Jennifer Lawrence has given an interview to Vogue where she’s said that she is lonely every Saturday night.
Sorry? KATNISS, LONELY? Oh right, she’s not Katniss. But still. This is one of the best, most loved Hollywood actresses right now, with the world at her feet. And although, for a brief second, I was sucked in to her confession, now, chiefly, I just feel a bit pissed off. Can we have a bit of a reality check please?
There’s a massive difference between not having plans for the night, and real, gut-destroying, life-scorching loneliness. The kind of loneliness best summed up by Barbara Covett’s sinister spinster in Zoe Heller’s ‘Notes on a scandal’, when she muses: “People like Sheba think that they know what it’s like to be lonely. They cast their minds back to the time they broke up with a boyfriend in 1975 and endured a whole month before meeting someone new… But about the drip drip of long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing… I have sat on park benches and trains and schoolroom chairs, feeling the great store of unused, objectless love sitting in my belly like a stone until I was sure I would cry out and fall, flailing, to the ground. About all of this, Sheba and her like have no clue.”
If J-Law is finding it hard to cope with the nano-seconds of singledom she endures in-between killing it at the box office and sweeping up Oscars, my heart goes out to her, really it does. But if she really wants to talk about loneliness, or can’t find companionship, then I have the solution for her. In Britain, over 1 million people haven’t spoken to a friend, neighbour or family for at least a month. Recently, an elderly couple dialled 999 and pretended they’d had an accident because they were so desperate to have someone to talk to. That’s loneliness, J-Law, right there.
I used to volunteer for a charity called The Bristol Film Unit. We would visit old people’s residential homes and show them films on projector screens. It was a life-affirming experience for me; not only did I get to see some right old classics: Whisky Galore, Now, Voyager, and Genevieve, but I also got to see how much just human companionship meant to the residents at each home. Often, at a time judged mutually convenient by us all, they would share round ice cream and red wine which we would enjoy companionably, while I soaked up tips on how to flirt in your nineties. It was probably one of the best times of my life.
So J-Law and all you other sad and rejected A-listers, why not fly over to Bristol sometime? I’ll hook you up with Bert and Phyllis and we can sort out your aching loneliness once and for all.
Country Life has published a new list on how to be a modern lady. Some of its suggestions aren’t as hideous as you’d think. But in my opinion it’s missed out on quite a few essentials, so here are my suggestions to make up the deficit.
My kind of lady…
- Doesn’t check her mobile or look at a screen during any meal (but isn’t afraid to look at it in the toilet.)
- Can do basic first-aid.
- Swims like a trout in cold streams and rivers.
- When really fit workmen come round to her house, refrains from sending ‘OMG I have a stud in my house come round nooooow’ type texts.
- For at least an hour. And then she shares the joy.
- Arranges for guests’ favourite newspaper to be delivered if they’re staying for the weekend.
- Isn’t afraid to confront people for throwing litter.
- In a passive aggressive slightly mad way. YOU DROPPED SOMETHING. etc
- Knows when to leave the fast lane but also stays put if someone is trying to bully her out of the way. When this happens, will use the power of hand gestures to indicate her sympathy for the fact that said driver is unfortunately underrepresented in the trouser department.
- When it comes to the behaviour of her friends’ children, knows when to keep her mouth shut.
- Thinks that Annie Hall is one of the greatest people that ever lived, even if she wasn’t real.
- Speaks up for the underdog.
- Uses the library.
- Has a brilliant voice on the phone.
- Donates at museums.
- Gets past the small talk.
- Can shrug off a shitty day with a really inappropriate solo grindy dance in the kitchen, even when sober.
- Doesn’t post selfies where she is pouting. Ever.
- Never moans about jetlag, dust from extensions, or au-pair or nanny difficulties.
- Can name trees, birds and flowers and helps children learn them too.
- Knows that an elegant eye-roll, when executed properly, is a thing of joy.
- Can quote stuff – proper stuff. Poems, sayings, lines from films, Maureen Lipman adverts.
- Plays board games.
- Gives good hugs. Proper, strong, squeezy ones.
- Knows how to complain properly.
- Doesn’t give a shit what state your house is in, in fact can sink into a big pile of squalor, pick off some empty cat food tins from your sofa and say “god, you really need to do less around the house.”
- Drops round for coffee without being asked.
- Has got at least one favourite category on Youporn. .
- Can talk about TV shows with enthusiasm and expertise.
- Says: ‘Can I help you?’ if she catches anyone leering at her.
- Eats like a horse.
- Can be a bit feral.
- Breaks the rules.
- Fully accepts that, once you’ve had children, you’re always working, whether you have a ‘job in an office’ or not, and gives all mums the respect they deserve, rather than saying: ‘How can you be tired, you’re at home all day?’
- Knows when people are sad, even when they’re pretending they’re fine, and does something about it.
- Doesn’t say ‘sorry’ automatically when she cries.
- Gives herself secret pep talks.
- Still gets misty eyed when talking about a pet she had a few decades ago,
- Has at least one slightly unhinged laugh that you can’t forget.