A snog is a definite indication that the Date is to be followed up within 72 hours (or maybe 48?)
Monday 28 July

8st 12 ( excellent work), cigarettes 4 (vg), alcohol units 3 (excellent)

10.30am Must say, have started looking at 14-year-olds in new light. Really, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities, though obviously one would not want to be clapped in jail. Hmmm. Anyway Simon has explained whole situation with Shazzer, ie they have been secretly sleeping together for six weeks but he got into it by accident and did not know how to stop so just didn't call. Honestly. So that explains why Shaz keeps going mental whenever she bursts in on Simon and me kissing, though not why Simon suddenly keeps kissing me. When Simon and I slept together he did not even ring me afterwards. I mean ...

Ooh. I've got three bloody great bites on my arm. I swear to God, our land has been invaded by mosquitoes. Aaargh.

11am Was Richard Finch, yelling. "Bridget, Bridget Bridgeeeeet." Turns out they are doing an item about Labour's Women Committees and he wants ideas for what we women would suggest to the Government.

"Tony Blair should introduce a code of Dating Practice for Singletons," I said.

There was a jealous pause from all the other researchers round the table.

"That's it, is it?" said Richard Finch.

"Yup," I said confidently.

"You don't think," he said, "That our Prime Minister might have better things to do with his time?"

"Well, just think of the number of working hours lost through worrying, depressions, discussions to interpret situations and waiting for the phone to ring," I said. "It must be easily on a par with back pain. Also all other cultures have specific dating rituals, but we are operating in an ill-defined sea with men and women increasingly alienated from each other."

"Oh God," drawled Patchouli, lounging with her Lycra cycle-shorted legs all over the table. "You can't prescribe people's emotional behaviour. That's fascism."

"No, no Patchouli, you haven't been listening," I said strictly. "These would be just guidelines for sexual good manners. Since a quarter of all households are single it would significantly help the nation's mental well-being."

Not surprisingly, everyone took my point and that is my work for this morning to draw up the Code.

Right. (Am just referring to heterosexual men and women as the gay community will need a different variation in a sub-section.)

Code of Dating Practice

1. If a person asks another person out with the intention of discovering whether they want a relationship, the occasion should be referred to as "a Date". At the end of the Date, the verdict should be clearly given by both parties (possibly in an exchange of sealed notes that should be provided by restaurants etc) so no one has to wait for the phone to ring.

1a. A snog (ie kissing with tongues) is a definite indication that the Date is to be repeated and should be followed up within 72 hours (or maybe 48?) by a phone call from the snogger (ie snog initiator) to the snogee.

2. If someone knows they do not want to go out with someone else they must not egg them on in the first place.

3. When a man and woman decide they would like to sleep together, if either party knows they just want a "fling" (ie one- or two-night stand) this should be clearly stated beforehand.

3a. After sexual relations, it is definitely bad manners not to stay the night.

4. After sexual relations the man* must telephone the woman no later than 48 hours after leaving and be nice to her. (*Controversial but vital to proscribe the sex here, as women are generally more emotionally vulnerable at this time and old-fashioned, traditional feelings come into play.

5. If either party then (or at any point) does not wish to continue the relationship, they must clearly and considerately state this in a manner that reassures the other party that they are not the Elephant Man/Woman without being patronising. It would be normal practice to accompany such an explanation with a small gift or perhaps bouquet.

6. If 5 does not apply then ... hmmm (this is quite difficult but must not panic as only a blueprint for debate. Obviously there would be a Standing Committee before Bill came to Parliament.) ... then everyone has every right to assume that they are starting to try and have a relationship.

7. It then becomes good manners for the Date, and sexual relations to be repeated within no more than seven days.

8. It also becomes bad manners to allow a weekend to go by without attempting to meet in it and such behaviour requires explanation.

9. It is also bad manners not to try to meet once or twice a week and not to call for more than 72 hours.

Noon Anyway that is as far as I got before I had to read it out.

"But what if people just want to, like, feel their way?" said Patchouli, boredly.

"The whole point is communication," I said. "There's a current trend for Singletons to use not communicating - ie not phoning - as a means of communication, eg to tell someone you don't want another date, don't want to continue the dating process, you're cross with them or whatever. But ...

"Bridget, just shut up," said Ian, Richard Finch's deputy, looking sneerily to Richard for approval.

"No, this is good, this is ver-y good," said Richard, staring fixedly at me, at which point Ian looked as though he'd eaten a pigeon. "I'm thinking live studio discussion. I'm thinking Harriet Harman. I'm thinking Robin Cook. I'm maybe even thinking PM. Right Bridget. Move. Set this up. Get Harman's office on the phone and get her in tomorrow then try Blair."

Hurrah. Am head researcher on tomorrow's lead item. Everything is going to change for me.

Tuesday 29 July

11.30am Humph. Item is cancelled. Harriet Harman has not rung back. And neither has Tony Blair.

Bridget's vg novel, `Bridget Jones's Diary', is available from Picador direct on 0151-324 5707. Paperback costs pounds 4.99, audio tape pounds 7.99 plus 99p p&p.

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