Mug That I Am

December 4, 2012 § 96 Comments

From yesterday’s Times (sorry so late in the day; I thought it was Monday.  Clearly losing my marbles.  Various “life events” – dread expression – are doing my head in.  See below):-

My default setting when it comes to romantic arrangements is always to presume the worst.  So when the Younger Twinkle doesn’t contact me between our meetings, I automatically conclude he finds me repellent and never wants to see me again.

I tend to avoid crap books (life’s too short) but last week, a million years after everyone else, I read He’s Just Not That Into You, and every line sung to me.  It’s not really a book.  It’s pages of repetitive brainwash but, dare I say it, maddeningly compelling.  I was a gibbering wreck at the end.  I thought, I envy and hate men for their capacity for empty intimacy (how can it be so meaningless to them, and I am not just talking about sex)?  And I hate myself for still being the mug I ever was in my stupid youth.  All those excuses I made as to why “he” hadn’t rung.  And still make, dammit.  This weekend it was classic: maybe he got caught up in a flood?  What is remarkable to me, for all my hard-earned wisdom, I am deep-down no different from my brainless teenage self.  Wrinkles have failed to eviscerate the wrong-headedness.

I suppose I had it coming to me, dabbling with a YT.  What did I expect?  Well, not flowers or chocolates or dinners or time, but maybe the odd text offering some sort of continuum between our heartening get-togethers, texting being the oxygen of the generation beneath my own.  It wasn’t as if I picked up a hench young stranger in a bar, got wasted on dry martinis and went back to his black-furnished flat and imagined it would happen a second time.  Then I would really have had it coming to me.  No, I was reasonably sensible and cautious (in that respect – burnt too many times – I have changed, a bit).  I actually got to know the decent YT over a period of months.  For most of that time it didn’t even cross my mind to think of him in a romantic way, any more than it would have done to have had untoward thoughts about a woman whom I had just cause regularly to see.  It was, more, a slow dawning.

And when the notion that he might be Interested first consciously struck me, I thought, Couldn’t be!  Am I out of my mind?  But I wasn’t, it seemed, and it happened, and it was possibly one of the more validating and wonderful things that has happened to me in years.

Just not validating and wonderful enough for him, obviously, between times, to merit throwing me the odd crumb, in the form of a few kindly texts.


§ 96 Responses to Mug That I Am

  • James B says:

    P – he obviously likes you but is not in love with you or obsessed with you. At least not YET anyway. The point is that this is not a game but really, the signs for something serious, if he has not been back in contact with you , are not good. At the very least he is a bigger life landmark in your world than you are in his. If he has not been in touch, then reduce your expectations and try and gain some encouragement and confidence from this date and his interest in you. Do not worry about calling him if you want to – you can – but know it will be a casual thing at best. Fun is still there to be had perhaps, but that’s probably it. Chin up! It’s a numbers game sadly but at least you are gaining some upward momentum.

    • fi says:

      I agree I’m afraid. If a man is really keen he makes an effort as he wants you to know he’s interested. But on the other hand you never expected it to be anything more than a short term fling to boost your confidence so take the glass half full approach and see it as a validation you’re still attractive, rather than a glass half empty approach.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thanks, James B, you are almost certainly right. Pxx

  • Lucy K. says:

    Wait! Aren’t you despairing too quickly, P.? How long has it been between meetings? Some men get in touch only to set up next meeting — some men don’t like telephones, etc. You don’t know yet.

  • Elle says:

    Plankton, I hope you’re feeling a bit better now than when you wrote that piece. I’ve been in that place myself many times with older men, younger men and men my own age. The younger generation seem to be more casual about dating and hooking-up, but that has bubbled up into our generation, particularly with men.

    I know not everyone here agrees with my philosophies, but I would recommend that you read a book called “Rewriting the Rules” by Meg Barker. It doesn’t always tell you what you want to hear but after reading it I realised that what’s happening isn’t my fault and I’m not a failure because I’m a single older woman. I’m not single because I’m old, fat, ugly or useless, it’s because society and relationships are changing. We put too much pressure on ourselves if we expect to fit into a certain mould.

    YT sounds nice and do continue to see him as long as it makes you feel good. In the meantime keep your options open.

    Take care.

  • Joe says:

    P – don’t despair. Here are the main reasons why chaos don’t communicate following what was otherwise a completely fabulous evening (or whatever).

    1. Need to remain cool and slightly distant. “I’m my own man.”

    2. Need to avoid looking needy. “Every man is an island.”

    3. Need to sustain the self-perception that youre not ‘settling down’ – yet. “The field is there to be played on.”

    4. Men are just rubbish at this sort of thing.

    I am a chap (39), now divorced, 2 fab kids. I’ve been on some dates (took a while to get back out there) and I’m told I’m good looking etc. I have met some fantastic ladies, had great times out, but it’s always the same: I disappear into a communications ‘black hole’ shortly thereafter. Why? Because I’m a bloke. And the reasons above. There is a sense I have now that as a newly single (well for over 3 years now), well off, fit chap with a good job the last thing I want is to voluntarily sign up for another ultimately doomed relationship. But the fact is that I do want closeness and intimacy and sharing and love and lots of FUN!

