Short but Sweet

January 29, 2013 § 56 Comments

From yesterday’s Times:-

Well, it lasted all of a matter of weeks and is now over with the Slightly Younger Twinkle, who turned into Something of a Firework, but who, like a firework, didn’t hang about for long.  The ending came about for reasons beyond his control, so I probably shouldn’t take it entirely personally, though it still felt like a rejection.


Short but sweet.  Of course, it was a slightly dotty venture on my part because it was always bound to come to a swift-ish end.  I had hoped perhaps not quite as swift, but I went in with my eyes wide open so the fallout has not been as bad as it might.  I feel sad but not a wreck.  I don’t think I have even cried.


In my new spirit of trying to think 2013 is going to be better than were 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 – I could go on – I am concentrating on what was to be gained by the whole affair as opposed to what was lost by its untimely ending.  On balance, I have decided it was a force for good more than something that was irredeemably bleak.  A gorgeous, pouting, kind, intelligent person is never to be sniffed at, and certainly not one who was manifestly interested in me (a rare commodity indeed).  We got to know and like each other before the affair started (or is an affair only with a married person?  In which case – neither of us married – let’s call it a fling, though I prefer affair as it sounds more fun and illicit).  And we had good times; and are managing to do so still, by some miracle, although on a more chaste basis.


It’s in the bank, as several friends have said, and they are right.  No one can take the memory away from me, especially of that cinematic split second when, after some weeks of mystery, speculation and anticipation, SYT and I drunkenly, gloriously, crossed the line from friends to lovers.  From all my promiscuous younger days, I don’t remember that turn being quite so astonishingly unexpected and exciting.  I will picture it in my mind when I am properly old, tartan rug over my arthritic knees, and think, I had my movie moments.


Today, wistfulness that it’s over is the prevailing feeling.  I wish Fate hadn’t intervened quite so soon and it could have gone on a tad longer. My friend Dave doesn’t think it’s over.  He reckons it’s sure fire that SYT will have made another pass at me within three months.  I say Dave’s got to be kidding.


We have shaken on it.  Come April, I expect to be £10 richer.



§ 56 Responses to Short but Sweet

  • Sarah says:

    “We have shaken on it. Come April, I expect to be £10 richer.”
    How come? Did you win a bet?

    • Ivor Biggun says:

      No, she’s only just made the bet and, if you like, P, I’ll raise it to £100 alongside Dave’s £10, but you had better start saving ….it will be like taking candy from a baby. 🙂

      • The Plankton says:

        Ivor, thank you! It’ll be the first money I would ever have made from this blog. But I feel duty bound to warn you I think it’s pretty sure fire and your £100 is very unsafe. I am almost sure I am going to win this one, even if it very much in my interests not to! I’d PAY £100, and probably a lot more, to get back together with SYT. I’ll keep you posted! Very best wishes, Pxx

    • The Plankton says:

      No. I have a bet with a friend that SYT won’t come back for more. The friend thinks he will. He hasn’t yet. I am hoping to lose my £10. It will be worth it! Pxx

  • James B says:

    Not a rejection, Ms P. A vote of confidence and a bridge to better days.

    See? You are still desirable and, while this chap might not have wanted a full, long term, committed relationship, in a way this is what you needed.

    If you really do want a life partner then you have to work at it (along modern lines sadly – joining groups, meetups, Internet dating or at least singles events). Otherwise you will be the only one sending faxes while the world uses email.

    Having said that, please take the positive from this liaison. Younger, attractive men still find you desirable. Therefore, all is far from lost.

    Please do get some talk therapy though. You need to let all that poisonous old air out of your tyres before you can pump new fresh stuff back in and get back on the motorway.

    • Jill says:

      Really wise (and kind) words, James B. I salute you.

    • fi says:

      “In my new spirit of trying to think 2013 is going to be better than were 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 – I could go on ”

      P I’m interpreting this as you telling us that this period of negativity isn’t just a recent thing, and having read your blog since it started I would concur with that. I whole heartedly agree with commentators here and on the previous page that you might benefit from some kind of therapy to try to address it.
      I’m not going to tell you that you’re attractive and clever and articulate etc etc as we all know that’s not what gets you a boyfriend, nor does a relationship end because you don’t have enough of those qualities.
      I do think you need to do something that encourages you to take a more positive approach to life especially as you write a blog in which you continually tell yourself and everyone else that your life is shite. Even Pollyanna would become depressed doing that. You should think about CBT (I think that’s what its called) and you can even buy books on how to use it. If your attitude changed then you would I think find that your life would too.
      Ps if you think this is too blunt and you don’t like it then just ignore it in favour of the following: “you’re great, you’re really attractive, and clever, you’ll meet someone soon etc etc”

      • Jill says:

