Be Careful What You Wish For

October 2, 2012 § 331 Comments

From yesterday’s Times:-

I have seen off many a platitude.  Plankton are prey to more platitudes than any other group of unfortunate folk, so laying them bare and subjecting them to ridicule is a sport I have had to learn to enjoy. “It’ll happen when you least expect it/aren’t looking for it,” is up there as perhaps the most irritating of all time, but there are plenty of other worthy contenders.  “Count your blessings” is high on the list, but “Be careful what you wish for,” is one I feel I must scrutinise, and decry.

In any normal context, there is something rather satisfyingly accurate about, Be careful what you wish for.  I think of children, plus puppies, plus Christmas.  I think of men of sixty or more, plus gorgeous, bosomy twenty-five year old pouting people, plus sex.  But in the plankton context, BCWYWF, is most frequently from the mouths of married women wishing you off men with a slight ha ha about their own husbands, be it about his maddening habit of being incapable of answering questions at breakfast or his inability to cut his toenails into the waste-paper basket.  But the tone, whilst wrapped in the tissue paper of humour, is always portentous, just in case I might not have thought of it before and, if not, I jolly well ought to have done.

Of course I have bloody thought of it before!  In fact, if only I could be a little less careful about what I wish for.  If I was a marginally less fussy old bag, then I wouldn’t be in this tedious plankton position in the first place.  My problem is that I am too darn careful.  What I wish for is a companionable, kind, age-appropriate person who can string two words together, is largely heterosexual and preferably doesn’t live in Auckland (nothing against Auckland, just a bit far).  I never wished for diamonds and white sands and palm trees or sleek cars that glisten and zoom, and I long ago gave up wishing for a partner that was entirely well-balanced, stable, and hand-baggage only.

What I would really like is for friendly advisors to dispense with the BCWYWF platitude entirely and instead opt for cliches more along the lines of, Throw Caution to the Wind because Life Has a Funny Way of Turning Out.  Advice like that would encourage me not to be careful at all, but instead to open the mind up to whole new ideas – a much younger man for example? Goodness knows where I might find him, but there could be a lot to be said for that.  BCWYWF, Plankton: Pah!

 

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§ 331 Responses to Be Careful What You Wish For

  • I’m with you. I’m all for TCTTWBLHAFWOTO. Bugger BCWYWF 😉 x

  • Sarah says:

    When I was on internet dating I had a couple of young guys very interested. One was pretty determined we should meet despite my telling him he was young enough to be my son. Luckily he lived too far away to make popping over for coffee an option. Nice lad, just way too young!

    If you want to try a young man, get on the internet. They’ll track you down!

    • The Plankton says:

      I don’t think they will! Pxx

    • Helen says:

      What do younger men bring into your life? P does not want alot from what I have read and being 47 and single for the past three years relate to a lot of what she has gone through. I find internet dating so fickle ,frustrating and false . A lot of men are intimidated by women with good careers and for some reason love the feeling of being needed, what is wrong with being wanted – there is a huge difference between the two. Anyway although I am lonely as my 21 year old is living his life and I am home more often than out my life is uncomplicated and hassle free and i have good friends it could be worse and deep down i remain the eternal optimist!!

  • june says:

    Interesting P that some of our fellow planktons say you and i are alike, because damm it all youve done it again, yes said what ive been thinking. Uncanny.

    I a fussy old bird to, and one of my favourite quotes from my friends with partners is well it isnt all honey you know. No i bloody know that, but nor is spending every mealtiime and evening on your own,not sharing expenses, or having someone to go to the coast with say. One of my best friends who seems to spend most of her time running her partner down and making disparaging remarks about him,is always saying i know its not great being alone but nor is being in a relationship. And you get similar from everyone else. But ask them if they want to be alone and they say o god no just cant imagine it and my friend when her and partner did split up, pleaded and begged him to come back, something i know id never do, but you get my drift, If its ok to be on your own all time,, why do so few of them want it and are desperate to avoid planktonhood,.

    My plankton neighbour seems to have struck up a friendship with the man in flat next door to her in our block, Hes 60 plus like her and i, , a nice enough man but fancy him and want to go out with him, no definitely not, He knows my other plankton friend and she says wouldnt go there either , and like me alone she stays as P like us she is a bit choosey. My neighbour was adamant no involvment with men, her husband ran off with her sister, but here we are, any port in a storm,i guess, but thats it isnt it,i just wouldnt go there and she has. So P i guess thats it,once the wrong side of 45 you have to forget any hope of being choosey and just take whats on offer and that we seem to find impossible. I certainly would be happy to go for someone younger, if i could possibly get anyone interested but at my age i fear that impossible. Cougars are just a figment of the imagination i think. i have no objection at all to becoming one,sadly dont think will get chance..

    • Margaux says:

      JUNE! I’ve been away for a while working ( but looking in occasionally) and here you are with the same old lament.

      How many times in the past did I mention the younger men / older women sites ??? There are plenty of them you know ! Have you looked at any of them?

      There’s a famous quote that says ‘If you do what you’ve always done – you’ll always get what you’ve always got”

      So – if you can’t change a situation you have to change yourself.

      ( and yes, I do practice what I preach! 🙂 )
      M

      • june says:

        Well good for you Marguax pleased for you and im glad you can find younger men,. I have looked at these sites , and to be honest i found them very metropolitan based, certainly little in provincial cities and areas such as mine. I just dont know of any much younger men in my area who are interested in older women,i have discussed this with fellow planktons say my age and late 50s, and they all say same, Younger men not interested in them. I really cannot understand how women find them cause in the real world it just doesent happen, im not being defeatest,it just doesent. Good grief i know women of 45 who say its a problem finding anyone.

    • RS says:

      Or maybe, June, having got to know that man a little bit better, your friend sees beyond what you do and DOES fancy him now? It does happen you know, that a person becomes more appealing the more you get to know them. Not always, certainly – often your gut reaction is right – but since she seems happy with her choice, why denigrate it?

      Also maybe that proves that there indeed ARE more 60+ men in your area than you’ve acknowledged… so perhaps things will swing your way after all!

      • june says:

        But Rs thats what im saying, i just dont fancy 60 plus men, because in spite of what you men on here seem to imagine, on the whole you do let yourselves go much more than women do, and quite frankly any women who wants to have any relationship with the elderly seeming and looking men of my age i see,around me must be mad.Id rather be a plankton.

      • fi says:

        What about Tommy Lee Jones? He’s divine. Apart from in Hope Springs although he’s back to looking lovely in the credits.:D

      • The Plankton says:

        I agree! He really did look his best in the end credits. How weird was that. Pxx

      • Ms haversham to be says:

        Fi- he’s dating a woman in her late 20s-30s.

      • fi says:

        What???????tommy lee jones is?????????? No-o-o-o-o

      • maria says:

        Oh Fi, Tommy Lee Jones??? WTF?? Have you really looked at his face? Yuck!! The man looks like a dried up old prune, and he’s ugly as hell. He’s a great actor, though.
        Why is it that so many women (not me) find really old, wrinkly ugly men attractive (think Sean Connery who was considered sexy way into his seventies), but you never see any man praise old ugly wrinkly women ? I have never heard any man say Meryl Streep is sexy and she’s a fine looking mature lady.

      • fi says:

        I suppose I wouldn’t necessarily find him attractive if seeing him for the first time now, but as I’ve thought he was lovely for at least 15 years, he’s now just an older version of that man. But his intelligence and personality are what is attractive about him. Just that something special that Brad Pitt and George Clooney don’t have – for me anyway. I totally agree re your point about merly tho.

      • Plankton_When_A_Young_Man says:

        Tommy Lee Jones is married to a woman born in 1964. They’ve been married since 2001 according to Wikipedia.

      • fi says:

        P – because in the credits he was wearing youthful clothes, was energetic, smiling and happy. The opposite of what he was in the film. And Meryl in mamma mia was also much more attractive than she was in Hope Springs for exactly the same reasons. So….

      • The Plankton says:

        I never saw Mamma Mia, but I am sure you’re right. Pxx

      • Jill says:

        WHAT???!!! You have never seen Mamma Mia, P? This shocking omission must be rectified ASAP….Seriously, it’s such a feel-good film that one’s spirits cannot fail to be uplifted by watching it. Cheesy as well, yes, but fun and frisky too. I am a huge fan of La Streep, admittedly, but if you consider the length and breadth of her oeuvre, right back to The Deerhunter and via Sophie’s Choice, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, through to It’s Complicated and now Hope Springs, you surely just have to admire the lady, or so I think.

      • The Plankton says:

        I admire her very much and I loved It’s Complicated, and enjoyed Hope Springs. Not sure how I missed Mamma Mia, especially when the world and its mother saw it. There again, the world and its mother seems to be reading Fifty Shades of Fucking Grey, and I won’t touch it with a barge pole. Not that I am putting M.Mia into the same category! pxx

      • EmGee says:

        If an actor appears different in a film from they do in real life, then they are doing their job. On the other hand, when you see them looking better in credits out of character, they usually are made up to look better than their normal countenances. I don’t know if he still rides, but Tommy Lee Jones is an accomplished horseman, so is very fit, and is probably unlikely to wear pants with a waistband up to his chin. But I bet his face looks every bit of his 70+ years under the make up. I haven’t had a chance to see Hope Springs, but it is on my list. I like both actors a lot.

      • RS says:

        June I would never, ever say that EVERY man over 60 has let himself go, just as I would never say every woman over 60 has, or hasn’t. I agree that generally women stay more current and look after themselves better than women do. I see that when I look at men my age. So I get you.

        However. If I were feeling that there were NO men available in my area, and that I was longing more than life itself to pair up, I wouldn’t turn my back on every. single. man. over. 60 just because I’ve assumed none have anything remotely appealing about them. Maybe, just maybe, the guy who doesn’t quite look as youthful as I’d like him to actually ACTS that way… and I might be able to sex him up in the looks department if we became an “item”.

        Perhaps that’s what your friend’s plan is? Maybe the guy, despite his looks, is a really cool guy. You’d never find out though, because you’d dismiss him based totally on his looks.

        But basically, what you’re saying, over and over, is that 1. you live somewhere where there are no men you like and 2. you only like younger men and 3. you hate that men all seem interested in sex, sex sex. Hate to tell you, but men pretty much are all interested in sex as a big part of a relationship and the younger they are the more likely it is to play a bigger role. And here’s a shocker – lots of women are interested in sex too.

        I fear you’re doomed unless you change something about your way of thinking. I just don’t think you’re going to find a 45 year old who likes 60+ women but doesn’t want to have sex. TONS of younger men want older women (I’m testament to that) but sex is pretty much part of the deal.

        I’m willing to admit, though, that I’ve been wrong before… plenty of times. As I’m sure will be pointed out 😉 Flame away, folks.

  • Highlander says:

    I guess one could suggest a lot of acronyms, but ” WDYEIWBL” comes to mind or more likely “GIG”.. Women crabbing about toenails or the hubby’s inability to converse before his morning tea points to the fact a great many women are just unhappy about themselves, but are always looking outside themselves for the source of their unhappiness.

  • Plankton_When_A_Young_Man says:

    Reading between the lines, P, I got the idea that you exclude people who aren’t upper middle class (using American standards), Leftist, and Liberal Artsie. Am I wrong?

    • Emgee says:

      And so what if you are right?

      Btw, I would like to take this moment and point out that your handle is a non sequitor. There is can be no such thing as a young Plankton

      • Plankton_When_A_Young_Man says:

        It would be a misnomer then, wouldn’t it? I am just saying that I think P has certain standards that make her look past most men as not worthy. That’s perfectly okay as far as I am concerned.

        As for me being a plankton when young, I just meant that I was invisible to women. Not cocky/funny/good-looking enough to attract female attention and too shy to approach women. Eventually I learned people skills and began earning enough money to be able to approach women and then was okay.

      • EmGee says:

        @ Plankton_When_A_Young_Man
        Misnomer, you are right.

        Social skills are very important to have.

        However, there is a sliding scale regarding financial appeal, imho. It doesn’t matter to me, as long as the other person is doing his best. Like I said in a post here this morning, that is something some people would find intolerable.

      • fi says:

        I know men believe they have to have money to attract women : “Eventually I learned people skills and began earning enough money to be able to approach women and then was okay.” But I don’t think its true. Whereas women don’t generally like men with no money ie unemployed or homeless, and worse off than them, I’ve never known any to seek out a man because he has more than them. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen but I don’t think its as common as men seem to think. In my experience women don’t want to support a man, but they also don’t expect to be supported. I think what is far more likely to have brought about success with women is that the increased income has given you confidence and that has maybe made you more attractive, or a belief that now you have money it’s worth approaching women where you didn’t beforehand, but unless you were extremely poor (and leading women to believe they would have to fund you) getting “enough money to approach women” is confused thinking as more money won’t have suddenly made you attractive to them.

    • Lydia says:

      I certainly think people need to try to achieve compatibility and some men have refused to meet me because I am a flat tax, free market libertarian and they are very different. I remember one lovely man who was out on marches last year against university fees – our political differences were so very different it was painful. Another was totally against women’s equality. SOmetimes the views are so different that it would be too difficult to come together.

      I would nmot call myself a very fussy person though as regards men although I certainly need someone with an accent like mine and my IQ level but there are loads around like that in London and I can usually find someone if I want them.

    • Margaux says:

      Ultimately people are tribal.

  • Emgee says:

    Well, the Platitudes® did work in my case, particularly ‘it will happen when you are not looking’, and I did find a companionable, kind, age appropriate, etc man, pretty much my ideal, too. I feel I lucked out, but heaven knows there are compromises and perhaps many wouldn’t find some of his traits tolerable. Some days I feel that way myself, but the better outweighs the bitter more days than not.

    I think that by the time we hit our forties, we know what we will and will not tolerate, so BCWYWF is a nonstarter. Give us what we wish for, and let us decide if we’ll take the whole package.

    TCTTW!!!

