Bridget’s search for love is as brilliantly entertaining as ever, even 25 years on. On Saturday, we enjoyed her first (abortive) sexual skirmish with boss Daniel Cleaver. Today, in our second exclusive instalment, Daniel lets her down and she turns up in a saucy Bunny Girl costume to a party — but no one else is in fancy dress,,,
Renee Zellweger in the film verison of Bridget Jones
8st 13 (if only could stay under 9st and not keep bobbing up and down like drowning corpse — drowning in fat), alcohol units 2, calories 775 (last-ditch attempt to get down to 8st 7 before tomorrow).
8pm Blimey. Computer messaging with Daniel somehow whipped itself up to fever pitch. At six o’clock I resolutely put my coat on and, as I left the building, Daniel popped out after me and asked me to have dinner with him tomorrow. Yessss!
Midnight. Ugh. Completely exhausted. Surely it is not normal to be revising for a date as if it were a job interview? Since leaving work I have scratched my naked body for seven minutes with a stiff brush, filled the fridge, plucked my eyebrows, skimmed the papers and the Ultimate Sex Guide and waxed my own legs. Ended up kneeling on a towel trying to pull off a wax strip firmly stuck to the back of my calf while watching Newsnight in an effort to drum up some interesting opinions about things.
8st 10 (miracle: sex proved indeed to be best form of exercise), alcohol units 0, calories 200 (at last have found the secret of not eating: simply replace food with sex).
6pm Oh joy. Have spent the day in a state I can only describe as shag-drunkenness. It was so lovely. The only down points were 1) immediately it was over Daniel said: ‘Damn. I meant to take the car into the Citroen garage,’ and 2) when I got up to go to the bathroom he pointed out that I had a pair of tights stuck to the back of my calf.
But as the rosy clouds begin to disperse, I begin to feel alarm. What now? No plans were made. Suddenly I realise I am waiting for the phone again. How can it be that the situation between the sexes after a first night remains so agonisingly imbalanced? Feel as if I have just sat an exam and must wait for my results.
11am Office. Completely exhausted. Last night I called Tom to report the hideous news that Daniel had not rung all weekend. Tom said I should be an aloof, coolly professional ice-queen. Men, he claims, view themselves as permanently on some sort of sexual ladder with all women either above them or below them.
If the woman is ‘below’ (i.e. willing to sleep with him, very keen on him) then in a Groucho Marx kind of way he does not want to be a member of her ‘club’. This whole mentality depresses me enormously but Tom said not to be naive and if I really love Daniel and want to win his heart I have to ignore him and be as cold and distant to him as possible.
8st 12 (v.v.g. — have realised secret of dieting is not weighing oneself).
Can officially confirm that the way to a man’s heart these days is not through beauty, food, sex, or alluringness of character, but merely the ability to seem not very interested in him.
Took no notice of Daniel whatsoever all day at work and pretended to be busy (try not to laugh). Message Pending kept flashing but I just kept sighing and tossing my hair about as if I were a very glamorous, important person under a great deal of pressure. Eventually, he walked past my desk, stopped for a moment and murmured: ‘Jones, you gorgeous creature. Why are you ignoring me?’
In a rush of joy and affection I was just about to blurt out the whole story of Tom’s theory but the heavens were smiling on me and the phone rang. I rolled my eyes apologetically and picked it up. The phone call was Tom, who said I had to keep up the ice- queen act and gave me a mantra to repeat when I felt myself weakening. ‘Aloof, unavailable ice-queen; Aloof, unavailable ice-queen.’
9st 4, 2 or 5?? alcohol units, calories 1,500, Instants 6 (poor).
9am Aargh. How can I have put on 3lb since the middle of the night? I was 9st 4 when I went to bed, 9st 2 at 4 a.m. and 9st 5 when I got up. I can understand weight coming off — it could have evaporated or passed out of the body into the toilet — but how could it be put on? Could food react chemically with other food, double its density and volume, and solidify into ever heavier and denser hard fat? I don’t look fatter. I can fasten the button, though not, alas, the zipper on my ’89 jeans. So maybe my whole body is getting smaller but denser. The whole thing smacks of female body-builders and makes me feel strangely sick.
Alcohol units 14, calories 8,400 (v.g., though bad to have counted. Slimming obsession v. bad).
The doorbell rang.
‘Darling,’ said a different drunken voice I recognised. ‘Go away, Daniel,’ I hissed.
‘No. Lemme explain.’
‘Bridge . . . I wanna come in.’
Silence. Oh God. Why do I still fancy Daniel so much?
‘I love you, Bridge.’
‘Go away. You’re drunk,’ I said, with more conviction than I felt.
