partners versus the societal expectation of permanent fidelity. If our expectations are moderated then surely, so will our levels of disappointment. If a marriage has 30 good years and 2 bad ones – was it a bad marriage?

    The story this week is extreme and sad and at the very least is a tale of bad timing and poor taste and judgement. too many uses of the word “And” there. Sorry. But Ms P to follow your argument – it is better not to love and have companionship because you know it will probably go wrong. Well, ALL relationships will fail apart from our last relationship ever (and that may fail too of course). So what! If we follow your argument, it’s a bit like saying that there is no point living because death is inevitable. I believe in living well, loving well and not worrying too much – because we will all be eaten by insects in any case.

    So – go find tenderness and accept that it might wane and burn. Emotional restriction of oneself is no answer. That way lies denial and a small personal death if you ask me. Better to be alive, in hope and occasionally in pain some of the time – that’s my opinion in any case. But what do I know? I’m just a man…

    • PY says:

      ….. and a wise one at that . But , then again , I am just another guy on a train home , catching up with a disparate group of bloggrs .

      Shall we touch on Naomi Woolf’s ‘revelation’ that every woman now needs a wiring diagram for their individual neural paths in order to keep in touch with their sexual stimuli ? See Times .

      I think my experience in the field had already led me to that conclusion but if dating in this particular playing field wasn’t difficult enough , the bar has just been raised .

      • The Plankton says:

        I am a fan of Naomi Wolf, I met her once and really liked her. But boy did I feel reduced reading that piece. And that was from a starting point of almost total reduction. The bar has indeed been raised. pxx

    • fi says:

      James this is a theme you keep returning to. I’m getting the impression that you are bored with your life but have not yet dipped your toe into other ‘opportunities’. I can almost see the thoughts developing in your head. 🙂

      • PY says:

        “I hold it true, whate’er befall;
        I feel it, when I sorrow most;
        ‘Tis better to have loved and lost
        Than never to have loved at all.”

        -Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem
        In Memoriam:27, 1850

      • T Lover says:

        Sorry PY you’ve got that one wrong.

        It’s better to have loved and lost than to have loved and won.

        And come on – if he was married at (say) 25 and they had been married 50 years that makes him – um – 75. The vision of the old bugger riveting a dolly at the very moment his wife lay dying does not quite have the ring of truth.. …

        Or perhaps there is something to look forward to in later life after all.

      • Bambi says:

        Mistress Pompous, aka TLover, Mrs TLover, Father something-or-other and Godknowswhatelse…Would you be kind enough to share details of the dating site you were on? I reckon even I would leave my post in John Lewis food hall and give that one a whirl. At a mere 51-and-a-half, I’d have to stand a reasonable chance against an occasional septuagenarian – and Miss P, a baby, barely in her 40s, would surely have a field day…

        Jill, I think you said you are in your early 50s…and the dear gentleman is in his late 70s….I think you need to be tough and set limits. Mine is 15 years – in either direction :-). I think a margin totalling 30 years is okay, yes…..?

        BTW, men on online dating sites lie about their height. Trust me on this.

      • T Lover says:

        Bambi, greetings from a soggy hillside this early Saturday morning. For the first time in living memory I didn’t down a bottle of red last night (a Friday) I went for a drink with a mate and called it an alcohol draw after one.

        I started reading this blog because I was so so fed up. Getting nowhere woman wise so a girl at work suggested I had a look – she had read the review in the Mail.

        I came to realise it was not me, women are bonkers.

        Well, I suppose it might be me too because as you read what people have to say you see why some blokes do well with women. eg AnonW. He strikes me as caring, a true romantic.

        You see which women might be “difficult” in a relationship. Those who have tunnel vision or are combative, you can see it in the pattern of comments. Not to say these are not nice, interesting people. I have friends who handle strong women well. I can’t . I am combative too.

        The drink? I am about to tell you things I might regret despite the fact this is the first Saturday morning for aeons I have felt sharp(ish).

        I realised the odds on finding “the” woman to suit this quirky individual and at my age were zip and so I protected my mental health by laughing. I added circa 40 years to my age and included other stupidities like: I was the UK’s fattest man. I was threatened by the site administrators, lines were redacted.

        I hide the profile 90% of the time but when I am low (this last few days but gone again today) out pops my centenarian profile. That’s why I get views from ladies of an age – the truth is out. Except for the fact I did anyway when my age was correct. The profile is a bit more conservative nowadays bar the age following a couple of abusive messages the gist of which was I ought to be banned for not taking the site seriously.

        On the plus side, every now and then a sharp Miss with a sense of humour latches on so, it does work in a way. It also shows that a bloke can still, at a hundred, pull women.

        I haven’t had a subscription for a year. Been separated for four. Still drinking coffee on my own this morning.