        While I agree with you to a certain extent, fi, I am also mindful of rosie’s comment (January 26th) that “there isn’t a pill or a therapist in he world that can cure loneliness”. Yes, talking therapy can be very helpful, especially as the “listener” is someone who has no axe to grind as in the case of a friend, but everyone needs to find the right sort for him or herself. Personally I found CBT downright infuriating (or maybe it was just the therapist….?!) Changing one’s behaviour/activities/environment etc. can all be helpful certainly, but not everyone has the opportunity to effect such changes. It seems to be universally acknowledged that doing things for others can effect a huge amount of satisfaction and uplift. (I’m finding that being away from home at the moment, looking after my oldest grandchild while the latest – born yesterday afternoon! – is getting to know his parents in hospital – is wonderfully mood-enhancing, notwithstanding the total exhaustion at the end of each day!) N.B. Am NOT recommending that your children rush off and get pregnant, P!)

      • The Plankton says:

        No, no, I don’t think it’s too blunt. I welcome all suggestions. (And, entrenched as I am, think, ooh, that’s a good idea, but then do nothing about it). Pxx

    • Steve says:

      Spot on James. I’d be delighted if a young, attractive woman found me desirable!

    • The Plankton says:

      Well, I hope a vote of confidence. I am choosing to see it that way than be blinded by the rejection. Pxx

  • James B says:

    Ms P – I do not really recommend CBT for your situation. It’s better than nothing, but it really tries to offer a fast solution to established thinking patterns (‘faulty thinking’) in order to allow someone to move on quickly with a new, emotionally efficient set of perspectives. It might work at a certain level for you but I sense a resistance from you about taking prescribed advice.

    If you can afford a slightly longer-term approach, why not seek out a psychodynamic therapist? This is a more patient sort of therapy whereby you gently move towards insights about yourself that allow you to change your emotions, goals and behaviours once you really understand yourself (via personal insights). Slowly you would (maybe 6-9 months) be able to rebuild a happier, more certain and less fragile you. It’s great for depression when that depression comes from a mixture of relationship collapse, mid-life changes and general emotional turmoil. Change anti-depressants though too, please. If you are feeling doped and emotionally muted then the drug does not really work yet, whatever your doctor is telling you. There are plenty of alternatives. But having read this blog for a while, I am sure you’d benefit from therapy. I am not sure if you are in West London (just a feeling) but you can try calling the HELP Counselling Centre in the Portobello Road, Notting Hill and see what they say …

    • fi says:

      Re CBT – you’re probably right. I shouldn’t have said that actually as I don’t know anything about it, just that some people I know have used it. Sorry P.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you very much for this. It is good advice. The problem is, I have seen endless different types of shrinks in the past, and none of them ever did me any good. So it’s hard to commit time and money I don’t have to yet another. But thanks anyway for the encouragement. I am not dismissing it out of hand. Pxx

  • jil333 says:

    Hi P. I don’t know much about Prozac,just what one hears from other people from time to time,but I was in a depressing sort of relationship; an illicit affair probably describes it best. For six years I had an extramarital relationship,great sex,possibly we were so-called soulmates,extreme highs and so depressing lows- when he didn’t contact me for ages inbetween encounters,but I always went back to him. He was an egotistical man,a bit older than me,but I feel age is irrelevant in any case; as long as you feel confident. Anyway I ended it ,a clean break,and am much better for it. I walk every day with my dogs- walking is nature’s antidepressive.

  • jil333 says:


  • EmGee says:

    I’m backing Dave on this one, since your affair ended positively, signs are good! And look at what you gained, the long drought of aloneness is over, he affirmed that you are lovable and desirable, perhaps he may even be available as a date for social gatherings, so no longer will you be the 5th wheel at dinner parties or the theater. 2013, compared to previous years is off to a roaringly great start!

    I am still with the guy I met a couple months after starting to read your blog, through that romancing stage, the fiery break-up, the months-long heartbroken aftermath, remaining friends, and slowly letting the relationship rebuild itself. He doesn’t ‘tick all the boxes’, and he never will, but he clearly loves and respects me. (and he’s not fat and sloppy , nor bald, 😉 )

  • James B says:

    I sense a “Baldist” theme running here, ladies!

  • malcolm says:

    This was just a warm-up for the next one, getting a bit of practice in and confirming that the parts are still working. Now you don’t have to worry about that. Sex isn’t just something that happens to other people.

    If it happened once, it can happen again. Chin up.

  • Bambi says:

    Sweet, indeed, P, that first ‘encounter’ post marriage break-up….. i remember it well… sigh…

    • T Lover says:

      Bambi, what happened?

      You moved to London (?) to a new (?) job and then went quiet. Not heard for months.

      A sign that you were happy in London/the job?

