fear never shows up and the party ends early. 



On Thursday there’s work to do, and the angry Eastern European guy to avoid at the gym. But after all this I find myself watching a repeat of the first of this series on Channel 5 which has Eamon and Ruth Holmes pretending they’re on the breadline, cash machine slaves like you and me, and seeing how the people we'll never meet really live. And as you'd expect it's all million dollar cars and billion dollar estates, loneliness, supermodels, alcoholism and lack of real purpose. Maybe. And I'm slowly losing interest in Eamon and Ruth as they shop for diamonds when this guy called Emin appears. 

And Emin, a Wikipedia stalk tells us, is the son of Aras Agalarov and a two billion dollar inheritance. Simply put: he’s a big fucking deal. So with renewed interest, because Emin’s kinda attractive in a Westernised-son-of-an-oligarch / expensive watch / great clothes way, we watch Eamon ooh and aah at this ridiculously big house cracking jokes about needing an army of cleaners to upkeep it or something, we don’t really listen, and Emin is all “I’m never home” but not in a “I’m rich dude” way but in an almost sad “There’s just me in this bubble of privilege” kinda way. And just as we’re slowly falling in love with him he tells us he’s all alone because his ex-wife, the President of Azerbaijan’s daughter or something, up and left him and took his two boys out of his life but the world keeps turning and his music career helps him get by you know?  
And I decide if things ever fall apart with me and Cody I will replace his warmth and affection with this hard line, cold Russian brutality. And I wouldn’t mind that all feel feeling would be replaced by hundred grand diamond watches and a secret existence because we're not really interested in being part of the family, we just want our cut of the money and the properties outside Moscow. 
I listen to Boomerang by Emin 42 times to cement my affection 



So I wake up pretty sleep deprived and pissed off mostly because Cody (as we'll now call DL because it's a name evocative of the all-American dream and he'd like that) has developed two sleeping positions in the two years we've been together: the swastika and crucifix, which leave me cold and clinging to the my side of the bed six nights a week. So I resolve that when we eventually do settle on a house of our own I want two double beds side by side so that we can become the quentisential 50s couple, apart but fucking well rested.

And when he gets up to go to work the following things happen: 
• I lie wide awake for forty minutes then admit defeat and get up. 
• Physical Attraction from Madonna's self titled 1983 debut album plays while I'm in the shower. I decide I'd have bought this album six years before I was born and danced in disreputable nightclubs in London as part of the double life played out to spare a mothers tears in a city somewhere up north. And you're wantin' my body, I don't mind...
• I do chest and arms in the gym. An angry Eastern European grunts, pissed off, when I tell him I'm not finished with the bench press.
• I meet my mother at an unremarkable French bistro. She drinks half a bottle of white and we discuss _____ and ____ while I strip half a roast chicken and avoid anything remotely carb. "Can we talk about Christmas?" "Not really".
• I buy two Marino wool Ted Baker  jumpers for the office and three fitted Reiss shirts (one pale blue, two white). 
• G texts to say she misses me. I lie "I've missed you too" but the real truth is I never give absence real thought. We're all just extras. Let's do lunch real soon. 
• A woman in her late fifties (sixties?) lies broken at the bottom of an escalator. Boutique shopping bags crumpled, paralysed with fear. Blood soaked Burberry trench. I don't stop with the small crowd gathered. What use could I be? 
•I think about the woman at the foot of the escalator and the fragility of life as I'm getting ready for bed at 23.57 and the blood makes me vomit three times 



Friday. Which could be the start of something pretty major depending on your "living for the weekend" outlook / your work ethic. 

And this particular Friday consists of: 
• A 24 email exchange with HK about how much uproar his offensive yet hilarious Halloween costume for next weekend will stir. 
• 46 actual work related emails (Corporate slave).
• An 11 message discussion with BB about gym strength and the faux intellectualism of a well known blogger/ writer. 
• A 45 minute conference call with a big wig earning big benjis per minute (Disgruntled corporate slave).

And after all this exhaustive behaviour I leave with GG for the gym where his housemate, who we'll call John, meets us and we train legs. 

After an hour I lose my patience with the crowds of fat people making room for the kebab they'll doubtlessly cram into their piggy faces in eight hours time, and leave GG and John to it.

On the way to home I stop off to tan, because pale and interesting will never quite workout for me, and burn, badly. 

DL (my boyfriend) laughs and I spend the rest of Friday in a grump listening to Adele's new song till I'm bored of it. 


On Thursday as I’m googling for protein I decide that when it comes to my hair I can’t deal anymore so left with no choice must shave off the short-on-the-sides-long-on-top-swept-look I’ve grown obsessive over since I flew back from the States .
And this poses a huge problem for me because I’m vain but naturally indecisive and immediately regret all bold moments like this at most twelves seconds after I’ve done them. So I do the only sensible thing and ask RV and GG, who I work with and SE, who I don’t.

RV (Without hesitation): “Do what you want”
GG (Caution): “It’s November in like a week. Cold ears, just sayin’”
SE (Muted enthusiasm): “It could go two ways: Nick Jonas or get well soon”

And this non-unanimous response leaves me pretty annoyed so I waste more time writing a list of pros and cons which isn’t very long (Pro - Nick Jonas, Con - nothing like Nick Jonas) and doesn’t get me any further so I abandon the idea and shuffle papers with “Levels” playing on repeat  instead.

                In a crowded barber shop tucked away in a side street of the business district:
·         I drink four complimentary beers in 50 minutes
·         I estimate that the average age of clientele is 19
·         I mumble “Thanks lad” and “cheers mate” several times and tense up when spoken at to disguise being a big homo fox in the hetero hen house.
·         Barber 1 tells Barber 4 what ex-Barber 3’s girlfriend (Barber 1 is fucking her now) tried to do while they were having sex. Barber 4: “Dirty”
·         The music alternates between club and shit dubstep mixes. On repeat.
·         Everyone has a variation of the same cloned style.

·         I hand over a note and leave for the gym with a tidier version of the same haircut I had two hours ago. 




and In between the shuffling of papers, the lifting and slamming back down of the two direct lines to my desk (excessive, incessant) and the other, you know, actual corporate finance related grown up shit I’m expected to understand, I stare fixedly at the scruffy newcomers. And they look every inch your stereotypical fix-it type in their dirty overalls, hairy forearms and lad swagger as they scratch their short cropped heads caked in dust and shrug. “Big job”

And I can’t help but feel a wave of half  envy / half bitterness at  this display of straight-lad-on-the-job masculinity because it’s the projected norm I’ve craved since I was 15.

HK's email stream about home furnishings, botox, whey protein, beauty queens and the capture of a gay slayer proves a welcomed distraction.