        Now you. I like your photograph, those lovely eyes. Suggestion: get someone to airbrush the antlers.

      • fi says:

        Morning T. I’m Also drinking coffee but I’m still in bed compiling lists of Man Chores that need doing however as it is raining I am able to postpone doing any for a little longer. I think it is fascinating what people reveal on the internet about themselves unwittingly. I used to think it made it easier to lie as you weren’t able to see people, but in actual fact I now think the opposite. Without the distraction of appearance and body language there’s less to distract from the essence of someone, which is revealed conciously and unconciously through their writing. What they think but also ther personality traits if you like. There’s a tedious robert burns poem about that, something about giving us the power to see ourselves as others see us.

      • T Lover says:

        Fi, I see you now – I like those tartan jim jams.

        This man chore thing, you have it wrong. Remember that card? The woman and the mechanic peering under the bonnet. Mechanic: I’m afraid your battery’s flat, madam. Woman: what shape should it be?

        The fact is, loads of men today have no idea about how things work either or how to do even simple odd jobs. We became so affluent we took it for granted a “little man” would come round and fix things for us.

        Perhaps I am just becoming a crabbit in my dotage but people don’t seem to rally round to help a woman in distress any more. Time was the neighbours would be up that ladder with a silicone gun. Job done.

      • fi says:

        I know. Men eh? I worry what’s going to happen when my dad can’t help me anymore. I think with my ability to ignore anything I don’t want to see, and procrastinate with the things I do see, I’m going to end squatting up in some sort of hovel.

      • T Lover says:

        Fi, that’s silly talk. Chin up.

        My fellow man I do not care for,
        I often ask; What’s he there for?
        The only answer I can find
        Is, Reproduction of his kind.

        It’s not true – there are lots of nice people around.

      • T Lover says:

        Was trying to say, there’s always someone there to help.

      • fi says:

        I know. Well inspired by you today’s indoor task is to try to buy a replacement belt for my vacuum (ignored for the last 6 months or so, been using a brush. When I can be bothered) and mend my vacuum. There are videos on you tube of how to do it so I’ll give it a shot.

    • The Plankton says:

      You are not “just” a man. But just a thought: if the pain of living vastly outweighs the being “alive” and the hope, there comes a point when the risks are not worth it. Pxx

      • Mistress Pompous says:

        I’m a tad lost. I was not sure if this response was aimed at mine or if I had been caught by friendly fire aimed elsewhere – if it had landed on me by dint of a computer accident.

        At first reading your comment had a touch of the Eric Cantonas about it – seagull/trawler – but on re-reading I found it rather depressing. I hope you are not weighing life’s pros and cons.

        Internet dating has been mentioned again. I had a new start this week, albeit without a subscription. Target age: 48-52 which in reality means up to around 58 as women are such liars about their age.

        I looked this morning to see if I had hooked anyone. Yep, two. Both in their seventies, one 78. I am now a toy boy. I cannot face rejection/ rejecting people. I didn’t eat for days after rejection by Fi. Need to toughen up. How do you do it when you know rejection might upset your new “fan”? That’s the end of that then . No more internet for me.

        Finally, ding dong Avon calling. The midge problem. My beloved (ha ha) wife has a pony with sweet itch. I see she has bought a Skin so Soft spray for the ‘oss. Will try it over the weekend and report.


        Mr T Lover – Scott you are not the only one who uses his real name.

      • Jill says:

        Huh, you assert that women lie about their ages, T Lover, but I can assure you that men do too. I am currently embroiled in a tricky situation with a lovely but somewhat elderly chap who thinks I am the bee’s knees, but he is 78……. I know that he is lonely and I feel sad about that, so am in a compelte quandary about what to do now.

  • James B says:

    Ah Fi – no I am trying to behave with as much personal integrity as I can muster. We are all tempted and I judge no-one. But my profession means I am confronted on a daily basis with the impact of human behaviour, desire, expectations and the inevitable mis-matches that the above entails. Agh. Most people are 99% good and 97% well-behaved in my experience. That’s all we can hope for.

    • fi says:

      Yes. Most people try their best most of the time and people do try to do their best but sometimes can’t. Life is short and you get one shot at it, trite but true, and it’s sad when people live it unhappily or are unfulfilled. Sometimes we are faced with the choice of making ourselves or other people unhappy and we have to decide what to do. For a number of reasons I don’t think it’s always better to choose to make ourselves unhappy, even though other people sometimes expect that.

  • Scott Benowitz says:

    @ Ms. Plankton- Yes, I did offer to send my cell phone # to you last year… but now that I’ve thought about this more, to be completely honest with you… …. well there’s ever really an easy, graceful and painless way to say this, so why beat around the bush- I’ll be blunt, I just don’t see any possible way that things could ever work out between yourself and I ….

