She Doth Protest Too Much

September 25, 2012 § 166 Comments

From yesterday’s Times:-

I have just been accosted by a plankton in the street.  An acquaintance who started barking at me so people in the nearby cafe looked up from their Americanos.

“Don’t you just love being on your own, having  no man?”

I’m obviously failing to shout it from the roof-tops, so she has decided to do it for me, from the pavements.

“God, it’s such a relief, isn’t it?  David [a husband] is being such a prat.  Does absolutely nothing.  Nothing!  Rachel does everything in that marriage and is fed up.  Chris and Jane haven’t had sex for six  years and are going round their separate bendsSophie refuses to move to Lausanne, and can you blame her, but Simon is insisting.  Aren’t we so lucky?  Spared all of that.  I love it, love it, love it.  Don’t you just love it?”

I read the other day that increasing numbers of 50-65 year old women are embracing their single status.  A poll discovered 23% has been to a music festival and 18% to a nightclub in the past year.  (Oh, me too! To pick up bunches of rank teenagers).  And 34% maintain that they enjoy their independence so much they have no desire to settle down again.  The pavement acquaintance is firmly in that category, obviously.  But there was something so strident about her that it made me feel she did protest too much.

I am not saying that it is inconceivable that a woman wants to be alone.  The joys of autonomy, freedom, privacy, are not lost on me.  59% of these women said they love being able to wear what they like.  My husband was not the sartorially controlling type, so that particular freedom holds little weight for me.  There are others, of course, which do.  Eating weetabix for supper and not having to feel furtive when doing anything other than working or childcare.  A leisurely latte, for example, devoid of guilt prompted by remarks such as, “What do you actually do all day?”  Even so, I remain one of the 66% who would sacrifice this apparently lovely-jubbly cocktail bar independence for even a swish of companionship.  I have lowered my sights since, during the most recent date, the man declared before we even sat down for dinner that he never wanted to get married again, presumably just in case, little lady, I was harbouring any fanciful ideas above my lowly station.

I long ago gave up holding out for marriage.  The odd text and movie would do.  But I am clearly not as evolved as some.  I still can’t quite manage a barking, “No man! Love it,  love it!”




§ 166 Responses to She Doth Protest Too Much

  • EmGee says:

    “No man! Love it, love it!”

    The woman’s obviously gone round the bend. Poor thing.

    • Sarah says:

      That’s how I felt when I was free of my ex. I was ecstatic for quite some time.

    • fi0na says:

      The “Harbouring fanciful ideas above my lowly station” made me laugh outloud. This seems to be a vibe I am giving off. This thread has been really interesting and topical for me, because I think I just decided against men, and it seems to be a biological thing, or just a creeping contentment after some years of being alone. Basically I like men, and if women over 45 choose to date men their age or older it is their choice. Men are good, they are just not good for me. It’s like abortion, I am pro-choice. Every plankton should cheer because I am no longer competition. :). I divorced when I was 39. I was so not only relieved at no longer being controlled, but full of hope that I would meet someone else soon. I confess the last throes of my biological clock may have been driving me. Then at 41 I woke up and realised I really couldn’t manage another child. Between 41-46 I decided my ideal would be regular sex with a man who was good at fixing things (only a little tongue in cheek there). I remember at a dinner party many of the men there thinking this was an extremely good idea – a fix for a sex…. Anyway this is where the patronising notion of harbouring ideas comes in. It seems a man can’t actually believe this is true. My respect and admiration for them is mistaken for needing a knight in shining armour or a meal ticket (I really really don’t I promise – I have a great well paid career). It is undoubtedly frustrating to be cast aside for an attitude one doesn’t even possess. Then I woke up at 47 and realised that I couldn’t come up with one good reason to go looking for a man. It is a little scary but also somewhat of a relief. I just need to work out the best and most rewarding way to live out my days.

  • Lydia says:

    There is certainly a strain of very sexist men and women who decide a woman alone cannot be happy and that it is such a strange concept that she must be lying. They think in effect a woman can only be happy if a man own her and regularly penetrates her and that women without men are odd. They used to burn us as witches in the 1500s. Older women without men are feared because often we have money and power and of course wisdom and we don’t comply with societal norms so it makes people happier to suggest we are mad or bad and cannot possibly be happy.

    I certainly would not shout aloud to someone who might be unhappy single that being single is what all studies shows gives women best mental health (and men worst) but yes I am as happy single as married and I am not making that up but in reality cry into my bed every night soaking the fur of the non existent cats. I genuinely am happy.

    Men are easy enough to be had if one wants them. As soon as I start looking they emerge in profusion. I had arranged to see one this week but cancelled it as he did not seem sufficiently kind (and I was getting to understand why his wife of 20 years has got rid of him…. it is virtually always the wives who end it these days). Seeing another on Friday which will be fun but he is unlikely to be all I need but that does not matter at all as I have never been happier.

    Anyway let us not perpetuate the myth that women who are single and spinsters are miserable momen because they are not regularly being given a good seeing to by a man and women cannot be happy without that… whilst the batchelor gay is free and happy. Those are very wrong sexist myths.

    However if you want a new man why oh why do you find it so hard. Whenever I venture back on a dating site like last week – there they are – solvent decent lovely men who had one long marriage and want another. Or do they only want me because I earn 10x what they do and am fairly pretty whereas a lot of women dont’ have a penny and are looking for a meal ticket?

    • fi says:

      Sorry but I think it demonstrates a lack of imagination and empathy when people assume that everyone must think like them, and if other people don’t appear to, conclude they must be lying.

      • fi says:

        59% of these women said they love being able to wear what they like.  My husband was not the sartorially controlling type, so that particular freedom holds little weight for me.  There are others, of course, which do.  Eating weetabix for supper and not having to feel furtive when doing anything other than working or childcare.  A leisurely latte, for example, devoid of guilt prompted by remarks such as, “What do you actually do all day?” 

        Sorry but this sounds horrific. Imagine having to tailor what you choose to wear, or choose to eat, and when, to someone else, or justify your actions or decisions, or how you spend your free time. It’s hard to believe that in the 21st century this is seen as part and parcel of being with someone for a grown up woman. Tell you what, the blog is really useful in that it puts me off relationships more with each posting.

      • maria says:

        “It’s hard to believe that in the 21st century this is seen as part and parcel of being with someone for a grown up woman. Tell you what, the blog is really useful in that it puts me off relationships more with each posting.” Hear, Hear!

        I’m currently living on my own again, since my brother went to France to work, and I can honestly say I love it. I wouldn’t mind an occasional (more like a regular) seeing to by my yummy neighbour though. But living with some man every day, all the time, I don’t think I can do it anymore.

        Lydia, you crack me up, I love your comments.

      • fi says:

        That was ME that said that not Lydia. 😀

      • maria says:

        I know it was you that said it, Fi and I totally agree. But I also love Lydia’s comments.

    • The Plankton says:

      Lydia, we’ve been here before, but you cannot be for real? pxx

      • Jo says:

        P. Now really..
        You should know by now not to reply to Lydia! You naughty girl.
        It aint worth it. xx

      • Dawn says:

        I imagine it’s like one of those 1-800 sex phone lines where the woman portrays herself as being very sexy, whilst in reality, she’s 300 lbs, hair in curlers, bunny slippers and a moustache.

    • Ally says:

      It depends on where you live. I’m 29 & have never been on a date, forget relationship. I don’t know what kind of vibe I have. It’s very hard being out there day after day with no luck.
      One very lonely night, I actually felt jealous of the child brides. Thankfully, I’m not in that phase now, but what do I do??????

      • fi says:

        Hmmm. Well that is unusual. Have you been through all the usual things? You can meet blokes, you’re not too shy to speak to them, you look ok etc? Why not ask friends for feedback on why they think you’ve not met anyone? But you want them to be blunt not nicey nicey.

  • AMJ says:

    I’m 48 and I’d rather have a nice cup of tea – and I don’t even like tea all that much. Yup, there are plently of women who don’t want men and love the independence of being single. I’ve been mostly free of that particular desire (to partner up) for maybe three or four years now. Apart from occasional lingering ghostly energies from the old days that appear from time to time to make me maudlin and planktony… “woof”.