  • Lydia says:

    I still don’t really share the main issue of this whole blog that there is anything wrong with being single. Happiness comes in many forms and I still wake every single day eternally grateful my ex husband is not there. I woke up this morning thinking I hsave never in my entire life been happier. Yet I’m single (and I do like men and I do lke sex and I’m reasonably nice to be with and fairly good looking). I am just happy whether or not there is a man there. Don’t need them for babies or money (I virtually always earn more than they do) but I like talking to men and their company and that is never ever hard to procure. It can even be as simple as undoing one button – not all men are complex.

  • rosie says:

    “I am just saying that I think P has certain standards that make her look past most men as not worthy.”

    A judgement based on….?

  • Plankton_When_A_Young_Man says:

    Lydia, how long have you been single? It gets old after 15 years!

    • june says:

      And yes and i think Lydia should realise we are not all rich and live around London like her. In the real world Lydia it is somewhat different.

      • fi says:

        June – lydia is as representative of women in the ‘real world’ though as you are. If anything it just goes to show there is no such thing as one type of woman that is single and 40+

  • Jo says:

    ‘Plankton are prey to more platitudes than any other group of unfortunate folk’.
    You won’t like this at all, but sorry P you’re wrong wrong wrong.
    Platitudes for the ‘Plankton’ group is heavily outweighed by those with cancer….
    Whether it be – for example – ‘you’re strong/brave/a fighter/determined/’if anyone can beat this, you can’/think positive/’you of all people will be fine’ and on and on and on…………
    More platitudes for ‘Plankton’? NO…
    This really is my final comment. But I just had to post this. You may believe what you say, but it is utterly wrong. And this is not just based on my friend’s situation. I have been party to the platitudes drilled out to the cancer stricken et al before.
    And finally June.
    Sorry. Same old same old same old….And ALWAYS so horribly disparaging to others to boot. May not be right for you – singles group/neighbour with her 60+ friend/woman who stays with her difficult partner/woman who moved away from her friends to live with her partner/ the internet (no we haven’t ‘lowered our standards and accepted any old person, or are not ‘choosy’ or ‘just accepted what’s on offer’ and the rest..) – but why should another person’s experience or decision, contrary to yours, be so derided or run down? It’s always so horribly ungenerous and generalised. But above all, always the SAME.
    Words, views, prejudices..Everything. ALWAYS. ALWAYS.
    Doubtless you’ll reject this. But hey ho.
    Final word. Hate to end like this. On a seeming negative. But sometimes..it has to be said.
    Goodbye all. And really really..The very very best of wishes to everybody.
    Jo x

  • Jo says:

    Not sure my comment was posted. Hope it was.
    That’s it. x

    • Margaux says:

      Jo – sorry you are off again just as I have reappeared … I’ve always enjoyed reading you.

      June – nothing is going to change. Unless you change it. Bottom line. Change your profile. Change the dating site you use. Change your habits. Change where you live. Change your attitudes. Change your mantras. It really is up to you. No one else can do it for you.

      • fi says:

        Just as June has been saying exactly the same thing, using exactly the same words, every day for the last 14 months, so other people have been responding in the same way (almost) every day. Can we just recognise that June will never speak to a man her own age, or one who lives outside a bus journey’s radius from where she lives, and will never compromise her views to meet anyone and just stop suggesting it? SHE WON’T CHANGE ANYTHING and as she knows she will always be on her own she probably uses these pages to come to terms with it.

      • Widdle says:

        “Just as June has been saying exactly the same thing, using exactly the same words, every day for the last 14 months, so other people have been responding in the same way (almost) every day.”

        Fi, absolutely. You women – you lot using this blog – are like a bunch of meerkats. Grooming one another when you need sympathy, popping out of your burrows to make an alarm call warning of some horrid male who has said something abrasive, some bloke pushing back the tide of received female wisdom.

        In my minds eye there you are you regulars, in the heat of the sun, a social group up on your haunches chattering “troll, troll” at the sniff of Privateman before disappearing out of view under the sand.

      • fi says:

        Very true. But I could ask why should women here be obliged to give a platform to bitter and disapointed men to say unpleasant things about women in sweeping generalisations using derogatory language. There are manosphere blogsn aimed at them, to do that. Certainly the readers of PM don’t allow it. As you know 😉

      • Widdle says:

        “…why should women here be obliged to give a platform to bitter and disappointed men to say unpleasant things about women in sweeping generalisations using derogatory language”

        Yes, this is a platform for bitter and disappointed women to make sweeping generalisations about men using derogatory language – I forgot.

      • fi says:

        I meant that the readers of PM don’t allow women to say anything that can be interpreted as vaguely critical of men

      • fi says:

        It shouldn’t be. I don’t like either site doing it to be honest. And my objection is always to the generalisations and antagonism displayed to either sex because of their gender. I have no problem with criticism of specific actions by individuals. But very few women here do it to be honest – the site mainly contains women complaining they haven’t got a man as opposed to criticising them. Unlike PM which is predominantly critical of women. To be honest I’m pretty sick of all of them – the constant criticism and attacking, and consequential defensiveness, the moaning and whinging. It’s no fun anymore. The constant battle between men and women over who is right. Its depressing and at the end of the day who cares. These blogs should in my opinion be about sharing different viewpoints in a friendly way not fighting verbally. It’s just not fun anymore and as someone who believes life is short, and wants to enjoy it as much as possible, I’m starting to feel life’s too short to listen to anymore complaining, whinging and arguing.

      • EmGee says:

        “Very true. But I could ask why should women here be obliged to give a platform to bitter and disapointed men to say unpleasant things about women…”

        Came here to say that, leaving satisfied.

        There have been some civil men post here, and I think tv munsen’s circumstances should be a lesson to us all. He came on very rudely at first, and shortly thereafter discovered he was ill, and no matter how wonderful his marriage was, through no fault of theirs, he realized that his wife may very well up lonely and alone like so many of us. He certainly mellowed, but I an very sad that it took a terminal illness for him to gain some empathy. I do miss him and his posts, and think of him whenever an incorrigible troll posts.

      • maria says:

        Well said, Fi.

      • maria says:

        F*ck off, Widdle!

      • maria says:

        Fi, not again. Don’t tell me you’re getting out again.

      • fi says:

        But Maria – you only pop in sometimes. I’d like to do that but can’t help sticking my nose in. I’m an addictive personaity and totally unable to discipline myself. 🙂
        Maybe I could gradually wean myself off? Posting every other day maybe? Anyway – if you were on here more often it would be more fun! – no pressure 🙂

      • maria says:

        Fi, don’t go. I’ll pop in whenever I can, lots to do at work at the moment. And sometimes I feel a bit insecure because I’m not a native speaker and I don’t have enough grasp of the English language to properly convey my ideas, I’m sure I’ve made lots of mistakes.

        And I agree with you, this blog is truly addictive.

      • The Plankton says:

        Oh good! I like to hear it’s addictive. Pxx

      • Widdle says:

        Maria, what a lovely woman you must be, so bright.

        “Fuck off Widdle”

        The witty, thoughtful response of a true intellectual. Brilliant. And so brave hidden behind the anonymity of a blog.

        You must be a dream squeeze.

      • Fi says:

        i come here becuase its nice to read what other women like me think. But. Sometimes i think i should get a life. i honestly do feel like its a character failing that i comment on here with such regularity. It’s not as though i don’t have hundreds of things going on in my life – i do – i just sometimes wonder, when i’ve read what i’ve written, why i do it. Whether I’m so attention seeking that i have to do it? whether I’m so arrogant that i think what i have to say is vitally relevant? Whether i just like speaking to other people from anonymity? sometimes, to be perfectly honest, I even bore myself with my comments. 🙂

      • fi says:

        And Maria – there’s absolutely no way anyone reading you would think you weren’t a native English speaker. Your command of the language, and your knowledge and understanding of both what is said and how you use it, is brilliant. Really brilliant.

      • Widdle says:

        Bang on, Fi.

        The grip of the colloquial even substituting the “u” of fuck with an asterisk – terrific social grace. A lady through and through.

      • maria says:

        Widdle, fuck off!

      • maria says:

        Thanks Fi for your lovely words.

      • Widdle says:

        Maria,

        Yes, Fi is being very kind. And to boot she doesn’t have your foul mouth.

        Fi, unfortunately, is, perhaps by reason of internet friendship trying to put lipstick on a stool.

        This is the comment to which you took offence: “Yes, this is a platform for bitter and disappointed women to make sweeping generalisations about men using derogatory language – I forgot.”

        Remember?

      • maria says:

        Fuck off Widdle. And I already know I’m thick, rude and not a lady, don’t bother telling me that again.

      • Widdle says:

        Maria, you have a foul mouth.

  • Jo says:

    Jo
    October 2, 2012 at 9:32 pm
    ‘Plankton are prey to more platitudes than any other group of unfortunate folk’.
    You won’t like this at all, but sorry P you’re wrong wrong wrong.
    Platitudes for the ‘Plankton’ group is heavily outweighed by those with cancer….
    Whether it be – for example – ‘you’re strong/brave/a fighter/determined/’if anyone can beat this, you can’/think positive/’you of all people will be fine’ and on and on and on…………
    More platitudes for ‘Plankton’? NO…
    This really is my final comment. But I just had to post this. You may believe what you say, but it is utterly wrong. And this is not just based on my friend’s situation. I have been party to the platitudes drilled out to the cancer stricken et al before.
    And finally June.
    Sorry. Same old same old same old….And ALWAYS so horribly disparaging to others to boot. May not be right for you – singles group/neighbour with her 60+ friend/woman who stays with her difficult partner/woman who moved away from her friends to live with her partner/ the internet (no we haven’t ‘lowered our standards and accepted any old person, or are not ‘choosy’ or ‘just accepted what’s on offer’ and the rest..) – but why should another person’s experience or decision, contrary to yours, be so derided or run down? It’s always so horribly ungenerous and generalised. But above all, always the SAME.
    Words, views, prejudices..Everything. ALWAYS. ALWAYS.
    Doubtless you’ll reject this. But hey ho.
    Final word. Hate to end like this. On a seeming negative. But sometimes..it has to be said.
    Goodbye all. And really really..The very very best of wishes to everybody.
    Jo x

  • Margaux says:

    Fi. Brilliant! Point taken. You’re quite right – I hadn’t thought of it like that. I guess some people post not actually wanting any change .. I was just venting my frustration!

    • fi says:

      Well I used to find it frustrating too but there’s no way she would reconsider her position and viewpoints – as you know you can lead a horse to water etc etc – so might as well save yourself the grief of trying to get your point across to someone who isn’t interested in listening. And as she won’t change anything she needs to come to terms with the consequence of her choices. As we all do. As an additional thought I was speaking to a married male friend the other night and saying I had been on dates but none I wanted to go any further and he responded that as I was obviously getting them I “could afford to be choosy”. I explained that it didn’t work like that – I wasn’t turning them down because I thought I was attractive enough to get someone better, but because these guys weren’t right for me, and each time I turn one down I am aware that I might be rejecting any final offer I ever get as its not as though there is a guaranteed number for every woman, escalating in attractiveness, until I choose to call a halt to the ‘search’. However I have heard men talk about this approach before – that there is a range of men who will do, and its better to pick one while you have the chance before your attractiveness level falls, but I think it’s an illustration of the differences between the sexes – women often want the ‘right’ person while for men there are a number of perfectly adequate women.

  • Mannie says:

    New commenter here. Hope I’m not intruding. Just to ask Plankton one simple question: how much work/effort have you put into looking for a man in the last 6 months? Because we are never told, and I’m thinking that maybe that has something to do with it, if the answer is “not much”.

    • The Plankton says:

      Fair question. No much, if you mean have I gone online. I have not because it makes me want to slit my wrists. Otherwise, I have been doing quite a bit. Going out a lot with a smile on my face and flirting when the opportunity arises. That’s what it always used to be before internet dating and it seemed to work, pretty well. But you are right. I could be doing more. Pxx

  • MissBates says:

    Ah, the platitudes. I confess I’ve always been particularly amused/annoyed by “Be Careful What You Wish For” and its corollary, “It’s Not a Bed of Roses, You Know!” — both usually uttered with finger-wagging, smirking condescension by the coupled-up. The reason that I find this so funny/maddening is that all of these people also know that I am a divorce lawyer, and, at the risk of sounding Lydia-ish, a relatively prominent one. I offer up this self-aggrandizing detail just so that you can all fully appreciate the context. I usually respond with a withering, “um, YE-E-E-S, I know” — and then I offer up some egregious tale of marital transgression from my endless list of same to demonstrate that yes, I DO know — quite possibly more than they do — the endless ways in which a marriage can be truly horrible.

    “Yes, I know.”

  • PY says:

    Re: the pitfalls of online dating, I set out below a delightful message just received from a lady I have never met nor communicated with before, on a dating website where my subscription has expired:

    “For christ sake put ur actual photo up not pix of you at 30
    Waste of time – pathetic!” (sic)

    I accept that said photos may not be be bang up to date, having been taken at various intervals over the past 5 yrs but there is, quite frankly no need to do so as little has physically changed, bar a tad more grey hair. At least I am not fibbing about my age (which, in my experience, most on-line ladies do) and, as they say, the camera doesn’t lie .

    Not my type (coming across as semi-literate, high maintenance, sparrow legged, mutton dressed as lamb) but it might give a glimpse to Plankton eyes of the other side of the coin. If it is an attempt at reverse psychology, trying to get a trout to rise to a fly, then it has failed.

      • maria says:

        Hey Jill, how did you do the moving emoticon?

      • Jill says:

        Hi Maria – Fun, isn’t it? You put a colon, followed by “oops”, followed by another colon, (but no speech marks – I put those in for clarity) and leave a space or two either side. Like this 😳

    • fi says:

      PY. You had a lucky escape there no doubt. And can I just say how adorable I think you are to say there’s no need to post a picture of you at 50 as you think you look exactly the same as you did at 30, apart from the slightly greyer hair!
      🙂

    • maria says:

      “For christ sake put ur actual photo up not pix of you at 30
      Waste of time – pathetic!”
      F*ck, PY, how rude of her. That’s why I, like our lovely Ms P, don’t do dating sites.