‘Can I use your toilet?’
Alcohol units 12, calories 8,489 (excellent!).
Twenty-two hours, four pizzas, one Indian takeaway and three bottles of champagne later, Daniel is still here. I am in love.
9st 2 (hooray!), alcohol units 6 (so v.g. — v. pure).
Daniel is gorgeous. Head is full of moony fantasies about living in flats with him and running along beaches together with tiny offspring in manner of Calvin Klein advert.
8st 13, alcohol units 5, calories 600, minutes spent looking at brochures: long-haul 45, mini-break 87.
Finding it impossible to concentrate on almost anything in the heat except fantasies about going on mini-breaks with Daniel. Head is filled with visions of us lying in glades by rivers, me in long white floaty dress. It is marvellous having a boyfriend.
8st 12, alcohol units 3.
After sitting in semi-darkness for the third weekend running watching cricket with Daniel’s hand down my bra and me occasionally feebly saying, ‘Was that a run?’ I suddenly blurted out, ‘Why can’t we go on a mini-break? Why? Why? Why?’
‘That’s a good idea,’ said Daniel, mildly, taking his hand out of my dress. ‘Why don’t you book somewhere for next weekend? Nice country house hotel. I’ll pay.’
Those big knickers
8st 11, alcohol units 7, calories 4,587 (ooops).
Oh dear. Daniel decided the place was nouveau from the moment we arrived, because there were three Rolls-Royces parked outside, and one of them yellow. I was fighting a sinking realisation that it was suddenly freezing cold and I had packed for 90˚ heat.
‘Chuh! Isn’t it dreadful what’s happening in Srebrenica,’ I chattered maniacally to try to put our problems in proportion. ‘To be honest, I never feel I’ve quite pinned down what’s going on in Bosnia. I thought the Bosnians were the ones in Sarajevo and the Serbians were attacking them, so who are the Bosnian Serbs?’
‘Well, if you spent a bit less time reading brochures and more time reading the papers you might know,’ smirked Daniel.
‘Are the Bosnian Serbs the same lot who were attacking Sarajevo?’ I asked. Silence.
‘Whose territory is Srebrenica in, then?’
‘Srebrenica is a safe area,’ said Daniel in deeply patronizing tones.
‘So how come the people from the safe area were attacking before?’
‘Just tell me if the Bosnians in Srebrenica are the same lot as the ones in Sarajevo.’
‘Muslims,’ said Daniel triumphantly.
‘Serbian or Bosnian?’
‘Look, will you shut up?’
At this point the commissionaire said, ‘I think you’ll find the former inhabitants of Srebrenica and of Sarajevo are Bosnian Muslims, sir.’ Adding pointedly, ‘Will you be requiring a newspaper in the morning at all, sir?’
I thought Daniel was going to hit him. I found myself stroking his arm murmuring: ‘OK now, easy, easy,’ as if he were a racehorse that had been frightened by a van.
5.30pm Brrr. Instead of lying side by side with Daniel in hot sun at the side of the lake wearing a long floaty dress, I ended up blue with cold in a rowing boat with one of the hotel bath towels wrapped round me. Eventually we gave up to retire to our room for a hot bath, meeting en route a girl called Eileen whom Daniel had slept with twice, inadvertently bitten dangerously hard on the breast and never spoken to since.
As I emerged from my bath Daniel was lying on the bed.
‘I’ll just pop the telly on,’ said Daniel, moving towards the curtains, which were those thick hotel ones with blackout lining. Seconds later the room was in complete darkness apart from the flickering light of the cricket. Daniel had lit a fag and was calling down to room service for six cans of Fosters.
8st 10 (continuing good work), alcohol units 0, calories 995: perfect.
7.45am Mum just rang. ‘Una and Geoffrey are having a Tarts and Vicars party in the garden on the twenty-ninth of July. Don’t you think that’s fun! Tarts and Vicars! Imagine! We thought it would be super if you and’ — coy, loaded pause — ‘Daniel, could come. We’re all dying to meet him.’
My heart sank at the thought of my relationship with Daniel being dissected in close and intimate detail amongst the Lifeboat luncheons of Northamptonshire. ‘What’s going on?’ Daniel was standing stark naked in the doorway. ‘Who are you talking to?’
‘My mother,’ I said, desperately, out of the corner of my mouth.
‘Give it to me,’ he said, taking the phone. ‘Mrs Jones. It’s Daniel here. This is very bright and early on a Sunday morning for a phone call. Yes, it is an absolutely beautiful day. What can we do for you?’
He looked at me while she chattered for a few seconds then turned back to the receiver.