  • sue rosly says:

    I am on my second marriage and I’m 66. Can I say that I would never contemplate another relationship with a man and am not a bit worried that it may never be a prospect. The reality often is that marrying later (after 45, for example) can bring some unwelcome intrusions : ill health, chronic pain, step-children difficulties, reduced circumstances (financial) and an enforced intimacy in retirement all of which can be difficult to handle.

    Let me be the first to say that when I was in my 40s and embarking upon my second marriage I had no idea what was in store. And I wouldn’t have cared anyway, but now I would say: do consider that changes in health and finances are major challenges in a mature relationship/second marriage and that companionship/friendship/sex may come at a high price. Give some thought to what you really want.


    • fi says:

      So true. A woman I know from yoga had a second marriage a few years back. She’s now 53 and fit, but he’s 69, walks with a zimmer, and stays in the house all day every day complaining she’s neglecting him when she steps out the door, and asking when his meals will be ready. I couldn’t cope with a life like that. In fact that isn’t a life.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you, Sue. Funnily enough, I’ve never written about this, but I am very aware of what you say. A wise observation, and one of which to be taken heed – not that I have much choice but to do so right now. Pxx

  • june says:

    To be honest i dont think its anything to do with marriage, i cant imagine getting married or ;living with someone all the time, its having someone in your life, yes we are all fortunate to have friends but if most of them have partners as mine do,where does that leave us planktons,alone a lot of the time thats where. If you have no partner, kids,siblings , your parents are dead the small family yiu have rarely contact , apart from your female friends who do you have, noone and the animals do go in two by two whether you like it or not. Also im sorry i dont constantly want to keep doing things alone, ive done it for years, been on holiday etc everything is much nicer with company.I know P has kids but i think thats what she means.

    In my case i think its the not being needed that gets to me, there is no reason to get up in morning, nothing or noone needs you, thats the worse part about being alone when retired and i live in a flat. im not getting a cat or dog,not. and a job seems impossible. I might mind a friends dog when she returns to work, some say im mad to do that,but its ok to do voluntary work, the dream that everyone seems to think every retired person wants to do, that doesent appeal to me,id rather help a friend out. So i agree i dont want marriage or even living together,the only reason for that is economic, but its the fact that you have noone special in your life and nonone to do things with, or in another case do nothing with,thats the problem. Im with you there P.

    • fi says:

      June in your position, that of not having people to do things with, I’d look to make more friends.

    • Jo says:

      June. Whatever anyone says, your retort is always ‘well, I don’t want to do that, or that, or that, or that, or……’ ad infinitum. Doubtless this’ll attract another retort.
      That’s fine. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Really. Nobody does.
      But I guess without any of these suggestions, it’ll just drop into your lap will it? And no. I am not just talking about the internet..
      There is so much to explore out there. So many ways to feel ‘needed’.
      And to gain something unexpected for yourself that you may yet not even be aware of. At the very least, to make you ‘have a reason to get up in the morning’..Honestly.
      Imagine..Explore..Stick your neck out. Think (I hate this phrase but hey ho..) ‘outside tthe box’.
      *Standby for the retort?* Hope not…
      Best wishes.

  • MissBates says:

    Well, yes, there ARE compensations to the plankton state, no doubt about it. In fact, such excellent compensations that I think it makes those of us who have been in planktonville for a long time much more discriminating. This is a topic that has been done to death in these comments before, and I’m not trying to ignite another tedious 98-message-long string in which we’re castigated for being “too picky,” but …. there it is. I’ve got a good life. A really good life that I enjoy about 90% of the time. (I give vent to my plankton feelings only here and to two close friends, also planktons, lest anyone think that I’m scattering gloom and doom around me like a shroud.) Anyway, I’m not going to f*ck up this very pleasant life by entering into a relationship with just anyone so that I can say, “Woo-hoo — I’ve got a man!” I just can’t buy into the notion that I should be grateful — as in falling-to-my-knees-weeping-with-gratitude — about ANY man who might express an interest in me. (No secret that these days those are confined to the over-70 set [I’m 51], but as I’ve said before, liver spots are not my thing. I’m allowed.)

  • june says:

    my laptop seems to have developed a life of its own this morning,i should have proof read this – sorry.

  • Highlander says:

    Based on the stats posted by Plankton, “34% maintain that they enjoy their independence so much they have no desire to settle down again” it would appear 66% are not all that happy being on their own.

    I know a few of few of these “Protests too much” types, they are great at putting up quite a front, but just mentioning the X’s name gets you ten minutes of venom, even though it’s been years since they divorced.

  • Emgee says:

    Just to clarify my position regarding this post in particular:

    Many women are happy being single, and I myself am in a relationship that has its defects and oddities, but co-dependency and conforming to what someone else expects, either by guilt or shaming aren’t in the mix.

    Having said that, how many of you happy-with-the-single-life folks are accosting others on the street and braying about it, as if you’ve just invented it?

  • rosie says:

    It’s very hard to believe those who ram their ‘happiness’ down your throat. I had a friend who would declare, often and to anyone within earshot, how much she ‘loved her life’, when she was pumped half full of Prozac and seeing a shrink every week.

    I understand why someone would feel ecstatic if they’ve got rid of a useless husband or partner but how long are they going to feel like that for? Coming home to an empty house might be a novelty for a while but day in day out, year after year? Fifteen years of singledom (with the odd – praise be to god – twinkle here and there) has been more than enough for me, thanks very much. That’s not to say I want to shack up with someone. I value my independence too but that doesn’t mean I want to be completely ALONE. FOREVER.

    There are a million and one variables involved too. Do you have children, a loving family, a busy social life, financial security, an interesting career, how old are you, are you healthy, are you a glass half full or half empty person? The list is endless. Each and every one of us is different and there is no one-size-fits all policy.

    And polls, dontcha just love ’em! I don’t know which nightclubs these 50-65 year olds are frequenting but I do know that such creatures would have been objects of pity in the clubs I used to go to. Unless they are Yasmin Le Bon (not quite fifty but not far off it, who must surely have a self portrait rotting in an attic somewhere) and who on earth looks like Yasmin Le Bon?

  • Scott Benowitz says:

    Well Ms. Plankton, if it makes you feel any better, I’m basically getting nowhere at all with any women these days …. : (

  • Sinead says:

    Sometimes I actively adopt a Peggy Lee philosophy, laugh at us clinging to the side of this planet and ask is that all there is?

    I’m not in denial, abnormally negative or a nihilist but there are benefits to skipping the angst for a day or two … It’ll still be there waiting for us when we return.

    Then let’s keep dancing, let’s break out the booze!

  • Doc says:

    Being an older male, that tends to target much younger women (18-25) I do enjoy older women (35+) for doing things like plays and opera which younger women sadly do not appreciate. So every now and then I find a woman who swears she is happy being single, which is wonderful for doing things without any of the usual pressure for a relationship (one of the attractions of younger women is they don’t want anything longer than this weekend). Unfortunately, I have found that it never lasts. After a few shows or evenings of fun, invariably the older women will start to talk about how wonderful it would be to do things like this all the time.

    Now maybe it’s that for a woman of 35+ children are still a possibility so that GONG over-rides sanity. I don’t know. But older women tend to let themselves go and not take care of themselves, so my upper age limit on attraction is in the late 30’s – it’s not set in stone since it depends on if I find her attractive, but generally I can say that the wall is usually in the late 30’s

    But all of that is beside the point, what is on topic is how quickly that “I’m happy being single” changes… It’s gotten so that no matter how much I may enjoy an older woman’s company, I won’t go to a show with her more than once every couple of months. Fortunately, there are a lot of older women available for such things. And the younger ones see me as too old for anything long term – fortunately they do not see sex as long term – so it works for me.

    • fi says:

      Oh dear. We’re even older than that! No hope for us old crones with you then 😀

    • EmGee says:

      Tell me, how does enjoying going to the opera, plays, and generally having a good time, suddenly turn into an unbridled desire to have babies in a middle aged woman?

      Sadly, after multiple dates, a woman begins to believe that a man may actually, possibly, really enjoy her company, not that she’s just part of his habiliments to be shucked and shelved in the closet for another time.