      • Jill says:

        Hi Maria, my reply to your question about the 🙄 emoticon got lost when I tried to reply just now so am having another go. glad you liked it. You just put a colon followed by “roll” next to another colon (but without the speechmarks – I just put those in for clarity.) You need to leave a space or two either side as well. The other one I like is 😳 which is exactly the same except that you put “oops” instead of “roll”. 😀

      • PY says:

        Maria, the reply to the subscription-expired one-liner of “Thanks, but I don’t think we’re right for one another.” was even more choice :

        “Errr excuse me what on earth gave u that idea ???
        Hideous ! ”

        I guess some people just can’t handle rejection. As for ‘Widdle’, I suspect he is just taking the piss.

      • Jill says:

        😆 SUCH a shame there isn’t an emoticon for “splitting my sides laughing”! Weren’t there two Labrador puppies who featured in a book called Widdle and Puke, because that’s all they ever did?

      • Jill says:

        A bit of dogged (sorry!) research and I can reveal that the book was “My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell…..

      • maria says:

        Thank you, Jill. You’re a doll.

    • Widdle says:

      Jill, Fi, you are obviously technological wizards.

      Would it be possible to devise something digital along these lines: a moving picture – a bit like a cuckoo clock – but instead of a bird with a wooden head it could be the torso of a Mediterranean type which instead of “cuckoo” goes “Fuck off”?

      I would be very grateful.

  • PY says:

    Sorry , forgot to add ” WWWANEG?”, as my mother keeps asking

    • Jill says:

      WWWANEG?! Why Would We All Need Extra Grub? When Will We Actually Next Eat Grapes? Where Will We All Never End (Up) Going? Who Will Willingly And Nicely Accept Extra Gristle? Why WILL Women Argue, Not Engage Gracefully? Why Won’t Women Act Normally Ever, (for) Goodness (sake)? Pleeeeease put me out of my misery so that I can go back to doing something sensible….all these acronyms are “doin’ me head in”! 😕

  • PY says:

    Hi Jill . Good hols in Turkey ? Being a singleton-in-recovery with a bunch of not-so-smug married’s you must have some pretty tasty pool side goss?

    “What’s wrong with a nice English girl ?” – my brother and I both had a weakness for something tad more exotic and married ‘off-piste’. Put it down to a small town Lancastrian up-bringing.

    • Jill says:

      Yes, thank you, PY, great holiday, save for the small matter of falling over my own big feet on the first day while disporting myself on the tennis court……was “off games” for the rest of the week, much to the disgust of my fellow travellers, who had to play American tennis thereafter. I am assured that my back will recover….eventually….that is what one gets for not acting one’s age, I suppose.

      As for pool side goss, I have to report that there was a marked reluctance to engage in any of that on the part of the others (perhaps out of tact, maybe embarrassment?) I think that P would use the acronym TBFTGOG! This time last year, on the same trip, it didn’t seem to matter, but last week I did feel somewhat “set apart” – no “old man” back at home to grumble about, no recent events or any future (coupled up) plans to discuss, and they all had to creep in to their houses in order not to wake the other half in the small hours of Tuesday, whereas I returned to a resoundingly empty one. That is not said self-pityingly, but factually.

      Good to know what WWWANEG? means…..what a very sensible mother you have (speaking as a NEG!)

  • rosie says:

    Man alive, how many times have you said the same thing about this blog and the people on it now, fi? I’ve literally lost count.

    • fi says:

      I know. I keep coming back because I like to chat to some of the commentators like Maria, and EmGee and Zoe and Margaux and others that I’ve enjoyed reading posts from in the past. But the theme of misery, and now the fighting, and some of the other commentators comments are what puts me off it.

  • rosie says:

    It’s a public blog, fi, there will be people you agree with and those you don’t. You’ve been saying the same thing for over a year. If it’s really that bad why do you keep coming back?

  • Margaux says:

    I take comfort in the familiarity of this blog after having been away for a few weeks – P’s articulate and witty writing, Lydia’s idiosyncratic take on life, June’s ongoing lamentations, the occasional outbreak of misogyny from guest ‘manosphere’ posters and Rosie having another dig at Fi …..

    Plus ca change ! ….:-)

  • Scott Benowitz says:

    @ Ms. Plankton- my offer to send you my cell phone # still stands ….

  • june says:

    Well i feel like ive been insulted, agreed with, sypathised with the full works really. so im not sure what to say.

    But when it all boils down to it, you women on here are planktons to you dont have anyone either and as widdle says you pretty much say the same thing over and over again to. At least im honest, i know im too choosey and ive ended up alone because of it. but if women go on accepting such crap behavoiur from men and accept anything in pants rather than be alone, nothing will ever change. Dating websites all of em and ive tried many, for the mature women are crap, they are full of weirdos or men who want to “chat” not meet you,Ive had two recently who have been chatting,one was some distance away, you suggest meeting, they pretend they havent heard, ive discussed them with loads of women and they all say the same, a total waste of time, Ps right, they make you want to slit your wrists,why the hell anyone can think them a valid way to meet anyone normal, god knows.

    I know i wont get younger men, the websites suggested to me to meet them seem to be very london based,and no im sorry i am not going all way to London on the chance of meeting someone, also they seem all out for sex and very little else, thats impression i got anyway. I dont want to ,move i like where i live,apart from fact its a coupled up paradise, and that certainly wouldnt make me move. I have no objection to a man of my own age, if he was in good shape but so few are,they look years older than most women of same age and many have health problems and i dont want to become a nursemaid thank you.

    So i would say look at yourselves ladies, you are no different to me,we are all too damm choosey or we would have someone, everyone else seems to manage it, god knows how they neeet them but they do , Stop making me out to be the one choosey,discriminatring individual, cause that applies to all of you, but P , Miss Bates and Maria seem to be only people who admit it, besides me. We are all the same, planktons, so spare me the judgemental attitude please. i know what i am, do you.?

  • june says:

    Well i know that to Fi, and ive given them a chance too the few times i could get anyone online to actually meet, but i can see no point in meeting someone again you find unattractive,its a waste of their time and yours and its wrong to give them false hopes. Also as ive said iv e tried to find common ground with most 60 plus men, but i just cant, we seem like light years removed from each other,ive lots of female friends in 40s and 50s perhaps thats why, i identify with people of that age group This isnt just me, from what ive read it seems to be common in many women of my age, why after all are so many divorces instigated by women over 60, i think that says it all about men of that age, dont ,make it out to just be me, cause it isnt.

    • Fi says:

      June just give up. Find something else that you enjoy instead and accept you aren’t going to meet anyone then. Fill the gaps with something/someone else. Really you may be dead in 10 years – we all may be – make the best of it and seek out things that give you pleasure instead of focussing on what you haven’t got.

    • MissBates says:

      Hello June — I think Fi is right (I’m not sure I’m posting this in exactly the right spot, but at some point in this thread she talks about acceptance). It’s fine to be choosy, but you have to be willing to live with the consequences. I’m not saying it’s easy — I certainly have gone through some very rough times emotionally in the past few years as I’ve gradually come to accept the fact that I very likely will be alone for the rest of my life. (I also acknowledge that in some ways I’m more fortunate than many in our situation, as I live in a big city and, at least for now, can afford to enjoy some of the things [concerts/theater/restaurants] on offer. However, oftentimes those things just feel like timekillers, so at the end of the day I’m not sure I’m any further ahead than my fellow plankton who live in smaller cities and towns.) In any event, acceptance is a struggle but the sooner you start trying to come to terms with it, the better. Take up a hobby, or get a parti-time job to give shape to your days and put a little more money in your pocket that you can then use to travel. Go on antidepressants. Do what you have to do to get through it.

      If this sounds brusque, it’s unintentional. It’s meant kindly.

  • june says:

    Well fi i wish i could but to be honest to face the rest of my life alone is not something im sure i can do, You said find other friends besides my coupled up ones,but thats easier said than done in my neck of woods , you cant constantly go out, you cant afford it and who the hell wants to and what exactly .does someone of my age with a youthful attitude do, The odd pilates class which im hoping to join soon and looking after my friends dog when she goes back to work fulltime is not exactly going to fill my life is it., theres the weekends to fill, A single person unless they actually enjoy doing things on their own and i dont believe many people do needs single friends but they seem to be in short supply,sometimes you feel as P said recently you feel the whole damm world is in couples and you are only person who isnt.

  • mashatarle11 says:

    Dear Plankton, I have followed your blog for some time now and I cannot help feeling tired of your adventure. It seems to be heading nowhere. You have tried without success so far to find a amn to love. It has been an interesting journey and a fun read for some time, but lately the negativity you express is not doing anyone any good. Of course it is fun to bitch about life and other people’s attitudes but at the core of all this is your absolute sense of unhappiness which will not subside unless you actually stop this blog. People need a happy ending – you most of all- and this perpetual negativity is just bringing you- and us- down. I would warmly advise you to stop blogging about this subject and start another subject, something that will give you a kick, and which might lead you to better places. It may be difficult for you to meet a good , man while equipped with so much negativity ( and sorry for being so cliché) or if you do meet one now he will probably be the wrong one. You’ve had your nice moments- your marriage seemed to work for some time ( so many people never even get married), you have two wonderful kids ( many women cannot have children) and maybe now , jus for a little while, it is time to focus on your career( so many women dream about one!), e.g. on writing. Not on going out, feeling miserable and comfy in the army of other planktons. You deserve better and you know it. You can still have hope that you will eventually meet someone ( and it is highly likley you will) but instead of making it into your life’s mission, why not change direction? I sincerely wish you and all the other planktons this. It is hard to be alone, but you are not. You have friends, and family and one day you will have a man to love again. Until then please put your valuable energy in something useful and worthy! Lots of love, M

    • fi says:

      Yep depressing isn’t it. Anyone know of a similar blog but populated by happy women?

      • The Plankton says:

        Good question! pxx

      • PY says:

        “A blog populated by happy women”

        ‘Plankton_When_A_Young_Man’ might accept that as a ‘Non sequitur’

      • Jill says:

        I really don’t feel that it is accurate to say that everyone who comments on here is “unhappy” per se. However, I would concede that we are all in search of the Holy Grail…. personified by the wholly male!

      • Fi says:

        @jill. “However, I would concede that we are all in search of the Holy Grail…. personified by the wholly male!”
        You may be but I’m not. Just because I comment doesn’t mean I’m searching. I think if it’s to be it will be, and in the meantime (or as an alternative in case it doesn’t happen or it happens but i don’t want it to – which has been the case to date) i’m just getting on with doing things i like.

      • Jill says:

        😳 It was just a bit of a joke, Fi – if a very weak one. I was trying to lighten the mood a bit, but my efforts at wordplay obviously need honing.

      • fi says:

        No it’s me being sensitive to the notion that all single middle aged women must be in want of a man… Especially the idea that we all get together with our cats generally weeping and a wailing. Or maybe its just me that thinks that’s society’s perception of us 🙂

    • Elle says:

      I don’t think that Plankton herself is being negative, just telling it like it is. Unfortunately there are lots of other negative people here and not all of them are female. I know we single women would all like good men in our lives, but it’s frightening to see the effect that bitterness from both genders has had on this blog. If these people were to meet in real life what would happen? Some men who post here preach a preference for much younger women, but why aren’t they with much younger women instead of hanging out on the web?

      I think we should review our expections of life every year and that includes our expectations of a prospective partner. This might mean you’re willing to date somebody shorter or older than you might have considered before. Perhaps you might consider somebody from a different area or socio-economic background.

      I don’t post here very often now because the negative comments can be draining. Some of the men seem to delight that the women have problems finding partners. Not all of us took men to the cleaners when marriages broke up. Not all of us turned men down in our teens and twenties. I myself have never been married and wasn’t the prettiest or most popular when I was younger.

      People may not like this, but I think that some of us will have to consider alternatives to the heterosexual monogamous relationship model. Most of us have friends in gay and lesbian relationships and have no problems with that. I know a man who is in a triad, that is he is in a committed relationship with two women. He thinks that this model of relationship is the way forward. He says that if more people were willing to embrace it there might be fewer women on their own when they don’t want to be. He says that so many men in “couples” are in reality cheating with other women that the polyamorous model is more honest. How many of us know women who think they’re in a monogamous relationship but in reality aren’t? How many of us have been approached by husbands/partners of friends looking for a bit on the side? I really think that the monogamous heterosexual relationship doesn’t work long-term.

      • Fi says:

        “Not all of us turned men down in our teens and twenties.”
        This attitude that women have no right to turn down men and deserve to be on their own is one that men have. Why? Because they were once turned down by a woman, or several women, and having harboured bitterness all these years are pleased that a completely different woman is several years later without a man. What? Why isn’t a woman allowed to say no to a man that expresses an interest in her? who says it is compulsory that she accept and deserves censure if she doesn’t? So what if we turned down men yesterday. What’s that got to do with anything? It is such an illogical argument and i hate to see women defending themselves against it when really it’s not worth even giving it consideration.

      • maria says:

        Elle, are you kidding? Are we so desperate now that we have to share a man with another woman? Why is it that it’s always the men that are allowed to have several women, but women can’t.
        I’ll tell you what, if that’s the way you think, why don’t you consider moving to some islamic country, I hear that men there have several women.
        Me, I’d rather die alone and be eaten by cats.
        On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind sharing a man, if he looks like George Clooney and is a millionaire, but having to share some penniless sap, I’d rather be on my own.

      • Elle says:

        Maria, demographics show that there are more single women than single men. That’s why it would make sense for women to share a man in a hypothetical polyamorous relationship. I know it’s an alien concept but it works for some. The Islamic or Abrahamic concept of having several wives came about because in nomadic desert cultures a man was obliged to care for his brother’s wife if his brother died. This meant that he would add the woman to his family. Polygamy was probably beneficial in other ways because childbirth was often fatal in those days. The concept of polygamy was twisted down the years to suit patriarchal religions (early Judaism, Christianity and later on Islam).

        I read about a tribe in the Himalayas where polyandry is practised. This is because there are more men than women. In this case a woman would have two or three brothers as partners. It probably helped to keep the tribe peaceful because when males outnumber females by a certain ratio war is more likely to break out.

