Bridget joness diary, p.2
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       Bridget Jones's Diary, p.2
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         Part #1 of Bridget Jones series by Helen Fielding

  'No, really.'

  'Silverskin onion?' I encouraged. 'Beetroot cube?'

  'Thank you,' he said desperately, taking an olive.

  'Hope you enjoy it,' I said triumphantly.

  Towards the end I saw him being harangued by his mother and Una, who marched him over towards me and stood just behind while he said stiffly, 'Do you need driving back to London? I'm staying here but I could get my car to take you.'

  'What, all on its own?' I said.

  He blinked at me.

  'Durr! Mark has a company car and a driver, silly,' said Una.

  'Thank you, that's very kind,, I said. 'But I shall be taking one of my trains in the morning.'

  2 a.m. Oh, why am I so unattractive? Why? Even a man who wears bumblebee socks thinks I am horrible. Hate the New Year. Hate everyone. Except Daniel Cleaver. Anyway, have got giant tray-sized bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk left over from Christmas on dressing table, also amusing joke gin and tonic miniature. Am going to consume them and have fag.

  Tuesday 3 January

  9st 4 (terrifying slide into obesity – why? why?), alcohol units6 (excellent), cigarettes 23 (v.g.), calories 2472.

  9 a.m. Ugh. Cannot face thought of go to work. Only thing which makes it tolerable is thought of seeing Daniel again, but even that is inadvisable since am fat, have spot on chin, and desire only to sit on cushion eating chocolate and watching Xmas specials. It seems wrong and unfair that Christmas, with its stressful and unmanageable financial and emotional challenges, should first be forced upon one wholly against one's will, then rudely snatched away just when one is starting to get into it. Was really beginning to enjoy the feeling that normal service was suspended and it was OK to lie in bed as long as you want, put anything you fancy into your mouth, and drink alcohol whenever it should chance to pass your way, even in the mornings. Now suddenly we are all supposed to snap into self-discipline like lean teenage greyhounds.

  10 p.m. Ugh. Perpetua, slightly senior and therefore thinking she is in charge of me, was at her most obnoxious and bossy, going on and on to the point of utter boredom about latest half-million-pound property she is planning to buy with her rich-but-overbred boyfriend, Hugo: 'Yars, yars, well it is north-facing but they've done something frightfully clever with the light.'

  I looked at her wistfully, her vast, bulbous bottom swathed in a tight red skirt with a bizarre three-quarter-length striped waistcoat strapped across it. What a blessing to be born with such Sloaney arrogance. Perpetua could be the size of a Renault Espace and not give it a thought. How many hours, months, years, have I spent worrying about weight while Perpetua has been happily looking for lamps with porcelain cats as bases around the Fulham Road? She is missing out on a source of happiness, anyway. It is proved by surveys that happiness does not come from love, wealth or power but the pursuit of attainable goals: and what is a diet if not that?

  On way home in end-of-Christmas denial I bought a packet of cut-price chocolate tree decorations and a ?3.69 bottle of sparkling wine from Norway, Pakistan or similar. I guzzled them by the light of the Christmas tree, together with a couple of mince pies, the last of the Christmas cake and some Stilton, while watching EastEnders, imagining it was a Christmas special.

  Now, though, I feel ashamed and repulsive. I can actually feel the fat splurging out from my body. Never mind. Sometimes you have to sink to a nadir of toxic fat envelopment in order to emerge, phoenix-like, from the chemical wasteland as a purged and beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer figure. Tomorrow new Spartan health and beauty regime will begin.

  Mmmm. Daniel Cleaver, though. Love his wicked dissolute air, while being v. successful and clever. He was being v. funny today, telling everyone about his aunt thinking the onyx kitchen-roll holder his mother had given her for Christmas was a model of a penis. Was really v. amusing about it. Also asked me if I got anything nice for Christmas in rather flirty way. Think might wear short black skirt tomorrow.

  Wednesday 4 January

  9st 5 (stateof emergency now as if fat hasbeen stored incapsule form over Christmasand is being slowly releasedunder skin),alcoholunits 5 (better), cigarettes 20, calories700 (v.g.)

