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Diary of an Unsmug Married by Polly James

Diary of an Unsmug Married by Polly James

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An exclusive extract from Diary of an Unsmug Married by Polly James.

Extract Content: Molly Bennett talks internet dating.

Meet Molly Bennett. Married to Max and mother to two warring teenagers, she’s just ‘celebrated’ a significant birthday. Bridget Jones would call Molly a “smug married”. So why doesn’t she feel it?

Is it because everyone seems to be having a better time of it than her? Or is it that Max has started showing more interest in ‘business trips’ and less interest in their sex life? Molly begins to despair. And then an old school friend starts flirting with her through Facebook …
An exclusive extract from Diary of an Unsmug Married by Polly James.

Extract Content: Molly Bennett talks internet dating.

Meet Molly Bennett. Married to Max and mother to two warring teenagers, she’s just ‘celebrated’ a significant birthday. Bridget Jones would call Molly a “smug married”. So why doesn’t she feel it?

Is it because everyone seems to be having a better time of it than her? Or is it that Max has started showing more interest in ‘business trips’ and less interest in their sex life? Molly begins to despair. And then an old school friend starts flirting with her through Facebook …

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Published by: HarperCollinsPublishersUK on Feb 03, 2014
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02/27/2014

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S A T U R D A Y, 2 2 M AY

Sam arrives first thing to stay for the weekend. We haven't seen him since my ghastly birthday party, and of course Max hasn't phoned him at all since then.

How can you call someone your best friend when you never bother to contact them? Not that this stops Max acting as if he's delighted to see Sam, and slapping him on the shoulder in the weirdly-repressed way that men do.

Sam slaps back, but I reckon he only puts up with Max's neglect because he still hasn't got a girlfriend. Now he's joined an internet-dating site and wants me to check his profile for its woman-appeal.

I’d rate it at zero, unless honesty is no longer a desirable quality. Sam’s claiming to be a non-smoker (!); a moderate drinker (only true if compared to Annoying Ellen), and he's put University in the education section. In response to my raised eyebrow, he mutters, "University of Life."

His photograph is terrible too–he looks like a middle-aged woman with a really bad haircut. Why do so many men insist on growing their hair, once they get to a certain age? Thank God Max isn’t one of them–I'd wield the scissors while he slept, if necessary. (I’ve always quite liked the name, Delilah, now I come to think of it.)

It’s not just Sam(son)’s hair that ruins the photo, either. For some unaccountable reason, his neck is swathed in a scarf that could almost be one of those hideous pashmina things that everyone but me seems to be wearing. (Everyone female, and of my age, that is.) Maybe this is part of his attempt to appear metrosexual? In the About Me section, he's written a load of pseudo-sensitive stuff that completely belies the fact that he's about as unreconstructed as you can get.

I'm still trying to find a subtle way to tell him that his profile and photo are rubbish, and that he's doomed to permanent bachelorhood, when he announces that fifteen women have already contacted him in the three days since he registered on the site. Fifteen! Why do I find that so depressing? (And, talking of middle-aged women–which I was, though admittedly ten minutes ago–does my birthday mean that I’ve officially become middle-aged?)

If I have, I bet no-one would be interested in dating me. I’d have to lie about my age, and smear Vaseline all over the camera lens before I took the picture for my profile. It’s different for men, obviously. They can be as old as the hills, and still women want to date them. Even men as old as Dad, according to Dinah, anyway.

She calls to tell me that she’s positive that he has taken up internet dating now, and says she bases this assumption on the fact that he seems to be sending emails very late at night.

“And he sounds suspiciously cheerful when you talk to him, too,” she says. “So it’s either that, or he's becoming obsessed with online porn.”

Good God. Is everyone having sex, apart from me? (Rhetorical question–don’t answer that.)

SUNDAY, 23 MAY
Some excitement at last! When I log on to the computer this morning, I find a private message on Facebook from someone called Johnny Hunter–who seems to remember that we had a night of passion behind the Science Block, after the Fifth Year end-of-term disco. There’s no photo on his profile, and the “about” section is helpfully blank, so I send a brief reply, in the hope that it won't be too obvious that I can't remember who the hell he is.

I forget to tell Max about it, as he and Sam have been to the pub for a so-called quickie before lunch, and are incapable of intelligent conversation by the time they get home. They

don’t seem to realise this, though, so I leave them to bore each other to tears, while I walk into town. I shall have a sober wander around the shops, instead.

Mainly stationery shops, given that I want to buy a packet of gold stars, like the ones that Connie and Josh’s primary school teachers used to stick in their school books, in recognition of particularly good pieces of work. I’m not intending to reward quality so much as quantity myself, though. The latter’s as important as the former in some situations–like how often Max and I are having sex. So, when I get home, I open the dog-eared packet of stars that I finally found at the back of a shelf in Ryman; stick one onto the calendar, and put the rest in the kitchen drawer.

There seem to be an awful lot of stars left unused but, luckily, Mum distracts me from thinking about this when she phones with an update on her health. She's getting Ted to tow her around the house on a tea-tray now, as her buttock hurts if she walks. I really hope it's not hereditary.

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