    So: don’t worry that YT doesn’t text or call: he’s just a bloke. 🙂

    • Joe says:

      Oh and Ellie’s post above this one is very good.

    • Highlander says:

      I agree Joe, what most of us want is closeness and intimacy, but after a divorce most of us are reluctant commit. Also many of of us realize after we’ve healed we’ve been given a second chance, no point being in a rush, one should be very picky as we can afford to be. For any man around 40 with a good income, is fit and reasonably good looking, the ball is now in his court, as he is in short supply.

    • The Plankton says:

      Indeed, but with the added “just a bloke” disadvantage of being “just a young bloke”! Hiding to nothing, I fear. Pxx

  • Highlander says:

    Welcome to Men version 3.0…It has come to attention of most men in recent years that women say they are on a mission to find a “Few Good Men”, but Men have become very aware that the reverse is true.

    If you do all the romantic things many women say they want, you invariably end up on the discarded heap of “Nice Guys”. Act like you really “are not into her” or you that have other options, she begins to question herself and tries harder to please.

    • fi says:

      1. Some men and some women have always been attracted to people that don’t treat them very well and often think it will be different with them.
      2. Everyone has at some point been treated badly by their wife/husband/partner but don’t blame an entire sex for thatperson’s failings.
      3. If a man or woman acts like s/he’s really not in to you, then the best thing to do is assume s/ he isn’t. Why shake your mental equilibrium by questioning yourself and what sort of person wants you to do that anyway? Leave them well alone I say 🙂

    • Jill says:

      Actually, just ONE good man (and most importantly of all, a Nice Guy) would do for most of us, I would venture to suggest, Highlander. I am guessing that some woman (or maybe several) has definitely soured your attitude to the rest of us. Which is a shame. Not all women have an agenda such as that you describe.

      • Highlander says:

        Read my post again, I never said “All Women”, I said “Many Women”. I never claimed all women had an agenda either, I’ve only suggested that women often have conflicting desires, they like a nice guy, but often more attracted to their opposite.

      • Jill says:

        Well, to be fair Highlander, you initially said “women”, and then you later said “many women”. And the implication of your post seemed to me to be that women are apt to behave deceitfully. Whether it is the men with whom they engage, or themselves, who they are deceiving, is a moot point surely? From my perspective, passing up on a Nice Guy in order to pursue his “opposite” is like shooting oneself in the foot.

  • meadowmaker says:

    Goodness! What is WRONG with all these flippin’ twinkles?? The calculating callousness of it annoys me. My sympathies go out to you.

    • Joe says:

      Hmmmm wise words but consider this. Women have ‘their pick’ in their teens, twenties and into their thirties. Then that reality reverses. Are you really trying to tell me that women aren’t slightly calculating and ‘callous’ when the dice are rolling their way? 🙂

      • fi says:

        I don’t think there’s any callousness involved. I genuinely think nearly everybody is a nice person and trying to do what’s best. Sometimes there are misunderstandings, or different interpretations of the same thing, or sometimes thoughtless behaviour, but very few people set out to be horrible. And people don’t necessarily think of the implications of things or that they can be perceived differently from how they’re meant. And at the end of the day someone may not want what you want, but that doesn’t make them a bad person.

      • Kate says:

        Joe, I take your point, but some of us didn’t. I speak from experience — I was not especially attractive (one male friend said I got more attractive the better he knew me) nor did I ever behave in an overtly sexual way in public. I really truly never felt I had any sort of ‘pick’ in my teens or twenties at all.

        Ironically, what I did was what most men do — got on, got qualified, got a good career. If I were a man as I am now, I really would have my pick.

        There really is something wrong in the balance of things … I am just bewildered by it now.

      • RS says:

        I’m with Fi here. I believe that people (men AND women – I still resist buying into gender stereotypes and excusing bad behaviour based on those) simply genuinely go through life trying to do their best by others and trying to be lovely people.

        Although when I read comments by some of the men here I do despair.

    • The Plankton says:

      THANK YOU, Meadowmaker! Pxx

    • Highlander says:

      Jill I never said anything about being deceitful or even suggesting women consistently do this on a conscious level. What I’m trying to say is what many women say they find attractive in a man on a conscious level is not the same as what really fires up the chemistry on a biological level.

      I find it very hard to believe you or Plankton have not met some very nice men, who by all accounts should be “Keepers”, but there simply is no “Spark” there. On the same token I would imagine many women have also met men with quite a few red flags, but were willing to overlook them because of the chemistry was there.

