Bridget joness diary, p.6
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       Bridget Jones's Diary, p.6
 

         Part #1 of Bridget Jones series by Helen Fielding

  Breakfast: hot-cross bun (Scarsdale Diet – slight variation on specified piece of wholemeal toast); Mars Bar (Scarsdale Diet – slight variation on specified half grapefruit)

  Snack: two bananas, two pears (switched to F-plan as starving and cannot face Scarsdale carrot snacks). Carton orange juice (Anti-Cellulite Raw-Food Diet)

  Lunch: jacket potato (Scarsdale Vegetarian Diet) and hummus (Hay Diet – fine with jacket spuds as all starch, and breakfast and snack were all alkaline-forming with exception of hot-cross bun and Mars: minor aberration)

  Dinner: four glasses of wine, fish and chips (Scarsdale Diet and also Hay Diet – protein forming); portion tiramisu; peppermint Aero (pissed)

  I realize it has become too easy to find a diet to fit in with whatever you happen to feel like eating and that diets are not there to be pick and mixed but picked and stuck to, which is exactly what I shall begin to do once I've eaten this chocolate croissant.

  Tuesday 14 March

  Disaster. Complete disaster. Flushed with the success of Tom's ice-queen theory I began to rather brim over, as it were, into Jude's, and starting messaging Daniel again, to reassure him that I trust him and am not going to become needy or fly off the handle without just cause.

  By midmorning, so successful was the ice-queen combined with Men are from Mars, Women are fromVenus approach that Daniel walked right up to me by the coffee machine and said, 'Will you come to Prague next weekend?'

  'What? Er hahahaha, you mean the weekend after this one?'

  'Yeeeeees,, next weekend,' he said, with an encouraging, slightly patronizing air, as if he had been teaching me to speak English.

  'Oooh. Yes, please,' I said, forgetting the ice-queen mantra in the excitement.

  Next thing he came up and asked if I wanted to come round the corner for lunch. We arranged to meet outside the building so no one would suspect anything and it was all rather thrilling and clandestine until he said, as we walked towards the pub, 'Listen, Bridge, I'm really sorry, I've fucked up.'

  'Why? What?' I said, even, as I spoke, remembering my mum and wondering if I ought to be saying 'Pardon?'

  'I can't make Prague next weekend. I don't know what I was thinking about. But maybe we'll do it another time.' A siren blared in my head and a huge neon sign started flashing with Sharon's head in the middle going, 'FUCKWITTAGE, FUCKWITTAGE'.

  I stood stock still on the pavement, glowering up at him.

  'What's the matter?' he said, looking amused.

  'I'm fed up with you,' I said furiously. 'I told you quite specifically the first time you tried to undo my skirt that I am not into emotional fuckwittage. It was very bad to carry on flirting, sleep with me then not even follow it up with a phone call, and try to pretend the whole thing never happened. Did you just ask me to Prague to make sure you could still sleep with me if you wanted to as if we were on some sort of ladder?'

  'A ladder, Bridge?, said Daniel, What sort of ladder?'

  'Shut up,' I bristled crossly. 'It's all chop-change chop-change with you. Either go out with me and treat me nicely, or leave me alone. As I say, I am not interested in fuckwittage.'

  'What about you, this week? First you completely ignore me like some Hitler Youth ice-maiden, then you turn into an irresistible sex kitten, looking at me over the computer with not so much 'come-to-bed' as just 'come' eyes, and now suddenly you're Jeremy Paxman.'

  We stared at each other transfixed like two African animals at the start of a fight on a David Attenborough programme. Then suddenly Daniel turned on his heel and walked off to the pub, leaving me to stagger, stunned, back to the office, where I dived to the loo, locked the door and sat down, staring crazily at the door with one eye. Oh God.

  5 p.m. Har har. Am marvellous. Feeling v. pleased with self. Had top-level post-works crisis meeting in Cafe Rouge with Sharon, Jude and Tom, who were all delighted with, the Daniel outcome, each convinced it was because I had followed their advice. Also Jude had heard survey on the radio that by the turn of the millennium a third of all households will be single, therefore proving that at last we are no longer tragic freaks. Shazzer guffawed and said, 'One in three? Nine out of ten, more like.' Sharon maintains men – present company (i.e. Tom) excepted, obviously – are so catastrophically unevolved that soon they will just be kept by women as pets for sex, therefore presumably these will not count as shared households as the men will be kept outside in kennels. Anyway, feeling v. empowered. Tremendous. Think might read bit of Susan Faludi's Backlash.