        Relationship and family models have changed throughout the ages. The nuclear family is a recent model which only got really popular in the 1950s. If you scratch the surface you will find out that people had all sorts of arrangements behind closed doors down the years. Not all of them were ideal and I would not have liked to be a female servant in an 18th or 19th century household. They were subject to all sorts of horrific advances by the men of the household (often married) and if they refused they would be sacked. However, I don’t object to anything that happens between consenting adults as long as everyone is open and honest.

        I admit that I sometimes sell myself short by the standards of others, but we all have to adapt to planktonhood in our own way.

      • Elle says:

        Maria, if the penniless sap looked like George Clooney 🙂 then several women might get together and support him! I don’t see what’s so appealing about Clooney myself, I think Gerard Butler and Joe Manganiello are much sexier. Robert Downey Junior isn’t bad either.

      • maria says:

        Elle, you make a good point. I couldn’t do it though, I’m too proud for that.
        On a lighter note, I see we have the same taste in men. I also love Gerard Butler, Joe Manganiello and Robert Downey Junior. And I would add Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Alex Skarsgaard to that list, too.

      • maria says:

        And you really are selling yourself short. From what I’ve read, you’re still young, have great writing skills and culturally are way above average. How you, and our wonderful Ms P, can’t find a decent man, really boggles my mind.

      • Jill says:

        I think the problem is not the finding of A decent man, just THE decent man – if that is not too abstruse a distinction. There are plenty of more than decent men around, but don’t we all seek the Phoarrr Phactor too – or am I being too ambitious, holding out for that at my advanced stage of life?

      • Fi says:

        Me too Jill. But its the same as what June is doing isn’t it? Your criteria (and mine) may be different from her’s but if you have any criteria and are choosing to narrow the options then you have to be able to accept that it is your (our) choice to do so and to live with the consequences of that.

      • Jill says:

        And that is what I most emphatically do, Fi – i.e. accept that is my choice and that I have to live with the consequences thereof. I don’t think I have ever implied anything to the contrary. However, I am not embarrassed about being positive and proactive in trying to find a kind, age appropriate and compatible companion with whom to enjoy life even more than I already do. I sense that is almost exactly what the Plankton is seeking too, which is why I am interested in what she writes about.

      • The Plankton says:

        Maybe take out the age appropriate bit! Correction: let’s say on the borders of age appropriate, why not? Pxx

      • fi says:

        Ah yes Maria. Because what men are looking for in a woman is her writing skills 🙂

      • Fi says:

        Jill – what did i say to ruffle you? I was responding to your question “am I being too ambitious, holding out for that at my advanced stage of life” . My response was that i want the same but its still criteria and having them brings consequences.

      • Jill says:

        Totally and absolutely not ruffled, Fi. 😀 If what I said came across like that, perhaps it is that I still feel a bit “got at” by a certain gentleman who accused me a while back of being “desperate”, and – to boot – made me feel “stalked” by implying that he knew something detrimental about me – not a pleasant sensation, and it shook me somewhat to be attacked like that when I know that I don’t deserve to be.

      • fi says:

        I think he must have been having a bad day when he said that as it was totally out of character. Never mind.
        Re the phoarr factor – I was speaking to a married colleague yesterday and she was complaining her husband was fat and unfit and he’d told her he didn’t see why he had to bother looking after himself as he’d already got a woman (!!!!). I said that at least she’d known him and had sex with him when he was flat stomached and had shoulders broader than his hips and biceps, so she could at least still remember him like that. It’s much much harder for us to find someone to fancy when you see them as they are now for the first time and they’ve made no effort to maintain their bodies. God I’m sticking my neck out today and alienating nearly all the readers 😈

      • maria says:

        Fi, we all know what men look for in a woman. Alas it’s not what we 50 year old planktons have to offer. What are we supposed to do? Kill ourselves because we’re not fresh meat anymore?

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you for this. You will notice that I was blogging every single day and now I am only doing so once a week. I am concentrating more on other aspects of my life, but I am at heart still a plankton – the Plankton, indeed – and however much I distract myself from it, the fact remains, and bothers me to a greater or lesser degree, and probably always will. I try to rise above it some of the time but to deny it completely would be a lie, and a pretty transparent one at that. But thanks for the thought. I know where you are coming from, and I do hear you. Pxx

    • Ross says:

      Mashatarelli, I agree with pretty much everything that you say. However, you can be reassured that “The Plankton” is merely a persona that has been adopted by the author of this blog. And, unlike some of those who comment upon her pages, Planktonhood is most assuredly not the be all and end all of her real-life existence. The real author is a professional woman with a busy and responsible job who is also the mother of two lively teenage children. So, although it might be difficult to imagine, she really does have a life with professional challenges and personal interests that are not reflected within the narrow confines of the online persona that she chooses to portray here. No doubt she also commentates knowledgeably and informatively on other subjects in other media and online fora.

      • fi says:

        RS. We do know she has children but aren’t you just guessing the rest?

      • fi says:

        Sorry ROSS not RS – you don’t have any evidence for anything you’ve said here. For all you know she may spend all day in pyjamas,eating cheese, stalking men over the internet and live in a hovel from which someone else picks up the children to take them to school. You can only glean aspects of her personality from what she has written, and Marsha’s view is as valid as anyone else’s.

      • The Plankton says:

        I like to suppose my life is closer to Ross’s picture, fi, than to yours, but I am not saying anything! Pxx

      • Elle says:

        Fi, do you really think so? I see Plankton as a glossy Chelsea type who is desired by many men who are afraid to approach her because they feel unworthy.

      • The Plankton says:

        Wow! Would that! Pxx

      • Fi says:

        Honestly? I think she’s a middle aged mum (not much grey yet thank goodness but she checks evey week and wonders when she’s going to have to start touching up her roots), a bit on the thin side (as she stops eating whenever she’s under any stress), a bit nervy, feeds her kids on tesco meals (because while she thinks its good to provide home cooked meals she really can’t be arsed all the time and anyway the kids prefer pizza), still living in the marital home (but her ex is trying to get her to agree to sell it but she’s resisting as she doesn’t have anough money to get a mortage in her own name and she doesn’t like change anyway and she’d have to move away and the kids change schools and leave their friends and actually why should they have to suffer just because their dad left?), thinking about possibly getting a part time job to supplement her income from writing her column in the Times as she looked after the kids when they were growing up (although money was tight the cost of childcare would have made working not really worth it), but she was always going to get a ‘proper’ job when the kids were older if the writing didn’t lead anywhere, but somehow when that time came she didn’t have any other skills that were valued enough to let her use them to earn money and anyway, she could hardly work on a checkout as that would be too demeaning. Essentially, like all of us would be if we’d not built a career after children, she’s now struggling to get a job that earns sufficient money. And now she’s trying to make a living from her writing (which she’s always done but it’s previously it paid for the extras like holidays rather than support the family) but she’s panicking as her husband has got a new women and moved on, and she feels left behind and redundant. Which is why she wants to meet another man who already knows her friends and moves in her circle and has the same lifestlye she does so he can slot into her life and she can resume it as it was before her husband left albeit with a different man but one who would essentially allow her to continue to live her life as it was but without any of the bad bits. And having spent probably most of her adult life financially supported by her husband who took care of the bills etc while she took care of the kids and hosted supper parties for their friends in their terraced house in the london suburbs (which they bought when property cost a lot less than it does today) between writing, she is not really equipped for the life she has now had dumped on her by her husband packing up and moving on. And she’s depressed and resentful that her life is like it is.

      • The Plankton says:

        Golly. This is a picture of myself that I hadn’t seen. I have to say I have always earned my own living since I was a teenager and have never lived off anyone, husband included. There are so many things I should like to say to your comment, fi, but I shall just have to hold my tongue (for once!). Pxx

      • Fi says:

        As you can see I’ve given a lot of thought to what sort of person P really is. 🙂

      • PY says:

        Crikey, Fi .

        Having nailed a particular segment of society with your last entry, it’s a good job you’re up in Scottieland – the sound of collective wailing emanating from the London suburbs can be heard as it permeates the West End on a light autumnal breeze .

        Oh no !! The cats have joined in.

      • fi says:

        Well. It depends on whether you think there’s something wrong with being like that really. Is there?

      • fi says:

        😀
        Wrath descends on my head

      • Jill says:

        Wow, just look what happens when I turn my back for a few hours!! An awful lot of assumptions are being made here, to which I am not tempted to add my own. For me, part of the fascination of reading P’s articles is the anonimity which she is obviously so keen to preserve. And, rather like the Queen, she retains her mystique by maintaining a dignified aloofness. Three cheers for the Plankton!

      • The Plankton says:

        Oh, Ross, THANK YOU! Pxx

      • fi says:

        To be honest P if this doesn’t represent your financial situation then you really are very very lucky. Every woman I know who has been left in middle age finds themselves in this position regarding their finances and their home.

      • The Plankton says:

        It does represent my financial situation. Pxx

      • fi says:

        I’m very grateful I was dumped at 32 not 52.

  • rosie says:

    mashatarle11, there are a billion and one other blogs out there. If this one is too whiny and negative for your liking, why not go and comment on one that isn’t?

    Of course there is unhappiness here. The clue (The Plankton: Life at the bottom of the sexual food chain) is in the title. I can’t speak for anyone else but I come on here to let off steam and to take some comfort, if that’s the right word, in the fact that there are other people out there in my situation. Being on your own for any length of time when you don’t want to be is pretty wretched.

    Perhaps you’ve never experienced it?

  • Margaux says:

    Masha makes some valid points. I read her post – although directed at P – not as a criticism or an attack but as well intentioned . But then we all interpret life and the interactions of others through the prism of our own experiences.

    Rather than attack Masha, it may be worth thinking about what she says. It is true – the old adage ‘misery loves company’ does tend to resonate throughout this blog. On the other hand, what Rosie says is also true – the blog did start as a result of P’s unhappiness at her situation.

    But sometimes the collective responses do feel a bit like the Weeping Wall. (Although I appreciate some would find comfort in that )

  • rosie says:

    Margaux, I haven’t ‘attacked’ anyone. I’ve simply queried why, if someone doesn’t like this blog, they feel the need to tell the author what she *should* be writing and run everyone down in the process.

  • Margaux says:

    You are quite right Rosie – I am guilty of my own assertion. You’re post read like an attack to me and so I interpreted it as such. I stand corrected.

  • rosie says:

    Just as, it seems, I was guilty of mine.

  • rosie says:

    fi, you could always start your own blog. Just a thought.

  • mashatarle11 says:

    Rosie to answer you clearly, I do have my own blog and love to write and know how therapeutical it can be. I am not at all telling the author what she should do, but am trying to help her with my thoughts ( I am sure she is not offended- we blog writers love feedback) because through her blog she seems to be asking for help ( indirectly). I just think that if she continues in the same direction it will not do her any good. People like you Rosie, who really enjoy reading her complaints now, should understand that some people actually really wish the best for Plankton. ” the best” doe snot necessarily mean a happy movie endign where she finds he Hugh Grant. But a good ending can never inclide the continuation of the whining until the end of time. I strongly beleive the best will be for her to take life as it is , and really embrace it, and love it. And actually I know she does it a lot and that is great. But possibly 80% of what she writes is aboiut those other days when things are just not working out. looking for a man is a very worthy objective and I would recomend it to anyone, but not if they drown in the attempt. We only have one chance and time is running out very quickly. I just want her to make the most of it!

  • rosie says:

    Actually, Marsha, I don’t enjoy reading P’s ‘complaints’. I enjoy reading her writing. If I didn’t I wouldn’t read her blog.

  • rosie says:

    June, going back to what you said before about your friend’s dog and how you’ve become fond of it, have you considered getting one yourself, if circumstances allow?

    I love dogs and would get one myself but I’d have to give up my job and that’s the only thing keeping me sane. Lots of studies, if anyone needs studies, about how they’re good for depression and loneliness, and as long as you love them, they’ll love you back. Unquestioning devotion, no matter how old and ugly you (ie we) get. Imagine that.

  • James says:

    I was reading an Internet dating profile today from a presentable, interesting 50-year-old woman who says she is looking for “Perhaps a forty something, who has the stamina of a twentysomething, looks and dresses like a thirtysomething, but has the world wide experience and understanding of a fiftysomething…too much to ask??”

    Many women of her age seem to have the same attitude. It is not worth trying to engage with such a deluded person.

    But if I did, I would say “Yes, it is too much to ask. It is no wonder you say ‘all hope is now lost’. I am a fiftysomething, who has the stamina of a fiftysomething, looks and dresses like a fiftysomething, and has the world wide experience and understanding of a fiftysomething. That’s as good as it gets.”

    • fi says:

      When you say you look like a 50 something do you mean knock -kneed, pigeon chested, sloping shoulders, collapsed bottom, broad hipped, protuberant stomached 50 year old? And when you say dresses like a 50 something do you mean jeans, Tshirt and leather jacket or do you mean polo shirts with a logo on the breast tucked into beige slacks?

      • PY says:

        Oh come on now, Fi ! I don’t know who’s stirred your porridge today but surely we’d all like to believe we are either Adonis or Aphrodite – particularly when the lights are off. However, misguided and gravity defying that might be.

        A chap, of course, has to contend with the Spanx wearing real McCoy who (for good measure) may be underwired or silican enhanced,buffed, plucked or threaded, scented, powdered, painted and spray tanned for a Friday night out, possibly boasting hair extensions or unnatural highlights, elevator heels and polished talons.

        As I slip into my trusty jeans and walk out into the night, wish me luck.

      • Fi says:

        py. 🙂
        Honestly you have no idea waht Scottish men are like. You only see London ones. I was out last week with a male friend and we were talking about drinking, and he said he didn’t really drink. He only had 3 pints a night, every night in the pub after work to catch up with friends and was always home by 9, except on a Friday and Saturday when he only had 8 or 9 and was home by 11. And he didn’t go to the pub on a Sunday he just stayed in with cans of beer. And anyway if he didn’t go to the pub he’d never see his friends, and at least he wasn’t like them as they started drinking at 2pm at weekends. And everyone knows that you put on weight in middle age – its nothing to do with not going to the gym or his diet as he DOES cook, Although it’s fried stuff or popping a pie in the oven. Scottish men. Yummy.