      • Bambi says:

        T Lover, how kind of you to ask. The reason that I have not been on here is because there is no WiFi at the meat (meet?) counter at John Lewis, where I have been hanging around forever in the hope of running into you! Bet you have been too busy chasing after that fiesty Fi up North (hi Fi, I continue to enjoy your and others’ comments here when I do check in).

        Am loving London and would enjoy the job too, if it wasn’t so goddam time-consuming… I am still checking in here and always read the post, but can’t seem to find the time to read all the comments or to reply (do I hear a collective sigh of relief!). I find it fascinating – many of Plankton’s experiences and feelings are like a mirror-image of my own, except the reflection is about 5 years behind my reality…even the latest ‘young buck’ aka SYT incident (except that i didn’t date) – I’m still intrigued by the penchant some young guys have for older women – I wasn’t aware of it till my own marriage ended. Of course it gives a woman a buzz…and I think that it is genuinely a great experience for Plankton and many other women, but, personally, I’m not attracted to men who are much younger (Too angsty. Meaning they are, not I !) Give me a man who is over the mid-life crisis any day, who has had the hard knocks, survived them and become all the more interesting/open/grounded – and fun – as a result…

        On a random topic – London is certainly a challenge to break into socially, but I am persisting and making some progress – have met lots of funny, vibrant, interesting women – and almost zero men. Sound familiar?

        P, keep up the good work – your post has value and resonance for many. Oh, and by the way, I was recommended some other anti-depressant over Prozac. Can’t remember why or what it was, as it must be 5 years or more since I took it. Found it a great crutch at a particular point- dulled the extreme pain and meant I could function at a certain level. Again, not the solution for everyone and I agonised over it for a long time -like our Miss P, I suspect. Mind you, coming off them is s**t. I can write that part of the blog in advance for you, if you like!

        Now, am heading back to the cold meats counter for another 6 months….waiting….waiting…waiting…

      • T Lover says:


        Did you read Private Eye this week? Five reasons why they are certain that skeleton belonged to Richard the III?

        Well don’t hang round the meat counter because the 5th was (the skeleton was below a supermarket car park) they found DNA traces of his horse in aisle seven.

        Yes, it is true. I bought Fi a ring, waited by the Marriage House (on the Scottish border) for days but was jilted. Then I discovered she was tall, taller than me is the real point. She doesn’t like short arses. I have a phobia about taller women so marriage made in heaven it would not have been.

        And you won’t bump into me in John Lewis, Waitrose whatever. I come across some of the “Partners” through fishing and find them an odd bunch. But if you jump in your car, head down the A3 to Longstock you will find the best water gardens in the country – now managed by Waitrose on their Leckford Estate.

        So now, I have abandoned “women” and come to the reality: being on your own is not too bad. What the hell.

      • fi says:

        I am indeed tall. Sorry
        Hi Bambi too.
        Is feisty another word for cranky and bad tempered? That’s me all right.

      • T Lover says:

        Oh no you’re not.

        I think you will be tired at the moment – nothing more than that.

        Have a nice weekend you two.


  • therugbymom says:

    I’m sad with you that it is over.

    I’m also very jealous, but I certainly don’t begrudge you for taking advantage of an opportunity when it came along. Not all of us are that brave. I think this was a big step forward for you. Thank you for sharing – you give me hope!

  • Steve H says:

    Sorry to hear that it has ended P, but recent hints by you meant it wasn’t a huge surprise.

    Intrigued that it ended for “reasons outside his control” . The mind boggles! I can only surmise that he’s got a teaching job in a different location and can no longer do home tutoring?

    Surely the phrase “When there’s a will there’s a way” applies though? I dated someone 120 miles away for 6 years, so if it’s distance that’s the changed factor, it is still possible. Apart from distance, i can’t really conceive of another reason “outside someone’s control” but am sure there may be….

    • The Plankton says:

      I am sorry the mind has boggled, Steve. But I couldn’t be more specific because I am paranoid about him reading my column and recognising himself. Let’s just say, his status has changed and it might no longer be appropriate in some (narrow-minded) people’s view for him to be involved with me. Pxx

      • Jo says:

        Hmm. The mind boggles indeed.
        ‘The ending came for reasons beyond his control…..’
        ‘His status has changed and it might no longer be appropriate in some (narrow-minded) people’s view for him to be involved with me..’
        But there’s a possibility (according to your friend Dave) that
        ‘SYT will have made another pass at me within three months.’
        How could that be if ‘the ending came about for reasons beyond his control…’?
        Doesn’t quite add up. But we’re not here to pry..
        The mind does indeed boggle however…

      • The Plankton says:

        I am wanting to be discreet but let’s just say his circumstances changed making it potentially tricky to be involved with me. It wasn’t actually tricky but he felt it could compromise his position. I am hoping he may come to realise that it doesn’t, in the least, but as you know, I have placed a bet that that won’t happen and it is in fact well and truly over. Sadly, but not tragically. I’m still standing! Pxx

  • PY says:

    I doubt that the whole experience has driven him to take up Holy Orders ; to join Trinity House to monitor the blinking eye of some lonesome lighthouse ; taken to the depths in a submarine or that he has been banged up inside to satisfy Her Majesty’s pleasure .

