An open letter to new Hollywood spinster, Charlize Theron

She’s 35, beautiful, Oscar-winning and with legs to die for. But she can’t get a man.

Hollywood Spinster does the decent thing and gives Charlize Theron a warm welcome.

“Welcome to Spinsterhood Charlize Theron, you’ll find it’s rather crowded on this shelf. Also, those long legs mean nothing up here. We all have legs. And don’t try to pull any of your movie-star BS. We don’t have time for that either, we’re too busy waxing our moustaches, and crying over old photo albums.

“Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea. Here, try knitting some socks. It’ll take your mind off thinking back to where it all went wrong. Nine years with that actor guy, eh? Hmm, that sounds like it could have been a huge mistake. But hey, we all make them. Look along the shelf here. We’ve all spent way too long with the wrong guys.

“What? It’s quiet here? Well that’s because there are no children. We like to live peaceful lives, full of lie-ins, impromptu weekends away and no video games. We like to ride our bicycles around the village. Bake. Read. Cry into bunches of roses. But mostly we love to discuss the ‘what if?’

“That’s a big topic around here. We don’t want to know about your next movie or how much money you make. Money can’t keep you warm at night. Well, only if you set fire to it.

‘Is that a natural hair colour by the way? You’re probably starting to go grey. It’s ok, you can tell us, you’re in a safe place now. Just hold on tight and don’t try to jump off the shelf. You need written permission for that.

“Oh, it’s not that we don’t want you to leave. We actively encourage spinsters to find new and exciting lives with men who love and cherish them. But we know how hard it is out there, and so we always provide spinsters-to-go with a ‘leaving package’.

“It includes one large safety net, lots of resolve, a case of red flags, a bag of hope and the knowledge that you’re not alone.

“So, ladies, and er, ladies, please welcome our new friend, Charlize.

Now, where did we put those cupcakes?”


Kate Middleton’s Dress

Do you recognise the following scenario?

Kate Middleton wears a dress. You see it.

Immediately you go online and buy it.

If the answer is yes, my question to you is, ‘Why?’

WHY do you rush out, and buy what she’s wearing?

Apparently, the dress on the right, sold out within 30 minutes of it being seen on TV and online.

It baffles me.

It is laziness?

Or do you really want to look like Kate Middleton?

If so, why?

She’s a nice girl (great hair) but really, this is how you shop?

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What do you want to be?

As an antidote to the wallowing wonder that is Vicky Ward (see below), watch this inspiring TEDTalk from Caroline Casey, pictured right.

She wanted to be Mowgli. She became Mowgli.

Mowgli isn’t blonde and hasn’t had his teeth whitened.

There’s a twist to Caroline’s story that will make you gasp.

Grab a tissue and click this link.

Dying your hair blonde is NOT an achievement.

Do you like yourself?

Yourself now?

Your younger self?

Would you bully a memory?

This article made my blood boil. It’s written by a Vicky Ward, a journalist *chokes* and it ran today in a British tabloid newspaper.

Ms Ward is 41-years-old, and I think might be an intelligent woman but it’s hard to tell under the vapid coat of stupidity she’s wearing, coupled with a strange belief that because she’s now blonde, has white teeth and stands up straight, she’s a better person.

But what is Ms Ward proud of exactly?

The fact that she’s successfully morphed into a generic reality TV star? (Maybe she’s after her own show?)

In the article, she spends a lot of time pulling apart her younger self. I don’t know why but she seems to dislike herself intensely. My concern is how proud she is of her shallow and vapid transformation.

Excuse me while I pull a classic Carrie Bradshaw move but it makes me wonder: just what is going on in women’s heads these days? Why is being shallow, something to aspire to? I don’t get it.

Do women really want to go back to the days where they were ornamental, or worked until they were married off? (When work wasn’t even work but a mere hobby).

Last night, on the flight to LA back from New York, I watched a handful of TEDWomen Talks on my laptop. One woman, an engineer, was talking about how she was using robot technology to educate children, and another, was about a mother and daughter who run a medical clinic in Somalia. Now, they can be rightly proud of themselves.

Dying your hair blonde is NOT an achievement.

