The Reluctant Housewife or Dorothy Parker Ate My Puppy

"When I got married, I said to my therapist, 'I want to do something creative.' He said, 'Why don't you have a baby?' I hope he's dead now." Joy Behar

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Gark. Have turned into Bridget Jones.

Cigarettes: 11

Blisters from kitten heels: 4

Headaches: 1

Unsuccessful job interviews for crap jobs: 3 this week

Level of disgust at hovel-like flat: 9/10

Need for a glass of wine: extreme

Fear that am an alcoholic: marginal

Friends who want to run off with me: 1

Kind, gentle unexciting husbands: 1

Level of frustration at life: 9.5/10

Dust on furniture: 1mm

Spiders inhabiting hovel-like flat: millions

Mice inhabiting hovel-like flat: unknown, but squeaks suggest many

Monday, September 19, 2005

Youth is a Marvell

Have been hearing a strange rumbling noise all week. At first, I though it was my stomach. Then the tube line under the house. But after much deliberation I've identified the cause. It's Time's Winged Chariot hot on my heels. It's a week until my 29th birthday and I'm terrified. Crow's feet, lines around the lips, saggy bottom, grey skin - it's all begun. Have been compusively chain smoking & moisturising, hoping they cancel each other out.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Am I cursed, or paranoid? Or Both?

This has been a week of minor disasters & emotional confusion.

First, there was the Flood which ruined the carpets, left a damp smell & brought the mice out of hiding.

Second came the Plague of Maggots. A bin bag split outside and hosts of white wiggly creatures came squirming toward the light under the kitchen door. It was a relentless army of bug babies. I don't mind them if they're on the end of a hook, or being bred in sterile circumstances to eat rotten flesh. I do, however, object to them seeking sanctuary in my room where I prepare food.

The third straw across this self-pitying camel's back was the disintegration of the cold water tap in the bathroom. Now I have to brush my teeth with the hot tap. It's disconcerting, as though my mouth becomes a minty washing machine.

Then, the bedroom curtains split as a result of sun damage. Almost took a pair of scissors to them in a fit of homicial/curtaincidal rage, but was stopped by the fact that my scissors can't cut butter. Found a replacement pair of curtains in Homebase (although replacament scissors would have been more satisfying) in a ecclesiastical shade of purple. Vile, but serviceable.

My name is Edith & I live in a hovel.

Lastly, and most upsettingly, Old Friend has decided that if I do not choose between him & husband he will never see me again. How can I do this? Things might not be great between Husband & I but I can't run into the unknown just because things are rocky, I don't have a job, I live in a pit & need some excitement, can I?

At least I'm not Toby the bunny on Death Row. "Toby is the cutest little bunny on the planet. Unfortunately, he will DIE on November 6th, 2006 if you don.t help (sic.)...Unfortunately, on November 6th, 2006, Toby will die. I am going to eat him. I am going to take Toby to a butcher to have him slaughter this cute bunny. I will then prepare Toby for a midsummer feast. I have several recipes under consideration, which can be seen, with some pretty graphic images, under the recipe section. I don’t want to eat Toby, he is my friend, and he has always been the most loving, adorable pet. However, God as my witness, I will devour this little guy unless I sell 100,00 copies of my book."

Now, rabbit tastes good. No, it tastes great. I say save the world from another mediocre book and put Toby in a roasting pan with some shallots.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Numb Stomach & a plaster the size of a handkerchief

Just back from the hospital, where they put oestrogen & testosterone implants & zoladex under the skin of my abdomen. Despite the lidocaine, it hurt like hell. But, am feel gaunty & young & feeling shiny so it doesn't matter. There are three plasters over the wound, a little pyramid of gauze.

Marriage Problems

How do you know when a marriage is over? Is it when you stop sleeping with each other, or when you can't be bothered to talk?

We live a life of curious, dull domesticity & I don't feel noticed any more. Had an argument last night which centred around the fact that we are more flatmates than husband & wife. I don't know how to fix it, and I'm not sure that I want to. I've begun the 'what's wrong' conversation maybe six times this year. There's only so times I can say it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Barbie's Dead

I found Fucked Up Barbie outside my front door this morning, slightly mauled, very dirty, utterly naked. What's happened to you Barbie? Did Ken have his wicked way then throw you out of a moving car? Did you lose your clothes in a game of poker and collapse in a drunken heap? Is your head turned in shame? Sigh.

