It's an interesting blog: she began it - as she writes in her column for The Times - "because I felt it was about time to voice the unsayable: that women of a certain age such as myself (and there are a heck of a lot of us — divorced, never married, widowed, and alone) are at the very bottom of the food chain when it comes to romance, relationships and sex, and it feels like shit."
I've become slightly obsessed by The Plankton's blog: it does help that she posts at least once a day, and that she's unflinchingly honest in her despair in how difficult it is to find new love at a certain age. So unflinching is she I feel a little voyeuristic reading it, however, give it a go because I suspect, like me, you'll want to see where the journey takes her.
I do think there's a sense in which women don an invisibility cloak once they hit forty - there's that sense of contracting possibilities, of the winnowing of time and every time you look in the mirror you're caught between your internal midlife crisis and wondering what economies you could make in order to afford a vat of botox. Miranda Sawyer's piece in The Guardian says all I could possibly say on the subject of quiet midlife crises, only a lot better of course.*
Do I think that a woman of a certain age is inevitably at 'the bottom of the sexual food chain'? No, of course I don't, but then I'm not single, so haven't had to put The Plankton's assertion to the test, and I'm heartily relieved I don't have to. However, I can see that the dating field is hardly lush, green and ripe with possibilities once one is past forty. I know many beautiful, elegant, desirable fortysomething single women, and frankly, the single men of my acquaintance can't hold a candle to them, though they behave as if the dating world is their oyster.
The Plankton has had a lot of 'helpful' comments about getting a dog, or joining a class or going to therapy to boost her self-esteem, all of which is as dispiriting as it is well-meant. On behalf of all fortysomething women, I'd like to say, we're not dead yet - you can't stare the second half of your life in the face and feel like you've missed the boat, and none of us is ready for Saga magazine style activities. Mind you, when you do stare the second half of your life in the face, it takes you a moment to recognise whose face it is - in your head you still look just like you did at thirty, but the reality is the tiniest bit different.
Anyway, I was talking about The Plankton's blog with a single fortysomething friend earlier today.
Did she think she was at the bottom of the sexual food chain, I asked?
She looked at me thoughtfully for a while. 'Nothing would persuade me to call myself a plankton,' she said, 'But I would call the last six men I've dated pond life'.
*Thanks go again to Waffle for sending me a link to this piece.