Buying a pretty dress is NOT an achievement.

Writing articles like this is NOT an achievement.

I’m not saying don’t look after yourselves, stay slim and well-groomed but don’t hold those attributes up as the pinnacle of self-worth, success and celebration.

The outside is just part of who we are, it is not the whole.

If she’s finally comfortable in her own skin, then great. But tell me Vicky, what next? Yes, you’re a ‘dazzling blonde’ but show me a real achievement.

Because this is nice, but it’s not the be all and end all.

You can do more. You can do better.

We all can.

In the room with Jennifer Aniston

On Friday, this lesser-known Hollywood Spinster came face-to-face with the ultimate Hollywood Spinster – Jennifer Aniston.

This was a big day for me, as you know how much I love Jen. If you don’t read this, and this. Homework is required.

I was more than curious to be in the same room with the woman who I only ever read about on-line or in garish weekly magazines that scream all manner of nonsense on their covers (“Jen’s Secret Calls to Brad!” “Jen Cries Over Angelina’s Nail Polish!” “Jen Says Shut The Fuck Up Media Douchebags!”).

I spend a lot of time defending her honour, and what was weird about Friday is that I found myself sitting in the front row of the press conference, front and centre, having eye contact with an actress, who I felt that on some level, should know that about me.

We’re all looking for connections in life. Could I make one with this uber-famous actress who looks like she’s been dipped in honey and sprinkled in sunshine? Or was I veering into fan-girl territory with my unique spinny cocktail of fascination, admiration and protection?

In real life, Jennifer is petite, polite and effervescent. She was also surrounded by cast and crew from her latest movie and so therefore, essentially, performing for the international media. A staged event is no way to meet a person for real, so we take the crumbs they throw at us and are grateful for it. At least, that’s what we tell the people who organize these things.

Ideally, I would like to spend quality time with this modern-day icon. A few days at her home, on a film set or press tour – getting to know who is underneath that outstanding head of hair. I want to know who I’ve been defending.

And I really want to know: is she worth my time and effort?

I got there early to bag a good seat in the front row. I had to make sure that I asked my questions, so I made sure all the right people knew I would be waiting for that chance.

Talking to people in this way is my job but these events are also intimidating. During the press conference, you have to announce who you are in front of hundreds of people, and then speak into a microphone.

The hustle worked, and my moment arrived. I sounded very British as I spoke in clear tones.

As a professional, all I wanted was to sound intelligent. But as an admirer, all I wanted was for her to know that we were underneath, in some ways ‘the same women’, with the same fears, hopes and dreams.

That’s a hell of a lot of convey in one question with a shaky voice, while the the piercing eyes of several publicists bore into your head.

I THINK I made the connection.

We had eye contact, and there were smiles.

Later in the press conference, someone said something funny, and Jen and I looked at each other and laughed at the same time. We did that shoulder shrug, that says, ‘I get it, you get it. We’re on the same page.’

And then she was gone.

I would never normally analyse an interview in this way before. I’ve been doing this job for too long to know that you don’t ever really get to know a person in this fake environment.

I’m not going to sit here and say ‘We’d be friends in real life’ just because our eyes locked for two seconds, or that, ‘I get her because we’re the same age and both unmarried’. (And suppose she marries this new boyfriend – will my feelings change?)

And I’d be a fool to read anything real or philosophical into this fleeting moment.

But I’ve always felt protective of La Aniston because the media make her out to be so desperate.

Well, all I can say to that is that I’ve seen desperation – and desperation was NOT sitting in front of me that day.

She exudes a caramel-bathed power, a calm beauty and a knowing. A knowing that she’s ok. Whatever.

And at the end of the day, that was enough for me. (Well, for now, at least.)

As she left the press conference, she was swamped by journalists firing a barrage of last-gasp questions about her next project, what shoes she was wearing and her love of yoga.

She batted them away like a professional.

Giving out precious nuggets of Aniston, while remaining intensely private.

But then, a clever spinster knows that she always has to keep back something for herself.

You know you’re a true Hollywood Spinster when…

…popping out for an informal meeting involves dressing in an outfit inspired by Flashdance, and wearing enough make-up to sink the Titanic.