      Some men are aware of this and how to engender this chemistry in woman. One of them is by being a mix of being charming and edgy and a little dangerous, making the woman intrigued about them . The other is if they sense there is an attraction from the woman, is to pull back a bit. As Ladies have pointed out here it does cause all sorts of conflicting emotions, but most of all anticipation and anxiety waiting for his call.

      • fi says:

        The objectionable bit of what you said is your aim of making a woman begin to question herself and try harder to please.

      • Jill says:

        Well, thank you for explaining your point of view more fully, Highlander, and I now understand what you were getting at originally. But surely the nub of the matter is that however compatible and kind and charming the person may be, if there is no chemistry between you, then the relationship is destined not to progress beyond the merely platonic. Of course, it does depend what each individual is seeking, but if there is a wish for a fully rounded and long-term relationship – look how carefully I am choosing my words! – then there has got to be more than just “niceness”, hasn’t there? Yes, attraction can grow, in the fullness of time, but I think that the potential for that has to be present almost from the outset.

        Some women have always been attracted to the archetypal “cad”, and others don’t appreciate a good man when they are lucky enough to find one. I personally believe that most of us yearn to experience the fulfillment which comes from a relationship which encompasses romance and sexual attraction as well as mutual respect and loyalty and friendship. I certainly do not intend to settle for less than that.

      • py says:

        I agree with most of the sentiments you have expressed, Jill (AWOL last week – house move ?) , but as Ms P has commented, ‘nailing’ YT has been “one of the more validating and wonderful” experiences she has had in ages. Which is clearly a good thing, even though it doesn’t satisfy what we or she may really aspire to.

        Whilst the word ‘callous’ has been used in a Plankton approach to dating, I do think we tread a narrow line between that and subconsciously calculating a level of commitment based on past experience and future expectations. Old ground, but the more mature we become the less willing we are to compromise – probably an awareness of the unwinding of the mortal coil. Less spring in it, a bit like collagen levels, I suppose.

        As for the archetypal ‘cad’, for each one of those there must be a cougar-in-waiting . My experience of singelton dating would suggest that women are more than capable of being as predatory as men. The desire to procreate has been satiated, the mischevious chemical bond is potentially there (and could easily be awoken from its dormancy) but how’s his bank balance bearing up post divorce ? If you like, has the previous occupant left pleasing but fallow ground ?

        I am not cynical by nature but there is a resigned sense of practicality or realism creeping into my bones. Perhaps it is the economic climate or the daily battle withTransport for London which are getting to me. As much as I would love to trip over the perfect match to disappear over the horizon with, all wrapped up in a single package, I have this nasty feeling that it is just not going to happen.

      • Jill says:

        Yes, well, PY, I have been in the grip of a nasty bout of divorce-mania for the past week, which was entirely not of my choosing, and was therefore not in very good shape for anything much else. Glass half full again today, light visible at the end of the tunnel, etc. etc.- but thank you for noticing my absence. And how I wish it had been a house move – if only…..

        Yes, of course, there are just as many cougars lying in wait as cads a-bounding, but I think you may have misunderstood me. I was waxing perhaps over lyrically about the kind of relationship which most of us probably yearn for, but of course there has to be realistic compromise in any relationship. But speaking as someone who compromised for far too long in my marriage, I don’t think it is unreasonable to aspire to something better in a future relationship. Maybe something akin to the couple in Last Tango in Halifax?! ( But for the 50+ age group not the 70-somethings….and without the dysfunctional offspring, please!)

      • py says:

        Sorry to hear about the ongoing negotiations – it is, to say the least, debilitating and pretty miserable at this time of year.

        I haven’t misunderstood you, probably just one pace in front having been ‘out there’ for a decade. Having emerged from a marital meltdown the one thing I vowed not to do was get back into a similar set up. Aim for something better and not repeat the same mistakes – the spirit of compromise was defiantly lacking.

        However, after a few failed attempts I suspect that I might have to amend the search criteria, just a little. That or look even further afield – there must be some girl out there who ticks most if not all of the boxes and retains her joie de vie.

        As for the ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ , I missed it so will need to go truffling through iPlayer.

      • Jill says:

        Yup, PY, the whole shebang is a bit grim, and you are correct about the timing….although there is most assuredly never a good time. Two more grandchildren imminent, and Grandpa is on a mission to make everyone as miserable as possible, including himself. Ah well, that’s enough of that.

        Just a caution to all you chaps who might be “truffling through iPlayer” to catch up on Last Tango in Halifax, and without wishing to be sexist, I think the distaff side might find it more appealing than you lot. It’s a very sweet, well-acted and extremely well-cast series about a couple finding love in their later years and the various dramas affecting their families. But it will probably elicit snorts of disgust/disbelief from the more cynical of P’s fans – viewers will need to be as incurably romantic (soppy?) as I am.