      The good news all around is that we are even less interested in you than you are in us. Dodged a bullet there, gals.

      • fi says:

        Yes. That slight disparaging tone about women that always prompts me to check the manosphere sites. Yep he’s there with nothing nice to say about women. I think that’s why we know he doesn’t have the success with women he pretends to have, because the really successful men are the ones who actually like women, maybe too many women and too often, but we can sense the ones who are contemptous of us and we don’t like them. Unless we’re really young and silly enough to be flattered by superficialities.

      • Jo says:

        High five EmGee. x

      • EmGee says:

        You have to wonder where the hatred comes from, in both men and women. It must be cruel, to both desire and despise something so much at the same time.

      • fi says:

        I think the hatred – if that’s what it is – comes from being rejected once to often. I think its resentment and bitterness from being overlooked and unsuccessful that turns blokes against women, and if they later turn out to be successful with them they get their own back for that, blaming all women for what individual women did to them. The manosphere sites are really amazing and enlightening I find – maybe 10 percent of actions they advocate would work, the rest is just bizarre, but its quite amazing how much time (well all of it really) is spent obsessing about women.

      • fi says:

        Can I just say though that while the manosphere sites are full of men talking about women, not all are unpleasant about them. And there are some really odd women on there too that seem to approve of the way some of them talk about women, almost seeking approval from these men. And for those men boasting about their sucess it’s all about getting the numbers, or targeting young women (they went mental at me one day for suggesting that women preferred men their own age rather than 20 years older and the ones who appeared to like older men were probably after them for other reasons), rather than quality. Its quite quite fascinating.

      • Helle says:

        Hear hear, EmGee.
        God, what a d…head he is!

    • Jo says:

      Are you ‘Lydia’s’ brother?
      Fuck off. You silly boy.

    • Minnow says:

      Thankfully many of us older women have the sense to warn our daughters about sexual predators who, to use your word, Doc, ‘target’ younger women. And how do we know to do this? We were targeted ourselves at one time by lecherous old predatory fools.

      • Jo says:

        Yes Minnow. ‘Target’. Ugh…
        Speaks volumes about Doc and those of his ilk…
        Beware those who indulge in those terms. Our daughters or ourselves..
        To ‘target’? Not worth a glance.. be off with you.

      • fi says:

        Oh no. We’ve told him what language we pick up on. He’ll just ensure that he doesn’t use words like ‘target’ again. 🙂

    • Elle says:

      Doc, thanks for the information. If older women aren’t of interest to you apart from going to a play or the opera what are you doing on this site? Trolling?

      You’re not being fair to younger women either, I have loved going to plays since my early 20s. In my 20s I went to plays with similar-aged friends of either gender. I had no interest in going out with older men who expected sex in exchange for dinner.

    • maria says:

      Doc, may I ask how old are you?

      • fi says:

        Bet he’s in his forties. 🙂 That’s what is so weird about men like him – they really do prefer to spend time with girls young enough to be their children, and want no sort of an equal relationship or friendship with them either. The fact that they just want someone to have sex with, and that the age of the woman’s body is more important than the condition of their mind, just speaks volumes about these men. I don’t think we should mind though as these aren’t men that could keep women like us interested in them.

      • fi says:

        That’s not meant to sound bad – it takes all sorts and genuinely someone of either sex, who prefers to hang around with people in their late teens/early twenties, isn’t going to have much in common with me. And so I don’t feel overlooked that they prefer to, I just think they’re a bit odd I suppose 🙂

      • The Plankton says:

        I asked him that. He’s not answering. Pxx

  • june says:

    Older women let themselves go Doc i think its the other way round,i know many attractive older women, i dont know many older men, Most have definitely let themselves go.

    Fi i have plenty of friends thank you, good ones, but most have partners, to holiday with etc.i do socialize with friends, but if they have partners it isnt always easy is they do have to consider their needs And to be honest single friends are a bit thin on ground in my neck of woods, i dont know many, The few in the social group i did join all seem a bit like planktons friend, telling you how totally wonderful being on own is but seeming a bit like sadoos and exclaiming how they are so happy on their own, dig deeper and it isnt like that. I always notice if a stray male comes into view before he is snapped up by the younger women in the group they seem to change their tune, and make a beeline for him. To be honest i prefer my coupled up friends they are more fun,and of course i have known them longer and i know lots about them, that helps.

    P i am amazed by the number of men one meets dog walking,i went walking with the friend im planning to dog sit for when she goes back to work in our local woods, and i was amazed.Quite a few attractive specimans, her and i were amazed, think we could have bagged a toyboy each, Well shes taken but she expressed an interest, I can see this dog sittiing might be quite interesting, i shall look forward to walking him when he gets a bit older. Borrow a dog P.!

    • The Plankton says:

      It’s so funny you should say this. Various friends have mentioned this recently and not so recently. Davina McCall? Don’t know who she is, but I know she met her husband dog-walking. Trouble is, I can’t stand dogs. Or walking. So am not sure that’s my answer. Pxx

  • Empress says:

    Hello again

    Following a dreadful desolute breakup, I have been picking up the shards of my life and heart for what seems like forever. A few months ago I literally bumped into an old friend that I hadn’t seen in 12 years or more. We said “hello” chatted briefly and moved on. A few weeks later we met again by chance in a local pub, shared a drink and went our separate ways. We met again and this time had the presence of mind to exchange telephone numbers. We went out at the weekend, and yes it was a proper date and had a mutually lovely time.

    We plan to do it again this weekend.

    Of course it may all come to nothing or it may turn into a something. The fact that this lovely, sexy man (50, my own age) has by his own admission had me on his mind as he has been on mine gives me cause for hope. Of course I can exist without him or any other man for that matter, but the possibility of someone “special” to laugh with and share things with makes me think the risk to my cellotaped heart might just be worth taking.

    • fi says:

      Lovely. You and jo both loved up 😀

    • The Plankton says:

      Wow, Empress, this sounds great. I KEEP hearing stories of people who couple up not with internet strangers, but with old friends that they haven’t seen for ages… Good luck. Pxx

      • Jo says:

        Please P.
        Remember. ST was a stranger. At a dinner party yes. But a stranger still…
        I.e. You did not know him before as an old friend. Or otherwise.
        Strangers are not confined to the internet.
        A stranger is someone you have no knowledge of hitherto your meeting them. And that could be anywhere…
        I know – and understand – that you have an aversion to the internet. No problem at all. That’s your complete and total prerogative.
        But there is a tone to ..’not with internet strangers..’ that is rather unfair and a little unsavoury..
        If I may be so bold. x

      • The Plankton says:

        Unfair, definitely, but I don’t think unsavoury. I don’t think it’s unsavoury not to want to meet up with complete strangers. Foolish, unimaginative, cowardly, maybe – but unsavoury? You are right, ST was a stranger, but I met him amongst mutual friends and colleagues which is a kind of vetting process of sorts, by no means failsafe, but reassuring nonetheless, if rather falsely so. Pxx

      • Yogagurl says:

        No doubt that meeting someone that is already known by your social circle maybe the ideal situation but every friend we have made in life was once a stranger. Even every lover. If you say no to strangers you could be saying no to a whole new life.

  • rosie says:

    Doc has just summed up everything about male/female relationships that makes me want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head.

    You sound like a sleazy old lech but I applaud your nerve, if not your complete lack of awareness.

  • rosie says:

    ‘letch’ even…

  • june says:

    Haha Fi,i like that P and i alike, there are similarities yes.

    I have never been that mad on dogs and still not keen on large ones, but dogsitting other weekend for one friends very small, well behaved cute dog got me into them a bit more. My other friend was never a dog person, had a cat but now she seems to love this dog,i and other friends told her she was mad as she works fulltime and so does her partner, but shes childless, has stepkids, and didnt have a great relationship with her parents and family so has always been very insecure.Dog seems to have helped and it is cute, i find myself becoming quite attached to the little thing, and as ive agreed to dog sit when she reurns to work i suppose thats good.Once i walk it who knows whom i will meet, watch this space! , Unlike you P i do like walking, NOT the hiking kind of walk, with a crowd of cheery hearty souls, but its better than qym and keeps me fit,..