      • Elle says:

        Fi, I’ll let you in on a secret. The best Scottish men come to Ireland for rugby internationals. All wearing kilts with traditional Scottish underwear 😀 and ready for action. I’m not sure when they’re playing Ireland again, but they come over in droves because they know they’ll score. All of them Gerard Butler/young Sean Connery lookalikes. None under 5’10”! It has been statistically proven that the highest demand for the morning after pill in Dublin is after Ireland/Scotland rugby internationals. It’s basically a Celtic orgy 🙂

      • fi says:

        Elle – thanks. Maybe I’ll head down to Stranraer then and get them on the way back when they’re too weak to fight me off 🙂

      • Elle says:

        Fi, they’ll be exhausted and hungover when they come back. I’d advise you to go over to the match with them then you’ll have first dibs. Welsh women have always done this – they don’t seem to like letting their men travel alone. In recent years rugby girlfriends and wives from Scotland and England have started coming over to Dublin for matches. Is it for the shopping in Dublin or to keep an eye on their menfolk because of all those man-hungry Dublin women? I suspect it’s the latter.

    • zoe says:

      I like this woman. That’s what P wants. That’s what we all want. Except me, because I want a 30-something. 🙂

      • Fi says:

        Zoe I have a friend who only wants an early 20 something. Which I used to find quite amusing until my son reached that age.

      • zoe says:

        So what emotion came to replace the amusement? Disapproval? Concern? Horror?! The first younger man I dated was 24 and yes, I think this did amuse me more than my friends with sons of that age. They were too good friends to really let on, but I could see it stirred some conflicting emotions. A sort of silent scream. The mothers were more uneasy with it than the fathers.

      • Fi says:

        Zoe – fear 😉 I was a bit concerned she’d try to seduce him. however she left him alone. Whew.

    • Jill says:

      What you have written distresses me, James. Having now dipped my toe fairly comprehensively in the internet dating pool, I still find myself capable of shock at the things some people are capable of saying and doing. It also makes me seethe to hear about such a profile as the one you cite, as that sort of idiotic behaviour is helpful to no one, and merely reflects badly on the women who are genuinely trying to meet someone compatible, on the basis of realistic criteria. I think I must have been exceptionally fortunate in having met – with only one exception – men who have been delightful company, even if there was sadly no “chemistry” between us. From what I have been told by nearly all of these men, it would appear, regrettably, that the female of the species has a tendency to lie and dissemble about themselves, both of which are obviously self-defeating.

      • Fi says:

        She was probably using tongue in cheek shorthand to mean she wanted someone her own age with a youthful attitude. Don’t you think?

  • James says:

    No, fi, when I say I look and dress like a 50something I mean I look and dress like a 50something, not an 80something. I rest my case.

  • James says:

    I visited this site a year ago, and I am sorry that you are still single.

    You say above, “What I wish for is a companionable, kind, age-appropriate person who can string two words together, is largely heterosexual and preferably doesn’t live in Auckland (nothing against Auckland, just a bit far).”

    There are thousands of such men who would be glad to settle down with you. They are the ones you describe as “nice enough” in your December 2011 post “Sure as Clockwork, Another Random Plankton Rant”:

    These “nice enough” men would seem to fit your list of requirements, but in your earlier post you describe your revulsion at the thought of physical contact with them, comparing them with spiders and snakes. You conclude that post with the words “No men to speak of. No men. No men.”

    It seems to me that your statement of “what I wish for” is incomplete. Perhaps the bit you have left out is “and hot, an older version of the guys who would hit on me in my twenties”. You do not consider lesser males even to be men.

    You need to examine your own attitudes, in particular the part of your requirements that you are unwilling to declare in polite society. If you do not, you will still be writing this blog in thirty years’ time.

    • Plankton_When_A_Young_Man says:

      Men are shallow. Perhaps she is not so good looking?

      • Leftatforty says:

        Men are shallow?? Please. See above. Maria would only share a man if he is like George Clooney and/or is a millionaire.

        Everyone is shallow these days.

    • The Plankton says:

      Quite so. I am very contrary, but contrary at least is real. And yes, I am sure I shall be a plankton for ever and a day and until I am in my box. But I kind of hope not. Pxx

      • James says:

        Well, I don’t know. Not all men are shallow enough (or attractive enough) to insist on “good looking”; I’m not bothered by “contrary”, because it indicates a personality beyond the usual liking for Reality TV and shoes.

    • Jill says:

      I really don’t think that P was expressing a blanket feeling of revulsion for all those “nice enough”men – not that she cannnot answer for herself. But surely no one (apart from a prostitute I imagine) can – or should – feign sexual desire where there is none. I am with P if she feels that physical attraction is a pre-requisite for a proper, adult relationship between a man and a woman, if that is what you mean by a requirement which she is “unwilling to declare in polite society”.

      • James says:

        I agree entirely. But if the point of the article is the scarcity of men who meet a list of requirements, one should include the words “sufficiently attractive” in the list. Then readers can get a sense of perspective.

        Let’s be honest – it’s a problem that we all face as we get older. When we are young, most of us are physically attractive. Mutual attraction is still possible when we are older, but it is not something that is automatic like it was when we were 25.

  • James says:

    Well, I don’t know. Not all men are shallow enough (or attractive enough) to insist on “good looking”; I’m not bothered by “contrary”, because it indicates a personality beyond the usual liking for Reality TV and shoes.

    I’m surprised that people here still suggest internet dating. I look at dating sites because they are compulsive viewing, but it is so much work just to find someone who wants and is capable of a conversation, that one might as well go out somewhere in real life.

    The site http://www.edatereview.com has lots of reviews of dating websites, and it is interesting to see other people’s experiences of internet dating. Most reviews are by men, but there are plenty by women, you just have to scroll past a few reviews to find them. It is interesting that both men and women have terrible experiences with online dating, and score the sites at one out of five (the lowest score that the site will allow).

    I know a lot of people in real life, and it is always interesting to see someone I know using internet dating, and compare their profile with reality. Of 8 women I recognised in profiles and had been acquainted with, four were highly promiscuous, two were borderline alcoholics, and only two were people that I would have been glad to meet again. That’s a 75% psycho rate, with no visible clues on the profiles. At this point I stopped counting. However, I do still make a mental note if I see someone who I know is in a relationship. On an admittedly small sample – two – of women I know whose partners are computer-illiterate, 100% have at some point in the relationship posted a dating profile looking for another man. In case you think I am being misogynistic, I occasionally look at the men’s profiles, and I can confirm that they are just as bad as the women, though I do not check them often enough to have built up statistics based on people that I know.

    On “Plenty of Fish”, most women have discovered the “Email Settings”, which translate into the “Must” and “Must Not” lines at the bottom of the profile. Most women check the “Must not be looking for Other Relationship” and “Must not be looking for Intimate Encounter” boxes. Almost none check the “Must not be Married” box. However, it is not safe to use this signal as a selection criterion: some of the women I recognised who checked this box are in the “highly promiscuous” category. Again, I hope I am not being misogynistic, and I can only assume that the men’s profiles are just as bad, if not worse.

    If you are looking for a long-term relationship, you are unlikely to meet anyone worthwhile by internet dating (though I know one or two who have been lucky). The average quality of the people is very low, worse than bars and clubs, and much worse than random selection from the phone book. It is hard to distinguish the good people from the liars and cheats.

    However, the most damning indictment of online dating comes from the reviews on http://www.edatereview.com that present the response to fake profiles. A fake profile of a very attractive asshole will attract a lot of interest, from the most unexpected people (based on the pretended wants in their profiles).

    I’ll give the URLs in a separate post, because WordPress sometimes blocks posts with links.

  • James says:

    Reviews of “Plenty of Fish” using fake profiles. Read these and weep.

    http://www.edatereview.com/0009604permalink.aspx

    http://www.edatereview.com/0009595permalink.aspx

    • fi says:

      Yeah. Honestly I think it’s much better to get out as often as possible going to places that you enjoy going to and doing things you enjoy doing and meet real live people and speak to them. If say you like jazz, go to a jazz club. And then chat you everyone regardless of their sex and whether you fancy them or not. Then you either meet someone, or make new friends and get invited somewhere else and maybe meet someone there. But that way you don’t invest time in someone of the internet that you meet up and realise its not going to work.

    • RS says:

      James if you think it’s only the women behaving badly on PoF etc you’re very sadly mistaken.
      I can assure you that the men are just as bad, if not worse, from vast personal experience. No point in going into detail, though. You’ve either pre-judged all women on internet sites and believe all the wrongs lie with them, or you’re willing to accept that horrible behaviour and attitudes aren’t specific to one sex – in which case specific personal examples needn’t be recounted.

      • James says:

        I’ve already said that the men are just as bad as the women, if not worse. The good men and women are out there, but they are surrounded by large numbers of rogues and cheats.

        There may not be much point in recounting specific examples, but there is some point in estimating the difficulty of online dating, and I stand by my estimate that at least 75% of candidates of both sexes are people that in real life you would cross the street to avoid.

  • Fi says:

    James – “A chap, of course, has to contend with the Spanx wearing real McCoy who (for good measure) may be underwired or silican enhanced,buffed, plucked or threaded, scented, powdered, painted and spray tanned for a Friday night out, possibly boasting hair extensions or unnatural highlights, elevator heels and polished talons.”

    Would you prefer one who doesn’t wear a bra, is hairy, smelly and without any make up? You need to come to Scotland! (although i’m not like that obviously!)

    • Fi says:

      Duh. PY NOT James.

      • PY says:

        You forget, I was married to a Scottish / Danish girl . Horns of a Viking ; tongue like a Stanley knife .

      • Fi says:

        You are funny

      • PY says:

        I suppose the point I was making is that none of us really know the people we meet on the dating scene . Very difficult to get to know the ‘real’ person and judge how much of a compromise one is prepared to make.

        Once you peel off the various veneers , affectations and onion layers , what or who are you actually left with ? Is it better to see somebody in their raw state or dressed up for the occasion ?

        It appears to me that the older we get the more layers there are to penetrate. Whether they be acquired by bottle and brush or by a lifetime of experience . Physical appearance is clearly only one aspect but seeing the scars , assessing the damaged goods is probably as important as the initial chemistry .

        By a strange quirk of fate , misunderstanding and circumstance I have had an extraordinary week and will have accompanied 6 different ladies to the theatre, dinner , fringe opera or sailing event on successive days . Either at their invitation or mine.

        All are close friends and they are aged from 40 to 60 . The eldest skis like the devil , the youngest is a consummate crew . One is a writer , another is in the City . They all have their various attractions for me as I presumably have for them. But they have each made it clear that I do not fit the entire bill for any of them and not one of them fits the entire bill for me.

        However , isn’t it better to step out , enjoy each others company or the shared experience and explore the possibilities that life has to offer – even if it was a grossly excessive week ?

      • Jill says:

        Outdoors types, certainly, but crofters not. I used to spend a large part of every summer in Scotland, although I lived in London, as we had numerous relatives on both parents’ sides In the Highlands. Happy memories of putting the car on the train at Olympia and having breakfast the following morning in Perth, but not-so-happy ones of dour Scottish hotels and dreich fishing trips, trudging through the midge-infested bogs to far-flung lochs. But the ceilidhs made up for those!

        So, my advice, Fi, is “Go (north) West”…..

      • Jill says:

        Wow, PY, are you trying to make us all green with envy? – if so, you have succeeded….:mrgreen: It sounds as if you are a man much in demand, and good for you. But, were all these companions single or were you the “walker” in some instances? And if they enjoy your company, I think it somewhat churlish of them to make it clear that you fall short in some way or other of their “ideal”.

        But I do take issue with you about the difficulty of getting to know someone – working one’s way through the layers, not only of the superficial stuff like make up and the dreaded Spanx (what idiot would wear those if they thought there was the slightest chance of being “found out”? 😯 ) but also the layers of personal experience and history. Surely that is the whole joy of beginning a new relationship? The discovery and exploration (I sound like Christopher Columbus!), the conversation and the establishment of common ground and – one can only hope – of attraction and lasting affection. If that is not the case, we might as well all give up right now…..

      • Jill says:

        Error – my latest attempt at a pictorial comment failed…..:mrgreen: should have read :mrgreen:

      • Fi says:

        that”s why I think it’s pretty impossible when you’re older to meet anyone that is right for you unless you have come out of a long term relationship where you are 1) used to making compromises a lot and 2) happy with someone who has a pretty crappy body. Otherwise you become more used to being on your own, less willing to compromise and unrealistic expectations of the type of person you can attract and are attracted to. And that’s before we even start looking at personality, compatibility and bitterness levels (yours and theirs). Every single person i know, male and female, that wants to meet someone wants to meet someone to fit into their lives as they are, which obviously isn’t going to work as none are prepared to make changes.

    • James says:

      Well, we all know about the land of Rab C. Nesbitt and deep-fried Mars Bars. I always assumed that the whole of Scotland was not like that!

      • Fi says:

        Well it’s not. But it’s a stereotype because broadly, it’s true. Maybe not so much in Edinburgh though.

      • Jill says:

        It isn’t, James. I can personally attest to the fact that there are some lovely men north of the Border, and none of them has ever to my knowledge eaten a deep-fried Mars bar!

      • Fi says:

        Jill. I don’t know where you’ve been but maybe you can direct me and I’ll head off in pursuit?

      • Jill says:

        Well, Fi, why do you think I have such a great fondness for the Highlands and Islands??? 😆 (Mind you, in the spirit of complete honesty, I am speaking historically rather than of any recent encounters….)

      • Fi says:

        Are they outdoors types? Do they live on crofts? (my favourite Scotsman). Your average Scot in a small town is pretty much Rab C Nesbit-ish. And they’re mainly under 5ft 7 too.