    There- Happy now? At least I had the courtesy to make the effort to write and tell you, rather then leave you hanging…. ….

    • Bambi says:

      On a lighter note, there is an elephant in the room and everyone is ignoring it!

      ‘between yourself and I…’, Scott? C’mon….think about it – you don’t even have to know the rule about what case prepositions take… would you say ‘between I’? Noooooo!!!! NEVER! A bit like saying ‘between we’, rather than saying ‘between us’…. Offends the sensibilities!

      Admit it, P, you spotted it – and it hurt, but you were too polite to comment, yes? 🙂

  • James B says:

    As my hero Viktor Frankl wrote “It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future and this is his salvation in the most difficult moments of his existence, although he sometimes has to force his mind to the task”

    I would prefer to have hope personally – on as many fronts as possible, including love.

  • Charlotte says:

    Hello Plankton — and Planktonites (?) — thought some of you might enjoy this brand-new blog by an old college friend, dipping her toe in the world of online dating in LA: http://frostypinklipstick.blogspot.com/
    It’s brand new, and I know she could use some page hits, and she’s quite amusing about it all …

  • fi says:

    I can’t remember who it was on this site that posted the link to the effects of celery on loose elastic. But can I just say I’ve been looking at it again and it is great. You are my kind of woman!!

    • Emgee says:

      Art Frahm was the artist with the predilection for loose elastic and celery. 🙂

      I am not sure what a man chore is, if it includes changing a belt in a vacuum. In a sense I agree with T Lover about men being just as incapable as women these days at some pretty basic tasks. On the other hand, I am dismayed that some things like small appliances that used to be repairable, are doomed to the tras bin, because the metal part that never wore out has been replaced by a plastic part that fatigues and breaks after a year of use. Forget landfills full of
      plastic bags that we have a choice about using, it is all the electronics and other things that used to last a lifetime that is the real problem.

      The other issue are things we could routinely fix by ourselves, which have become nightmares to address. I have a headlight bulb out on my car, and after doing research on the year, make, and ordered the correct bulb ($29/pr), only to discover that they changed 2 of the 4
      mid model year, and the one I really need ranges fron $50 (online) to $120 (local retailer), and they recommend a mechanic to do it! The fact that government legislates band aid ecology measures for us common folk and gives a wink and a nod to the real villians destroying the climate for profit drives my just a little ranty. Acccrabbity.

      A a lifetime, that are filling our landfills, and there is nothing we can do about that

      • Emgee says:

        Sorry about the gobblety gook at the bottom, Android messed up the type in the field, and my cursor started jumping all over the place.

      • fi says:

        A man chore is one that I don’t want to do. Usually involving something unpleasant (like going on my roof), something requiring brute strength (like dismantling and rebuilding my gate), something dirty (like cleaning my gutters), or something I can’t be bothered doing (like changing the belt on my vacuum). Sorry. I can do most things but the downside to that is I find myself asking If I can do everything myself, and get all my social and emotional needs met by my friends and family, and my life is set up in such a way that my every need and desire is catered for, then what can a man bring to my life to enhance it? That’s my concern. All I can see is I’d be expected to give up stuff. I’d like for it not to be like that though.

      • fi says:

        Ps should have guessed it was you EmGee.

        I was at a burlesque show last night and it made me think of art frahm. Not sure if they are all as tame as the one in my local town hall (that’s where it was) but apart from the celery and knickers staying on, it had the same sort of retro feel to it – slightly saucy but not indecent.

      • Emgee says:

        Mind, this is strictly my pov, but my need for a man is companionship, not a father figure, sex slave, or houseboy to do things I find distateful. On the other hand, too
        many men expect their wives’ duty is to do the distasteful stuff, so they can get on with the ‘important’ stuff, eg; he will clean the gutters, but toss it over the edge and call it ‘mission accomplished, gutters clean’, while the wife rakes, sweeps, bags, and otherwise actually finishes the job, and deposits the
        debris in the trash.
        It’s easy to forget that this scenario is more likely to

      • Emgee says:

        to be the reality in most marriages, than the fantasy that he will do these man chores and actually complete them.

      • fi says:

        There must be something wrong with me after all. (Sorry Rosie you were right – it IS me 😀 )

      • fi says:

        I’m off out tonight on a date with a man who has fairly recently split with his girlfriend. I like him, I even used to think he was attractive, and we used to flirt and I know he always quite fancied me, but now he’s available I’ve gone off him. I think maybe I’m so stuck in my spinster’s rut I simply can’t be bothered – all that effort for what?. I’d prefer to sit in with my cats and watch tv. God. There IS something wrong with me.