  5 a.m. Oh God, am so unhappy about Daniel. I love him.

  Wednesday 15 March

  9st, alcohol units 5 (disgrace: urine of Satan), cigarettes 14 (weed of Satan – will give up on birthday), calories 1795.

  Humph. Have woken up v. fed up. On top of everything, only two weeks to go until birthday, when will have to face up to the fact that another entire year has gone by, during which everyone else except me has mutated into Smug Married, having children plop, plop, plop, left right and centre and making hundreds of thousands of pounds and inroads into very hub of establishment, while I career rudderless and, boyfriendless through dysfunctional relationships and professional stagnation.

  Find self constantly scanning face in mirror for wrinkles and frantically reading Hello!, checking out everyone's ages in desperate search for role models (Jane Seymour is forty-two!), fighting long-impacted fear that one day in your thirties you will suddenly, without warning, grow a big fat crimplene dress, shopping bag, tight perm and face collapsing in manner of movie special-effect, and that will be it. Try to concentrate hard on Joanna Lumley and Susan Sarandon.

  Also worried about how to celebrate birthday. Size of flat and bank balance prohibits actual party. Maybe dinner party? But then would have to spend birthday slaving and would hate all guests on arrival. Could all go out for meal but then feel guilty asking everyone to pay, selfishly presuming to force costly and dull evening on others merely to celebrate own birthday – yet cannot afford to pay for everyone. Oh God. What to do? Wish had not been born but immaculately burst into being in similar, though not identical, manner to Jesus, then would not have had to have birthday. Sympathize with Jesus in sense of embarrassment he must, and perhaps should, feel over two-millennium-old social imposition of own birthday on large areas of globe.

  Midnight. Have had v.g. idea about birthday. Am going to ask everyone round for cocktails, perhaps Manhattans. Will then have given to guests something in manner of grand society hostess, and if everyone wishes to go to dinner afterwards: why, they may do so. Not sure what Manhattan is, come to think of it. But could buy book of cocktails maybe. Probably won't, to be perfectly honest.

  Thursday 16 March

  9st 1, alcohol units 2, cigarettes 3 (v.g.), calories 2140 (but mainly fruit), minutes spent doing party guest list 237 (bad).

  Me Shazzer

  Jude Vile Richard

  Tom Jerome (yuk)

  Michael

  Magda Jeremy

  Simon

  Rebecca Martin Crashing Bore

  Woney Cosmo

  Joanna

  Daniel? Perpetua? (eek) and Hugo?

  Oh no. Oh no. What am I going to do?

  Friday 17 March

  Just called Tom who says, very wisely, 'It is your birthday and you should invite exactly and only who you want.' So am just going to ask the following:

  Shazzer

  Jude

  Tom

  Magda and Jeremy

  – and cook supper for everyone myself.

  Called Tom back to tell him the plan and he said, 'and Jerome?'

  'What?'

  'And Jerome?'

  'I thought, like we said, I'd just ask who I . . . ' I tailed off, realizing if I said 'wanted' it would mean I didn't 'want' i.e. 'like' Tom's insufferable, pretentious boyfriend.

  'Oh!' I said, over-compensating madly. 'You mean your Jerome? Course Jerome's invited, yer ninny. Chuh! But do you think it's OK not to ask Jude's Vile Richard? And Sloaney Woney -even
though she had me to her birthday last week?'

  'She'll never know.'

  When I told Jude who was coming she said perkily, 'Oh, so we're bringing other halves?' which means Vile Richard. Also now that it's not just six I will have to ask Michael. Oh well. I mean nine is fine. Ten. It'll be fine.

  Next thing Sharon rang. 'I hope I haven't put my foot in it. I just saw Rebecca and asked her if she was coming to your birthday and she looked really offended.'

  Oh no, I'll have to ask Rebecca and Martin Crashing Bore now. But that means I'll have to ask Joanna as well. Shit. shit. Now I've said I'm cooking I can't suddenly announce we're going out to a restaurant or I'll seem both bone idle and mean.