  • Jo says:

    Yes. You’re right June. As is Fi.
    You and P are very very alike.

  • june says:

    Well as P is a London based journalist and i am a provincial city based retired customer service advisor, ill take that as a compliment Jo and Fi. Am i supposed to lol .I hope P does to.

    • Jo says:

      Best wishes, good luck and goodbye June.
      I wish you the best..

      • june says:

        Sme to you ,Jo, hope your friend recovers, its lovely what you are doing, where would we be without our friends and them us, all the best to you,

      • june says:

        Thanks P i am extremely flattered, being likened to someone with your writing talent!Are we alike as we are both quite exacting, dont suffer fools gladly,say what the hell we think, and care deeply and appreciate our friends even if their coupledom can sometimes p……us off, If so i agree, and nothing wrong with

  • Jo says:

    Hi P and other blog commentators.
    I have really enjoyed being part of this. Reading and contributing views, comments, thoughts, suggestions, observations..and all.
    But now. I am off. Away. Not only because of the responsibilities and care of my dear friend – fighting to remain a part of this world with every breath – but also because I don’t think I can contribute anymore. I think I’ll just be on a sort of merry-go-round ( no criticism here) if I continue. I think I’ve said enough..
    I have been back here of late. Although it seems as if not a lot has been different in the interim..(Again, not a criticism) but now, I am bowing out. I don’t feel I have anymore to add to that which I have done, for the last 14 months…And it has NOTHING to do with my own personal post ‘plankton’ state. Not at all..
    So. It’s time to go. It feels a kind of groundhog day now….
    I shall continue to read from time to time. But my full focus is increasingly towards my friend…
    Goodbye y’all. Good luck to you all and may your dreams be realised..Truly.
    Thank you P. It’s been……epic!
    Love. Jo xxxxx

  • PY says:

    Jo, wishing you the best but do assure me that you are not eloping with T Lover ?

    However, this thread does ask me, what do you Plankton actually want from a man ? So, I pose the question, as it seems like the Swiss Army knife equivalent of masculinity is required.

    We have Maria having lusty thoughts about her neighbour; Fi missing a carnal relationship and , presumably, still needing her rooflight fixing; Ms P’s simple requirements of an outing to the cinema and a few texts ; Rosie on her lonesome (save for the occasional ST, supplied by divine intervention) ; Lydia adopting a Woolies Pick’n’Mix approach to internet dating and Ms Bates with a vacant pedestal in NYC (I’d probably develop vertigo and having been placed atop most find it an awkwad climb down).

    However, most correspondents are qualifying the extent to which they are willing to compromise their independence or human rights on Weetabix binging, right to the very extreme of ranking a decent cuppa over a physical interaction with the opposite sex.

    Doesn’t that strike you as being a tad fickle and tricky for a humble male to get a handle on ?

    • Jo says:

      Thank you PY.
      No I’m not. I’m looking after a close friend who has breast cancer.

    • fi says:

      I don’t think there is such a thing as one size fits all to be honest – we’re different ages with different experiences and what we are looking for is as individual as our personalities. Personally I’m looking for a bloke that I like as much as I like my good friends, and enjoy his company as much as I enjoy theirs, but who I would also like to have sex with. Its not complicated really. I’m of an age though where I’ve had kids and they’ve grown up, I have a social network and interests that I enjoy and I’m pretty self sufficient. My ideal would be a grown up clever man who was good company and enjoyed mine, but didn’t feel the need to change his life to accomodate me. A kind of live and let live approach. A sort of ‘let’s muddle along and see where this goes if anywhere’. What ‘women’ want though I’ve no idea. I only know what I want 🙂

  • MissBates says:

    Pretty basic, really (no pedestal required, PY): Be nice to me. Make me laugh. Act like you like me, as well as want to f*ck me. Be well-educated. Don’t look to me to support you financially. Be well-groomed. Don’t be fat. Be under 60 years of age. Live anywhere in the Northeastern U.S. Don’t be a religious fanatic of any stripe. (Note that neither wealth, nor Daniel Craig-levels of attractiveness, nor Olympic medals are required.)

    • PY says:

      Drat ! I’m geographically challenged.

      • Emgee says:

        Well, there you have it, PY. Asking what women want is like asking what color are chameleons. And some people only *think* they know what they want, only to find out there are consequnces they never dreamed of.

        There is no way you can pretzel your way into a generic, desirable man-shape. Just be genuine, honest with yourself and treat all women just as you’d like to be. Then take a step back and just enjoy life! This recipe works for both sexes, and if you never find the right person, you won’t notice because your life will be so full of other things.

  • PY says:

    Thank you , Emgee, but I have no intention of bending myself into a pretzel – they go stale.

    I am more than comfortable with who I am and have a full, distinctly varied life – arguably too full, which leads possibly to the exclusion of a significant other. Save for location, I reckon I could put a tick in most of MissBates’ or Fi’s boxes – I even lack an Olympic medal.

    But I suppose we are getting back to the SFAR argument, where we all only want to go so far in the compromise stakes for a new relationship, having earned a degree of hard won freedom/independence.

  • malcolm says:

    Youch. Reading Doc’s comment led to a rather large AHA moment. While his tone seems very mean spirited (as in – let this be a lesson to you ladies), I realized that my modus operandi in the dating world is somewhat similar to his, and to a degree so have been some of my observations.

    I don’t think my dating decisions have been made with any grand pattern or design in mind, like electricity or water I simply have taken the path of least resistance, which generally results in my dating women in their twenties (I am 46 – divorced for 11 years) .

    My experiences with dating women my own age were mostly uncomfortable. I’m rather slow to become intimate and overly involved in someone else’s life, but I would swear that some of these ladies had some sort of agenda which involved me but which I was not privvy to. I would initially be attracted by their professions of independence, but those would eventually fall by the wayside and I felt pushed for more and more involvement. I would be sitting across a restaurant table from them wondering about the machinations in their heads. I firmly believe that this whole “I don’t need a man” front is just that, a front, and as soon as some fellow that she fancies catches her eye her resistance crumbles and she will find herself in the exact same boat she was before she resolved to “not need a man”. From my end it’s a bit of a bait and switch.

    Unfortunately for many ladies, they never had to learn how to pursue a mate, they have been conditioned to be the pursued, so in general they are clumsy at this art. The worst of them just resort to hovering around and becoming a general nuisance, thinking that overwhelming me with their presence is the same thing as expressing an interest. It all becomes too much, and it’s very hard to feel attraction towards someone that you feel vaguely sorry for, or who you believe is thinking about you all the time.

    I just feel that dating people who are actually pursued by other men puts a lot less pressure on me, and if it doesn’t work out, I won’t be responsible for a disproportionate amount of heart ache in her life, and it saves me the horror of having to navigate through the minefield of expectations without a map or the general snippiness that inevitably occurs when I’m not picking up cryptic hints quickly enough.

    I don’t intend to sound harsh or to put anyone off by this comment, it’s just been my experience to date. Unfortunately, it probably does sound quite a bit like the previous comment made by Doc. I mean no malice and sorry for the length of my comment.

    • fi says:

      To be honest I think there are a lot of women like this, but….I find in general it’s men that want to tie women down. I’m not talking about the ones who are just up for lots of sex with various women, but nice men who do look for a relationship with one woman. They’re the ones who seem unable to leave it as a once a week thing and start looking for something more. Maybe because they’re older. Maybe because they haven’t been on their own as long as you have, but I’m in the same position as you really – after a certain amount of time you’re quite happy without having your life taken over by someone else. I find I’m on the receiving end of men who start to plan holidays or weekends away, and offer to come round and fix things for me, or work their way into my life some other way, or we ‘accidently’ meet their friends. I too am on edge and think what’s the point – no matter how you start off thinking you’re on the same page, you see them change the longer you’re with them because like you, they assume a woman on her own is only pretending she wants to be, and sooner or later (and I prefer it to crop up sooner to be honest) you have to have the talk. Which is crap.

    • EmGee says:

      Malcolm, it sounds like you just want to date and not risk any emotional investment? Most of the women here are like the older women you describe, they want someone to share their lives with, and how does one decide, if not by interacting with men they are interested in?