      • T Lover says:

        Burlesque? Dita Von Tees – my favourite. She lives next door you know.

      • joules says:

        Fi – it is just a date – not a life sentence. Hope it went well.

        Emgee – thanks for reminding me – I need to replace a brake light on my car.

        Both – I just cleaned most of my house gutters myself – tried to pay my window cleaner and the neighbour’s window cleaners to do it but it was going to be months before they could do it . I think they just did not want to do it. I still have to do the hard second story one on the front of the house but will have to borrow the long ladder from work for this. Might end up doing my neighbour’s as well. But then he helped me sort out the faulty shower.

        T Lover – so does the T in T lover refer to Tees?

        P – I have heard stories very like what you describe above but am right now trying to be helpful to a male friend whose wife has decided she wants to split. Not very easy for him and I am not sure I “approve” of her choice here. At risk of making judgements but then we all do. And need to recognise that part of ourselves.

        Off doing fieldwork this week – will miss reading the banter.

      • fi says:

        Joules. T stands for Tweed (river) I Thnk.

        Thanks for your interest. Date went well and eventually got home this morning un ravished. Just. Another man looking for a relationship though but we agreed that we would just see how things went, if anywhere. But before I’d got home he’d sent a text. Pressure pressure. Nice man though.

      • fi says:

        2.30 this morning. Before the ravishing hour 🙂

      • T Lover says:

        Joules, thank you for asking about the “T”.

        Take no notice of that Fi, if she carries on speculating I’ll make sure she gets rosie cheeks.

        And if I was (Miss Von) Tees’ lover I would be sending this e from heaven.

        No, you can’t rely on that Fi. I stood there on the international boundary waiting and waiting but she never turned up. I sent a photograph to prove it. Mind you I was facing England so I perhaps would have missed her anyway. And I had spent a fortune on crackers. I went mad tearing at the paper, ripping out puzzles and dice until I found a ring. Fancy a job lot of paper hats? Cheap?

      • fi says:

        Ps joules and EmGee – you two are pretty amazing and make me feel sort of inadequate.

      • If I remember correctly, I think a few months ago, he said that it was an abbreviation for “Toe Lover”

      • T Lover says:


        Sorry, you aren’t going to nail that one on me.

  • PY says:

    Dammit, Jill , my subscription about to expire as well and we didn’t track each other down ! We will have to wait until we encounter each other in front of the cold cuts counter in Waitrose then.

    Re an agency, you wouldn’t have found me that way either as I think I would prefer to be in control over my destiny rather than handing it over, to a certain extent , to someone else .

    Meanwhile, sailing in Croatia earlier in the summer, a vicar, a judge, an astro physicist , a burlesque dancer and I walked into a bar …..
    The Edinburgh based ‘Gilda Lilly’ wouldn’t have been in that show would she , Fi ?

    • fi says:

      No but what an excellent name. We had Gypsy Charms.

    • Jill says:

      Well drat and double-drat, PY. I can only think that you must be so young or far flung that you did not qualify as one of my matches. It’s definitely going to have to be Waitrose then – but please not the deli counter – can we not aspire to “Fine Wines” at the very least?!

  • Highlander says:

    What a lot of whinging ;~) I would imagine all of these bored wives who’ve dumped Hubby to “find themselves” are now finding after a couple of years in hopeless dating realize he wasn’t so bad after all.

    I find it very hard to believe every man is such a dismal piece of work, or the main reason a marriage fails. Time to own up Girls, Plankton included, you are where you are because of your own actions…

    • fi says:

      Bore off – you’ve obviously been turned down or left by a woman and are bitter about it.

    • EmGee says:

      My husband committed suicide, others have lost spouses to cancer. I hope to God you don’t think it was because of our actions…, or maybe you are just one of those trolls who like to jump in, paint us all with the same vitriolic brush and then sit back with the smug satisfaction that you ‘sure showed us Girls’.

      Sorry, you are not the first, nor will you be the last of these sad specimens. Move along.

      • fi says:

        God don’t even engage with these trolls. They are inadequate men that have failed with women and rather bitchily get a lot of pleasure from imagining that women in general are having a miserable time. And that’s why they continue to be on their own. Passive aggressive too. Like the worst kind of bitchy women.

      • fi says:

        EmGee. That must have been extremely hard. 😦

      • EmGee says:

        It was hard, but also, put me into such a shock for a while, that I didn’t really feel much and went into survival mode. It wasn’t until later that I realized how much it affected me. I also had a very good, supportive group of friends to help me through, which was the most invaluable thing of all.

      • Bambi says:

        EmGee, what to say….? No pious platitudes, Just a simple: Shit, I’m sorry.