  Oh God. Just got home to icy offended-sounding answerphone message from Woney.

  'Cosmo and I were wondering what you'd like for your birthday this year. Would you call us back, please?'

  Realize I am going to spend my birthday cooking food for sixteen people.

  Saturday 18 March

  8st 13, alcohol units 4 (fed up), cigarettes 23 (v.v. bad, esp. in two hours), Calories 3827 (repulsive).

  2 p.m. Humph. Just what I needed. My mother burst into my flat, last week's Grasshopper Who Sang All Summer crisis miraculously forgotten.

  'My godfathers, darling!' she said breathily, steaming through my flat and heading for the kitchen. 'Have you had a bad week or something? You took dreadful. You look about ninety. Anyway, guess what, darling,' she said, turning, holding the kettle, dropping her eyes modestly, then looking up, beaming like Bonnie Langford about to embark upon a tap-dancing routine.

  'What?' I muttered grumpily.

  'I've got a job as a TV presenter.'

  I'm going shopping.

  Sunday 19 March

  8st 12 alcohol units 3, cigarettes 10, calories 2465 (but mainly chocolate).

  Hurray. Whole new 'positive perspective' on birthday. Have been talking to Jude about book she has been reading about festivals and rites of passage in primitive cultures and am feeling happy and serene.

  Realize it is shallow and wrong to feel that flat is too small to entertain nineteen, and that cannot be arsed to spend birthday cooking and would rather dress up and be taken to posh restaurant by sex-god with enormous gold credit card. Instead am going to think of my friends as a huge, warm, African, or possibly Turkish, family.

  Our culture is too obsessed with outward appearance, age and status. Love is what matters. These nineteen people are my friends; they want to be welcomed into my home to celebrate with affection and simple homely fare – not to judge. Am going to cook shepherd's pie for them all -British Home Cooking. It will be a marvellous, warm, Third-World-style ethnic family party.

  Monday 20 March

  9st, alcohol units 4 (getting into mood), cigarettes 27 (hut last day before giving up), calories 2455.

  Have decided to serve the shepherds pie with Chargrilled Belgian Endive Salad, Roquefort Lardons and Frizzled Chorizo, to add a fashionable touch (have not tried before but sure it will be easy), followed by individual Grand, Marnier souffles, V. much looking forward to the birthday. Expect to become known as brilliant cook and hostess.

  Tuesday 21 March: Birthday

  9st, alcohol units 9,* cigarettes 42,* calories 4295.* *If can't splash out on birthday, when can I?

  6.30 p.m. Cannot go on. Have just stepped in a pan of mashed potato in new kitten-heel black suede shoes from Pied a terre (Pied-a-pomine-de-terre, more like), forgetting that kitchen floor and surfaces were covered in pans of mince and mashed potato. It is already 6.30 and have to go out to Cullens for Grand Marnier souffle ingredients and other forgotten items. Oh my God – suddenly remembered tube of contraceptive jelly might be on side of washbasin. Must also hide storage jars with embarrassing un-hip squirrel design and birthday card from Jamie with picture of little lamb on front which says 'Happy Birthday, Guess which one is you?' Then inside, 'You're the one over the hill.' Humph.

  Schedule:

  6.30. Go to shop.

  6.45. Return with forgotten groceries.

  6.45-7. Assemble shepherd's pie and place in oven (oh God, hope will all fit).

  7-7.05. Prepare Grand Marnier souffles. (Actually think will have a little taste of Grand Marnier now. It is my birthday, after all.)

  7.05-7.10. Mmm. Grand Marnier delicious. Check plates and cutlery for tell-tale signs of sluttish washing-up and arrange in attractive fan shape. Ah, must buy napkins also (or is it serviettes? Can never remember which one is common)

  7.10-7.20. Tidy up and move furniture to sides of room.

  7.20-7.30. Make frisse lardon frizzled chorizo thing.

  All of which leaves a clear half-hour to get ready so no need to panic. Must have a fag. Aargh. It's quarter to seven. How did that happen? Aargh.

  7.15 p.m. Just, got back from shop and realize have forgotten butter,

  7.35 p.m. Shit, shit shit. The shepherd's pie. is still in pans all over the kitchen floor and have not yet washed hair.