        As to the amendment of search criteria, well that would make available a larger pond in which to hook your fish, possibly even the Loch of the Green Corrie?! After all, I met Grandpa on the shores of a Scottish loch…even though that didn’t turn out to be quite the fairytale it might have been. Where does everyone else consider to be suitable fishing grounds, the dreaded internet aside?

      • py says:

        Shame ‘catch and release’ wasn’t as prevalent when you stumbled across your ‘Young Lochinvar’ (and certainly before he swept his winsome bride away south on his charger, having reeled you out of Netherby Hall with the Graemes of the Netherby clan; Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves hot on your heels).

        As for fishing grounds, people keep assuring me that there are ‘many more fish in the sea’ at the same time as diminishing stocks and maritime exclusions zones are set up to stop the collapse of some species.

        Even old trout are becoming a rarity.

      • Jill says:

        Yes, but we don’t find out if Young Lochinvar and the fair Ellen made it to their golden wedding anniversary, do we? And, of course, don’t forget that “Love swells like the Solway but ebbs like its tide….”

        As for “old trout”, hang on a minute – just exactly how old are we talking? There are a fair number of fine mature 😀 fish being released back into the river, who may have stayed a long time in the keep net, but are still strong swimmers and enjoy a good tussle with an expert angler. (Oh dear,, I do hope that my nemesis is not reading this……!

  • Kate says:

    Oh Ms P., been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I try to stop feeling now, but it’s hard. Humans are social, feeling creatures. Feeling is essential to our cognition.

    But what I don’t get is how men feel/think. They seem to like being in pleasant female company. They seem to like the charge of flirtation, and they enjoy the regard of a clever attractive woman focussing on them. But they don’t effing do anything about it.

    Are men really so emotionally self-sufficient? Don’t they yearn? Don’t they want to keep that lovely feeling of being regarded and regarding back (trying not use the word “love” here).

    How do their brains work? Because I just don’t get it. I like men, I have good male friends. In the past, I’ve loved some good ones, but that was in the past. Blokes seem different now …

    I just don’t get it.

    • Joe says:

      Kate – do you mean ‘now’ as in ‘2012’ or ‘now’ as in ‘men who are around 40+’? If its the former, I have no idea – I guess the Internet makes it easier to ‘browse’ and perhaps we feel we have more options and freedom to choose? If it’s the latter, I can only assume it’s because we’ve learnt from the past and maybe we are looking for ‘something’ effectively uncontainable i.e perfection. Either way, it doesn’t make for an easy time of understanding.

      For my part, I do want to find someone sweet, kind, bright and pretty. I want a best friend I can idle away countless hours with. The sort of lady that makes life more beautiful. Does that person exist? Absolutely. Will I find her? Well, I hope so. But connect that aspiration with my previous comments in this post, and my first post earlier, and frankly I think I am my own worst enemy. 🙂

      But here’s hoping.

  • Scott Benowitz says:

    Here’s where you can order a jellyfish t-shirt-

    If anyone else wants to done one (besides me, I mean)…. ….

  • James B says:

    Honestly – do you all think that it matters whether we are talking men or women here? If a man or a women does not text you or contact you, then they are just not that keen or else are waiting for you to contact them first. I would say, just about, that society still expects men to make the running so – he’s not THAT into you (at the moment). But P, I thought this was about having some fun? You don’t expect to marry this one do you? Enjoy the fact that you are back in the game. Take a deep breath and don’t take it all so seriously. Send him a sexy text and see what happens!

  • EmGee says:

    Oh hell, I am the same way, waiting to ‘hear back’, and every time the phone would ring, my heart would skip, and invariably it would be someone else.

    No matter how much I convince myself that he doesn’t have to be in constant contact to be thinking of me or care for me, there’s always a little niggling voice in the back of my head that really really thinks he needs to call me more frequently to show he cares.

  • Ms. P., why did you remove my comment? How was that potentially offensive?

    There was zero suggestive language, nudity or potentially offensive remarks… I’d psoted a link to a clip from the Home And Garden Television channel about Halloween costumes (“G” rated in the U.S., meaning that the Federal Communications Commission has determined this video to be acceptable for even the youngest children to watch unsupervised), followed by a link to a clip of people dancing in those costumes- The second clip did not include a single spoken word, only music, and an instrumental song with no lyrics at that….

    • The Plankton says:

      I didn’t remove it through censorship. It wasn’t available in the UK. Px

      • Scott Benowitz says:

        No problem- I’ve reposted those 2 links below- Now people can learn to do the jellyfish dance, and you all can learn how to assemble your own jellyfish costumes too … : )

        Incidentally Ms. P- Now that I’m half way through my first official year of p’tonhood, I’ve got to say- It sometimes feels as if my entire body is going to implode from the tensions resulting from lack of nookie; it’s now been 35 months since I’ve touched a woman’s body…

        On the other hand, I’m getting a lot of reading done these days… I find that I’m reading a lot more books and watching a lot more dvd’s (no not that kind you perverts, get your minds out of the sewers) than I otherwise would- Is this how I’m destined to spend most of the 5th decade of my existence on this planet?