‘Well, that’ll be lovely. I shall put that in the diary for the twenty-ninth and look out my dog collar. Yes. Cheerio,’ he said firmly, and put the phone down.
Renee Zellweger and Hugh Grant in the film version of Bridget Jones
8st 12 (must do diet before tomorrow), alcohol units 1 (v.g.), calories 345.
Mmmm. Daniel was really sweet tonight and spent ages helping me choose my outfit for the Tarts and Vicars. He kept suggesting different ensembles for me to try on while he weighed it up. It was really good of him to give up the time. Sometimes I think he really is quite caring. He seemed particularly keen on sex tonight as well.
Ooh, I am so looking forward to tomorrow.
8st 11 (v.g.), alcohol units 7, calories 6,245 (sodding Una Alconbury, Mark Darcy, Daniel, Mum, everybody).
2pm Cannot believe what has happened. By 1pm Daniel had still not woken up and I was starting to worry because the party starts at 2.30 Eventually I woke him with a cup of coffee and said: ‘I thought you needed to wake up because we’re supposed to be there at two-thirty.’
‘Where?’ he said.
‘The Tarts and Vicars.’
‘Oh God, love. Listen, I’ve just realised, I’ve got so much work to do this weekend. I’m really going to have to stay at home and get down to it.’
I couldn’t believe it. He promised to come. Everyone knows when you are going out with someone they are supposed to support you at hideous family occasions.
10pm Cannot believe what I have been through. I drove for two hours, parked at the front of the Alconburys’, hoping I looked OK in my bunny girl outfit. As I started to cross the lawn they all went quiet, and I realised to my horror that instead of Tarts and Vicars, the ladies were in Country Casuals-style calf-length floral two-pieces and the men were in slacks and V-necked sweaters.
I stood there, frozen, like, well, a rabbit. Then while everyone stared, Una Alconbury came flapping across the lawn.
‘I thought it was supposed to be a Tarts and Vicars party,’ I hissed.
‘Oh dear, didn’t Geoff call you?’ she said. ‘I’m sorry, darling, you see we decided after all the scandals there’ve been with vicars around here there’d be no point having a Tarts and Vicars party because,’ she started to laugh, ‘. . . because everyone thought vicars were tarts anyway.’
I could feel someone’s eyes on me and looked up to see Mark Darcy staring at the bunny tail.
‘What a shame Bridget couldn’t bring her boyfriend. He’s a lucky chap, isn’t he?’ said Una Alconbury. ‘What’s his name, Bridget? Daniel, is it?’
‘Daniel Cleaver?’ said Mark
‘Yes, it is, actually,’ I said, jutting my chin out.
‘Is he a friend of yours, Mark?’ said Una.
‘Absolutely not,’ he said, abruptly.
‘Oooh. I hope he’s good enough for our little Bridget.’
‘I think I could say again, with total confidence, absolutely not,’ said Mark.
‘I suppose you think it’s all right to slag people’s boyfriends off to their parents’ friends behind their back when they’re not even there for no reason,’ I flailed.
‘Just take care of yourself, that’s all,’ he said quietly.
By the time I got back to London I was feeling pretty shaky and back much earlier than I expected, so I thought I’d go round to Daniel’s for a bit of reassurance.
There was no answer when I rang, so I left it a while and rang again in case it was just in the middle of a really good wicket or something. I looked up at his window and there was Daniel. I beamed at him, waved and pointed at the door. He took a bit of time. ‘Hi, Bridge. Just on the phone to America.’
There was silence. Did I hear a voice in the background? Suddenly it hit me like a thunderbolt. He was with a woman. Isn’t it funny how you can detect someone’s presence, even though you can’t see, hear or otherwise discern them?
‘Let me in,’ I said.
We stood there warily at opposite sides of the sitting room. I quickly leapt across the room to look behind the sofa and the curtains.
‘What are you doing?’
‘Nothing, nothing. Just thought I might have left a skirt of mine behind the sofa,’ I said, wildly plumping up the cushions as if I were in a French farce.
As I did so I heard a scraping noise on the roof above us. ‘I think maybe I’m just a bit hot,’ I said, watching Daniel carefully. ‘I think maybe I’ll go and sit on the roof for a while.’
I dodged past, opened the door, ran up the stairs and opened the hatch out into the sunlight. There, spread out on a sunlounger, was a bronzed, long- limbed, blonde-haired stark-naked woman. I stood there frozen to the spot, feeling like an enormous pudding.
The woman raised her head, lifted her sunglasses and looked at me with one eye closed. I heard Daniel coming up the stairs behind me.
‘Honey, I thought you said she was thin.’