‘Do you really want people to see your cellulite? You don’t even let me see it.’
This is David speaking. And it’s true, I don’t ever let him see me naked. If he has a twinkle in his tiny eyes and looks as though he wants sex, I’ve been known to unscrew light bulbs. I might, having spent almost a lifetime on a diet, have reached my dream weight of eight and a half stone. But having got there, I’ve realised to my horror this does not mean I look good naked. Gollum springs to mind. My bottom resembles cauliflower couscous: white and knobbly.
The reason he is talking about my cellulite is because I have been telling him about the contents of my upcoming one-woman show. I had to tell him about it, as he’d been hovering behind me while I was on my laptop and spotted me shopping the bridal section on Net-a-Porter.
‘Hang on,’ he’d said. ‘What are you doing? I haven’t proposed again.’
I had to tell him to stop sweating, as I was merely buying the costume for my show. ‘What is it, Great Expectations, Live!?’
Blimey. He’s read an actual book.
‘No, the wedding dress is for part four, subject header: The Problem With Men. In part two, I show my cellulite: the audience gets to meet Gollum. The evening is all about how I have spent my life wanting to be thin, like a supermodel. And how the fashion world let me down.’
‘Who will you be betraying?’ He really isn’t daft at all, is he?
‘Oh, absolutely everyone. Models. Designers. Photographers. Movie stars. Fleet Street. Plastic surgeons. The diet industry. Myself, mostly.’
‘Me?’ He looked worried.
‘No, not you. Just men in general. Husbands. Women who sleep with your husband. There will be a screen showing all the messages sent to me by online trolls, including the one from Rihanna when she called me a “menopausal mess”. At least she didn’t describe me as “post-”.’
My friend Helen has been enlisted to babysit my dogs, as collies aren’t allowed on tour: the Palace Theatre in Westcliff-on-Sea in particular is worried about Gracie chewing cables and causing a blackout in Southend. I’ve bulk ordered St John’s wort to help with my nerves, just as I did when I was made editor of a glossy and went into Celebrity Big Brother. I’m speed-reading Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers. Again. I have no idea why I keep doing things that scare me. Even when you are deemed successful, the stress never ends. I’ve written a novel, called Eight and a Half Stone, which will be out next year. First, I was stressed I’d never finish it, never get an agent, never get a book deal. Now I’m stressing about reviews, sales, the sequel. There’s never a finishing post. Always another hurdle, and at school I was renowned for always refusing at hurdles, like a donkey faced with Becher’s Brook.
I’m reminded of when I went to a preview of an auction of gowns owned by Audrey Hepburn. The curator showed me the inside of her dresses, how the actress had them all made with extra-wide selvedges on every seam so that when she gifted the garment to a friend, assistant or relative, the dress could be let out to fit them. There was a handwritten letter for sale, too. Audrey had just landed the career-crowning role of Eliza Doolittle, which you would think would mean she had arrived. She would be happy. She could let out those seams. Not a bit of it. She was devastated when she learned her voice would be dubbed, and in the letter was literally begging the studio bosses to allow her to sing. When they said no, she felt like a failure.
I’m not comparing myself to a Hollywood icon, of course not. But I do believe that unless we push ourselves, strive to be better, do things that scare us, believe we can be better, nothing happens. So, spurred on by Audrey in that immortal monochrome scene at Ascot, I’m moving my bleedin’ a***!!!! Let’s just hope I don’t fall on it.
Tickets for Liz’s nationwide tour with her one-woman show Eight and a Half Stone… and Still Full of Issues will be on sale tomorrow at LizJonesGoddess.com*
* I don’t think I’m a goddess, obvs. I just called my website and company that to force HMRC to say those words every time I file a tax return