  • rosie says:

    “I have met some fantastic ladies, had great times out, but it’s always the same: I disappear into a communications ‘black hole’ shortly thereafter. Why? Because I’m a bloke.”

    I’m not sure I buy that. If you disappeared into a ‘black hole’ with your friends you soon enough wouldn’t have any left. Sticking my neck out here and will no doubt get shot down in flames but it’s a free country (just) so… I think many men, however enlightened or right on they profess to be still have a problem when it comes to thinking of women as people, rather than a separate species or, more often than not, playthings.

    An extreme example perhaps but the ‘just a bloke’ excuse is often used to exonerate men who work in the City (and no doubt on Wall Street and every other place where there’s a preponderance of big swinging dicks) who sexually harass the women they work with and expect them to put up with all sorts of crap while ‘entertaining clients’ down the lap dancing club. No one suggests to them that they should start behaving like decent human beings rather than knuckle scraping sleazebags. It’s just boys being boys.

    You say you want love and fun and intimacy, Joe. I’m sure you do. Don’t we all. But maybe next time you feel yourself disappearing into one of your black holes, you can take a step back and think about what you’re doing. That it’s a real living, breathing, sentient human being who’s waiting for that call/text that will never come. And then put yourself in their shoes.

    • Joe says:

      Yeah – not sure I agree with your sentiment that I am a sexist pig but thank you all the same.

    • RS says:

      There’s a lot of truth in what you’ve written here, Rosie. And Joe I saw nowhere were you were called a “sexist pig”. You gave an example of communication style and made it gender-specific – blokes will be blokes, in other words – and Rosie’s pointed out that it’s no excuse for bad behaviour.

  • Scott Benowitz says:

    Think that’s bad? I’ve found what I believe to be quite possibly the single most annoying book ever written about a relationship, a break-up and post divorce life- at least in the English language….

    [spoiler alert- she’s still in the process of “finding herself” now- and you’re footing the bill for it with your taxes…]

  • James B says:

    The real point here is that, once some mutual attraction has been established and dates undertaken that two key elements come into play. Firstly, are the two people equally attracted to each other? Usually not of course – some differences are normal. Secondly – more importantly, what kind of relationship agenda are the people following and is there compatibility in their desired outcomes? So many men DO just want to date without long term commitment but the same applies to many women in post child-rearing 40’s + when they discover that they might not ‘need’ a man living in their house. I shall now crawl back to work. Good luck out there everyone!

  • Okay folks- some of you have asked (in particular, those whose first initials are “T” and whose last name seems to be “Lover”)- So:

    This is NOT footage of my 40th b’day party, but I did find some footage of a notably similar looking party on the web- Here goes-

    and here’s a link to the DIY instructions-

  • malcolm says:

    Not to sound callous, but why would anyone allow the actions or inactions of other people have such an effect on their lives to the point where one’s sense of well being is affected? I would have thought that by our forties we’ve all suffered enough hard knocks so that something like the frequency of someone else’s calls or texts wouldn’t be much of a concern at all.
    If you are unhappy with his level of communication, you could always tell him so. Then the ball’s in his court, he either steps it up or doesn’t. Either way you’ll have an answer. Or maybe you suspect what the answer is already and don’t want the confirmation, in which case you’d be the one decieving yourself and it has nothing to do with him, his “blokiness”, or all the other failings that women seem to think men have.

    • fi says:

      I hate it when people start on the “women do this” or “men do that”. Firstly it’s not true, as we’re individuals, and secondly it’s a combative position that encourages the same response. I agree with Malcolm – just ask! We’re all grown ups.

      • Jill says:

        Yes, Fi, I agree with you – it’s not a “man” thing or a “woman” thing, but much more a matter of the individual’s emotional intelligence, and differing levels thereof. I also believe that some of us are more adept at being confrontational (or upfront, if that sounds less combative), but others yearn to be understood and not to have to explain how they feel all the time. And I don’t think that the latter is exclusively the province of either men or women.

      • fi says:

        But the world isn’t comprised of mind readers 🙂
        It’s one thing expecting someone who knows you well to know your views on some things, but to expect someone you’ve known for only a short time to know your views on everything that might matter to you is unattainable I think. After all P doesn’t know whether he’ll be in touch again, and if not why not. And nobody seems to expect her to, but this bloke is expected to know what she thinks. And asking isn’t confrontational, nor is it being combative – a simple “I’d like to hear from you sometimes” would introduce it then simply waiting to see what response comes back. I really couldn’t be bothered with that trying to read between the lines or work out whether a bloke fancies me or not – either let me know you do or I’ll assume you don’t. Not only is it easier, it also saves all the agonising.