      I hesitate to call it an agenda, but getting to know someone, their likes and dislikes, how they treat other people, what they are willing to compromise on, and what they aren’t, is a very good way to make an informed decision.

      On the other hand, youth has youth in it’s favor – their lives are spread out in front of them, and it must seem endless. Then, one day a woman realizes that she will no longer be pursued, as you aptly pointed out, and she also realizes that she doesn’t have a lifetime ahead of her anymore to find the right guy (again). So you may be right when it seems like women try to rush things.

      Doc’s malice was not in how he chooses to live, but in his evident hatred towards women, and blatant trolling. I don’t think I see that in your post, at any rate.

      • fi says:

        Well I get where he’s coming from – there are an awful lot of women who pretend to be something that they aren’t to try and catch a bloke. And pretending to be independent is one of the things some do. It’s the adult version of pretending you like football isn’t it? Women can sometimes be less than straightforward.

      • fi says:

        I say what I mean, and mean what I say. I find though that often men just don’t believe me because they assume I mean something else – usually that I want to marry them. And they usually spend the first few dates letting me know they won’t get married again. Which I find extremely irritating. But ultimately grimly amusing. When I ditch them. 😀

      • EmGee says:

        Fi, I have been down that road with the Doubting Thomas, too. It is frustrating.

    • Leftatforty says:

      I have had similar experiences as you Malcom. I am 42 and since I never had to pursue a man I don’t. They come to me. I find the young (25-32) much more in tune with what they want and like. Consequently those are the men I date at least for a while… On the other side of the spectrum, the older men (55+), will also talk to me (but I haven’t dated any). Men in my age bracket do not even try and since I am shy and passive, I don’t try either. Pity…

  • rosie says:

    Malcolm, if you’re ‘rather slow to become intimate’ how does that work with the 20-somethings? Are there really THAT many young women out there dating middle-aged men or are you particularly gorgeous/generous of wallet?

    In the vast majority of cases the whole ‘I don’t need a man front’ is just that, a front. Most women (and men) want to procreate and they want to procreate with another human being, not a test tube.

    Having to pretend they’re happy on their own is, sadly, the way it is for women of a certain age, otherwise they’re perceived as being desperate or needy or in last chance saloon. Jeez, even ‘interested’ sends men fleeing for the hills.

    But being on your own (and I mean on your own, no dates, nothing) presumably doesn’t appeal to you either, because if it did you wouldn’t be out chasing women young enough to be your daughter.

    • malcolm says:

      @fi, I’m not sure that neediness is inherently a male or female trait, but the needy can be a bit like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It might not be their intention, and they might sincerely wish to be who they portray themselves to be initially, but eventually they become unbearable. As for “the talk”, it’s to be avoided at all costs. The “fade”, while the more cowardly option, is much easier to carry out.

      @Emgee, I’d happily risk an emotional Hiroshima for the right lady, but the risk should be commensurate with the reward. To date I haven’t found that in an “age appropriate” lady. I do see your point about getting to know someone, but things should evolve at a natural pace that both people are comfortable with. What’s the rush? Some make it glaringly obvious that my primary purpose would be to patch a gaping hole in their lives.

      @Rosie, yes, it’s much easier for me to secure dates with women in their twenties than women my age. Since I’m a little on the “quiet” side, I pretty much need a signal from the woman before I even will approach them. It has to be pretty obvious, I cringe at rejection. I think the twenty-somethings just make it easier for me to approach them by signalling their desire for me to come over and have a chat. I’m too old for some convoluted mating ritual that is of no benefit to me whatsoever, so things like coy looks or subtle movements have no effect. Fortune favours the bold I guess. I am neither gorgeous or generous of wallet, and since the vast majority of women favour character over looks and are not gold diggers, I am not at a disadvantage for it. And finally, I don’t chase women of any age, never have, never will. I’m a farmer, not a hunter. I think you will find that most reasonably happy men do not chase women at all. The exception, of course, is when I do meet that woman that makes my heart skip a beat, I’ll chase her to the end of the world and spend my last penny getting her.

      I’m sorry, I have no tips as to how to pursue a man. There are 3.5 billion of us on this planet, so I’m sure there are a lot of different ways. I really think most men my age don’t really like being pursued anyway.

      • EmGee says:

        “@Emgee, I’d happily risk an emotional Hiroshima for the right lady, but the risk should be commensurate with the reward.”

        Well, it’s always a gamble isn’t it? You take a risk, and it works or it doesn’t. If we were guaranteed success whenever we took a risk, none of us would be here on this blog.

        “To date I haven’t found that in an “age appropriate” lady. I do see your point about getting to know someone, but things should evolve at a natural pace that both people are comfortable with. What’s the rush? Some make it glaringly obvious that my primary purpose would be to patch a gaping hole in their lives.”

        I see your point too, and filling an empty space is kind of the point, but some people live lives of ‘if only’s’. If only I had a man, I’d be happy, if only I had more money, I’d be happy, if only I had the career of my dreams, I’d be happy, ad infinitum. But they never are, because they think that way, so they are never happy with what they have.

        Others of us just feel somewhat incomplete. It would be nice to have that last piece of the puzzle to complete the picture. Heaven knows, other billions of us fall some where in between.

        I also agree that men as a rule don’t like being pursued. Unless they are being pursued by a certain someone (rather than name names, which is arguable) who is gorgeous, wealthy, admired, and would just generally make them look good. Both sexes can plead guilty on that count, if we’re honest with ourselves, but most also realize it is very very unrealistic. 🙂

      • Elle says:

        With all this talk about men in their forties and over dating women in their 20s here’s an interesting link from the Daily Mail. OK, it’s a bit sensationalist as one would expect from the Mail, but it’s food for thought…

  • rosie says:

    “they never had to learn how to pursue a mate, they have been conditioned to be the pursued, so in general they are clumsy at this art.”

    Do you have any tips?

  • Male_Plankton_When_Young says:

    Serious question. Why don’t you women move in with another woman? That way you have someone to keep the house from feeling lonely, someone to do things with and share life’s experiences. Is (oftentimes) bad sex with a man that important to you?

    • MissBates says:

      @ Male_Plankton: Erm…..I have no desire to have a platonic “roommate” as though I were 23 years old and unable to pay the rent with my own income. And I’m not gay. So neither of the two reasons that “we women” might want to move in with another woman apply.

  • rosie says:

    Male Plankton, it’s not just about moving in with someone, it isn’t for me, anyway. Just to have someone *there* would be a start. Playing housemates with another woman at this stage in life would be a recipe for disaster for most of us. Think The Odd Couple.

    • Male_Plankton_When_Young says:

      Really! I thought women got along better than that. Certainly, if you read female forums they are all very supportive of each other. “You go girl!” and all that. Living with a middle-aged grumpy old man is certainly no picnic and yet you want to do that…

  • june says:

    I Think everyone sums up what we all want in a man, pretty well and if you read them we are all more or less the same. Is that why we are alone do you think. None of us seem to want someone who wants to take over our ;lives and as Fi says lots of men seem to want to, i dont want to be taken over by someone, his friends becoming mine and not seeing my own, I was tallking about this with my plankton friend recently,about a mutual friend of ours who has got a partner, my friend said he is now moving in with her, she said the other friend said hes got lovely friends who have made her so welcome , i said to my friend, well im glad for her, good,,as she never sees any of hers now,weve never met him.Not for me,lets hope they stay together,otherwise she could end up lonely. Why do women do it, my cousin did, she suddenly acquired all these friends, her partners,one of her divorced friends and they had been close. hardly saw her, as she was a plankton.

    Also i just think we want right person for us, some expect less and not right,person, and i guess we all find it hard once mature to meet anyone, except perhaps Lydia.Deep down i know i wont, its just you cant quite give up can you.For me its like everyone else, but my trouble is i only ever actually fancy younger men,few of my age do anything for me and often when i see attractive women of my age with their aged looking partners,i think no i could not go there,i really couldnt, yes im superficial i know but i i cant overlook it i really cant.Maybe its different if youve been with them for years and grown to see beyond that, but a new relationship it does matter.

