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Comment: Charmed, I’m sure…

Comment: Charmed, I’m sure…

Sunday 29 September 2019

Comment: Charmed, I’m sure…


St. Helier’s favourite socialite has had enough of publicly humiliating herself at every event she attends and now she’s taking drastic action…

Whilst she’s charming in her own way, Fenella Bond has decided the time is nigh to enrol herself in Charm School.

Gathering together her own panel of experts to make over her personality – could this be what Fenella needs to impress the higher echelons of her social circle?

“The recent series of far-fetched and catastrophic encounters which is my life, has prompted me to hold a formal self-intervention (which at the moment is becoming a bi-monthly event). 

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Pictured: Fenella enlisted her most trusted advisors to stage an intervention.

No more will I make Calamity Jane look like Miss Universe, who also hosts an incredibly successful, pastel-coloured blog for yummy mummies. No longer will I dread social occasions lest I sleep with the staff, give myself concussion or, the worst of my cardinal sins... openly mock golf in front of rich, white guys (blasphemy!)

In my trademark style, which is both cinematic yet wholly necessary, I stared myself down in the bathroom mirror after a shower repeating the affirmation: “I must not make fun of golf within earshot of men who often use the phrase ‘a good putter’ without even a shred of irony.” 

I was done with this emotional rollercoaster of a lifestyle. Diary, Fenella Bond is going to Charm School. That’s right, I’m going to make like a debutante, and learn how to be demure, sweet and charming so I don’t alienate/go home with/shout at (delete as appropriate) everyone I meet at high profile events. 

Turns out Charm School doesn’t accept “women of a certain age,” but I didn’t let this euphemistic dig deter me from my mission...

I enlisted my best people – each an expert in their respective fields – to school me in being a delight. Okay, I asked a few of my friends, a former nemesis and an ex-crush to give me a few pointers, but doesn’t that sound altogether less charming than how I phrased it before?! Ohmygosh I am totally learning - I can feel myself becoming more agreeable already!!!

This is going to be a breeze. 

Lesson #1: ‘Laughing at jokes you don’t find remotely funny.’

Taught by the one and only Victoria Pinkerton-White (formerly known as Fenella Bond’s arch-nemesis.)

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Pictured: The first lesson of Charm School is laughing at jokes you don't find remotely funny.

We’ve definitely had our issues, but one thing is for certain – Victoria is nothing if not a social climber. Did you notice I didn’t give her a stupid bitchy nickname? That’s because I’m ushering in a new era of acceptance, charm and delightfulness (plus I’ve already used Stinkerton-White, and can’t think of a new one).

“FIFI!! Dahlingggg!!!”

Oh god. Why did I ask for her help again? Maybe this was a terrible idea, I could tell her it was all a misunderstanding and I actually needed her for ‘Calm School’ where we both just sat in total silence and don’t have to say anything – least of all obnoxious, unsolicited nicknames for one another.

“The key to being charming, cupcake, is pretending you’re the least funny person in the room.” (I imagine this must be easier to pull off when you have the wit of a teaspoon. AHEM. FOCUS, Fenella.) 

“You want everyone you speak to, to feel like they’re funnier, more successful and ultimately much more f***able than anyone else in the room. That’s why everyone gets glammed up to go to these things. You want to flirt with everyone and laugh it up, dahling!”

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Pictured: "That's why people get glammed up to go to these things!"

Then, something like discordant church bells piercing an otherwise peaceful morning emanated from her botoxed lips, and it just kept going and going, undulating and building to a sonorous climax. A single tear of sheer hilarity rolled down her cheek and I stared on in total bewilderment.

“The key to being a people pleaser, dahling, is fake it until you make it.”

A ringing indictment of all three waves of feminism, but, sadly, painfully, Victoria was right.

Lesson #2: ‘Small talk is big talk.’

Taught by bezzie mates, Vegan Jem, and Boss Bitch, Franka.

“The thing about you, Fenella, is you always want to dominate the conversation with your nervous jokes,” Franka told me, bluntly.

“Yeah, you’ve got to remember that posh people are the most insecure or they wouldn’t put their money where their mouths are,” Jem chimed in.

I was made to brainstorm my best conversation starters without saying anything political, judgmental or about myself. It was really, really hard and most of the time meant I had to resort to asking if they keep ketchup in the fridge or the cupboard, which way they hang their toilet roll, and who would play them in a movie of their life. 

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Pictured: "Small talk is big talk."

I was literally boring myself out of my skull. Let’s hope my third and final lesson will prove more inspiring.

(FYI, the only correct answers are: in the cupboard, with the end hanging over the top of the roll, and Olivia Colman.)

Lesson #3: ‘Not sure because I think small talk and laughing at other people’s jokes constitute the entirety of my social life.’

Taught by the Doctor formerly known as Dreamboat, my ex-future husband and father of my imaginary children (who were kind of stuck up, honestly).

I turned up to my third and final charm school lesson ready to be wowed, but nothing could have prepared me for what took place. I went to meet el doctore at his place and there he was, in a full suit, on a bed of rose petals. 

“I don’t know the first thing about being charming, Fenella. The only thing I know is that we need to be together. I don’t know what went wrong between us, but I only agreed to all this because I wanted to see you again. Let me take you to dinner?”

I was entirely lost for words and in my panic I began burbling out a hysterical amalgamation of all my previous lessons. There I was, in fits of what can only be described as frenzied fake laughter, all whilst asking him if he knew the difference between conserve and jam or whether he’d prefer to be portrayed cinematically by Jude Law or Matthew McConaughey.

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Pictured: Fenella certainly wasn't expecting rose petals.

Evidently I’m no expert, but from the wide-eyed look on his face he was thoroughly, irrevocably, undeniably uncharmed. 

Yours disgracefully,

Fenella xxx”

This article first appeared in the September edition of Connect magazineClick here to read it in full.

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