  4 p.m. Office. State of emergency. Jude just rang up from her portable phone in flood of tears, and eventually managed to explain, in a sheep's voice, that she had just had to excuse herself from a board meeting (Jude is Head of Futures at Brightlings) as she was about to burst into tears and was now trapped in the ladies' with Alice Cooper eyes and no make-up bag. Her boyfriend, Vile Richard (self-indulgent commitment phobic), whom she has been seeing on and off for eighteen months, had chucked her for asking him if he wanted to come on holiday with her. Typical, but Jude naturally was blaming it all on herself.

  'I'm co-dependent. I asked for too much to satisfy my own neediness rather than need. Oh, if only I could turn back the clock.'

  I immediately called Sharon and an emergency summit has been scheduled for 6.30 in Cafe Rouge. I hope I can get away without bloody Perpetua kicking up.

  11 p.m. Strident evening. Sharon immediately launched into her theory on the Richard situation: 'Emotional fuckwittage', which is spreading like wildfire among men over thirty. As women glide from their twenties to thirties, Shazzer argues, the balance of power subtly shifts. Even the most outrageous minxes lose their nerve, wrestling with the first twinges of existential angst: fears of dying alone and being found three weeks later half-eaten by an Alsatian. Stereotypical notions of shelves, spinning wheels and sexual scrapheaps cons ire to make you feel stupid, no matter how much time you spend thinking about Joanna Lumley and Susan Sarandon.

  'And men like Richard,' fumed Sharon, 'play on the chink in the armour to wriggle out of commitment, maturity, honour and the natural progression of things between a man and a woman.'

  By this time Jude and I were going, 'Shhh, shhh,' out of the corners of our mouths and sinking down into our coats. After all, there is nothing so unattractive to a man as strident feminism.

  'How dare he say you were getting too serious by asking to go on holiday with him?' yelled Sharon. 'What is he talking about?'

  Thinking moonily about Daniel Cleaver, I ventured that not all men are like Richard. At which point Sharon started on a long illustrative list of emotional fuckwittage in progress amongst our friends: one whose boyfriend of thirteen years refuses even to discuss living together; another who went out with a man four times who then chucked her because it was getting too serious; another who was pursued by a bloke for three months with impassioned proposals of marriage, only to find him ducking out three weeks after she succumbed and repeating the whole process with her best friend.

  'We women are only vulnerable because we are a pioneer generation daring to refuse to compromise in love and relying on our own economic power. In twenty years' time men won't even dare start with fuckwittage because we will just laugh in their faces,' bellowed Sharon.

  At this point Alex Walker, who works in Sharon's company, strolled in with a stunning blonde who was about eight times as attractive as him. He ambled over to us to say hi.

  'Is this your new girlfriend?' asked Sharon.

  'Well. Huh. You know, she thinks she is, but we're not going out, we're just sleeping together. I ought to stop it really, but, well . . .' he said, smugly.

  'Oh, that is just such crap, you cowardly, dysfunctional little schmuck. Right. I'm going to talk to that woman,' said Sharon, getting up. Jude and I forcibly restrained her while Alex, looking panic-stricken, rushed back, to continue his fuckwittage unrumbled.

  Eventually the three of us worked out a strategy for Jude. She must stop beating herself over the head with Women Who Love Too Much and instead think more towards Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, winch will help her to see Richard's behaviour less as a sign that she is co-dependent and loving too much and more in the light of him being like a Martian rubber band which needs to stretch away in order to come back.

  'Yes, but does that mean I should call him or not?' said Jude.


  'No,' said Sharon just as I was saying, 'Yes.'

  After Jude had gone because she has to get up at 5.45 to go to the gym and see her personal shopper before work starts at 8.30 (mad) – Sharon and I were suddenly filled with remorse and self-loathing for not advising Jude simply to get rid of Vile Richard because he is vile. But then, as Sharon pointed out, last time we did that they got back together and she told him everything we'd said in a fit of reconcilatory confession and now it is cripplingly embarrassing every time we see him and he thinks we are the Bitch Queens from Hell – which, as Jude points out, is a misapprehension because, although we have discovered our Inner Bitches, we have not yet unlocked them.

