Deborah Ross: Our Woman In Crouch End

'Women are quite the worst, Heather. So bitchy, bitchy, bitchy! It's appalling how they carry on'
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The Independent Online

I wish people would stop getting at Heather Mills McCartney, who I don't know exactly, but if I did I would say to her: "Heather, don't let the spiteful, spiteful media get you down. I have always admired you, ever since I first saw you on telly at those Pride of Britain awards, giving a gong to the most photogenic, freckle-nosed schoolboy who dialled 999 while his mum was in a diabetic coma. So cute! So moving!

Even Carol Vorderman had a tear in her eye, and she's tough as old boots. You were dignified and elegant, Heather, and even though some people, even back then, thought: "Is this the sort of hard-faced one-legged woman you'd trust with Sir Paul's £800m fortune, as well as his hair?", I was not one of them.

Plus, as I would have advised you at the time, if only you'd asked, don't worry if Stella is offish. Give her time to get accustomed to the new situation, and then, only then, cut her off without a penny and have nothing more to do with her. I've never liked Stella, by the way, and even if she invited me to the star-studded, forthcoming launch of her new fragrance at a smart, Bruton Street venue on 20 June, from 1pm to 3pm, I wouldn't stay right to the end. No way, Heather. You can count on me.

"Now, Heather," I would continue, "I really don't know why the press are always so nasty about people they don't even know, declaring open season on them, raking over their pasts, which have absolutely no bearing on who they are today. Who cares, Heather, whether you might have dallied in porn? Why even mention it? It's not something I'd ever consider important. And, anyway, who hasn't dallied in porn, apart from most people? I know I haven't, but what does that prove? Nothing. Not a thing.

"Plus it is just so easy to mistake porn for educational lovers' guides. I once caught my partner looking at what I thought was a hard-core porn magazine but when I confronted him he said: 'What, this? No, you are quite mistaken. This is an educational lovers' guide, published by the Oxford University Press!'

"So I was quite wrong there, Heather, although, mysteriously, the guide resulted in no improvement in technique, as far as I could fathom. I suggested he request a refund from Oxford University Press but he said he didn't know what he had done with the receipt so, alas, he'd just have to hang on to it. Heather, I should just add that if I were invited to the star-studded launch of Stella's new fragrance, and I did stay to the end, it will only be because I've lost track of time. You have found a friend in me.

"The thing is, though, Heather, and I don't know if you've noticed this, it's women journalists who are quite the worst. So bitchy, bitchy, bitchy! All those Jane Moores and Carole Malones, always sniping at other women. It's appalling, the way they carry on. I sometimes feel like contacting them, to say: 'Come on, you fat bag, where's your solidarity?' Or: 'What about the sisterhood you stupid cow?' It's like working and stay-at-home mothers, don't you agree, Heather? Always scrapping when it's horses for courses and who gives a toss? They even scrap in our street, Heather, and what a racket. Many a time I've had to stick my head out of the window and shout: 'You, working mother and you, stay-at-home mother, just pack it in. There is a person who is meant to be working but is watching daytime TV in here and I can't hear a thing over this row about what's best for children which never gets anywhere anyway. Who knows why some kids grow-up into maladjusted loons?'

"I would have asked my partner to throw a bucket of water over them, but lately he has taken to disappearing with his educational manual from the Oxford University Press. Still no noticeable improvement, Heather. I sometimes wonder what it is going to take just to get a decent twosome round here. That's just two people having sex, Heather. And one of them may look quite bored.

"All I am trying to say, Heather, is that I'm not like those other bitchy, women. I'm not like that Cheryl Tweedy who recently called Charlotte Church 'fat', even though she is a bit. She has an arse on her. Neither am I one of those broadsheet types who will dress something up as an earnest article on tabloid intrusion while slipping in all the lurid detail. They are lily-livered curs, Heather, although the tabloid intrusion has been disgraceful all the same.

"I'm more a woman's woman, Heather. Indeed, some of my best friends are women and so long as they stay heavier than me and own less stuff and don't bore me with their problems - don't they think I have enough of my own? - they will remain so until I drop them anyway, Heather.

"To sum up, Heather, we'd be such good friends if only we knew each other. I would be a comfort, someone to lean on, someone who is neither disloyal nor a social climber. And if I am the last to leave Stella's party, it is only because I cannot find my coat".