      • Jill says:

        But Fi, surely it depends how pragmatic each individual is? Not everyone is capable of being so dispassionate about deeply felt emotion. I think that what you describe is a bridge too far for a great many people.

      • fi says:

        Sorry Jill I’ve missed that as I’m cold and callous 🙂
        Not really, but I’m not sure what the deeply held emotion is in this case and if its something like fear of rejection it’s even more unfair to expect someone you don’t know to see deep into your psyche. Obviously we can’t be dispationate about things that really matter to us but we can’t be at the mercy of those emotions either – we do sometimes need to manage them as sometimes it is critical to control them eg not hitting your boss, not shagging your friend’s husband, finding out if your husband is about to leave you etc.

      • Jill says:

        Sorry, Fi, but I think you are contradicting yourself: if we are unable to be dispassionate about things that really matter to us, then surely we ARE at the mercy of those emotions? And I think that one would have to be extremely lacking in emotion not to react strongly on finding out that your husband is about to leave you. (Unless, of course, you couldn’t wait for him to do so!)

      • fi says:

        I’m sorry, I used dispassionate as that was the term you used about me saying that p should just ask what’s going on.
        I think that regardless of how you feel emotionally, it is necessary to manage those emotions and deal with the situation.

      • Jill says:

        That’s a very commendable goal, but I’m not at all convinced that it is achievable by everyone. Emotions are just that – or “instinctive feelings as distinct from reasoning” as the OED would have us believe. Incidentally, I have a (male) twice-divorced friend who told me that “divorce is to do with business, not emotion”, and was quite stunned when I became emotional with him 🙂 We all deal with “stuff” differently – because we are all unique.

      • fi says:

        well…I’m not saying it’s easy, but I think it’s necessary and gets better results than being driven by an emotional, and sometimes illogical, approach. take my recent breast cancer diagnosis – do you think for one moment that I wasn’t upset, worried and fearful? but what would it have achieved if I’d allowed those emotions to dominate my thoughts and actions? only bad things. I suppose we differ in that I think an emotional response is not necessarily the best one and it’s better to take it into account but ultimately respond to something using reason 🙂

      • malcolm says:

        There’s a huge difference between controlling one’s emotions on a spur of the moment and allowing oneself to stew for hours or days in doubt or anxiety because someone isn’t doing what he isn’t aware that you’d like him to be doing.
        Neither sex has a monopoly on any specific type of behaviour either, so when I see these generalizations about men (or women – your choice) I can only assume that the bearer of those opinions haven’t had a lot of experience with the other sex and relies very heavily on the impression they have gleaned from television and magazines.

  • Lizzie says:

    I think all that has happened here is that P tried her damned hardest to throw herself into the “hell, so what, I’ll have fun” mode. Which IS fun, while it’s all going on. It is a confidence booster, a cheerer-upper, a little bit of a high.
    But the trouble is, if that is not, what deep down one really, really wants, then it all comes crashing down at some point. Which is unavoidable and IS NOT fun, after the fact.
    It is as simple as that.

  • James B says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had control over our emotional responses at all times and could be permanently rational. Mind you, without the neurotic romantic response we would probably have no art, no poetry and no great works of literature. Agh.

    • Jill says:

      Not to mention crazy, stupid love……

    • fi says:

      Emotions are good. Just don’t let them dominate so that you do something that isn’t good for you 😉

      • fi says:

        I mean there is a gap between the emotional response and the action you take and you don’t have to act on your emotional response. The problem is I think that the emotional response is somehow seen as the ‘valid’ or ‘true’ or ‘genuine’ one and given inordinate importance, when really it can also be just a collection of irrational fears, desires, blind spots, old provocations and upsets etc. They are a useful pointer for determining what the issue actually is but as a starter, rather than an end point in themselves. In my opinion. (Its ok I know probably nobody agrees 😉 )

  • graceville says:

    Plankton, I’ve often read your blog but never commented before, so here goes…

    I think you’re right when you say that the experience with YT wasn’t as validating or wonderful enough for him as it was for you. The emotional investment you’ve put in is greater than the emotional investment he’s put in and the fact that you’re now sitting there feeling blue is sad, but kind of proves the point. I, too, read “He’s Just Not That Into You” and was struck by just how accurate it really was and – as you said – every line sung to me. It’s easy to dismiss it as just another trashy book but it happened to be the book that made the most sense to me in my distress. (The author’s second book “It’s Called a Break Up Because It’s Broken” was also incredibly helpful and accurate.)

    Since reading HJNTIY, it has made it so much easier to cope when guys fail to send a text or call or show any kind of interest in between dates. I accept that the reason could very well be that it’s because they are just not into me. No shame in it, no need to feel I’ve failed somehow, no need to analyse further – the fact is they just haven’t got the same feeling for me as I do for them. So, I say “next!”, as the book says. I’m now 53 and saying “next!” is great, but it could be a long time between “nexts”! So be it. I’d rather be waiting for “next” than investing more time and energy into someone who wasn’t feeling the same about me as I was about them.