Look at that hopeful, jaunty ponytail... Sorry you're in the gutter babs, but at least you're got good hair.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Why are my ankles wet?

I was washing up, watching the scouring pad chip my newly painted red nails, when I noticed that my bare feet were cold. There's nothing unusual in that - I have the circulation of an eighty year old. Then turned to get another plate from the never-ending stack of dirty dishes and realized that water was pouring in under the kitchen door. Not trickling, pouring: gushing even. Like a fuckwit, I opened the door. Cue very soggy housewife. With an awful sense of premonition I ran to the front door. There was water everywhere. It crept up over the doorstep and through into the hallway.

I thrust my hand into the drain, which involved almost putting my head underwater but couldn't find a block. I did the same at the back of the house and no joy. So, I turned off the mains electricity, heaped the Persian rugs on the sofa & sat on the kitchen worksurface with a cigarette in my hand. All I could do was watch as the water rose about my ankles.

Eventually, of course, I did the only thing I'm good at and used my mobile to call every man I knnow for advice, in various tones of hysteria. The most calming person was my brother but then he's army barmy and used to people gibbering with fear & despair.

Of course, the thunderstorm ended, the drains began to flow again and I mopped up the two inches of water that was left with every towel, bedspread, mop, cushion and tablecloth I own. The carpets still sound a little squishy when you tread on them.

Told husband that Old Friend tried to kiss me the other night. When will I learn? Honesty is an overrated virtue. Of course, he went nuts in a restrained, Germanic way, but I don't see the problem. He asked me never to see old friend again, but I can't do that - I could never do that. He's a thread that runs through my life and who I hope will do so until it ends. He understands me in ways that husband never will, and I can't give that up.

Lastly, read this and try not to get angry. Actually, get angry. The only other reaction is despair.

Later: there's a seam of disquiet running through me today - I cannot identify the cause. Listlessness, boredom, a surfeit of emotions, panic, confusion, it could be any one of these or all of them.

Inevitably, I have come out of my hormonal madness and explore the world again like a five year old. Then, there is the inevitable realization of the time I have wasted being depressed and crazy. This in turn makes me depressed & crazy but in a frustrated, 'how the fuck did it all go wrong?' sort of way. I look at the wreckage of the last few years and wonder if it's possible to salvage an independent life from it. And I hate myself for my self-conscious posturing. 'Get a life' I say to myself, but the second question is always 'how?'.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Danced the night away...

Had my night of dancing last night, in a cheap & cheesy salsa club. It was fabulous, until Old Friend told me he loved me. It was awkward & drunken & romantic & pointless & made me want to cry. There are too many &s in that sentence. I ran away like a coward. The reluctant housewife became a reluctant conversationalist, & a reluctant friend. I hardly slept - too many martinis I think. Sat awake most of the night eating toast, cursing men.

The London light is yellow: a thunderstorm is underway and there's rain pouring down the steps toward my front door. It feels like a Sunday afternoon - drowsy & aimless.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Why do people love cats?

My parents used to have a big fluffy rag doll cat. It beat my brother on IQ points and had the temperament of a duvet. It was the pet equivalent of a self-heating leg warmer. It ate, it slept, it repeated the process. Sometimes it would walk around the edge of the bath as I was soaking, lose it's footing and fall in. Unshaken, it would do a couple of laps in the foam until I fished it out and turned the hairdryer on it. Result - fragrant cat that looked like a pompom.

Yet I couldn't bring myself to like it.

Now dogs... dogs I can love. The smelly ones, the incontinent ones, the terrifyingly crazy barking ones. All of them drive me wild with enthusiasm. Henry's parents keep a pack of about 20 foxhounds - massive slavering beats with floppy ears and large teeth. Occasionally they turn on one of the pack and kill it. They bite people, eat anything and love to be handled.