        And I wouldn’t worry about Highlander. He/she /it is only trying to wind us up. I don’t believe anyone could seriously hold such ridiculous views.

        ….could they…..?

        ‘Bore off’, ‘move along’ and ‘take a hike’ sort of sum it up and made me laugh. Maybe Highlander is good value after all!

        PS. Jill, make sure that ‘suitable point in the proceedings’ is before 2.30am, or you could be in trouble….. 🙂

      • fi says:

        Re the 2.30 cut off – Better safe than sorry. 😉

      • Emgee says:

        Thanks for the condolences. I very rarely mention it, as that only reopens the wound. The scar will always be a reminder. It’s just that the gratuitous malevolence present in some people, truly gets to me sometimes. Such a retort rarely does any good, as in the case of highlander, they just use it as a reason to back pedal furiously and restate their case.
        When we start new relationships, and I highly doubt any of us go into them thinking we are going to mess it up. However blaming ourselves or the other person is only mean and poinless.

    • Jo says:

      You should change your name from Highlander to Mr Simplistic Generalisation.
      Highlander? Take a hike….

    • Jill says:

      Oh, do I scent the smell of a sour grape or two, Highlander? Are you speaking as a “dumped Hubby”, may I enquire? As a matter of fact, if you read this and other of these articles/comments attentively, you will realise that the vast majority of the “bored wives” who contribute are not whingeing, merely acknowledging the awkward aspects of singledom and their preference for life as a couple in the right circumstances. No one, as far as I am aware, is maintaining that “every man is a dismal piece of work, or the main reason a marriage fails.” There are, however, notable examples of failures to measure up to acceptable standards of behaviour, like the one cited in P’s current post. It goes without saying that both men and women are capable of regrettable moral lapses – after all, it takes two to tango.

      • Jill says:

        And, Bambi, thanks for the good advice re the “ravishing hour”…..! Don’t worry, I will be well tucked up in my own maidenly (matronly?!) bed very much on my ownsome by that hour……

  • PY says:

    On neither count , I’m sorry to say, Jill – many boxes ticked and probably right under each others nose. Possibly a perfect example of the failings of on-line search engines .

    As for Waitrose, I was only pausing to select some antipasto before moving on to find something / somebody suitably chilled .

    • Jill says:

      Just a thought, PY….. (I apologise heartily to Ms P and all who comment on here for using this site for a strictly personal reason, and I feel embarrassed about diong so, but this is something which has been bothering me for several weeks now and I would very much like to get it cleared up.) You are not by any remote chance the “Paul” who left a message about a month ago in my voicemail inbox for the Sunday Telegraph dating page, with an incomplete Guildford telephone number, are you? The last two digits were missing, and I even considered calling all the numbers between 00 and 99 in conjunction with the 4 I already had, so charming was the voicemail left by “Paul”. If it was you, well stranger examples of serendipity have been known; if not, I will have to continue to feel bad about not being able to respond.

      Sorry again to everyone else – I just had to ask!

      • T Lover says:


        Hello, good afternoon. I feel it best to be polite before this: a bucket of cold water. You are man mad girl. Getting a new man obsessed.

        You flirt with the blokes who comment. You have two lined up via the dating internet. you are semi seriously suggesting a party.

        Calm down. Be patient. You are going to be very very disappointed at this rate.

      • PY says:

        Nope, not me and certainly not a Sunday Telegraph reader. At the risk of making a bit of a Goon of myself, the mystery man remains in the shadows.

        Clearly, TLover does not enjoy the fun of the chase.

      • T Lover says:


        Yes the chase. Depends. Am I doing the chasing or the one being chased and if the latter who it is who is doing the good old chasing.

        And, to be honest, I can’t be bothered any more which I suppose is an admission that I don’t enjoy chasing or being chased.

        I don’t like women who come on too heavy. By that I mean to me and,contemporaneously, anything else in pants. Who wants a woman who is “anyone’s”

        I am past wam bam and goodbye. I want a loving relationship.

  • Highlander says:

    Based on the replies I can say I rest my case. Anyone who even suggests that just maybe the grass isn’t greener is called “bitter” and a “troll”. I just find it a little odd that there is very seldom any responsibility at all taken here for the marriage failure by the women who post here, and the men mainly tend to be described in all sorts of derogatory ways.

    My comments are in no way intended for the widows of this world, or those who’s husbands were indeed a bad piece of work. I just find it very hard to believe that the man is the root of all agony in marriage.
    If you talk to a great many men in long term marriages you find they have been living with all sorts of abuse, but do not file for divorce anywhere near as often as middle aged women. I think The bard says it best “”The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” – (Hamlet)

    • Jill says:

      I simply can’t take anyone seriously who quotes Shakespeare but doesn’t know the difference between who’s and whose.