      • Jill says:

        Sorry, Fi, my response to you ended up in the wrong place. Am trying to multi-task, cooking dinner, loading washing machine, and writing thank you letter, plus keeping an eye on this all at the same time. Yet another lovely romantic Friday evening…. 😕

      • malcolm says:

        @Fi,
        Come on now, Scottish self-depreciation should only go so far.
        As a Scottish refugee myself (over twenty five years in Canada now – where does that time go?), I do find my visits there increasingly more depressing, but I have yet to notice much of a difference in the relative comportment and style awareness of Scottish men and Scottish women. Just this summer I was over and met several ladies I quite fancied – and yes, they were around my age. I also enjoy the superior view that my height advantage (I’m 6’1″) gives me at the Partick Thistle matches. There’s a lot to be said for Scotland.

      • fi says:

        But Malcom, I’m not looking for the ladies!
        I like scotland too really. But a slim, healthy man my age who was clever and good company wouldn’t go amiss.

      • fi says:

        Who am I kidding. Even my attraction to Tommy Lee Jones is wavering. I’m going to reinvent myself as some sort of frustrated spinster a la Dick Emery “ooh you are awful but I like you” I think. Might as well scare the youngsters and entertain myself at the same time.

      • fi says:

        Malcolm. Surely you’re called “Malky” (to rhyme with Alkie) when you’re over here?

      • malcolm says:

        Ladies? Sorry, I meant laddies.
        Just kidding.
        I find it hard to believe that there is a huge attractiveness disparity between the genders in any particular society (ie, there exists a place where women are more attractive then men – or the opposite). I think when people start reaching such conclusions it’s time to recalibrate the filter through which they choose to see the world. Attractiveness is subjective and since there are vastly different criteria for what would constitute an attractive male and an attractive female, one couldn’t really even compare the two things.
        Being short happens to be some sort of a Scottish genetic thing, a factor that is held against a man’s desirability, but not a woman’s, so maybe when you are surveying a sea of people at Tesco on a Saturday afternoon you are struck with the subconscious notion that Scottish men aren’t desirable and then your conscious mind starts working away on that notion. I don’t know, I can’t explain why you come to your conclusions. I do notice that over all Scottish men are shorter, but that wouldn’t trigger a subconscious reaction. I do notice though that the majority of women in Scotland do have rather “broad beams”, which is something I can live with (to a point) and wouldn’t turn a nice one away because of it.

      • malcolm says:

        And yes, my family does still call me Malky. I grew out of Numpty years ago, although my sister still refers to me as one on occasion.

      • fi says:

        Yeah but genetically I’m English. I was born here though. But I’m a tall slim English woman living among a sea of small fat alcoholic neanderthal scotsmen.

      • fi says:

        Your sister sounds great! Glaswegian? Just half an hour from me!!

      • malcolm says:

        “Yeah but genetically I’m English. I was born here though. But I’m a tall slim English woman living among a sea of small fat alcoholic neanderthal scotsmen.”
        Lol, I can’t help but thinking of E.M. Forster”s “A Passage To India”. Perhaps you could get some of the short fat scotsmen to carry you around in a palanquin. You could call it the Plankton’s Palanquin.

        And again, yes, my family are Glaswegian. We all try very hard not to be “common” though.

      • fi says:

        “Perhaps you could get some of the short fat scotsmen to carry you around in a palanquin. You could call it the Plankton’s Palanquin.” That would be truly excellent! Carried from Queen street station to my office while reclining. Fantastic.

        No trackies for you or afternoon drinking then? Although I love Glaswegians – truly the only place you can stand next to a tramp and a city banker and find them chatting to each othert. Totally equal.

      • malcolm says:

        No, no trackies and pints, I’m not a drinking man, I learned years ago that alcohol and fitness don’t mix, I enjoy playing hockey (or ice-hockey as you colonial overlords call it) too much. I also enjoy dressing well, so trackies are not an option. Every girl is crazy for a sharp dressed man, or so the song goes.

      • fi says:

        “Every girl is crazy for a sharp dressed man” Surely you’re too young to remember that?

      • EmGee says:

        Fi: “I’m a tall slim English woman living among a sea of small fat alcoholic neanderthal scotsmen.”

        You mean not all Scotsmen look like Craig Ferguson? Or have they all been exported, and all that’s left are the small fat alcoholic neanderthal ones? 😕

      • fi says:

        EmGee – ahahahahaha. I remember Craig Ferguson BEFORE he went to America and he looked nothing like he does now.

      • EmGee says:

        😀 Well, I understand that he is clean and sober now, maybe the other ScotsMEN drummed him out of the country, since he was no longer ‘ideal’?

        I kid, I have never been to Scotland, so I am hardly knowledgable in these matters.

  • Jill says:

    Never mind, cannot contain myself as it’s “Strictly” in an hour’s time…. 😀

    • fi says:

      The glamour and sequins and fake tans. Lovely. Incidentally, I have a ceilidh tomorrow night. Am looking out my dancing frock for it.

      • James says:

        I read somewhere that in Scotland children are taught Scottish dancing at school. That’s a big plus over England, where the only dancing is either the local trash disco, or clubs such as Ceroc where the regulars are dance fanatics who want to be on “Strictly”.

      • Jill says:

        Well, I did ballroom dancing (in England) as a teenager, James, and when my sons were of a similar age, I and some of the other mothers found a teacher to instruct them in the gentle art of dancing too. And we arranged reeling parties for them as well. It’s not a bad social skill to acquire, however reluctantly. My huge regret is that I never learnt how to jive – now, that IS a criterion for a suitable suitor!

      • fi says:

        James – they are. ‘Strip the willow’. Or ‘widow’ as we call it when we’re trying to be funny. I shall be doing all that tomorrow if I can beg a spare man and expect to come home covered in bruises. As that’s what the men do – try to spin you round and into other folk. Oh we know how to have fun!

      • Joules says:

        Fi – you lucky girl – I miss ceilidhs so much. Down here in the south of England we have nothing similar, until our work’s christmas dinner which includes a barn dance. Pale imitation of a ceilidh. The Boat Club (Glasgow Uni) used to have great ceilidhs and us ‘ladies’ spent most of the dancing twirling the guys to see how far we could get the kilts to go up. Happy days. You would have loved it – tall, fit men and most of them scots.

      • fi says:

        Will report back on my ceilidh experience tomorrow. As it’s at a bowling club (lawn bowling) I expect an average age of 75 and sufficient hip and knee replacements to mean there won’t be anyone to dance with, but we’ll see.

    • PY says:

      Jill Re earlier comment , I totally agree that exploring and putting together the jigsaw pieces of another person’s life and personality are a major plus .

      As I did say , this week was the confluence of a weird set of events, which is unlikely to be repeated . But they are all Plankton to a man, sorry , women. Whatever , they are at least proactive – some are past loves , some have been met online over the past decade others will not be or have not . I have said before that I have filled the ‘Walker’ role at a wedding , that was one of the theatre dates – we have scheduled several more until Xmas.

      This takes us back to the Gaggle concept and Elle’s treatise on polyamorphism . It seems clear that one man can not be all things to all women or , as they grow older and more particular, to a single woman.

      As idealistic or attractive as the polyamorphic solution may be, I will continue in the, very probably, vain hope of meeting the close to ‘ideal’ partner – despite the equally clear advice that this doesn’t exist.

      • Jill says:

        Sorry, somehow I missed this until now, PY – probably because I have another house viewing later today and have been frantically making the place look ultra appealing (?)

        Thinking about what you say about your various dates and “dates”, I think that your experience highlights the difference between urban and rural existence, as well as that between opportunities for single 50-something men and women to meet each other. As a singleton-in-recovery, to quote you, I think I am going to have to wait until I move away from my home of 30+ years, and probably to a different area, in order to escape the shackles of coupledom, much as I have striven to do that recently. I do think that there is a perception, especially in some sections of society, that a woman on her own is a somewhat dangerous or pitiable phenomenon, whereas the batchelor reborn is a far more sought-after commodity 😀

        As for polymorphism – PAH! – not remotely attractive in my opinion! The cat alternative is FAR preferable. So, I thoroughly and wholeheartedly concur with what you say in your final sentence.

  • James says:

    I’m surprised that people here still suggest internet dating. I look at dating sites because they are compulsive viewing, but it is so much work just to find someone who wants and is capable of a conversation, that one might as well go out somewhere in real life.

    The site “edatereview” has lots of reviews of dating websites, and it is interesting to see other people’s experiences of internet dating. Most reviews are by men, but there are plenty by women, you just have to scroll past a few reviews to find them. It is interesting that both men and women have terrible experiences with online dating, and score the sites at one out of five (the lowest score that the site will allow).

    I know a lot of people in real life, and it is always interesting to see someone I know using internet dating, and compare their profile with reality. Of 8 women I recognised in profiles and had been acquainted with, four were highly promiscuous, two were borderline alcoholics, and only two were people that I would have been glad to meet again. That’s a 75% psycho rate, with no visible clues on the profiles. At this point I stopped counting. However, I do still make a mental note if I see someone who I know is in a relationship. On an admittedly small sample – two – of women I know whose partners are computer-illiterate, 100% have at some point in the relationship posted a dating profile looking for another man. In case you think I am being misogynistic, I occasionally look at the men’s profiles, and I can confirm that they are just as bad as the women, though I do not check them often enough to have built up statistics based on people that I know.

    On “Plenty of Fish”, most women have discovered the “Email Settings”, which translate into the “Must” and “Must Not” lines at the bottom of the profile. Most women check the “Must not be looking for Other Relationship” and “Must not be looking for Intimate Encounter” boxes. Almost none check the “Must not be Married” box. However, it is not safe to use this signal as a selection criterion: some of the women I recognised who checked this box are in the “highly promiscuous” category. Again, I hope I am not being misogynistic, and I can only assume that the men’s profiles are just as bad, if not worse.

    If you are looking for a long-term relationship, you are unlikely to meet anyone worthwhile by internet dating (though I know people who have been lucky). The average quality of the people is very low, worse than bars and clubs, and much worse than random selection from the phone book. It is hard to distinguish the good people from the liars and cheats.

    However, the most damning indictment of online dating comes from the reviews on “edatereview” that present the response to fake profiles. A fake profile of a very attractive a***hole will attract a lot of interest, from the most unexpected people (based on the pretended wants in their profiles).

    WordPress won’t let me give the web links to “edatereview” or the individual reviews.

    • fi says:

      Online dating. Its just so much ……hard work. I know a woman who spent several hours a night emailing men and following up some with conversations, then a subset of those with a meeting. Think she found one she like out of several hundred and he went back to his wife anyway. She said if she was going to be on her own it wouldn’t be through lack of effort on her part. Exhausting! I’d rather think if its meant to be it’ll be. All that effort, and research, and investment of time and that’s before you even meet. Jo had success but I’m too lazy and I think most people are mad anyway and its easier to suss them out in real life. I’ve looked at edatereview. Eek. Good site.

    • Jill says:

      I am very intrigued by your rather damning overview of internet dating, James. As I have said elsewhere, I am not of your persuasion. If you are honest when compiling your own profile and prepared to put a modicum of trust in the honesty of others, as well as being perceptive when scanning their profiles, I have found personally that the experience is well worthwhile. At least the prospect is that one will have found some common ground before actually arranging a rendezvous – that’s what the initial process of emailing and talking is meant to facilitate.

      Again, as I have said previously, my “internet dating mentor” found her delightful second husband on Date No.6. I am all too aware that she is the exception and not the rule, but am not daunted by the prospect of meeting a few interesting-sounding men for a drink or a meal in the hope of finding my own kindred spirit. Having been married at a very young age and for a very long time, I feel I have a bit of catching up to do. (That is a JOKE btw 😆 )

      (Now I’m off to check up on “edatereview”….)

      • fi says:

        Jill. Good for you. I’m going to end up a shrivelled lonely old hag simple because I can’t be bothered.

      • Jill says:

        Nah, you won’t. But honestly I do find that internet dating is a very good diversion from the more grisly/tedious aspects of my ongoing divorce proceedings, and the rather unenthusastic response to the marketing of the matrimonial home by the property buying public. And it helps that I am eternally an optimist. Go on, go on, as Mrs. Doyle would say!! (Father Ted’s housekeeper)

      • fi says:

        No I will. I REALLY can’t be bothered. If it’s meant to be it will be. I’m quite happy pottering about anyway. I like the flirting, and being flirted with though, after all we all like feeling attractive. In fact being attractive to men is very important to me, VERY important in fact as if I go a week without having a man expressing some degree of interest in me I’m not happy, but I’m too shallow and selfish to go for more than that and make the necessary sacrifices that would be required. Plus I’m pretty self sufficienT.

      • fi says:

        By interest I mean just firTing or smilng – responding in a way that makes you feel like a woman.

  • James says:

    Fi and Jill, what you say is consistent with my own findings. Remember however that men and women have different experiences with online dating. According to the research with fake profiles, nearly all women on dating sites get messages from men, but obviously the most attractive women get more messages than the others. However, most men get very few messages from women: all but the most attractive 20% of men get fewer messages than even the least attractive women. I’ll say that again: most men get fewer messages than even the least attractive women.

    Granted, most of the messages that women get are from married men, much older men, and men that you would cross the street to avoid, which is one reason why a lot of women report terrible experiences with online dating.

    Fi, you are not the first to point out that women use dating sites as a means to get affirmation from men, and have no intention of actually dating them. The experience can be quite frustrating for men, if they labour under the delusion that they are actually going to meet anyone this way. The whole thing becomes a game that has nothing to do with dating, and no connection with what women say in their profiles that they are looking for.

    Jill, I am not surprised that your friend met her husband on the internet, because occasionally someone will be lucky. I am very surprised, however, that she found him with only 6 dates. A woman on a TV show was saying she had 46 dates before she met her husband-to-be. She arranged these dates in the course of a year, therefore at the rate of about one a week. Incidentally, this strategy would be quite impossible for the average man, unless he messaged dozens of new women every day and cast his net over a wide geographical area – because for obvious reasons women don’t respond to most of the messages they are deluged with.

    • fi says:

      She wasn’t using it to get attention – she was treying to find someone she liked.

      • PY says:

        Fi, what’s with the emergence of the capital ‘T’ .

        You’ll have ‘T Lover’ back before you know it.