That's my kind of pet.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Post a Secret, Exploit a Secret

I love post secret. It's a fabulous concept - turning your longings, loathings, misdeeds and despair into little postcard sized works of art.

But now the chap who owns the site is publishing a book of the secrets, including ones that are not on the site. It makes me sad that he's going to profit from other people's misery, and angry that I didn't think of it first

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A list

to look back on when I'm old (if I ever get that far - dubious now I have started smoking again)


  • hate spiders but love snakes
  • adore coats - seem to collect them. Am always looking for the perfect, elegant winter coat
  • am the queen of procrastination
  • didn't lose my virginity until I was almost 20.
  • eat a portion of fruit and veg about once every three weeks. I have the eating habits of a badly brought up todder
  • I love offal - kidneys, heart, liver, mmmmm
  • love oysters but not with Guinness
  • love the desert
  • really quite dislike Alistair McGowan
  • vote Conservative (every time)
  • think Jeremy Clarkson & I would get on famously
  • think it's OK to hunt foxes
  • have a small crush on Boris Johnson
  • read the Times
  • went to Convent School
  • can't stand strawberries
  • colour my hair (natural redhead)
  • read at least 4 books a week
  • am almost on my overdaft (sic) limit
  • eat my steak almost raw
  • love my feather duvet
  • dream of owning chickens, and peacocks
  • am poor
  • would love to be blonde
  • have never been to America
  • think that Harrods is hell
  • and Selfridges might be heaven
  • have a 25 inch waist, but only because I hardly eat (carbohydrates & oval the exceptions)
  • have never kept a diary before this blog
  • am a nail biter
  • wax my toes

Monday, September 05, 2005

Dirty jeans and the albatross of doom

The 'phone rang this morning at 10, just as I was dreaming peacefully about nothing in particular. It was man about a job. I had half an hour to brush my and hair, wave a mascara wand in my face and get there in double quick time. I ended up wearing jeans and a T-shirt at one of the smartest establishments in London. I thought I'd got away with it when i saw a calf-long streak of mud on my jeans.

Then they told me that I'd forgotten to put a stamp on my application and they'd had to pay £1.50 for the pleasure of picking it up from the Post office.

We talked about dogs, 9/11 and meta-tagging, then I came home and had a good look in the mirror. I looked like a cross between Zsa Zsa Gabor and trailer trash.

If I get this job it will be an Act of God.

On another note, do you think someone should have a quiet word with Mo' Fayed and his Department of Deplorable Taste?

What's with the golden Diana Dodi statue? And the albatross? I read somewhere our friendly Knightsbridge shopkeeper thinks it symbolizes love and peace. Mr F, I shake my head at you. Only you could take a tragic accident and raise it to the level of farce with a bird that is a harbinger of doom.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

My sunglasses make me look like a beetle

I've fallen off the non-smoking bandwagon, just when I was becoming virtuous. In fact, there's a fag in my hand right now. It's terrible and I must stop again. Damn you pernicious weed.

Too hot for me today, so I'm esconced in my basement hovel, messing around on the internet & eating choc chip cookies.

And I've found someone to accompany me on my night of fun. Hope it doesn't turn into night of tears and overtiredness - that's normally what happens after I've been well fed and watered with alcohol. Husband says it's OK for me to go out with Old Friend as long as I adhere to some rules. No kissing and no erogenous zone contact. I can't believe he spelt (spelled?) this out for me but at least I know what not to do. Thanks German. I'd put a little smiley face here if I knew how.

Am trying to get to grips with both novel in progess and novel just beginning. Am in love with the latter but can't inject any life into it. Perhaps it's because it's written in the third person. Or maybe I'm trying to be too literary. I'm never going to be Zadie Smith tho' that doesn't matter. I felt a small pang of schadenfreude when I saw the review of her latest novel 'On Beauty' in th Times today. It wasn't glowing and I though hah, you have just as many problems not being pretentious as the rest of us.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

I Feel Like Dancing...

...all night long. Sometimes I emerge from my cyclical depressions and want to cram everything I've missed into the weeks before it strikes again. I want to get extraordinarily drunk on cheap champagne cocktails, flirt over dinner with an old friend who knows me well (but not well enough to have seen the dark side), then go dancing at a hot, dingy, sweaty salsa club until my feet can hardly hold me up.

