8st 13lb 8oz (yesss! yesss!), alcohol units 2 (v.g.), cigarettes 4 (but could not smoke at Tom's in case set Alternative Miss World costume alight), calories 1848 (g.), Smoothies 12 (excellent progress).
'Just went round to Tom's for top-level summit to discuss the Mark Darcy scenario. Found Tom, however, in a complete lather about the forthcoming Alternative Miss World contest. Having decided ages ago to go as 'Miss Global Warming,' he was having a crisis of confidence.
'I haven't got a hope in hell,' he was saying, looking in the mirror, then flouncing to the window. He was wearing a polystyrene sphere painted like map of the globe but with the polar ice caps melting and a large burn mark on Brazil. In one hand he was holding a piece of tropical hardwood and a Lynx aerosol, and in the other an indeterminate furry item which he claimed was a dead ocelot. 'Do you think I should have a melanoma?' he asked.
'Is it a beauty contest or a fancy dress contest?'
'That's just it, I don't know, no one knows,' said Tom, throwing down his headdress — a miniature tree which he was intending to set alight during the contest. 'It's both. It's everything. Beauty. Originality. Artistry. It's all ridiculously unclear.'
'Do you have to be a pouff to enter?' I asked, fiddling with a bit of polystyrene.
'No. Anyone can enter: women, animals, anything. That's exactly the problem,' he said, flouncing back to the mirror. 'Sometimes I think I'd stand more chance trying to win with a really confident dog.'
Eventually we agreed that though the global warming theme in itself was faultless, the polystyrene sphere was not, perhaps, the most flattering shape for evening wear. In fact in the end we found we were thinking more toward a fluid sheath of shot-silk-effect Yves Klein blue, floating over smoke and earth shades to symbolize the melting of the polar ice caps.
Deciding I wasn't going to get the best out of Tom over Mark Darcy just at the moment, I excused myself before it got too late, promising to think hard about Swim and Daywear. When I got back I called Jude but she started telling me about a marvelous new oriental idea in this month's Cosmopolitan called Feng Shui, which helps you get everything you want in life. All you have to do, apparently, is clean out all the cupboards in your flat to unblock yourself, then divide the flat up into nine sections (which is called mapping the ba-gua), each of which represents a different area of your life: career, family, relationships, wealth, or offspring, for example. Whatever you have in that area of your house will govern how that area of your life performs. For example, if you keep finding you have no money it could be due to the presence of a wastepaper basket in your Wealth Comer.
V. excited by new theory as could explain a lot. Resolve to buy Cosmo at earliest opportunity. Jude says not to tell Sharon as, naturally, she thinks Feng Shui is bollocks. Managed, eventually, to bring conversation round to Mark Darcy.
'Of course you don't fancy him, Bridge, the thought never crossed my mind for a second,' said Jude. She said the answer was obvious: I should have a dinner party and invite him.
'It's perfect,' she said. 'It's not like asking him for a date, so it takes away all the pressure and you can show off like mad and get all your friends to pretend to think you're marvelous.'
11 a.m.V. excited about dinner party. Have bought marvelous new recipe book by Marco Pierre White. At last understand the simple difference between home cooking and restaurant food. As Marco says, it is all to do with concentration of taste. The secret of sauces, of course, apart from taste concentration, lies in real stock. One must boil up large pans of fish bones, chicken carcasses, etc., then freeze them in form of ice-stockcubes. Then cooking to Michelin star standard becomes as easy as making shepherd's pie: easier, in fact, as do not need to peel potatoes, merely confit them in goose fat. Cannot believe have not realized this before.
This will be the menu:
Velouté of Celery (v. simple and cheap when have made stock).
Char-grilled Tuna on Velouté of Cherry Tomatoes Coulis with Confit of Garlic and Fondant Potatoes.
Confit of Oranges. Grand Marnier Creme Anglaise.
Will be marvelous. Will become known as brilliant but apparently effortless cook.
People will flock to my dinner parties, enthusing, 'It's really great going to Bridget's for dinner, one gets Michelin star-style food in a bohemian setting.' Mark Darcy will be v. impressed and will realize I am not common or incompetent.
Sunday 5 November
9st (disaster), cigarettes 32, alcohol units 6 (shop has run out of Smoothies---careless bastards), calories 2266, lottery tickets 4.
7 p.m.Humph. Bonfire night and not invited to any bonfires. Rockets going off tauntingly left right and center. Going round to Tom's.
11 p.m.Bloody good evening at Tom's, who was trying to deal with the fact that the Alternative Miss World title had gone to Joan of Bloody Arc.
'The thing that makes me really angry is that they say it isn't a beauty contest but really it is. I mean, I'm sure if it wasn't for this nose . . . ' said Tom, staring at himself furiously in the mirror.
'What's wrong with it?'
'What's wrong with it? Chuh! Look at it.'
It turned Out there was a very, very tiny bump where someone had shoved a glass in his face when he was seventeen. 'Do you see what I mean?'
My feeling was, as I explained, that the bump in itself couldn't be blamed for Joan of Arc snatching the title from directly beneath it, as it were, unless the judges were using a Hubble telescope, but then Tom started saying he was too fat as well and was going on a diet.
'How many calories are you supposed to eat if you're on a diet?' he said.
'About a thousand. Well, I usually aim for a thousand and come in at about fifteen hundred,' I said, realizing as I said it that the last bit wasn't strictly true.
'A thousand?' said Tom, incredulously. 'But I thought you needed two thousand just to survive.'
I looked at him nonplussed. I realized that I have spent so many years being on a diet that the idea that you might actually need calories to survive has been completely wiped out of my conscious- ness. Have reached point where believe nutritional ideal is to eat nothing at all and that the only reason people eat is because they are so greedy they cannot stop themselves from breaking out and ruining their diets.
'How many calories in a boiled egg?' said Tom.
'Large or small?'
'Eighty,' I said, confidently.
'Black or green?'
'A hundred and twenty-one.'
'Box of Milk Tray?'
'Ten thousand eight hundred and ninety-six.'
'How do you know all this?'
I thought about it. 'I just do, as one knows one's alphabet or times tables.'
'OK. Nine eights,' said Tom.
'Sixty-four. No, fifty-six. Seventy-two.'
'What letter comes before J? Quick.'
'P. L, I mean.'
Tom says I am sick but I happen to know for a fact that I am normal and no different from everyone else, i.e., Sharon and Jude. Frankly, I am quite worried about Tom. I think taking part in a beauty contest has started to make him crack under the pressures we women have long been subjected to and he is becoming insecure, appearance obsessed and borderline anorexic.
Evening climaxed with Tom cheering himself up letting off rockets from the roof terrace into the garden of the people below who Tom says are homophobic.