Claudia Winkleman: Take It From Me

'No man ever wants to get married. They view it as the end, whereas us girls know it's only the beginning'


Kate Middleton, Prince William's girlfriend, has been invited by his grandma to spend Christmas with her and the rest of the family at Sandringham. Most girls would do a star jump, call their mum and shout: "They like me!" before buying a jaunty hat from Selfridges and getting on the next train headed to Norfolk. Not Kate. She's a clever little thing and has declined, saying she'll only come for the royal Christmas when she and the prince are engaged to be married.

There are many things a girl shouldn't do before she gets that ring on her finger. I, for instance, always said that I was busy at the weekend till he dropped on one knee and offered up a small velvet box. I thought it was a better idea that he thought I was busy flirting with other boys (I was actually in the bath, on the phone to my girlfriends, wondering why he hadn't asked to be the father of my children yet).

I also never stayed at his house for a full night. Sure, I'd swing by his at midnight in a corset and a pair of thigh-high boots ("What? This old thing? I always wear this on a Wednesday") and let him have a small fiddle, and would then leave in a taxi at 1am. A very small fiddle...

My girlfriend Lucy turned down 12 - yes, 12 - heartfelt pleas for her to move in with her boyfriend until he finally asked her if she fancied tying the knot.

What one has to remember is that no man, or no man that I've ever heard about, actually wants to get married. They view it as the end, whereas us girls know it's only the beginning.

"Once we've walked up that aisle it's all over," my friend Toby admitted in 1999. "I'll have to start putting up shelves. She'll no longer kiss my neck when we're stuck on the motorway, and all that homemade shepherd's pie on a Saturday night will be history."

Toby, of course, turned out to be absolutely right. Exactly four seconds after Grace accepted his emotional marriage proposal (he took her all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower, for goodness sake; she'd have said yes in the chip shop in Shepherd's Bush) she started totally ignoring him. She and her mother began the wedding plans. They dyed chicks white and had her dress made in India.

Then she got pregnant and she and her mates decided what to call it (Lucas for a boy, Ruby for a girl). Then she had Ruby, who is now four, and she hasn't really spoken to Toby since their weekend in Paris. He's building climbing frames and wandering around after her, eating old baby food off the floor and waiting for that kiss on the neck.

Before the man asks, and if the girl wants him to ask, she has to play it a little bit cool. Questions she simply must not ask him under any circumstances include: "Would you ever want to live in the countryside when you turn forty?"; "Would you want me to change my name to yours if, you know..."; and: "Do you promise to try and catch our baby when it pops out of me?" And, of course: "Is it OK if I just leave my hairdryer and box of Tampax in your bathroom?"

Instead, talking and nagging should be kept to an absolute minimum. Football watching should be encouraged (I spent two years shouting "Come on you Gunners!" at a team in a blue strip) and boys' trips to Vegas should be applauded. "Seriously, babe - if you need to go to Spearmint and let your hair down with the guys from work, no problem," is a phrase I used weekly until he asked me to be with him for all of eternity.

Since then, the Rhino and Stringy's are strictly off limits. If he so much as whispers: "I should probably go away with the team from work," I chuck him out of bed and refuse to, um, rub his back.

Unfortunately, as soon as the girl gives up a bit of her life for the man she loves (whether it's no longer going on girls' nights or giving up seeing her family on Christmas Day), the bloke thinks he's got her where he wants her. He makes less effort and he certainly doesn't think he needs to hold her down, give her a diamond ring and beg her with all of his heart to stay with him and cuddle him for all of eternity.

When it comes to getting a man to propose, the rules are: get a job (Kate's just started working at Jigsaw), get your own flat (she's sorted that one out too), and avoid his family gatherings in favour of your own (ditto). So, Kate, go home for 25 December and, when you're sitting across from your mum, wearing a crown made of purple tissue paper and tucking in to the turkey, tell her from me - it's in the bag.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Question time: Russell Brand interviewing Ed Miliband on his YouTube show  

Russell Brand's Labour endorsement is a stunning piece of hypocrisy

Lee Williams
IDF soldiers and vehicles in an image provided by campaign group Breaking the Silence  

'Any person you see – shoot to kill': The IDF doctrine which causes the death of innocent Palestinians

Ron Zaidel
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before