    • Male_Plankton_When_Young says:

      Your the first one I’ve ever heard say women age better than men. It’s why you all are plankton after all (not being mean).

      • Male_Plankton_When_Young says:

        Oh please, fi. In what way am I trolling? I’d say the trolls are the women who post here that they don’t want a male companion or that they don’t find men their age attractive. Why are they even here?

      • EmGee says:

        Ya think? 😯

      • EmGee says:

        ^that was for fi.

      • fi says:

        “Your the first one I’ve ever heard say women age better than men. It’s why you all are plankton after all (not being mean).”
        “Why don’t you women move in with another woman? That way you have someone to keep the house from feeling lonely, someone to do things with and share life’s experiences. Is (oftentimes) bad sex with a man that important to you?”
        Its always the language you guys use and the way you talk about women that gives you away. Here’s the equivalent that if I’d posted on Privateman’s site would have you saying I was a troll –
        “Why don’t you men move in with other men? That way you have someone to keep the house from feeling lonely, someone to do things with and share life’s experiences ?” And if I described men say as ‘creepy’ then finished it off by saying “its why you are on your own”.

      • fi says:

        I think its the generalised lumping all women together (“you women”) then assigning either negative personality traits to us or critcising something else about us (the way we “age” for example) that I don’t like. And maybe because I read the manosphere sites all the time and so recognise the content of what is being said although when its posted here it is toned down and always presented as concern or interest. “you go grrrrl” is shorthand on these sites for a type of woman they really dislke, as is “strongindependentwoman” and if any of them ever refer to women as feminists then it means they think of you the way the rest of us think of Myra Hindley.

      • june says:

        Yes male plankton when young we do age better than men, and if you think that isnt true look around you at men of my age 60 plus,and apart from one or two exceptions you will see its true, i have seen numerous men i went to school with who dont even resemble the boys they were, they have put on loads of weight, they seem unhealthy and their faces look completely different, they also seem old and dress like elderly men,. Whereas many women of my age,me included, are still slim,dress youthfully and have a youthful attitude to life, and many younger friends . Also apart from a few lines i dont look much different from 20 yrs ago,in fact i was told by the beautician ive had do my nails for 14 years i look better now, as my hair is longer and redder it suits me,Many men cant find any hair!

        The reason we are planktons is because of the attitude of men i would say, as Fi Rosie and others say, the drivel you men ;write and your condesending attitude to women makes me know why im a plankton. Women do support each other yes, in a way men could never understand, but so many women economically and cause they have been conditioned to, need a man, also thats how society works,to plough a plankton furrow isnt easy. There is the odd “new man”surprisingly enough for a ,man born in the early part of the last century my dad was one,perhaps thats why im way i am, not being able to put up with mens sexist attitudes and not letting women be themselves. I really do feel sorry for any young girl who ends up with you.

      • Male_Plankton_When_Young says:

        Unfortunately, men, unless they are gay, can’t live together because they are too dominating and agressive. They have to live either with women, or alone. That women COULD live together without coming to blows is an advantage that women have. This is why I suggested it as an alternative to pining for men. It was just a suggestion of something to consider.

      • Male_Plankton_When_Young says:

        June, we could argue all day about who looks worse as they age — it really doesn’t matter. You say women want men because they have been conditioned to or because they need them economically. Well, my suggestion amounts to getting past the conditioning and living with another woman. That would also solve the economic issue.

        Thank you rosie for your civil reply with your explanation of why you think such a relationship wouldn’t work.

  • Jo says:

    I’m happy to give you my email. Don’t know how to do it though!
    P? Advice?….
    Gonna miss you gals……

  • rosie says:

    Leftatforty, I was still attractive to men at 42. At 49, while I’m not yet frightening the horses, it’s a different matter. Milk it while you can!

    Malcolm, I’m not being mean but when I was in my twenties none of my friends of the same age would have gone near a man in his mid forties. We’d have been aghast. Of course there must have been women who did but I never knew of any. I can see why young women don’t want some snot-nosed 22 year old who’s more into video games and his mates but 46? You must have the magic touch or is this a common phenomenom where you come from?

    “The exception, of course, is when I do meet that woman that makes my heart skip a beat, I’ll chase her to the end of the world and spend my last penny getting her.”

    How are you going to meet anyone who makes your heart skip a beat if the ones who say they’re ‘happy on their own’ are dismissed as desperate when they express an interest in you, they’re ‘happy’ on their own when they don’t and you’re sparing all the others certain ‘heartache’ by not getting involved?

    • malcolm says:

      “How are you going to meet anyone who makes your heart skip a beat if the ones who say they’re ‘happy on their own’ are dismissed as desperate when they express an interest in you, they’re ‘happy’ on their own when they don’t and you’re sparing all the others certain ‘heartache’ by not getting involved?”

      This is where I feel a large amount of sympathy for middle aged women, the fact that you even ask this question. Since tradition has it that it is overwhelmingly the job of the male to approach, men had to juggle “am I coming on too strong” vs “am I showing enough interest” and “will she think I’m a creep if I call too often”vs “will she think I’m indifferent if I don’t call enough” and “what will she think of me if I’m too fast” vs “will she think I’m not interested if I’m too slow”, etc. etc ad nauseum. By the time you’re my age, you practically don’t really care what the woman thinks, any confident male will have banished those doubts from his thought process years before. Any man who has ever bedded a woman will have successfully conquered most of the fears and anxieties that some of you ladies are just beginning to encounter as our mating patterns start changing with age. * I still feel a great amount of embarrasment when I have misjudged a situation though – but I have realized that unless I just go in for a chat, I will never get laid, ermmmm, I mean meet women.*

      When that woman walks into my life. I’ll know it, and I will make her know it. What a disaster if that woman walked into my life and I was entangled with someone else who I wasn’t particularly happy with. I would rue the day.

      Rosie, this curret situation where women have more earning power than before has been a boon to men in their forties like me. Younger men no longer have to get out in the world, grow up and compete for the best jobs. They can act like teenagers for a long, long time, and quite a few of them turn to pornography and massage parlours for sexual release. The internet and all the instant gratification technology have been a God-send to men my age. There are a lot of ambitious ladies in their twenties who don’t see these males as viable mates, they leave them for the “cougars”.

      • malcolm says:

        Oh, one more thing, As for other posters bantering about “men aging more gracefully” or “women aging more gracefully” – what a load of hogwash from both sides. Genetics combined with lifestyle choices apply to both sexes. Some women look younger and fitter than men of a similar age and vice versa. I think anybody who would even come up with a statement such as “my gender looks better…..” and then goes on to use that in an argument as to why they can’t get a date really relishes their status of victimhood and powerlessness, and I suspect a lot of the angrier and more shrill posts are an excersize in impotent fist shaking.

      • EmGee says:

        I certainly agree with your last post about aging, genetics, and lifestyle choices. The young women who go after the 40+ year olds are going after the handsome fit ones, not the balding ones with a paunch (unless, face it, the guy is loaded).

        Although I must also point out that Western culture expects women to look as young as possible for as long as possible, so there is something to what June says too.

        When you say, “Since tradition has it that it is overwhelmingly the job of the male to approach, men had to juggle “am I coming on too strong” vs “am I showing enough interest”…”,that having been now been pursued as well, you may have noticed that it takes quite some effort on that side of the equation too, even though you have chosen not to engage as either any more, instead choosing to just wait for the right woman to fall in your lap. Which is so unlikely, I think it is just another way of saying you are happy with the status quo.

  • june says:

    Well this living with another woman thing i agree would be a good idea to avoid the loneliness and the help with sharing the bills, economics drive many women into staying with men,they otherwise wouldnt have, and its not being gold diggers, its just that they actually couldnt pay the mortgage by themselves. But ive just two problems with it,1 Where would you find such a women, who isnt gay. All of my my friends have partners, well the ones id be happy to share with would, i just wouldnt know of anyone and i sure dont want to share with someone i dont know. No 2 everyone except perhaps in a large metropolitan city would assume you were gay, especially if like me you had never lived with a man.No prejudice here you understand but as a hetrosexual women i wouldnt like people to assume that and they would.

    • Sinead says:

      June, your comment just popped into my inbox and I’m in the unique situation of being speechless but needing to reply in some way as I shake my head mumbling what the fuck’s.

