Bridget Jones's diary

Everyone knows when you're going out with someone they are supposed to support you at hideous family occasions; he thinks if he makes a joke, he can get out of anything
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Saturday 2 September

8st (vg), alcohol units 6 (bad), cigarettes 23, calories 2,187, no. of correct lottery numbers 2 (vg)

I absolutely do not want to spend tomorrow at the Alconburys' tarts and vicars party, being greeted by Una Alconbury in thigh boots, fishnet tights and a peephole bra.

For 60-year-olds to organise such an event seems unnatural and wrong. Daniel, having promised to come, has now changed his mind. I accused him of being ashamed of my parents and their friends. He said, on the contrary, they were a source of constant happiness to him and he had been greatly looking forward to the party, but would sadly be unable to attend on aesthetic grounds as, since the invitation was issued, "tarts and vicars" has become devalued as a comic idea. I said what in the name of arse are you talking about? He said the whole joke depended on the contrast between tarts and vicars and since David Brain and the Nine O'Clock Service scandal everyone thought vicars were tarts so there wasn't any point.

I hate Daniel. Everyone knows when you are going out with someone they are supposed to support you at hideous family occasions, and he thinks if he makes one of his so-called amusing clever jokes, he can get out of anything. Now all the Alconburys' friends will spend the entire time asking me if I've got a boyfriend yet and no one will believe me. I'm going shopping.

7pm I don't know what's been going on in staff training but I swear to God shop assistants are getting even worse at opening lines. I was doing a little light fantasy coat buying in Nicole Farhi, trying on my fourth one, when the girl asked brightly: "Looking for a coat?" What did she expect me to say? "No, I'm trying to find a really effective biological detergent"?

Then I thought maybe she could tell there was no way I was going to buy a coat, I just wanted to try them all on. So in fact I wasn't looking for a coat and it was quite a perceptive question. I ended up going bright red, putting the coat back and leaving the shop. I didn't like them anyway. All Nicole Farhi things are made for thin giants and make me look like Bridget the fat Midget wearing a blanket.

Sunday 3 September

8st (continuing good work), alcohol units 7, cigarettes 48, calories 5,245 (sodding Una Alconbury)

12 noon Mmmm. Daniel was really sweet last night and spent ages helping me to choose my outfit for the party. Maybe I will forgive him. In fact, as a special treat I am going to leave without waking him up while pretending not to.

6pm I cannot believe what I have just been through. I drove for two hours, parked at the front of the Alconburys' and walked around the side to the garden, where I could hear voices raised in merriment, and as I started to walk across the lawn, they all went quiet. I was wearing the outfit Daniel had chosen, which was a black lacy Marks & Spencer's body, with stockings and suspenders, a French maid's-style apron that we'd made out of two hankies and a piece of ribbon, a bow-tie and a cotton-wool rabbit's tail.

Instead of tarts and vicars, however, all the ladies were in Country Casuals 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 in pleated fuchsia holding out a plastic tumbler full of bits of apple and leaves. "Bridget. Super to see you. Have a Pimm's," she said. "What a shame you haven't brought anyone with you."

"I thought it was supposed to be a tarts and vicars party," I hissed.

"Oh dear, didn't Geoff call you?" she said. I couldn't believe this. I mean, did she think I dressed as a bunny girl normally or something? "Geoff," she said, "Didn't you telephone Bridget?"

"How's-my-little-Bridget?" said Geoffrey lurching over, pissed, in a baby-yellow v-necked jumper.

"Geoffrey," said Una coldly.

"Yup, yup, all present and correct, orders obeyed, lieutenant," said Geoffrey, saluting, then collapsing on to her shoulder giggling. "But it was one of those ruddy answerphone thingummyjigs."

"Geoffrey," hissed Una. "Go-and-see-to-the-barbecue. I'm sorry, darling, you see we decided after the Nine O'Clock Service scandal there'd be no point having a tarts and vicars party because ..." she started to laugh. "Because ... everyone ... everyone thought vicars were tarts anyway ... oh dear," she said, wiping her eyes. "Anyway, how's your love life? When are we going to get you married off?"

I spent the party wearing a puff-sleeved Laura Ashley bridesmaid dress of Janine's in a floral sprig over my suspender outfit. There was no sign of Dad, thank God, and no one said anything, so maybe this rumour about him and my friend Jude was all just a figment of Tom's imagination. My mother was too busy supervising Julio shooting the video to do more than say, "What a pretty dress darling!" "Absolute quiet everyone," she kept trilling. "Action!!!" "Cut."

After 45 minutes I thought I could decently leave, pleading work to Una. ("You career girls! Can't put it off forever, you know: tick-tock-tick- tock.") Then, just as I got back to the main road my dad's car drove past. Sitting next to him in the front seat was Jude, wearing a red lace underwired uplift basque and two bunny ears.

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