9st 3, alcohol units 6 (but mixedwith tomato juice, v nutritious), cigarettes 400 (entirely understandable), rabbits, deer, pheasants or other wildlife found in bed 0 (massive improvement on yesterday), boyfriends 0, boyfriends of ex-boyfriend 1, no. of normal potential boyfriends remaining in world, 0.
12.15 a.m. Why do these things keeep happening to me? Why? WHY? The one time someone seems a nice, sensible person such as approved of by mother and not married, mad, alcoholic or fuckwit, they turn out to be gay bestial pervert. No wonder he didn’t want me to go to his house. Was not htat he is commitment phobic or fancies Rebecca or I am Just For Now Girl. Is because he was keeping oriental boys in bedroom together with wildlife.
Was hideous shock. Hideous. Stared at the oriental boy for about two seconds then shot back into the dressing room, flung my dress on, ran down the stairs hearing shouting in the bedroom behind me in manner of American troops being massacred by Vietcong, teetered into the street and started waving frantically at taxis like call girl who has stumbled on a client who wanted to do a dump on her head.
Maybe is true what Smug Marrieds say that only men left single are single because they have massive flaw… I mean not that being gay is itself a flaw, but definitely is if are girlfriend of one who pretended was not. Am going to be on own on Valentine’s Day for fourth year running, spend next Christmas in single bed in parents’ house. Again. Doom. Dooooom!
Wish could ring up Tom. Typical of him to go to San Francisco just when need advice from gay perspective, typical. He is always asking me to give him advice for hours on end about his crises wiht other homosexuals then when I need advice about a crisis with a homosexual, what does he do? He goes to BLOODY SAN FRANCISCO.
Calm, Calm. Realise is wrong to blame entire incident on Tom, especially in view of fact that incident has nothing to do with Tom but must not medicate by blaming. Am assured, receptive, rsponsive woman of substance, totally complete within myself… Gaah! Telephone.
‘Bridget. It’s Mark. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. That ws an awful thing to happen’.
He sounded terrible.
‘What?’ I said, tryign to stop my hands shaking so I could light a Silk Cut.
‘I know what it must have looked like. I got as much of a shock s you. I’ve never seen him before in my life’.
‘Well, who was he then?’ I bust out.
‘It turns out he’s my housekeeper’s son. I didn’t even know she had a son. Apparently he’s schizophrenc’.
There was shouting in the background.
‘I’m coming, I’m coming. Oh God. Look, I’m going to have to go sort this out. It sounds like he’s trying to strangle her. Can I call you later?’ – more shouting – ‘Hang on, just … Bridget, I’ll call you in the morning’.
Very confused. Wish could ring Jude or Shaz to find out if excuse is valid, but is middle of night. Maybe will try to sleep.
9 a. m. Gaah! Gaah! Telephone. Hurrah! No! Doom! Have just remembered what happened!
9.30 a.m. Was not Mark but my mother.
‘D’you know, darling, I’m absolutely livid’.
‘Mum’, I interupted resolutely. ‘Do you mind if I ring you back on the mobile?’
It was all coming back to me in waves. I had to get her off the phone in case mark was trying to call.
‘Mobile, darling? Dont be silly – you haven’t had one of those since you were two. Do you remember? With little fishes on? Oh. Daddy wants a word but… Anyway here he is’
I waited, looking frantically between the mobile and the clock.
‘Hello my dear’, said Dad wearily. ‘She’s not going to Kenya’.
‘Great, well done’, I said, glad that at least oen of us wa not in crisis. ‘What did you do?’
‘Nothing. Her passport’s expired’.
‘Hah! Brilliant. Don’t tell her you can get new ones’.
‘Oh, she knows,’ he said. ‘The thing is, if you have a new one, you have to have a new photo. So it’s not out of any respect for me, it’s purely a matter of fluerting with customs officials’.
Mum grabbed the pone. ‘It’s just completely ridiculous, darling. I had my photo taken and I look as old as the hills. Una said try it in a booth but it’s worse. I’m keeping the old passport and that’s an end of the matter. Anyway, how’s Mark?’
‘He’s fine’, I said, in a high, strangled voice, narrowly avoiding adding: he likes to sleep with oriental youths and fiddle with rabbits, isn’t that fun?
‘Well! Daddy and I thought you and Mark would like to come to lunch tomorrow. We haven’t seen you both together. I thought I’d just stick a lasagne in the oven with some beans’.
‘Can I ring you bak later? I’m late for … yoga!; I said, inspired.
Managed to get free of her after a freakishly short fifteen minute wind-down during which it became increasingly clear that the entire might of the British Passport Office was not going to be much of a match for Mum and the old photo, then fumbled for another Silk Cut, desolate and confused. Housekeeper? I mean I know he does have a hosuekeeper but… And then all this stuff with Rebeca. And he votes tory. Maybe will eat some cheese. Gaah! Telephone.
‘Oh Shaz’, I said miserably, and started to blurt out the story.
‘Stop right there’, she said, before I’d even got as far as the oriental boy. ‘Stope. I’m going to say this once and I want you to listen.’
‘What?’ I said, thinking if there was one person in the world incapable of just saying something once – apart from my mother – it was Sharon.
‘Get out. You’ve had the warning sign, he votes tory. Now get out before you get too involved.’
‘But wait, that’s not…’
‘Oh, for God’s sake’ she growled. ‘He’s got it every which way, hasn’t he? He comes to your house, he has everything done for him. You turn up all dressed up to the nines for his ghastly Tory friends and what does he do? Flirts with Rebecca. Patronizes you. And votes Tory. It’s all just maniuplative, paternalistic…’
‘I glanced nervously at the clock. ‘Um, Shaz, can I ring you back on the mobile?’
‘What! In case he rings you? No!’ she exploded.
Just then the mobile started ringing.
‘Shaz, I’m going to have to go. I’ll call you later.’
Pressed OK eagerly on the mobile.
Was Jude. ‘Oh, oh, I feel so hungover. I think I’m going to throw up’. She started launching into long story about party at the Met Bar but had to stop her as really felt whole oriental youth issue was more pressing. Really felt was right about this. Was not being selfish.
‘Oh God, Bridge’ said Jude when I’d finished. ‘You poor think. I think you’ve handled it really, really well. I really do. You’ve really come on’.
Felt huge glow of pride, followed by puzzlement. ‘What did I do?’ I said, looking round the room alternating between self satisfied smiling and confused blinking.
‘You’ve done exactly waht it says in Women who love too much. You’ve done nothing. Just detached. We cannot solve their problems for them. We simply detach’.
‘Right, right.’ I said, nodding earnestly.
‘We don’t wish them ill. We don’t wish them well. We do not call them. We do not see them. We simply detach. Housekeeper’s son my arse. If he’s got a housekeeper how come he’s always round your place getting you to wash up?’
‘But what if it was the housekeeper’s son?’
‘Now, Bridget’, said Jude sternly, ‘this is what’s called Denial’.
END OF EXTRACT
Ever since the film, Bridget Jones got pegged as the ultimate rom com heroine. This often stops people seeing her for the excellent comic character she is – a character very much in the tradition of Da Ponte or Wodehouse. The over-the-phone farcical situations in the extract above bear the point. Rather than having people running in and out of doors Helen Fielding has adapted the classic stage farce to the present day: farce by telephone.