Thursday 19 July

8st 12 (fat consumed by frenzied staring at phone); cigarettes 7 (excellent); alcohol units 1 (freakish), Premium Bonds 2 (vg)

Why hasn't Mark Darcy rung? Why? Have now snogged him twice: once at a party and once in corridor during his dinner party on Tuesday when was interrupted by lawyer woman with huge brain furnished from expensive antique shops accusing him of having a mid-life crisis by snogging a "Little thing in a short skirt with no opinions." Torn between wild smugness at being youthful sex-object when was just feeling old, and horrified shame at being Woman of Insubstance with Ikea-furnished brain. Oh God. Surely it is not normal for a man to snog someone and put hands deliciously on various parts of them, then not ring? As if in-corridor heavy petting is normal part of social intercourse which you do not need to acknowledge or follow up.

Feel so dizzy with dating theories that do not know what is normal anymore. Also puts paid to normal post-dinner-party etiquette clarity. Cannot exactly send him a note thanking him for dinner and not mention the snog. Can I? Or can I? That, surely, would give impression that whenever I go to a dinner party I snog the host as a matter of normal courtesy.

Problem compounded by fear that Mark Darcy may be aware of dating theories himself, so it is impossible to sort out either of our real desires through layers of bluff and counter-bluff.

No wonder a quarter of all households are single, since men and women are now constantly trying to dupe each other into thinking they are not interested in order to make the other one interested in them. Is bloody ridiculous... Am going to bloody well ring him up and get to the bottom of this, right now!

Later: In state of purged, trembling relief. Was on verge of yelling, "Do you want to go out with me, or just sleep with me or nothing or what? Could you just tell me, please, so we can get on?" but fortunately neither Mark nor answer phone was on other end. Am becoming increasingly convinced of divine presence of benign Dating God.

Just called Tom, who said, "Why is this all about what he wants to do with you? What do you want to do with him?"

"I don't know," I muttered. "How are you supposed to know what you want to do till you start doing it?"

"Do you want to sleep with him?"

"Yes, but...."


"Only if he wants to sleep with me."

Tom says someone should start a beginning-of-dating counselling or arbitration agency like ACAS or Relate only called SHAG?, where potential shagees would submit intentions to counsellor, rather like sealed bids, and counsellor would tactfully negotiate between prospective romantic partners, thereby saving everyone humiliation or embarrassment of putting selves on the line.

Saturday 21 July

11am: Humph. Even in Boy Time four days is v. long time to leave phone call. Am going out to buy Premium Bonds to cheer self up. Love the lovely Premium Bonds, transformed from dull pointless gift given by grandparents into something much more modern and exciting through the financial advice given to Princess Diana in the newspapers. Have decided to follow the advice myself in order to become Woman of Substance though self's funds are obviously more limited than Princess Diana's, in fact if being perfectly honest about the matter, non-existent. Premium Bonds, though, are marvellous substitute for Instants addiction (in manner of "Nicorette" chewing gum or methadone heroin substitutes) giving rise to all the shame, excitement, worry and planning necessitated by wasting money on Lottery in order to create illusion of imminent millionairehood, whilst duping you into saving money in manner approved by government. And all winnings are tax-free! Feel v. lucky and certain win in September draw will more than pay for Thailand holiday and holiday outfits.

5pm: Blimey. Was just standing excitedly in Post Office queue when familiar voice ahead said, "Twenty thousand Premium Bonds, please."

"It is not very good to be wasting all that money on one chance. Better to buy several separately," said the man behind the counter.

"I think you'll find twenty thousand buys twenty thousand separate bonds," said the voice, amusedly. It was Mark bloody Darcy!

Frozen with panic and sudden conviction that had been stalking Mark Darcy, camping outside his house and following him to the Post Office; exactly same feeling as at school when headmistress announced no one was leaving hall until person who stole Sally Knowles' Parker pen owned up. Convinced - although had not stolen pen - that thief was self.

Suddenly Mark Darcy was upon me.

"Bridget, what are you doing here?"

"Buying Premium Bonds," I said, instantly feeling even more like mad stalker. "Me too. If we win, shall we run away together?"

Now this is exactly what I mean, saying everything, meaning nothing and everyone safe behind the joke. I gave an unsuccessful smile which made me feel like the girl in The Exorcist or as if I had a mouthful of food.

"Are you waiting, please."

It was suddenly my turn.

"Five pounds worth of Premium Bonds please."

"It is not very good to be wasting all that money on one chance. Better to buy several separately."

By the time I'd finished, Mark Darcy had disappeared. I got out, furious to find him waiting for me, looking, it has to be said, completely irresistible in the sunlight.

"Bridget," he said, looking awkward. "After all this messing about ... Oh sod it," He leaned down and whispered in my ear. "I suppose a f*** would be out of the question?"