    You seem such an interesting and vibrant person, Plankton. Don’t let this experience with YT get the better of you. He may be cute and fun and all that, but if he can’t even manage a text or two or a call just to say “hi” for no reason other than he felt like it, then he’s not the one for you. As the saying goes: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

    • Jill says:

      Graceville, that is such a wise and thought-provoking post, and I salute you for it. (And yet another book for me to find and read, recommended on this site….) Your advice to P is spot on, and I thoroughly agree with what you say, especially about not letting the situation get the better of her. I have often been given the same advice, and I know that I spend (waste?) far too much time reflecting upon others’ behaviour and actions, and castigating myself as to whether it is something lacking in me or that I may have done to provoke those From now on I shall say to myself, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Thank you. I am sure that you have opened more eyes than just mine, and I hope too, that you, P, are feeling more sanguine about YT now.

      • malcolm says:

        I’m getting the sense that women often tie themselves up into knots about these matters. Stop torturing yourselves. If a realtionship is going to be, then minor little bumps in the road such as the frequency of texts and calls will be overcome without a problem, so agonizing over his or your own behaviour is simply silly. In fact, I’d wager it’s counter productive because it would make you more prone to becoming edgy, uncomfortable, and the fellow might start noticing traces of resentment in your words and actions.
        If I were American I’d ge saying “Y’all need to lighten up a bit”.

      • Jill says:

        Actually, Malcolm, I wasn’t thinking about “romantic” relationships in this instance, although I’m sure the advice holds good for those as well. People can be very hurtful and behave very oddly when a couple part company, even if they were friends with both parties before the split, and I have found that one of the most difficult things to deal with over the past two years. I don’t think that it is being over-sensitive to experience a sense of bewilderment and hurt in such circumstances, and to worry about what may have prompted that kind of behaviour. However, I will try to say “When someone shows you who they are, believe them” next time it happens.

      • fi says:

        Some women Malcolm. Not all of us

      • fi says:

        Jill. People almost always choose sides as it’s difficult for them when their friends splt up. They usually split along gender lines, or who was friends with who first, and rarely choose the ‘victim’s’ side because they are the ‘victim’ as they recognise there is always more to the story of the end of a relationship than appears to be the case. It is the way it is so there’s no point worrying about it.

      • Jill says:

        Fi, it is far too complicated a situation to explain here. And I think that the word you have chosen to use i.e. “victim” is inappropriate as well as being inaccurate. You will just have to take it from me that a small group of people who had been friends of mine for a very long time, (and a couple of whom I had seen through very difficult times of their own), chose to do much more than side with my husband. They could only have done that if they were not in possession of the true facts of the matter. I have written to all three of them, asking them to explain how they could have behaved as they did and they have elected not to respond. And, please, if you have not walked that particular mile in my shoes, as the saying goes, ……….

      • fi says:

        Jill, that why I put victim in inverted commas. I don’t know how else to phrase it. ‘Person whose partner/husband ad an affair’? ‘Person whose partner/husband left them/had a drink problem/ was violent’?.
        And I was taking generalities as I don’t know you or know what happened in your case other than your husband left. But I have been in your shoes, as have people I know, and it does always happen. And in the way I’ve described. From my experience anyway. So there’s no point blaming yourself.

      • Jill says:

        I think we shall have to agree to differ on this, as I have no wish to delve even deeper into my personal take on this kind of thing. And we have strayed somewhat away from the issue under consideration, which was dealing with rejection as between a man and a woman, i.e. YT and P. Suffice it to say that we all react differently to being hurt and to being the recipient of slights. Some of us can shrug and brush off the hurt, and others take it more to heart and engage in self-analysis and soul-searching in response to such treatment. There is no one right or wrong response – we are all individuals and it is impossible for some people (however desirable others might consider it) to be utterly self-contained in such circumstances.

        Now I am going to be very brave and go Christmas shopping…. 😀

      • The Plankton says:

        Not really feeling more sanguine, well, maybe a bit, but trying at least. Thanks, Jill. Pxx

    • The Plankton says:

      Hi Graceville, thank you so much for commenting and for doing so so thoughtfully. I have very much read and taken in what you’ve said. All of it eminently sensible and wise. Thank you. I am glad you are enjoying the blog. Pxx

  • rosie says:

    Malcolm, there would be no need to ‘torture’ oneself if the situation didn’t arise in the first place. Am guessing you’ve never been there yourself because if you had you would understand.