  Thursday 5 January

  9st 3 (excellent progress – 21b of fat spontaneously combustedthrough joy and sexual promise), alcohol units 6 (v.g. forparty), cigarettes 12 (continuing good work), calories 1258(love has eradicated need to pig out).

  11 a.m. Office. Oh my God. Daniel Cleaver just sent me a message. Was trying to work on CV without Perpetua noticing (in preparation for improving career) when Message Pending suddenly flashed up on top of screen. Delighted by, well, anything – as always am if is not work – I quickly pressed RMS Execute and nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw Cleave at the bottom of the message. I instantly thought he had been able to tap into the computer and see that I was not getting on with my work. But then I read the message:

  Message Jones

  You appear to have forgotten your skirt. As

  I think is made perfectly clear in your

  contract of employment, staff are expected

  to be fully dressed at all times.

  Cleave

  Hah! Undeniably flirtatious. Thought for a little while whilst pretending to study tedious-beyond-belief manuscript from lunatic Have never messaged Daniel Cleaver before but brilliant thing about messaging system is you can be really quite cheeky and informal, even to your boss. Also can spend ages practising. This is what sent.

  Message Cleave

  Sir, am appalled by message. Whilst skirt

  could reasonably be described as a little

  on the skimpy side (thrift being ever our

  watchword in editorial), consider it gross

  misrepresentation to describe said skirt as

  absent, and considering contacting union.

  Jones

  Waited in frenzy of excitement for reply. Sure enough Message Pending quickly flashed up. Pressed RMS:

  Will whoever has thoughtlessly removed the

  edited script of KAFKA'S MOTORBIKE from my

  desk PLEASE have the decency to return it

  immediately.

  Diane

  Aargh. After that: zilch.

  Noon. Oh God. Daniel has not replied. Must be furious. Maybe he was being serious about the skirt. Oh God oh God. Have been seduced by informality of messaging medium into being impertinent to boss.

  12.10. Maybe he has not got it yet. If one could get message back. Think will go for walk and see if can somehow go into Daniel's office and erase it.

  12.15. Hah. All-explained. He is in meeting with Simon from Marketing. He gave me a look when walked past. Aha. Ahahahaha. Message Pending:

  Message Jones

  If walking past office was attempt to

  demonstrate presence of skirt can only say

  that it has failed parlously. Skirt is

  indisputably absent. Is skirt off sick?

  Cleave

  Message Pending then flashed up again immediately.

  Message Jones

  If skirt is indeed sick, please look into how

  many days sick leave skirt has taken in previous

  twelvemonth. Spasmodic nature of recent

  skirt attendance suggests malingering

  Cleave

  Just sending back:

  Message Cleave

  Skirt is demonstrably neither sick nor

  abscent. Appalled by management's

  blatently sizist attitude to skirt.

  Obsessive interest in skirt suggests

  management sick rather than skirt.

  Jones

  Hmm. Think will cross last bit out as contains mild accusation of sexual harassment whereas v. much enjoying being sexually harassed by Daniel Cleaver.

  Aaargh. Perpetua just walked past and started reading over shoulder. Just managed to press Alt Screen in nick of time but big mistake as merely put CV back up on screen.

  'Do let me know when you've finished reading, won't you?' said Perpetua, with a nasty smirk. 'I'd hate to feel you were being underused.'

  The second she was safely back on the phone – 'I mean frankly, Mr Birkett, what is the point in putting three to four bedrooms when it is going to be obvious the second we appear that bedroom four is an airing cupboard?' – I got back to work. This is what I am about to send.

  Message Cleave

  Skirt is demonstrably neither sick nor

  abscent. Appalled by management's

  blatently sizist attitude to skirt.

  Considering appeal to industrial tribunal,

  tabloids, etc.

  Jones.

  Oh dear. This was return message.