I asked husband to come out with me, but he is reluctant. Suddenly the Reluctant Housewife is married to the Reluctant Husband.

I think back to the last time I had a night of unbridalled (unerotic) joy. It was the week before my brother went to Iraq for the second time, and there was a party to see see off the regiment.
Here you can see Brother and I before the evening descended into drunkeness.

I danced barefoot, high on (expensive) champagne. I danced on my own and with people I hardly knew, before collapsing in a strange room. Husband slept on the floor of my brother's room as I'd locked the door of mine, in a fit of anxiety regarding the potential threat of hundreds of drunked, testosterone fuelled soldiers just outside my door.

I slept like a child and woke in the morning wearing a balldress, coat, Jimmy Choos and a scratchy wool scarf around my neck. The room was freezing and I felt alive.

Whilst I'm in my right mind, I may as well remind myself of some things I'd like to do before I die:

Go to Burning Man

Scuba Dive in the Red Sea

Own a two carat diamond (I'm allowed to be shallow, thank you)

Own my own house, with roses around the door, cream painted furniture and bare floorboards that creak at night.

Be on the cover of Vogue. This one definitely comes under the heading of Unobtainable Fantasies.

Write a bestseller

Things I'd like to NOT do:

Kill myself. Sometimes this like it should be in the above column. All I can do is keep fighting.

Be homeless.

Things I'd like to change about Husband:

I'd quite like him to be a little more rugged, a little less metrosexual, a little more forceful. I like it when he gets angry or scary. But I'm the shouter and he's the repressed thinker.

Mmm. I really want to go dancing, but I've invited Henry & Annabel over for a roast chicken dinner. Was I on crack? Annabel is fastidious about cleanliness, and my kitchen looks like the aftermath of a grease related disaster. Fuck. I'm going to have to employ the Cilit Bang.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and a random old lady

Still warm and lovely in London, although you can detect a slight chill in the air, heralding autumn. I hate the winter: my hands go blue, I shiver convulsively, my lips chap. It's vile.

Am on a mission to find the VSH cassette of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf with Burton & Taylor but Virgin don't stock it. Am loathe to use Amazon as our friendly neighbourhood part-time postman delivers my mail to the flats surrounding mine. Is tedious, and I would hide in a bush to confront him/her but for the lack of bushes and, well, I'd look like an idiot.

Talked to a random old, rather hairy, lady as she waited for the bus next to me. I love strange old ladies who have lost all embarrassment about talking to strangers. We both agreed that the New Orleans disaster was 'bizarre', that lightening is cool but 'only when it's blue', and that roadworks slow down the traffic.

Drinks with Henry and Michael last night. Surely no-one can be as homophobic as Henry and not be attracted to men? Despite his protestations Michael is a good friend of his, and as gay as can be. Henry likes to say things like, 'Good God, you look like a one man gay pride march' in a disparaging tone when he sees him, then stares enviously at his shiny white patent winklepickers as though he had never seen more beautiful shoes.

There is a lump, ever increasing, of unwashed clothes in the corner of the bedroom. I'm hoping there's a run, small creature hiding in there. Perhaps a puppy, or a marmoset. Wouldn't want to disturb it.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

My brain is falling out

Oh my lord, a doozy of a hangover today. Someone in today's Times points out that martinis are like breasts - one is never enough and three is two many. I concur.

Memories of last night keep breaking through the fog.

Dan reading a fabulous Time Out statistic - 'Pigeons can see ten miles'. I thought this terribly profound. Clever pigeons! Then I realized that we took can see over ten miles (the moon!) and laughed until I cried. Someone took a photograph of my red, scrunched up, hysterical face.

Smoking a cigar but forgetting it was a cigar and not a cigarette. I imagine my mouth tastes like Burt Reynold's mouth.

Perspiring so profusely in the London heat, sitting on a leather chesterfield, that my dress stuck to my back like a second skin.

Amassing photographs, quotations, snippets as inspiration for the novel tho' my mind's not up for actually writing anything today (this aside).