      • Fi says:

        The capital comes about when i hold my finger down a tad too long on my phone keyboard, Actually i wanted to ask something – i was awake in the middle of the night again tonight (usually i use this time to read or something) but for the second night in a row i saw a bright light in the sky travelling very very slowly, on exactly the same route as the previous night. Presumably this is a satellite? but if so why does it have a light on it?

      • James says:

        Yes, at least some are looking for what they say on their profiles.

        I read somewhere that in cultures where the men are more macho, the women are more manipulative. Another claim is that in every place and at every time, the men and women deserve each other. Among online daters who say they are looking for a relationship, 75% of the men are only looking for sex. Perhaps 75% of the women are only looking for attention.

        Online dating is hard if you are one of the 25% who are actually looking for a relationship. You are swimming against the tide. 3/4 of the effort you put in is immediately wasted. Even your peers of the same sex will think your search is foolish.

      • fi says:

        James, just because women don’t respond to a lot of men, or don’t want to go further with them, or meet them say doesn’t have to mean they just want the attention. I would say it’s because they are being choosy. In the case of the woman I know she would email loads of money every night, some would respond some would ignore her, and of the ones who responded she’s correspond a bit, then of those the ones she liked and who liked her would arrange to meet. And often they wouldn’t meet again. I haven’t heard of women going on sites just for attention to be honest – there are easier ways to get it.

      • fi says:

        God – please ignore all the spelling and grammatical errOrs. Fat scottish fingers!

      • James says:

        Fi, I seem to have misunderstood your message of 10.15pm. Perhaps you were being sarcastic.

      • Fi says:

        James – sorry i thought you were meaning that women go on dating sites to get attention but now i realise you mean i was attention seeking! No i wasn’t being sarcastic – male attention is very important to me and by attention i mean the recognition that i am a woman and they are a man and they find me in some way attractive as i do them. So we have a little flirt or a smile and that’s it. And my day is certainly brightened up a little and i hope their’s is too. Is that wrong? is it better to spend one’s day trudging about feeling sexually unattractive and that there are no possibilities in life? That’s there’s no point making the effort to look nice or being feminine as nobody will appreciate it? That you have to wander through life being totally asexual unless you are aiming yourself at a single person of the opposite sex with a view to ending up in bed with them at some point?

      • James says:

        No, I did mean that women go onto dating sites looking for attention! This intermittent texting is far too confusing, particularly when several conversations are going on at once. Enjoy your ceilidh – I hope it will be much more fun than these electronic diversions!

      • fi says:

        Ceilidh update. It was great and I pretty much danced all night. However it was depressing because there were 3 men sitting at my table, all single. All very nice guys. None particularly attractive buT ok (ish). Well I thought that – slight pot belly and nice guys. 2 of them farmers, both obviously pretty skint (they both mentioned how bad the weather had been this year and its impact), one had a missing tooth. The other lived with his very elderly mother on the farm, no wife, no kids. The other lived alone on his farm. One of the (very glamorous) women at my table called them ‘pug ugly’ and ignored one of them (who incidentally had a first class hons degree in Maths from his time in Glasgow decades ago). She spoke to the other but laughed at him for living with his mum and told them her house was white throughout and a dirty farmhouse wasn’t her type of thing. They bore her behaviour stoically. But the way I saw it these were 2 lonely guys, working long days, both probably had no intention of going onto the family farm when young but had ended up there, pretty poor, without wives and children, being talked down to by a woman who made it clear she thought they weren’t worthy of her. The third guy who wasn’t a farmer she did chat to and told him that women are in charge and if men recognise that then they’ll be happier. She was laughing but she meant it. He turned to me when she was away from the table and said she had pretty weird ideas about men. I honestly was ashamed at being a woman and seeing what men sometimes have to put up with. Came home and emailed all the guys to say I’d really enjoyed meeting them. Absolutely depressing.

      • joules says:

        Fi

        That woman sounds dreadful! The situation you describe is not limited to Scotland. I come from a farming community in the states and there are many very nice farmers I know there that have not managed to find a mate. The opposite of the plankton demographic. Perhaps this is all just a sign that women like me moved away from that community for education and work and the men stayed to run the farms. And with the geographic distances in the states that has led to shortages all round.

        I would definately date a farmer here – well used to mud etc. – but most of the ones I meet during my work (farmland ecology projects etc.) are already married and apparently happily so. Down here in the south of England I think the young farmers organisation has done a good job of matchmaking.

        I have always thought that I might return to the farm when I retired – have a few cattle and some sheep. Might solve my plankton problem.

      • fi says:

        Joules, I don’t think she was being horrible, or rather she was obviously, I just think she didn’t value anything about them other than their looks and income, and therefore was dismissive of them. And showed it insensitively for example turning her back on them when they tried to speak to her.And I think they were used to it from women as if I could see it and it wasn’t directed at me, so must they have. And that’s how good men get overlooked. It really was shameful behaviour from my sex. But she wouldn’t think she was behaving badly as I think she’s just insensitively expressing opinions that are probably held by some women.

      • fi says:

        And I think the bit I find most shocking and upsetting is that they took it. As though they were used to it. Having got to 50+ they were familiar enough with that sort of response from women, and good enough men, to continue being polite to her in spite of it.

      • James says:

        @fi – re the men at the ceilidh

        “And I think the bit I find most shocking and upsetting is that they took it.”

        They have no choice but to take it. Unless a man has the wit and poise of Oscar Wilde, passive acceptance of this kind of treatment leads to a better outcome than anything he can say or do. You have no idea how cruel other women can be until you have actually witnessed it.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if that woman complains to her friends that there are no “decent” men at ceilidhs any more.

      • Elle says:

        Fi I’m shocked at that woman’s behaviour. 3 perfectly decent men and she dismissed them all. Farmers in Ireland are in great demand with woman and have no problem finding somebody. Plankton women (aged 40 and over) aren’t on their radar as most farmers want a woman who can give them strong sons. I know of 3 farmers over 50 who married women in their 30s this summer. All of the women were clever, well-employed and eligible. One couple has children already and no doubt the others will have children sooner rather than later.
        Back to the woman at your table – she should wake up. If any of those 3 men showed aninterest in her s he would be very lucky indeed.

      • fi says:

        Elle To be honest if she didn’t want them then that’s ok. I even thought it was ok to dismiss them for not being attractive enough for her – they were (theoretically) attractive enough for me – because obviously she has to live with the consequences of applying her criteria and it’s no different to a bloke insisting on some similar physical attributes in a woman. The bit I didn’t like was the lack of respect for them and their feelings, her casual dismissiveness of them when they failed to meet her criteria and that she didn’t even feel she should be polite or even feign interest in them or any pleasure when they asked her to dance. The way that mid conversation she would turn her back on them to talk to someone else as she assumed they would still be there when she turned back. If she doesn’t want them that’s fine – its the lack of courtesy she showed them that I realised I’ve seen before from women to men, the snubbing of them for failing to meet her standards, the fact that their feelings were completely irrelevant to her. I’ve seen this so many times from women over the years but somehow until I actively watched her doing it, I’ve never really been aware like I was on saturday nor seen its effect. And I guess it’s another reason why I hate these blogs when they get “all women are bitches, no all men are bastards” as we forget that actually we’re all just individuals and in my opinion we should be trying to find common ground rather than encouraging the divisiveness.

      • James says:

        Very well said – everyone is an individual, there are considerate and inconsiderate people of both sexes.

      • EmGee says:

        PY: “Have just read an article on Blanche Blackwell ( 100 yrs old) who counted Errol Flynn and Ian Fleming amongst her lovers . Her take is ” I adore men. I treat them as pets . They can always be replaced, you know. They’ve got two gifts : the gift of ego and of giving life. Beyond that, they’re helpless . ” Don’t necessarily agree – but that’s probably my ego getting in the way. Great mantra for a Plankton though .”

        And then there is the Ceilidh Update, and the haughty glamorous woman who simply appears to be a younger version of Blanche, by cutting her male table mates. I can only conclude that men are only too willing take it from women in higher social realms (not like it, but they will take it). However ordinary women need to to understand their place, whether it is in the kitchen, at their feet, or 10 paces behind.

        I am exaggerating the issue, but still, the male responses perplex me. The woman who is attracted to the ‘bad boy’ is a well established stereotype, is the man kowtowing to the wealthy glamorous woman a different side of the same coin?

    • Jill says:

      Two observations about internet dating, James. My friend who married Date No.6 is a highly intelligent, professional woman, who discovered that her husband had been committing adultery over a period of nine years. After she had divorced him, she resolved not to do to her children what her mother had done to her, i.e. lived with her daughter since being widowed many years earlier. So my friend tackled her quest for a new husband with the utmost dedication and was very clear-sighted about the kind of man she did and did not wish to meet. She thereby eliminated a huge number of “hopeless” candidates. I am delighted to say that the end result has proved to be a very happy one for the two of them .

      As for sending and receiving messages on internet dating sites, I undertook in my profile to answer each and every message which I received, and I always kept my word. Often I had to decline an advance tactfully, but I always did so kindly. I also sent more than a few messages to men whose profiles appealed to me – light-hearted, polite messages – and I was shocked at how few men even bothered to read my emails, let alone respond. Happily, the ones who did respond were all charming, and I have had some very amusing and enjoyable correspondences, nearly all of which have resulted in a meeting/date, and sometimes more than one. At the risk of sounding self-righteous, I expect people to treat me as considerately and honourably as I will always treat others. If everyone on dating sites behaved in a similar fashion, then perhaps there would be fewer reports of terrible experiences.

      • RS says:

        Jill, I started online dating with the same thought – that I would reply to all messages politely. After receiving an astonishing number of rude, crude and unkind responses to my very nice, polite and tactful “thank you for the message, but…” replies, I gave up. You would not believe the things people think it’s acceptable to say to another person (well, you probably would 😉 ) when their keyboards can make them anonymous.

        Finally I put in my profile (not that most men read it) that I’ll only respond when I think there’s a chance of a spark, and have to hope that’s enough.

        I’ve had some great experiences with online dating and met some lovely men and that allows me to stay positive about it, but it’s hard to resist being utterly horrified at the sorry state of human relationships after being on a dating site for a bit!

      • Jill says:

        Yes, RS, I agree with just about everything you say on the subject of online dating, except that I have not received (I am happy to say) any rude or crude responses whatsoever. A couple of grumpy ones, certainly, if I have politely turned down an invitation to talk or meet when it is obvious there is no compatibility. But I have also had some really sweet and heartening,messages, which have turned into lengthy conversations and have felt like friendships, even if they have gone nowhere else.

        But what has amazed and perplexed me is the small number of men (can only comment from a female perspective, of course!) who simply ignore an approach, e.g. not even reading an email, let alone failing to respond. That just seems illogical to me: why would you be on an internet dating site and not even bother to read a message from someone who has taken the trouble to contact you? Apart from anything else, my curiosity would get the better of me! (And since I take pride in my articulate and friendly – dare I say witty too?! – messaging skills, I can’t help feeling that these chaps are missing out BIG TIME 😆 )

      • The Plankton says:

        Thank you, RS. This is precisely what puts me off. I am pessimistic enough about human nature as it is, but online dating site behaviour might just push me over the edge. Pxx

      • PY says:

        Emcee
        Re Fi’s farmers. If this event hadn’t been amongst local polite society , I suspect the ‘lady’ would have been on the receiving end of an abrupt “Och! Wheesht woman !” . As it is they probably bit their tongues and silently exchanged their mutual condemnation with a flick of the eye over the rim of a glass .
        Farmers can be a dour but wise lot . A wisdom born out of a greater experience of the creation of life and the instigation of death than most mortals . An awareness, honed by hard graft ,the elements, crop successes and failures, leads to a perception of what is worth investing time in and what is not.

        If they go to the local cattle auction for a new heifer to augment the breeding stock , are they going to pick the skittish , temperamental one parading in the ring or the docile sweet natured one ? After all they don’t want to get a kick in the ribs each day in the milking parlour when they lay a cold hand on her udder. I suspect this woman knew she wasn’t in with a chance and resorted to abuse to bolster her own position .

        You mention ‘station in life’ – arguably a notion in decline but look at the success of Downton Abbey . I dated the very wealthy ex wife of a merchant banker , a number of whom had legged it from the City when the credit crunch hit, and simply paid off their wives with their ill gotten gains.

        Quite brutal.

        Flattered to begin with , I soon realised I was playing out of my comfort zone as we shared little in common , save for physical attraction. Like the farmers , i much prefer somebody willing to muck in and risk breaking a nail.

        She may have seen me as her bit of rough ( everything is relative ! ) or plaything, some form of sweet revenge on her husband and was distinctly unhappy when I exited as gracefully as I could .

        Not easy for her when you are used to buying what you want . But, isn’t it better to have followed your moral compass than have sold your soul for the riches of Croesus ?

        I suspect Lydia may have a view on that.

      • Emgee says:

        Having grown up on a farm, and coming from a long line of farmers, I find your take on the Noble Farmer™ more Oliver Douglas (“Green Acres”) than a fitting description of the farmers I eve knew. By and large, you’d find them disappointingly normal, and no different from the general population.

        As to station in life, you seem to condone rude behavior as a fitting response to keep the lower caste in their place. Boorishness (in keeping with the bucolic theme) is never appropriate, especially

      • Emgee says:

        I meant to finish by saying, “especially i social situations”

      • PY says:

        Far from it, Emgee. I do not in the least condone rude or boorish behaviour and will always hold my ground against bullies – but the gist of my comment is that the farmers probably didn’t care a damn about her behaviour.

        She had already been dismissed by them as not worthy of pursuit .

      • EmGee says:

        Okay then, I have learned a new social cue. It is perfectly okay to be mean to people (or maybe just men) below your social status because they have already dismissed you as not being worthy of pursuit, and you’re not hurting them or their feelings one bit.

        This is why I appreciate the male pov here, I’d have never guessed this.

      • fi says:

        I never said that these blokes were looking for women, or that any of the women were looking for men. Just that we were all single at a ceilidh and therefore we could dance with and speak to each other. Although what Elle seemed to think dreadful was that live ones got rejected 😆

      • fi says:

        Anyway ceilidh update 2 – all the men obviously appreciated my emails as they’ve all responded to say thanks for my note saying I enjoyed their company. Job done.

    • Margaux says:

      A friend of mine in her early 50s went on over a hundred internet dates before she finally met her husband. I just don’t think I would have the stamina …

  • py says:

    I would suggest that in the same way that the moon is reflecting back the sunlight that you cannot see (waning autumn moon at the moment) the satellite or more likely the international space station (bigger object and most satellites are I think in fixed geo-orbit positions) are high enough above the earth to catch said rays from beyond the horizon and reflect it back….

    So, as you look up pondering on your Plankton existence and the mysteries of the universe , spare a thought for some lonesome astronaut/cosmonaut looking down on you as he possibly contemplates what a night in a proper bed, with your company, would be like.

  • Fi says:

    That’s brilliant. Thanks for that information. – i’ve found a site that shows where the ISS is at any point in the day (at the moment over Canada and Alaska) so tomorrow morning I’ll have a look and check if its sitting above Britain. I notice it at 6am and it disapears when it starts to get light – about an hour later. And you’re right – however sad and lonely the life of an unwanted plankton is, at least there are parties to go to and you wouldn’t get that on the International Space Station. Although the view would be truly amazing.

    • Joules says:

      Fi They have just had to move the space station to avoid some space rubbish. Check the website has been updated. Might also mean that you can see it more easily in this orbit than before.

      • fi says:

        Yep I checked this morning and the positioning didn’t match where the map said it would be – I know my spatial awareness is apalling but even I could recognise that I couldn’t see it if it was sitting over south america. Maybe the changed orbit hasn’t been reflected yet.

      • joules says:

        Fi – if could have been a something other than the space station of course. There are sites which document pretty much whatever you would see in the night sky if you put your geographic location into them. Also apps for phones.

    • PY says:

      Fi,

      Have a look at this re ISS – should appear quite low in the sky to the South West in teh early morning but getting higher and later over the next few days as the elliptical orbit moves on around the globe.

      http://spaceflight1.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/cities/view.cgi?country=United_Kingdom&region=Scotland&city=Edinburgh

      http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/tracking/index.html

      • Fi says:

        Thanks very much for finding this for me. I will be going out to have a look at the weekend to see if its the same thind. Can you explain something though – the timings on here are very short whereas what I saw lasted for about an hour in the morning and was i think in the south east. I think. I slept in today and missed anything that was floating about. Could it be something stationary and the apaprent movement was due to the earth’s turning rather than it moving? Thansk Mr Scientist

    • PY says:

      Certainly no scientist !

      My understanding is that the ISS is hurtling around the Earth c 17,000 miles per hour – which is why the opportunities to view it are limited and the position in the sky changes as the route of its orbit progressively changes

      If what you have seen stays still then that could be a geo-stationary satellite . If it is slow moving and at high altitude it could be the 06:22 from Copenhagen to Anchorage or some such.

      Or Richard Branson on yet another airborn publicity stunt in an attempt to save the West Coast line.

      Or even an alien form of Plankton, sent across the icy wastes of the galaxy to study the human condition, that has identified and is monitoring an unusually high emission of e:mail ramblings from an isolated steading somewhere outside Edinburgh.

      But that’s just a flight of fancy…….. or is it?

      • Fi says:

        PY. You could be right 😀

        And thanks. I think maybe it”s a satellite then as my source says this –

        “There are dozens of satellites in orbit above the Earth. Those in low ‘polar’ orbits can be seen against a starry background. A typical satellite will appear about as bright as an average star. You will notice it moving slowly but steadily through the starry background”

        It’s too high and bright to be a plane.

  • Stephen says:

    I’ve been reading this blog for a year. This is my first post. I hope you’ll allow me a few thoughts and observations.

    The first is that the dating landscape described by Ms. Plankton and the various commentators on this blog is almost unrecognizable to me (an early-fifties-something male) and the middle-aged women I know (at least two of whom read the blog). Perhaps it’s because we’re American, and most of the commentators here are British. (I don’t think it’s too gross a generalization to say that we Americans are a friendlier, more easy-going lot, at least those of us who live in the South.) Virtually all of the single people I have known in the last few years (and most of them have been women) meet people online. If you’re discriminating or selective at all it can be a bit of an endurance test, but it is a reliable way to meet people and find partners. It usually works fairly well, if you’re committed to doing some work and dedicating the requisite amount of time to it.

    Second, I don’t know a lot of single men in their fifties who fit the description of the average single male repeatedly given by the commentators on this blog. Most of us date women our own approximate age, still have “flat stomachs” and “shoulders broader than our hips” (I’m using fi’s phrases I think), and are completely capable of monogamy. Not all of us are gray, and, indeed, most of us still have our hair.

    I think it was also fi who sarcastically intoned, “Because what men are looking for in a woman is her writing skills.” Actually, you’d be surprised. On this point, let me confess that I became a faithful reader of this blog because I quickly developed a crush on Ms. Plankton, a crush that had everything to do the liveliness and loveliness of her prose and intelligence. Luckily for me, though, I met a woman very shortly thereafter who possessed many of the same characteristics of Ms. P, and like, Ms. P, is a writer by trade. (And, also – FYI – my exact age.) We’ve been together a year.

    Finally, while I find it easy to believe that many of the bitter and emotionally immature women who comment on this blog do not have partners (or protest too much about not needing partners), I am still at a bit of a loss as to why Ms. P is without. It doesn’t add up. (Assuming she is reasonably fit and attractive.) I wish I had some useful advice to offer her, but I don’t. I suspect she may require more charm and glamor than the average female her age, but apart from that, I’m at a loss. (Also hard to imagine is why Miss Bates lacks male company.)

    • James says:

      I’m mystified too, because where I live in England, there is no shortage of decent 50-something men who are looking for a woman of the same age (though admittedly they are outnumbered by the less than decent ones). Do they all fail P’s scrutiny? After a year, I am beginning to wonder whether P is somehow sabotaging her own efforts, probably without realising it.

      Jill’s friend (above) seems to be a good judge of character and could find a match in reasonable time. Those of us (myself included) who do not have that gift have much more difficulty – and must therefore spend much more time – filtering out the people who ought to have “DANGER” tattooed on their forehead. It is easy to try to compensate for poor judgment by rejecting people for the slightest reason, but of course this is self-defeating, because every person has at least minor vices, and so one ends up rejecting people who would be good enough.

      It is also difficult to judge when one’s problem lies within oneself, and when the whole of the rest of the world is to blame. The latter view certainly makes very entertaining writing, but it might not be the correct answer.

      • Jill says:

        I am glad to hear that you feel that there is a good “supply” of 50 something men out there who are looking for a woman of similar age. My recent experience leads me to believe that they are quite well hidden! I also think that one problem following separation or divorce is that when a man leaves a marriage, he nearly always has someone to go to already lined up, whereas a woman will leave a bad marriage rather than stay in it, even if it means she must be on her own for an indeterminate length of time. So those men are unavailable almost as soon as they become available.

        And, yes, my internet dating mentor does have good judgement but she was also extremely focused on her quest for her new husband, almost to the exclusion of everything else. She did warn me that it can become an obsesssion and is very time-consuming – internet dating, that is….but in her case at least the effort and time were well worth while.

      • James says:

        Yes, they are hidden, but they are hidden in plain sight among the rogues and chancers. They might not appear attractive – until you talk to them, and find they have hidden depths.

        There are divorcing couples who fit the templates that you suggest; there are also others where the husband is blindsided by the divorce papers, and had no idea that anything was wrong with the marriage.

  • rosie says:

    Stephen, I think you’re right about Americans being friendlier than Brits, on the whole anyway. I remember being amazed on a trip to New York that people would walk up and offer to help with directions while we stood there gormlessly staring at our map. In London they’d cross the street. But, like you say, that doesn’t explain why women such as MissBates (who live in NYC) and thousands of others like her can’t find a long-term partner.

    This side of the Pond there are literally swathes of intelligent, attractive women who are in the same boat, many of them in their 30s, never mind us plankton. It’s bewildering, and almost like something’s gone wrong. Maybe it has. It feels like that much of the time.

    • Stephen says:

      Your experience in “friendly” NYC is interesting because if you ask Americans where the most unfriendly people in the country live, virtually everyone will say, “NYC.” Here in the South, the friendliness is almost intrusive. You can’t pass anyone on a street without receiving a greeting. Probably too much of a good thing.

      Maybe there’s something to the prevailing theory on this blog that, at least in the UK, it is near impossible for a middle-aged woman to find a suitable man. And maybe the contradicting evidence that I see all around me is skewed for some reason. But, whether true or not, I still find much of what I read on these pages hard to believe.

    • MissBates says:

      Hello @Rosie: I think that (most) New Yorkers take pride in their city and enjoy helping befuddled visitors, and adding their personal recommendations of “must see” attractions, restaurant recommendations, etc. It always startles people who have the mistaken notion that we are going to be rude or even mug them. : ) Like urban dwellers everywhere, however, New Yorkers try to respect their neighbors’ privacy and “space,” and in general I find people here to be polite but not intrusive. Although I’ve lived here my whole adult life, I grew up in a small town, and I find the “friendliness” found in such places to be oppressive, and often nothing more than disguised nosiness. However, I can assure you that the midlife dating scene in NYC is dire for professional women who are looking for an age-appropriate, educated man. The only flickers of interest I get are from men 20+ years older than myself. (No thank you.) Although truth be told, I may be getting a little long in the tooth (51) even for them…. Just this past week I represented an 82-year-old man who was entering into a prenuptial agreement with a 40-year-old woman. LOL!

    • EmGee says:

      I found that the New Yorkers I met on a trip 3 years ago to be very friendly. One gentleman skipped his train to make sure I got on the correct train to get to Columbus Circle (to get to the MoMa), when the scheduled train had been cancelled due to maintenance. I felt ‘very grown up’ that I could maneuver the subway system, but as grateful as a child when things didn’t go as scheduled, and an adult got me straightened out.

  • maria says:

    Ms P, this has got to be a new record, 271 comments so far! Wow!

    • PY says:

      Have just read an article on Blanche Blackwell ( 100 yrs old) who counted Errol Flynn and Ian Fleming amongst her lovers .

      Her take is ” I adore men. I treat them as pets . They can always be replaced, you know. They’ve got two gifts : the gift of ego and of giving life. Beyond that, they’re helpless . ”

      Don’t necessarily agree – but that’s probably my ego getting in the way. Great mantra for a Plankton though .

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you. I noticed that too! I wonder why? Pxx

      • Jill says:

        Hello, P….to answer your query, I think that anyone who is on his or her own, whether by choice or involuntarily, will most certainly have had to endure being the recipient of the sort of platitudes to which you referred in your article last week Most of the time, one can take the odd tactless but well-intentioned remark on the chin, but I think that all of us have days when the cumulative effect of such comments can feel very painful. Someone castigated me a few days ago for being “over-sensitive”, but as I gently pointed out, until someone has walked a mile in my shoes, they cannot possibly judge how I should react to what they say – however awkward or embarrassed they may feel about that reaction.. I am sure that your article will have struck a chord with many of your devoted and loyal followers, hence the volume of response to it.

      • The Plankton says:

        Thank you, Jill. It’s been great to get so many comments. Pxx

  • rosie says:

    “Just this past week I represented an 82-year-old man who was entering into a prenuptial agreement with a 40-year-old woman.”

    Which has just made me think of Anna Nicole Smith and J Howard Marshall. Ugh.

    Going back to friendliness, northerners (ie people from the north of England) are said to be friendlier than southerners and there is at least some truth to the claim. But I have it on good authority that a plankton’s lot there is pretty much that of plankton everywhere.

  • rosie says:

    For the uninitiated:

    http://bit.ly/Q3EBzL

  • Plankton_When_a_Young_Man says:

    Are comments allowed on her article in The Times? If so, how many has it got so far?

  • Jill says:

    P, dear P……it’s Tuesday morning, and still no article in The Times by your good self this week. Hope you are not indisposed in any way. xx

  • Highlander says:

    There must be quite a difference between the men in Britain and in Canada where I reside. About the first thing men do here when their wives fly the coop is hit the gym. My gym is full of single men from 35-60 who are probably in the best shape they’ve been in since they were in college. I myself at 57 am the same weight I was in my last years of school, due to exercising four days a week. I’m 180lbs. @ 6’1″ , I still have all my hair, which is just starting to go “salt and pepper”.

    The online dating thing appears to be the same though, I don’t get much in the way of responses from women, even though I’ve had my profile evaluated by female friends and used professional photo’s. OkCupid actually sent me an email saying my profile was “very Hot”, but you’d never know it by the amount of email I received. I’ve contacted women very close to my own age, but strangely enough it’s been those on the younger end (< 45) that have responded.

    I really don't know what the girls expect to find at middle age in the dating market, but based on a lot of the profiles I've looked at they seem to think they can pick up at 45 where they left off when they marriage at 22 . I think in the end I think many that left marriages that were not abusive will be lucky to find men as good as they had.

    • Jill says:

      But what happpens to Canadian women when their menfolk run for the hills, I wonder? Your post seems to assume that middle age[d] “girls” (thanks!) “seem to think they can pick up at 45 where they left off….at 22”. What would your advice be to a girl who marries at the (admittedly deranged) age of 20 and finds herself alone in her mid-fifties? Personally I am hoping to find a man much better than the one I had….

      • James says:

        You have an excellent chance of finding a man whose personal qualities far exceed those of your first husband, because so many other women seek only looks, wealth, and height. If you can bring yourself to compromise on the things that everyone else wants, you will succeed.

      • Jill says:

        He only needs to be kind, faithful and loyal. I’m pretty sure that’s not too demanding of me…..! (Oh, and worship me of course 😀 )

      • Jill says:

        That wasn’t meant to be as flippant as it may have sounded, James. Having spent the latter years of my married life engaged in a daunting ongoing effort to compromise with and accommmodate an extremely controlling and uncompromising man, I feel that I certainly have boundless experience and topnotch credentials in the sphere of compromise. That is not to say that I am a pushover, just very non-confrontational (until pushed to my limits).

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