      • Jill says:

        As for you, T Lover, I was temped to ignore your very unnecessary comments above, but I would remind you that people in glass houses shouldn’t chucki stones around. I think that YOU are a very disappointed man, who is possibly suffering from a hangover which is making you tetchy today. I offer my heartfelt sympathies to you.

      • T Lover says:


        How long have you been separated from your (former?) husband.

        Take it from me that (like a period of bereavement) we need time in which to settle down before rushing into the next relationship.

        To suggest you are going to dial every number between 00 and 99 just to find a man who sounded nice on the ‘phone really is a touch OTT. You don’t agree? Oh well here’s another bucketful.

        If I was the bloke in question I would run a mile (if I could get away) and if I was what’s name – PY? – or your two other internet dating introductions the fact you were persuing the Guilford bloke by making (up to) 100 phone calls would put me right off.

        PS. I am a bloke but you know what I mean.

        PPS Guilty. I am thinking here is a woman who is obsessive.

        PPPs. Why do women think they can reach the moral high ground by pretending to ignore perfectly reasonable (and friendly) criticisms as though their tormentor is some sort of rude nutcase?

    • The Plankton says:

      I have never maintained I didn’t have a part in the end of my marriage. Of course I did. P

    • fi says:

      Re the tiresome Highlander. Nobody on here has said they have left their husband because they thought the grass was greener. There are widows, women whose husbands had affairs and/or left them, and women who have never been married. The only other person who has made this assumpTion was Mike a few pages back. And again, he also did that pretend sympathy for the ‘plight’ of middle aged plankton while underlying all his comments was also the message of “ha ha serves you right.” I bet if I could be bothered scrolling back and looking, the icon would be the same. However, it is clear that this person has an axe to grind – the woman who left her innocent husband – and is using this site as an outlet for his bitterness against women in general because of his wife in particular, as opposed to being interested in anybody else’s experiences and views. That’s what I would call a troll.

      • T Lover says:

        Hang on.

        Here is a (I assume) chap trying to make a point. Stop being so aggressive.

        And who takes any notice of someone who thinks it smart to deride a chap’s grammar – the difference between who’s and whose.

        I’ve just had Jill having a personal go – this is what she said about me: ” I think that YOU are a very disappointed man, who is possibly suffering from a hangover which is making you tetchy today. I offer my heartfelt sympathies to you”

        What sort of a stupid comment is that? I have had, for the record one small glass of red since Saturday evening (it is now Tuesday early evening) but am the butt of made up tripe because Jill didn’t like what I said.

        Let the bloke make his point.

      • fi says:

        Sorry T, you know I think you’re lovely normally, but what is this if not a misleading misrepresentation of all the women here, with an underlying glee that they are on their own. “What a lot of whinging ;~) I would imagine all of these bored wives who’ve dumped Hubby to “find themselves” are now finding after a couple of years in hopeless dating realize he wasn’t so bad after all.

        I find it very hard to believe every man is such a dismal piece of work, or the main reason a marriage fails. Time to own up Girls, Plankton included, you are where you are because of your own actions…” why should he be allowed to make his point unchallenged? And as for justifying it by saying he’s pointing out the grass isn’t greener? No he’s not as that is what most of the women here are saying. He’s saying that women should be berating themselves for being where they are. I think a manosphere site, which is similarly full of bitter men, is the place for him. I really don’t see that a site for women is the place for a man to appear purely to criticise us for our failings including apparently the fact that we don’t publicly trail our indiviual failings for anyone to read, which by his own admission is what he is looking for.

      • T Lover says:


        I love you too.

        Niceties over on behalf of Highlander: Up yours.

        The (his) first post was badly judged but look at the derision that was heaped on him. Read the things that were said. You refer to him as “the tiresome Highlander”.

        Then his second. Last paragraph. I know several blokes who ought to be beatified, one has the nickname Saint Michael. Because of the good nature of the man the marriages stick. You hear all sorts of stories about calculating duplicitous women – isn’t he saying it’s not always the bloke’s fault but that is the impression give by a percentage of the contributors.

        Another subject. You won’t believe this but this week I had a heart to heart with a bloke who left his missus and for twelve years lived with a friend’s wife. Then his own wife took him back. After twelve years. Now he lives with wife and “sees” number two on the side. The icing – he is still friends with the husband of number two. You couldn’t make it up could you?

        Last night I woke in a cold sweat. I thought mine wanted to come back!

      • fi says:

        Because Tlover, highlander IS mike from a few pages back. Same story, same phraseology and most tellingly, the only person that has ever done this : ;~) on this site. And he hijacked that other thread with the same complaint about women then. Over and over again complaining about women who go through the menopause and leave their innocent and injured husband and wake up to a life of internet dating, left on the shelf forever, always regretting the husband they discarded in their selfishness.

