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Singles Dating - There Are Plenty of Fish in The S
Dec 24, 2009

The phrase "There Are Plenty of Fish in The Sea" is not as modern as you might think.  The original phrase comes from a song of the same name written by Stephen Collins Foster.  It was written in 1863.  The words were written by George Cooper.  The orignal meaning was far from what we think of today.  The song was about a woman that had let her vanity take over and discarded suitors as there were, "... plenty of fish in the sea."  She ends up discovering that while there are "plenty of fish in the sea" "they're hard to be caught."

During the early 1900's the famous American playwrite Eugene O'Neill used the line in his play Diff'Rent (1924) to dismiss the tragedy of a breakup.  That is the more common usage of the phrase to this day.  By the mid 1950's american english began replacing the term "plenty of" with the more colloquial "lots of".  Plenty of Fish became "lots of fish".  As the slang of the sixties shortened most words the phrase became shortened even further to "there are lots o' fish in the sea" or "there are lots o' fish in the ocean".  Most Americans that lived on the East or West Coast would use the term with "ocean" since they lived next to an ocean.

Many a teenager heard from their parents or grandparents that "there are lots o' fish in the ocean" after their first "tragic" breakup.  Even young men used this line to console one another.  It truly has become a part of American Culture.



Stephen Collins Foster, the ninth of William B. and Eliza T. Foster's ten children (plus a son Stephen Foster stained glassfathered by William before the marriage and later raised as their oldest child), was born July 4, 1826, in a white cottage high on the hillside above the Allegheny River in Lawrenceville, east of Pittsburgh.



There Are Plenty of Fish in the Sea (1863)
words: George Cooper; music: Foster

There Are Plenty of Fish in The Sea

A lady tossed her curls
At all who came to woo;
She laughed to scorn the vows,
From hearts through false or true,
While merrily she sang;
And cared all day for naught,
There are plenty of fish in the sea,
As goo as ever were caught,
There are plenty of fish in the sea,
As good as ever were caught.

Upon their lightning wings
The merry years did glide,
A careless life she led.
And was not yet a bride;
Still as of old she sang
Though few to win her sought,
There are plenty of fish in the sea,
As good as ever were caught.

At length the lady grew
Exceedingly alarmed,
For beaux had grown quite shy
Her face no longer charmed.
And now she sadly sings
The lesson time has taught
There are plenty of fish in the sea,
But, oh, they're hard to be caught.


Title:      Diff'Rent (1924)
Author: Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953)

HARRIET--(in a joking tone--with a meaning glance at Emma) Go on, then! There's plenty of fish in the sea. Anyhow, I'd never git jealous of your foolin' with one o' them heathen critters. They ain't worth notice from a Christian.




As a side note the play Diff'Rent dealt with racial issues and a close look at the line above was referencing "darkies".  O'Neill was portraying society as he saw it.  Fortunately we have come a long way from the times of the line where we would consider any of our fellow human beings "heathan critters".



Wise Old Sayings credits one of the earliest usages to a Mr Harvey with "There are plenty of fish in the sea." - Gabriel Harvey (c.1545-1630)


There is an OLD Irish saying, "There are as good fish in the sea as ever came out of it" that adds a more positive note to the whole concept.  Not only are they saying that there are lots more fish, but they are also stating that you can find just as good or BETTER than that which you have lost.  Here is to hoping that is how it goes for you in your current search.



To use another quote that summarizes it in a similar manner,

"You will be over it when you find somebody new!"



So, the name of this website, LOTSoFISH comes from my grandfather telling me not to be too upset over a breakup when I was young, as "there are Lots o' Fish in the Ocean"!