  Message Jones

  Absent, Jones, not abscent. Blatantly, not

  Blatently. Please attempt to acquire at

  least perfunctory grasp of spelling. Though

  by no means trying to suggest language fixed

  rather than constantly adapting, fluctuating

  tool of communication (cf Hoenigswald)

  computer spell check might help.

  Cleave

  Was just feeling crestfallen when Daniel walked past with Simon from Marketing and shot a very sexy look at my skirt with one eyebrow raised. Love the lovely computer messaging. Must work on spelling, though. After all, have degree in English.

  Friday 6 January

  5.45 p.m. Could not be more joyous. Computer messaging re: presence or otherwise of skirt continued obsessively all afternoon. Cannot imagine respected boss did stroke of work. Weird scenario with Perpetua (penultimate boss), since knew I was messaging and v. angry, but fact that was messaging ultimate boss gave self conflicting feelings of loyalty – distinctly un-level playing field where anyone with ounce of sense would say ultimate boss should hold sway.

  Last message read:

  Message Jones

  Wish to send bouquet to ailing skirt over

  weekend. Please supply home contact no asap

  as cannot, for obvious reasons, rely on

  given spelling of 'Jones' to search in file.

  Cleave

  Yesssss! Yessssss' Daniel Cleaver wants my phone no. Am marvellous. Am irresistible Sex Goddess. Hurrah!

  Sunday 8 January

  9st 2 (v. bloody g. but what is point?), alcohol units 2 (excellent), cigarettes 7, calories 3100 (poor).

  2 p.m. Oh God, why am I so unattractive? Cannot believe I convinced myself I was keeping the entire weekend free to work when in fact I was on permanent date-with-Daniel standby. Hideous, wasted two days glaring psychopathically at the phone, and eating things. Why hasn't he ring? Why? What's wrong with me? Why ask for my phone number if he wasn't going to ring, and if he was going to ring surely he would amp; it over the weekend? Must centre myself more. Will ask Jude about appropriate self-help book, possible Eastern-religion-based.

  8 p.m. Phone call alert, which turned out to be just Tom, asking if there was any telephonic progress. Tom, who has taken, unflatteringly, to calling himself a hag-fag, has been sweetly supportive about the Daniel crisis. Tom has a theory that homosexuals and single women in their thirties have natural bonding: both being accustomed to disappointing their parents and being treated as freaks by society. He indulged me while I obsessed to him about my unattractiveness crisis – precipitated, as I told him, first by bloody Mark Darcy then by bloody Daniel at which point he said, I must say not particularly helpfully, 'Mark Darcy? But isn't he that famous lawyer – the human-r
ights guy?'

  Hmmm. Well, anyway. What about my human right not to have to wander round with fearsome unattractiveness hang-up?

  11 p.m. It is far too late for Daniel to ring. V. sad and traumatized.

  Monday 9 January

  9st 2, alcohol units 4, cigarettes 29, calories 770 (v.g.but at what price?).

  Nightmare day in office. Watched the door for Daniel all morning: nothing. By 11.45 a.m. I was seriously alarmed. Should I raise an alert?

  Then Perpetua suddenly bellowed into the phone: 'Daniel? He's gone to a meeting in Croydon, He'll be in tomorrow.' She banged the phone down and said, 'God, all these bloody girls ringing him up.'

  Panic stricken, I reached for the Silk Cut. Which girls? What? Somehow I made it through the day, got home, and in a moment of insanity left a message on Daniel's answerphone, saying (oh no, I can't believe I did this), 'Hi, it's Jones here. I was just wondering how you are and if you wanted to meet for the skirt-health summit, like you said.'

  The second I put the phone down I realized it was an emergency and rang Tom, who calmly said leave it to him: if he made several calls to the machine he could find the code which would let him play back and erase the message. Eventually he thought he'd cracked it, but unfortunately Daniel then answered the phone. Instead of saying, 'Sorry, wrong number,' Tom hung up. So now Daniel not only has the insane message but will think it's me who's rung his answerphone fourteen times this evening and then, when I did get hold of him, banged the phone down.

  Tuesday 10 January

  9st 1, alcohol units 2, cigarettes 6, calories 998 (excellent, v.g. perfect saint-style person).

 
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