      ‘No prejudice here you understand but as a heterosexual woman I wouldn’t like people to assume that (I’m gay) and they would.’

      Mother of God June. You don’t need accomodation services, you need to enter the 21st century.

      • sophs says:

        surely she might not want people to assume she is gay because it woulnt exactly help her to find a man, rather than being prejudice..

      • Sinead says:

        Surely any man worth half the effort and who there was a chance with would enquire further.

        June did also say ‘people’, not ‘potential partner’ or ‘bloke’

        Maybe I’m just from too young a generation but two (older) women sharing a house may suggest but does not scream lesbian in my world.

        As someone in the middle of a divorce, I would love to set up house with some good humoured lady friends even if only for the short-term. Some of the happiest times in my life have involved sharing flats with girlfriends. And the boyfriends were only too happy to visit.

      • sophs says:

        prejudiced sorry..

    • Emgee says:

      From what I gather on the interwebs, men find the idea of women cohabiting kind of hot. But once again, the fantasy is that they are barely out of high school, and weigh less than the content of their feather pillows, in which they engage in nonstop grappling. So, nevermind I guess. [sighs]

    • malcolm says:

      “economics drive many women into staying with men,they otherwise wouldnt have, and its not being gold diggers, its just that they actually couldnt pay the mortgage by themselves.”

      June, that’s precisely what “gold digging” is. Every mentally and physically competent adult in the Anglosphere (perhaps all of western culture) is perfectly capable of taking care of themselves financially. It might mean some sacrifices, but renting a flat and going to work five days a week isn’t an outlandish expectation of anybody. If a woman is staying with a man for economic reasons, she’s a gold digger. How do you think that man would feel knowing that the lady living with him would rather not, and would probably leave if she could?

      Who can men turn to when “economics” are tough. Men who live with their parents are ridiculed. Men who live with women for financial gain are considered leeches. Maybe it’s time for some women to “man up”, stop their whinging, and stop being envious of men. It seems to me that there is a very large number of women who are very eager for all the rewards that western culture has to offer but are unprepared to take the risks that are necessary to obtain them. It’s not a coincidence that over 80% of homeless people in Canada (where I live) are men.

      Sorry, that sounded like a lecture.

      • fi says:

        I agree with you malcolm.

      • Emgee says:

        I agree to an exent Malciom, most people just aren’t willing to leave their comfort zone unless forced to, and even in this day and age, while men are no longer expected to be the sole breadwinner, women expect to be only partial contributors. Mainly because they are still expected to do most of the domestic duties, and face it, even though men have lost more jobs in this economy, it’s because women are paid less, and that last fact hasn’t changed.

        So if the choice is between taking care of the household and having two incomes, or taking care of the household and having the lesser single income, with a remote possibilty (but no guarantee) of alimony or child support, wouldn’t you stick with the devil you know?

  • rosie says:

    “Maybe I’m just from too young a generation but two (older) women sharing a house may suggest but does not scream lesbian in my world.”

    In many places it would, though. Attitudes in small towns (unless it’s one of the few that have been colonised by hipsters and eco warriers) are generally still very different to those in big cities. If June lives in the former, where everybody knows everyone else’s business, I can understand why she wouldn’t want people jumping to conclusions.

    Malcolm, you sound like a catch. *runs back to and pulls covers over head*

    • june says:

      I dont live in a small town Rosie,i did for years,but i now live in a provincial city which i like a lot,b ut i honestly know of no hetrosexual older women who lives with another and i have never heard anyone propose such a thing. Most single women i know and frankly there are few i know id want to share with anyway,all want a man. Anyway ive never said i personally want to share a home fulltime with anyone, man or women,im not sure i do,i just would like it occasionally,its being on my own all the time that gets me,not now and again. Also when im socializing it isnt so bad, its when ive not been going out much i find it worse, Social life for a single older women even in a city isnt easy, o yes theres the odd theatre visit, lunch or meal out,but when most of your friends are in couples, and you are not one for noisy bands in pubs and long hikes, which seem to be the events of the social group i belong to, socially it isnt easy, and thats when i get fed up,.When you are too old for clubbing and too young for bingo etc, it can get lonely and as i said i just dont hit it off with single women much, you on here seem people i could have something in common with, apart from one plankton friend i honestly prefer my coupled up friends.

      . And yes maybe i should have said i dont want men getting wrong idea,to be honest due to the fact that i have never lived with a partner, my sexuality has been called into question,in the past, wrong perhaps but it has..

  • James B says:

    This blog has become very different now that there are so many men posting on it. I am not really sure that this has improved things though, but it makes interesting reading and gives the reader an insight into the continuing male-female divide.

    So many games are played out at the beginning of dating and even before that. Horrible. Then we start to open ourselves up. Even worse. Personally I wish that emotions were not so powerful a human force. They are bloody irritating really and I cannot understand their role in the biological imperative once we enter middle age and do not want to have kids any more. I would love an on-off switch for my emotions. Make it a 4-way switch, with sexual motivation as well as emotions in all possible combinations. Maybe there will be some personalised medication for this eventually? In the meantime I think I will go back to reading, cooking and watching movies. Much safer. Oooh. Humanity!

    I have a lot of middle aged male friends (45 and up) who now see themselves as great catches and seem to be dating beautiful women one after another. They are basically formerly nice guys who are now acting out their previously frustrated fantasies, are shedding their fears borne of earlier rejections and are well on the way to becoming fully-fledged operating narcissists. What on earth do we do about all this? My suggestion is that we should save all you ladies so much bother and pain by putting something like bromide in their tea…or their lattes.

    In the meantime, as someone who has been married for nearly 25 years I shall keep away from temptation and play nice, although as I read this blog, now that I am going bald I would do well not to humilate myself in the open marketplace anyway. I shall go and polish my head in front of the TV and feel very grateful.

    • Emgee says:

      James, you come across as a fairly levelheaded person, so I am unclined to believe you when you say your singlke middle-aged friends are acting out frustrated fantasies, even though it gives me a sad.

      Women do the same, but at best they are unflatteringly labeled ‘cougars’, at worst held up to ridicule, as evidenced by the posts from some of the men who drop infrom the manosphere. Wyile women can be as disparaging about older men thinking they are great catches, I just don’t feel the venom that I do froim men.

      • Emgee says:

        Sorry about the typos, my tablet can be very difficult sometimes when I try to fix them.

      • fi says:

        I think either sex can feel bitter and angry, it really depends on the personality of the individual. But what I don’t like about the manosphere blogs is that they seem to encourage the bitterness, or maybe they attract the bitter men, or maybe it’s both. I don’t know but now Highlander has appeared there too and vents a lot more than he did here. I don’t know if it’s good there are blogs for men to do it or not – I’m not sure they are getting it out so much as getting entrenched in anger against women. I don’t know it just makes me feel uncomfortable. Maybe it’s the blokey version of feminist groups of the past? I certainly think they have stuff to complain about and hopefully they can move past that and start to like women again

  • Sinead says:

    My experience of small towns where everyone knows everyone else’s business is that they do indeed know your business and rather than willfully misinterpret your situation, can be rather too quick for the individual involved’s comfort to call a spade a spade i.e. you’re lonely, you live with another woman for companionship.

    all I know is life is difficult and it’s better to get on with it than hold back for fear of what other people think.most of the time we’re not even registering on these people’s radars.

  • rosie says:

    It’s not always as simple as that, Sinead. I know what you mean but most of us aren’t crusaders and just want to rub along. I posted on here the other day about a plankton I know of whose neighbours’ children have started hassling her, throwing stones and stuff, for committing no crime other being a plankton living on her own. She’s not what you’d call a shrinking violet but is obviously devastated by it.

    • Sinead says:

      I’m not discounting your friend’s experience. It’s bloody awful.


      It’s kids and some kids will be assholes, give hassle and throw stones for any reason, real or imaginary. Too fat, too bald, too old, too foreign, too walking down ‘their’ road to get home, too big boobs, too old car, too male, too female.

      I hope your friend realises that even if the too plankton reason was thrown at her by these snots, it’s not the result of deep analysis, just some plebs with smart phones and ugg bedecked extremities.She’s probably one of a list of targets for these leaders of the future.

