Wednesday 9 April 2008
Claudia Winkleman: Take It From Me
'I couldn't think what to write about this week, so Lucy suggested I should look myself up on the internet...'
"Never Google yourself," somebody once said. I'm not sure who, but I think it was someone who had once been in Coronation Street, had then appeared on The Bill and was now about to take to the stage as Prince Charming in the smaller of the theatres in Hull. "You'll never find anything nice," they said.
Sure. Sure. That's all well and good, but come on – desperate times mean desperate measures. You see, it was Sunday afternoon and I was at Lucy's house. I'd read every paper 900 times. And there was nothing to write a column about. Absolutely zilch.
Yes, I could have eked out 900 words about the WAG diet (it's actually genius – the main gist of it is to get a fake tan, wear high heels, ban carbohydrates and have a lot of green salad) – and I suppose I could have a had a go at people who don't like our celebrities airbrushed (are these morons totally mad? What? You actually want to see Madonna and her friends pictured in the magazines AS THEY REALLY ARE? What are you? Nuts? Plus, the day one of you can put on some thigh-high lace-up boots and a black sleeveless leotard when you're 49 and not need a little enhancing at Snappy Snaps is the day you're allowed to comment). And I could almost certainly have written about a man in the Czech Republic who tried to rob a supermarket. When the girl at the till told him all he needed was a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake, he agreed and took off his balaclava and had some baklava. (See what I did there?)
But none of it particularly grabbed me. Lucy tried to be helpful.
"What have you done this week?"
"Do you want to write about him again?"
"He says he's going to leave me if I write about him again."
"Which is almost an incentive."
"Well, look yourself up on the internet."
"To find something out about myself that I don't already know?"
You have to hand it to Lucy, she is a brilliant best friend. It was an inspired idea. So we convinced our husbands that our children liked them best of all (HA) and sent them all to a local park and we sat at her laptop. It was all slightly embarrassing as I typed my own name into the search engine. "I bet Jordan doesn't do this," Lucy said as we squinted at the screen.
A-ha. Wikipedia. That's bound to be useful. So we look and we scroll down and it's education and career and television biography and married life and yada yada yada... And then we read the last paragraph and we stopped. Stone dead.
We couldn't move.
"Oh Jesus," I said.
"It's not that bad. It might be a mistake anyway."
"A mistake? What, the fact they have eyes?"
"No. What I mean is – they could have got you muddled up with someone else."
"There's a photo of me on this page. How muddled do you think they got?"
"Shall I get the cheese?"
"They might have just thought you were Kate Thornton."
"Kate Thornton is a blonde."
"I think we should close the computer now."
"Don't touch it. I need to read it again."
"Don't do it to yourself."
"I'm not sure I can breathe."
"Do you think this is what it's like when you find out your husband is having an affair?"
"I think this is worse."
"It was the dress."
"It wasn't the dress. I've worn the dress before. And this has never happened before."
"Well, you never look yourself up. God knows what else they put up there."
"I might need some tea."
"With milk and sugar?"
"Did you not read it? I'll take a peppermint one, thanks."
And as Lucy went to put the kettle on I looked back at the screen and there it was. In black and white. At the end of my entry the following sentence was written...
(and take a deep breath)
"Since her recent appearance on Sport Relief it is obvious that Claudia is expecting her third baby. There has been no confirmation as yet."
Third baby. I take my eye of the ball for a couple of months and now I'm with child. Seriously – I don't BAN PASTA FROM MY WORLD for a couple of weeks, and, yes, I throw myself into the plate of eggs and sausages on a Sunday and now I'm up-the-duff fat. I have a bulge which is SO massive in its scale it's not possible that maybe I've just had a pie? But no, instead I am making a baby. Half a stone, give or take and I'm wobbling more than Mr Blobby, according to the internet.
So the bloke from Corrie was right. Bad idea to see what other people think of you. I found out I "look like a dog" and that my hair "is like a wig" and that my stomach "looks like it's got enough room for four under all that orange tan".
The way I see it is this. I have two choices: the WAG diet or what the bloke in Prague did – have a slice of cake and a nice cup of tea.
Here's to a Victoria Sponge.
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