    Whatever the reason for your parting, there are pluses on both sides of the bed sheet – it has to be viewed from the lad’s side, as well as from yours. Having relinquished your embrace, he should have re-entered the wider world a wiser, more mature individual who will, hopefully, have taken away a lot more from his close encounters with Plankton-kind than he was asked to give.

    If you’ve done well by him, one of your ‘sisters’ somewhere down the line will be offering a silent vote of thanks that at one time or another he was taken in hand and shown the light.

    My own ‘Mrs Robinson’ worked for me – the gift that keeps on giving.

    • Steve 2 says:

      Or perhaps his change of circumstances has created a conflict of interest? As a freelance writer one must be very aware of undue influence. This might explain propinquity being involved.
      Hopefully it might show P that there is light at the end of the tunnel and look for options in unexpected places. Men are after all very poor at reading women’s intentions even when they think they are being very obvious.
      Creating reasons to spend time with a potential twinkle that do not threaten then can lead to success.

      • The Plankton says:

        This is true. Would that there was even one potential twinkle right now with whom to be propinquitous (not a word I am sure, but you get my drift). Alas, there are none, none, none. Pxx

      • malcolm says:

        “This is true. Would that there was even one potential twinkle right now with whom to be propinquitous (not a word I am sure, but you get my drift). Alas, there are none, none, none. Pxx”

        I think the word you’re searching for is propinquilicious.

    • RS says:

      I think you might be projecting a bit here PY. The guy is, from what I gather, slightly younger than P. I’m not sure it was, as you seem to think from what you’ve written here (although I could be wrong), a “Mrs. Robinson” situation with P. playing the part of vastly experienced older woman taking a naive, much-younger man in hand and imparting the secrets to satisfying a woman so that future “sisters” would be thrilled at his skills. Yuck. Such a stereotype!

      Anyway, the picture P has painted of the situation isn’t, in my mind at least, anything like that!

      • PY says:

        RS, I believe you have interpolated a tad too much from my comment. If you have drawn the conclusion that I was alluding to a boring stereotype of a younger, able, sexual gratifier of older women then you are misguided .

        A continuing thread of comments through this blog is the plaintive Plankton wail that men only look at younger models rather than their peers or, indeed, up the tree of life. Despite the protestations of soem of my fellow male contributors.

        What I was suggesting is that there is at least one more chap out there who appreciates an older woman for all they can offer which comes from experience and maturity of view – and not just what may have been gained twixt the sheets .

    • malcolm says:

      “If you’ve done well by him, one of your ‘sisters’ somewhere down the line will be offering a silent vote of thanks that at one time or another he was taken in hand and shown the light.”

      Yeah I find that a bit offensive too. A bit like that new “Train your boyfriend” app, available to be purchased by anybody over 4 years old.

      “Crack that whip and teach your guy a thing or two about being the Perfect Boyfriend! When scolding doesn’t work, just zap him, whack him and train him to be your ideal man!”

      This notion that men need to be “taken by the hand” or trained seems to be a popular theme lately. Perhaps that’s why men are extending fewer hands these days.

      • fi says:

        Oh how we laugh at these. Funnily enough we wouldn’t be laughing if it was an app to slap your girlfriend/wife about.

    • The Plankton says:

      This is nice to hear. Thanks. Pxx

  • rosie says:

    Sorry to hear it’s over, P. It’s probably no consolation right now but at least it didn’t happen six months down the line, by which time, if you’re anything like me, you would have lost both your heart and your head. And if he does pop back up, you might have SYTMarkII on your arm (if it can happen once it can happen again!) and be in the luscious position of being able to choose to take it or leave it.

  • Elle says:

    I’m delighted you enjoyed your short encounter with SYT. It may have been short and sweet, but the main thing is that it was sweet. Life is to be enjoyed and if you get your £10 next April well and good, but maybe you won’t 🙂 Eitherways it doesn’t matter. You’ve had some fun, now go out and have some more.

  • rosie says:

    So there I was, waking up to yet another Sunday morning with nothing to do and no one to do it with, mindlessly googling, and thinking, ‘jesus christ (who doesn’t exist), how much more of this shit’, when I came across this by the American writer Daphne Merkin. A very reasoned, poignant piece about the ‘joys’ of flying solo in middle age, I thought:


    “…boneless, brainless and most people would scream if they rubbed up against one…. but we’re as elegant as we are squishy…. ”

    as quoted from some of the world’s leading oceanographers, top experts in our field….

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