  • rosie says:

    “What on earth do we do about all this?”

    Never be a plankton, would be my advice.

  • rosie says:

    Yes, I realise that. What I was trying to say is that we don’t know everyone’s circumstances. While it might be ok where you live for older women to move in together with no comeback, that’s not necessarily the case for everyone.

  • Halloween is coming up at the end of of October now- Think I’ll reassemble the jellyfish costume- I’ve still got the clear plastic umbrella as well as the colored Christmas tree decorative lights- All I’ll need to do is to buy a new box of neon glow sticks, and I’m set !!!

    Who’d have thunk it? One of the perks of turning 40… Now I’ll have a costume for every “undersea fauna” themed party I’ll ever be invited to, as well as for every Halloween for the rest of this century !!!

  • rosie says:

    “Maybe it’s time for some women to “man up”, stop their whinging, and stop being envious of men. It seems to me that there is a very large number of women who are very eager for all the rewards that western culture has to offer but are unprepared to take the risks that are necessary to obtain them. It’s not a coincidence that over 80% of homeless people in Canada (where I live) are men.”

    Stupid question given your earlier comments but do you have proof that ‘a very large number of women don’t want to take the risks’ or is this just your opinion? If by that you mean they don’t want to work, in the UK there’s roughly the same number (14 million) of working women to men, the pay gap is approx 20 per cent in men’s favour and women’s careers often fly out the window when they have children. If they do manage to take up where they left off they’re often villified (not least in the popular press) for being ‘bad mothers’. On top of which, thankless, low paid part-time work, the kind that keeps the economy ticking over, is overwhelmingly the remit of women.

    • Emgee says:

      Bravo, Rosie! You said it far better than my feeble attempt.

    • malcolm says:

      No, it’s not my opinion. It’s well known that women are far more risk averse than men, study after study have proven this. The latest one being;

      And anecdotally, I have raised a set of twins since the age of 7 (they are almost 19 now), a son and a daughter. There isn’t a person in the world who could convince me that boys and girls are essentially the same. I have seen the difference in how they respond to different situations despite having the same essential upbringing.

      As for the pay gap, it does exist, but the vast majority of that is because on average, women work fewer hours than men. Kay Hymowitz summarizes that in her article in the Wall street Journal.

      See, here’s the big disconnect that I’m experienceing though. I can’t recall any working mothers being villified in the press. The overall tone is very sympathetic to the trials and tribulations of working mothers. Can you provide a link to an article in the “popular” press that villifies working mums?

      I doubt the purpose of this blog is to bicker back and forth about these issues though.

      • EmGee says:

        Malcolm “It seems to me that there is a very large number of women who are very eager for all the rewards that western culture has to offer but are unprepared to take the risks that are necessary to obtain them.”


        Malcolm: “It’s well known that women are far more risk averse than men…”

        That doesn’t mean what you think it means:
        “Risk aversion is the reluctance of a person to accept a bargain with an uncertain payoff rather than another bargain with a more certain, but possibly lower, expected payoff. ” [Wikipedia]

        It doesn’t mean an expectation of higher payoff for less effort, as you implied in your first post.

        Malcolm: “As for the pay gap, it does exist, but the vast majority of that is because on average, women work fewer hours [at paying jobs] than men.”
        FTFY, Mal.

        I find it ironic that you linked to an article saying what several people here have already pointed out, yet all you got out of it was; “women work fewer hours than men.” Did you really rtfa in it’s entirety?

  • rosie says:

    And – stupid comment alert but seeing as we’re doing stupid – maybe those unemployed Canadian men should ‘man up’ and get a job.

  • fi says:

    I don’t know what’s happened here but it all seems to have become much more combative and split along gender lines with huge generalisations being made about either sex.

  • rosie says:

    Here you go, Malcolm:

    And many more besides, if you could be bothered to look.

    To my knowledge no one on here has said men and women are the same (there’s a gulf as wide as the Grand Canyon as far as I’m concerned) but what is the correlation, like EmGee says, between being ‘risk averse’ and not wanting to work? And why even mention it unless your intention is to run women down?

  • malcolm says:

    Those articles are just publishing the results of recent studies. I didn’t see a single disparaging word about working mothers, never mind “vilification”. The articles were very objective and didn’t pass any judgement whatsoever. Simply a statement of the findings.

    That doesn’t mean what you think it means:
    “Risk aversion is the reluctance of a person to accept a bargain with an uncertain payoff rather than another bargain with a more certain, but possibly lower, expected payoff. ” [Wikipedia]
    That’s precisely what I meant it to mean. I wasn’t talking in terms of employment, I was talking in terms of women who stay in an unsatisfying relationship because they are frightened of the risks of leaving because she thinks that as a woman, the odds are stacked against her, despite the fact that western society has far more safeguards for women than for men. MOAROS (mother of all run-on sentences).

    • EmGee says:

      Safeguards? Where can one find these? One of the reasons I stayed married too long is that I live in a community property state, and my husband decided that if we divorced, he would simply demand his ‘half’ of everything, including our home.

      A friend of mine left her abusive husband this spring and she isn’t getting half of their assets by any means, in fact she got the divorce documents today, but she sees things there she didn’t agree to, so she is going to have her lawyer look it over before she signs. Most of her clothing and personal belongings, and a couple pet cats, are still in her former home. By law she is supposed to be able to arrange a sheriff’s deputy to escort her there so she can get her things. After more than 6 months, she has so far been unable to set up such an arrangement with the police. She suspects she will not ever be able to recover her things.

      I know plenty of women with kids whose deadbeat fathers never pay a dime of child support, or if their wages are garnished, it is a fraction of what it costs to help support a child in a meaningful manner. Then there is the woman who is so emotionally beaten down, the thought of having to fend foe herself is more terrifying than the abuse.

      If any of this is the gamble one has to take to leave a marriage, then yes, risk aversion seems prudent to me. Also, it applies to men in bad marriages. They are afraid to lose their kids or be reduced to meager visitation rights, or as in most households these days, one income simply isn’t enough to get by any more.

  • rosie says:

    Malcolm, of course they were only reporting the findings. The Daily Mail gleefully reports such ‘findings’ every single day. Have a look (it’s available online), it shouldn’t take even you long to realise that, although no doubt you will agree with every word they say.

    Now where’s that cyanide pill.

    • malcolm says:

      So they shouldn’t report the findings of these studies? Should the welfare of children be of lesser importance than the feelings of a segment of society?

      I am quite aware (as a single parent who had no financial support from the children’s mother whatsoever) that a single parent household is not the ideal situation for children. Numerous studies have told me so, and I’m constantly reminded of this. Furthermore, the court system routinely tells us that children are better off with their mums.

      Every time I felt guilt or shame because my car was repossesed, or I was in a fight with the bank when my mortgage was far in arrears, or we had to make do with cold showers because the utilities were turned off, or I couldn’t afford the horse riding lessons for my daughter, or my son couldn’t participate in sports, or a hundred other petty reminders that highlighted the differences between the reality of their upbringing and what I’d have ideally liked it to be, I would realize that the children deserved more. I didn’t need studies to tell me that.

      I suppose if I had felt that I wasn’t doing as much as I could, then perhaps I can see how I would feel vilified by articles and studies like that, but as it was, i was just playing the hand that was dealt me to the best of my abilities.

      And yes, I taught my daughter to be a strong an independent girl, and now as a young lady she is in university and studying the field of her choice. She knows what it takes to ‘damn the torpedoes” and get what she wants out of life. She knows what’s important and what’s just window dressing. She also knows she has a father who would walk through hell and back just to hold her hand if that’s what she’s needing at the time. I don’t think she knows a woman who would do the same.

      • fi says:

        It’s truly admirable what you’ve achieved and your attitude.

      • EmGee says:

        “I don’t think she knows a woman who would do the same.”

        On the one hand, I find that tragic. because it sounds like she hasn’t a girl friend, female relative, teacher, anybody to rely on or trust?

        On the other, she is lucky to have a parent that cares that much.

  • rosie says:

    I hope you afford your daughter the same progressive attitude.

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