      • fi says:

        Ps re your ‘Up Yours’ coMment directed my way. Maybe you need to crack open the wine after all and chill a bit

      • T Lover says:


        My name is T Lover not Sherlock Holmes. How am Ito know some swine is identity swopping?

        And why so sensitive about a friendly up yours or is Jill going to turn on me and say in Scotland it should have been: Up yours Jimmy?

      • fi says:

        Doesn’t “up yours” mean “f**k off”?

      • T Lover says:

        Fi, sorry, I don’t know what F off means.

        I looked at the Urban Dictionary and was surprised to see it (up yours) could mean F off. The Urban Dictionary is, however, American. I think.

        The key is in the intent not the literal meaning So you can say Up Yours (or F Off) with a smile or in a temper and convey different messages.

        Of course the recipient can chose an intent which was not intended.

      • fi says:

        Glad we cleared that up! Have a good day.

  • Jill says:

    For the record, T Lover, YOU were the one who alluded the other day to being in the habit of drinking a bottle of red wine each evening, and your post was so crabby – indeed it reminded me of the man I married – that I naturally assumed that you might be feeling a bit under the weather. My mistake – you obviously just got out of bed on the wrong side.

    Again, for the record, I have now been separated for two years – and in that time I have extensively mourned the end of my marriage and my much-altered future, and have spent aeons of time in self -reproach and self-examination, unlike my husband who was first unfaithful (with a “friend” of mine) around the birth of our third child, We subsequently had a fourth child, so I must have been quite forgiving. He then walked out on his family when his youngest two sons were only 11 and 8 to be with the same woman. He asked me to take him back the same day he left, but he never “let go” of her, and they had another affair four years ago. When he finally left in 2010 he told me that it was a trial separation as we were “so unhappy”. At that point, I had ust had an emergency hysterectomy after three years of being continually unwell. By that stage I was taking the maximum dose of anti-depressants and felt completely diminished as a woman and a wife. I am now determined to rebuild my life, and am getting “out there” with thecomplete approval of my sons, who want me to have the kind of relationship which I never had with their father. They all agree that he is emotionally retarded, and they despise the woman who has damaged our family (and hers for that matter) so terminally. I don’t wish to be on my own for the remainder of my life – I am, believe it or not – and I did not for a long time as a result of what my husband did – quite an okay sort of woman, and I know that I deserve to have a relationship with a better man than the one I agreed to marrry when I was a silly girl of 20. If I sat on my backside and did nothing, my opportunities for meeting such a man would be minimal, so I feel no shame in being a bit pro-active about my quest i.e. giving internet dating a go.

    And my comment about “considering” going to the lengths of dialling numbers 00 to 99 was self-evidently a JOKE. Oh dear……… .

    • T Lover says:


      Please go to Specsavers. I never said I had a bottle of red a night.

      In 2012 I have had a lunchtime drink on two occasions. Just two.

      As a general rule I do not drink at all between Monday and Thursday.

      On Friday I go for a drink with one friend or another and follow it with a bottle. This last Friday I just had one glass of red with a pal then nothing.

      I necked a bottle on Saturday, four biggish glasses and nothing Sunday at all.

      I love drinking especially with food and am so weak if I have hooch in the house I drink it. So I don’t bother buying it.

      Last night I had one SMALL glass of crap Merlot at 11.55 in a Wetherspoons in Buxton having been in a three hour meeting in Brecon followed by a meeting in Banbury and had a b headache. God knows how many back road miles I drove yesterday. Wanted to unwind for ten minutes.

      So if you don’t mind Jillian darling hangover? Sorry no. Bottle a night? Sorry no.

      I stand by – in the friendliest possible way – my point. Looked at from my male/outsider’s point of view you do give the impression of trying too hard. If that offends it is not intended.

      • Jill says:

        T Lover this is what YOU posted on September 1st 2012 at 7.07 am.

        “Bambi, greetings from a soggy hillside this early Saturday mroning. For the first time in living memory I didn’t down a bottle of red last night (a Friday). I went for a drink with a mate and called it an alcohol draw after one.

        I started reading this blog because I was so fed up. Getting nowhere womanwise………”

      • T Lover says:


        That’s right, I normally have a bottle on a Friday plus a snifter on the way home.


      • fi says:

        T. Telling a woman she appears desperate is pretty much the worst thing you can say. A few times on these pages women have talked about the humiliation of being suspected of flirting with an uninterested man, just because they made conversation.

  • PY says:

    TL , thanks for your concerns but after a decade in the wildeness I am more than capable of taking care of myself.