  7.40 p.m. Oh my God. Just looked for milk and realized have left the carrier bag behind in the shop. Also had the eggs in it. That means . . . Oh God, and the olive oil . . . so cannot do frizzy salad thing.

  7.40 p.m. Hmm. Best plan, surely, is to get into the bath with a glass of champagne then get ready. At least if I look nice I can carry on cooking when everyone is here and maybe can get Tom to go out for the missing ingredients.

  7.55 p.m. Aargh. Doorbell. Am in bra and pants with wet hair. Pie is all over floor. Suddenly hate the guests. Have had to slave for two days, and now they will all swan in, demanding food like cuckoos. Feel like opening door and shouting, 'Oh, go fuck yourselves.'

  2 a.m. Feeling v. emotional. At door were Magda, Tom, Shazzer and Jude with bottle of champagne. They said to hurry up and get ready and when I had dried hair and dressed they had cleaned up all the kitchen and thrown away the shepherd's pie. It turned out Magda had booked a big table at 192 and told everyone to go there instead of my flat, and there they all were waiting with presents, planning to buy me dinner. Magda said they had had a weird, almost spooky sixth sense that the Grand Marnier souffle and frizzled lardon thing were not going to work out. Love the friends, better than extended Turkish family in weird headscarves any day.

  Right: for coming year will reactivate New Year's Resolutions, adding the following:

  I will

  Stop being so neurotic and dreading things.

  I will not

  Sleep with, or take any notice of, Daniel Cleaver any more.

  APRIL. INNER POISE

  Sunday 2 April

  9st, alcohol units 0 (marvellous), cigarettes 0, calories 2250.

  I read in an article that Kathleen Tynan, late. Wife of the late Kenneth, had 'inner poise' and, when writing, was to be found immaculately dressed, sitting at a small table in the centre of the room sipping at a glass of chilled white, wine. Kathleen Tynan would not, when late with a press release for Perpetua, lie fully dressed and terrified under the duvet, chain-smoking, glugging cold sake out of a beaker and putting on make-up as a hysterical displacement activity. Kathleen Tynan would not allow Daniel Cleaver to sleep with her whenever he felt like it but not be her boyfriends Nor would she become insensible with drink and be sick. Wish to be like Kathleen Tynan (though not, obviously, dead).

  Lately, therefore, whenever things have risked ranging out of control, I have repeated the phrase 'inner poise' and imagined myself wearing white linen and sitting at a table with flowers on it. 'Inner poise.' No fags for six days now. Have assumed air of dignified hauteur with Daniel and not messaged, flirted or slept with him for three weeks. Only three alcohol units consumed over the last week as grudging concession to Tom, who complained that spending the evening with the new vice-free me was like going out for dinner with a whelk, scallop or other flaccid sea-creature.

  My body is a temple. I wonder if it's time to go to bed yet? Oh no, it's only 8.30. Inner poise. Ooh. Telephone.

  9 p.m. It was my father, speaking
in a weird, disconnected voice, almost as if he were a dalek.

  'Bridget. Turn your television set to BBC 1.'

  I switched channels and lurched in horror. It was trailer for the Anne and Nick show and there, frozen in a video-effect diamond between Anne and Nick on the sofa, was my mother, all bouffed and made-up, as if she were Katie Bloody Boyle or someone.

  'Nick,' said Anne pleasantly.

  ' . . . and we'll be introducing, our new Springtime Slot,' said Nick, "Suddenly Single" – a dilemma being faced by a growing number of women. Anne.'

  'And introducing spanking new presenter Pam Jones said Anne. "'Suddenly Single" herself and making her 'TV debut.'

  While Anne was speaking my mother unfroze within the diamond, which started whooshing towards the front of the screen, obscuring Anne and Nick, and revealing, as it did so, that my mother was thrusting a microphone under the nose of a mousy-looking woman.

  'Have you had suicidal thoughts?' boomed my mother.

  'Yes,' said the mousy woman and burst into tears at which point the picture froze, turned on its end and whizzed off into one comer to reveal Anne and Nick on the sofa again looking sepulchral.

  Dad was devastated. Mum hadn't even told him about the TV-presenting job. It seems he is in denial and has convinced himself Mum is just having an end-of-life crisis and that she already realizes she has made a mistake but is too embarrassed to ask to come back.

 
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