    We like to think we live in an equal society but we don’t. Men are very much still expected (not the way I or most other women would have it but it’s just The Way It Is) to be the instigators at the beginning of a relationship and if they go awol after what you thought was a fantastic date/couple of dates you can’t help but tie yourself in knots. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

    • malcolm says:

      @Rosie, these situations won’t arise if people are upfront about their expectations. If someone’s not going to do what it takes to make you happy, then find out sooner than later. Nurturing a hope that someone will change without you telling them won’t help. That’s all I’m saying.

      Of course I’ve been in that situation. everybody has. I am on a mission to find new and more novel ways to torture myself and don’t like repeating the same ones over and over though, so when something is unpleasant I’ll figure a different way of doing it. It would be terrible to be moaning about the same things time and time again, year after year.

  • rosie says:

    If you’ve ever had a job interview and you really, really want the job and you think you’ve nailed it and then you get the ‘Dear Malcolm’ letter. Well it’s a bit like that.

    • ex-pond-slime says:

      I’m going to pick up Rosie’s analogy and run with it. In this analogy, the non-text from Younger Twinkle is like “a job interview and you really, really want the job and you think you’ve nailed it and then you get the ‘Dear Malcolm’ letter.”

      Remember the context of YT. He was about “having fun”. Plankton agrees above that he isn’t a marriage prospect.

      So, in our analogy, Plankton is long-term unemployed. It hurts. Cut off from all the rewards of a paid job. Feeling like “unwanted” is stamped on her forehead. All her friends have jobs and keep asking how the jobhunt is going, making her feel that the sole source of all human happiness is finding and keeping that elusive position. Many jobs, particularly the most attractive ones, have an age limit, so there is a sense of time running out.

      But P knows that there are miserable wage-slaves out there. She has some savings and welfare benefits to get by on. So she’s not willing to take just any job. It has to be well-paid enough that she is not worse off by taking it, it has to be interesting, challenging, it won’t involve moving out of the capital or unsociable hours, it will ideally involve some travel or other glamorous activities or at least be something her friends won’t sneer at… actually it turns out that P has quite a long list of requirements and there are very few opportunities to even apply for the right sort of job. So when she does see a job ad that fits, of course it means so so much to her. She over-prepares, over-analyses and fluffs the interview. The interviewers are embarrassed by the stink of desperation and move on as quickly as is polite to the next candidate.

      One day a friend, young Tom, suggests that P could play-act a job interview with him. He wants to work in HR, so it would help him. She could practise her interview skills. It would be a safe situation – Tom doesn’t really have a job to offer and everyone knows that, so why not have fun playacting and get some practice for when a real job offer comes along.

      So she does. It goes brilliantly. She has all the answers, she stars in her pretend interview, she feels so good she starts to daydream – it doesn’t hurt to dream after all – Tom does work for a big exciting company, he does know the people in HR, he might perhaps bump into the CEO in a lift and get talking and tell about this brilliant woman who would be perfect for the new role, the fantasy is so delightul …. And then, you know what?! That callous cad Tom, that trifler with her dreams, what does he up and do? He turns around and doesn’t offer her a dream job after all. Boo hoo, boo hoo, boo hoo.

      Sorry to be unsympathetic Ms P, but I told you not to do it. If you wanted to “have fun”, well fine, but you didn’t, did you? You wanted him to fall in love with you. Those texts between meetings aren’t “the odd crumb”, they are the whole deal, the message that says he can’t live without you. He can.

  • rosie says:

    Gosh, there really are some bitter, twisted souls on here, aren’t there.

  • ex-pond-slime says:

    Harsh, yes. Untrue, no. Bitter and twisted, not at all; I wish Plankton well and am just disappointed to discover that she is still stuck in the same futile pattern.

    Yes, I was single (and searching) till 50, so I have a pretty good idea of what P is feeling. That’s why I told her not to go there with YT – my experience in similar situations was that it ended in tears. I was however pleased to read P’s positive posting about the date – wouldn’t it be lovely to have been wrong, perhaps fairytales do come true! Alas, all too soon, we are back to the weeping and wailing and why-doesn’t-he-texting.

    I’ve been there, done that, and would still be wallowing at the slimy bottom of the pond if I hadn’t pulled myself together and done something about it. You can’t do anything about YT, you can’t do anything about the demographics, you can only work on yourself.

    • Elle says:

      I advised P to go for YT, even if it wasn’t going to last. The reason is this – we have to grab every chance of happiness we can, however fleeting. When the pain fades I hope that P can look back at her encounter with YT in a more positive way.

      I agree that you can’t do anything about demographics but there is only so much work you can do on yourself. You can drop your standards dramatically so that you’ll be grateful for any old codger looking for a nurse and purse. You can continue doing the same thing over and over again or you can stop buying into the couples myth and explore alternatives. Life is not Noah’s ark, it helps if we’re in pairs but we don’t have to be. The more of us who stand up and demand respect as single people, the easier it will become in the future.

      Ex-pond-slime, how did you meet your current partner? Was it through online dating, a club or through friends?

  • rosie says:

    So what did you do about it?

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