    Various parties have elaborated on their personal stories, some of which are genuinely horrific and deserve compassion. I have chosen not to provide too many details but, suffice to say, I had good cause to suffer the bitterness that many on this site have shared and for whom marital bliss has not worked out as planned. This included an emasculating financial settlement which has restricted the opportunities to move on and live a normal life but has ‘bought’ a relatively good life for my sons and a working relationship with Mrs XY.

    Why do you , I and the other occasional male correspondents write on this blog ? Is it a genuine attempt to try and understand the other half of the global population and apply that to our individual positions ? Some may be seeking an opportunity to vent a spleen, for others it is to try and get the largely female audience to consider what we believe is a more balanced view ? Arguably, a sisyphean task. Is it because we are incorrigible flrts or because we are merely frustrated wordsmths for whom a blog provides an outlet ? Almost certainly a combination of various factors.

    But, you chose to put your head above the parapet and I winced as I recognised the flash of the first birkin buckle winging its way in your direction. I agree that everyone has a right to their own opinion and some of the views did , in the eyes of those expressing them, have an element of validity. However, vitriolic attacks by any party really aren’t the way to go but it is self evident that very raw emotions lie just below the veneer.

    As difiicult as it is and as bitter as you may feel at what you perceive as a terriffic injustice , life does get better. Few of us have ended up in the place we expected to be after huge emotional investment. You clearly enjoy the company of women (despite your current vacillations) and the banter between some of the regulars on this site. Long may it continue, try and find your flirting gene and give it a polish.

    • fi says:

      Its really just manners isn’t it? I mean you wouldn’t go up to a bunch of strangers in a pub and start criticising them. That’s not the way to make friends. And you certainly wouldn’t go outside, change your clothes and come back in and start all over again.

    • T Lover says:

      Mr PY,


      I – for reasons I am not giving away – have slightly more background information as to “Jill” than you do. Just take my word for it.

      I don’t do rude or unkind unless someone has poked me in the eye. Take my word for that too.

      I have been through two separations and I know exactly the sort of up and down emotional roller coaster that follows.

      I don’t need to polish anything flirty. Sounds awful but I have never had any problem with women. I don’t need to flirt. Just the specific: at my age finding the right one.

      So, on the face of it “Jill” seems more than anxious to meet a bloke. I suspect the time is not right for her and think she is going about it the wrong way.

      Now Fi, Jill said she was going to make up to 100 phone calls to track down a bloke called Paul from Guildford. Correct? She says it was a joke. It did not read as a joke in the context of the rest of the message. Correct?

      So, do I say something that might make her think? Or do I say nothing because it might upset her? In which case she carries on, is constantly disappointed and the whole experience makes her depressed?

    • T Lover says:


      You asked this today:

      “Why do you , I and the other occasional male correspondents write on this blog ? Is it a genuine attempt to try and understand the other half of the global population and apply that to our individual positions ? Some may be seeking an opportunity to vent a spleen, for others it is to try and get the largely female audience to consider what we believe is a more balanced view ?”

      Simple: this blog has made me feel better when I have been down.

      Just looked back. Had too much to say.

      Time for a change perhaps. Hey ho.

      • fi says:

        Just stay. We’re all a bit grumpy sometimes. Unless you’re now going to tell me you’re not grumpy and its me. 🙂

      • fi says:

        Anyway. I have another date tonight (same man as sat) and will provide an update tomorrow.

      • T Lover says:


        The situation, mine, has changed. I was very low when I first added a comment. I read some real female Henry Halls and felt compelled to write.

        Initially ,commenting did not always make me feel better. The Head Girl used to bin a proportion of my comments.

        Last night I started to ask myself why I was doing it – writing comments. A number of commentators have almost become pen pals, I disrupt the thread and I don’t mean this as it sounds, I should be tying flies, listening to music, reading whatever.

        Being an occasional crabbit is irrelevant. Take now for example. I should be working.

        And without being rude, many of the topics/views/comments turn up again and again as new people have their monies worth.

        Whilst I cannot see T Lover at Waitrose/John Lewis I would be fascinated to see faces behind correspondence so if anyone would like to keep in touch the HG might pass on my eMail address.

        We’ll see. Fi and Rosie had withdrawal symptoms and made a comeback.

      • fi says:

        Yep you’ll be back, simply because you feel engaged with (some of) the other commentators an wonder what they’re up to, then you read a bit and it’s impossible to not comment.

  • PY says:


    Your choice , of course, but I think the blog would be a poorer place without your input. If it makes you feel chirpier then stick with it – despite it being a distraction. Perhaps the varying levels of mutual support are what you need.

    As for the recurring themes – haevn’t love, loss and lust been there since Eve thrust a dewy Cox into Adams hand ?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Void of Tenderness at The Plankton.


%d bloggers like this: