Sunday, June 14, 2009

Casting Pearls After Swine 6/14/09

Apparently, there are some women on the planet who will do anything to get the men in their life out of it. Given the amount of trouble I have getting them in there in the first place, not to mention acquiring enough chloroform, rope and chains to keep them there, I can’t see that it’s a problem I’m ever going to encounter.

So, I am completely mystified by a website called As most things do these days, this came to my attention while exercising in the gym and watching the machines’ TVs, and I couldn’t wait to get home to find out more.

The TV commercial features a blonde woman handling various pieces of jewellery. They’re shiny, they’re chunky and, for the most part, fairly hideous. At one point, she examines a pair of un-matching ear-rings, as if trying to decide which she prefers, and we learn that each one relates to a man who, in real life, she was unable to decide between.

As she places each piece in jewellery in a special, lined box, the voiceover explains once you’re no longer with some man, the moment comes when: “It’s time to get his jewellery out of your life too.”

And how can you do this? You just let buy it all from you – and, yes, they even provide that special little box in which to place it all before you Fedex it off.

My first thought was that I would have dumped any guy who bought me such rotten jewellery to begin with; but then I remembered that apart from one brooch, no man has ever, ever bought me so much as a diamante hair-grip.

When I was 30, the man I was with bought me a china duck: a hideous, lime green and yellow, china duck vase whose only function I could foresee would be as something to smash over his head when the relationship ended (where were those websites supplying bubble wrap for packing up china ducks when I needed them, eh?).

In Wales, we have a custom of giving carved, wooden love spoons to the people we care for, not jewellery; but even in that respect I didn’t fare well. One Valentine’s Day, I opened up a gift that arrived in a love spoon box to find a pig’s trotter inside. Quite how that was supposed to woo me is another of life’s mysteries I have yet to fathom.

My last serious boyfriend gave me the single – not even the album, goddammit – of Mambo Number Five. You know the one – the guy who likes a bit of this woman here, a bit of that one on the side etc. etc. And I had to lend him the money to buy that.

Where on Earth are all these men who give jewellery in such abundance that it can be sent back in return for cash? I don’t have a lavish collection, but what I do have, I bought myself. Last year, for my 50th, I treated myself to a diamond tennis bracelet. It was something I had always wanted and, after a few drinks in Turkey, while covering a cruise for the Daily Mail, I saw a psychic in a hotel.

“You always spend money on big things,” she said. On the way back to the ship, after a few more drinks, I stopped off at a jeweller’s and bought the bracelet. I suspect that the minute I left the hotel, the psychic was on the phone to the shop, telling him: “There’s another one on her way.”

I really love diamonds, but if they are a girl’s best friend, where are all the men who know this and, more to the point, act upon it?

I have my eye on a rather exquisite, long chain of diamonds to match my tennis bracelet at the moment. I saw it while window-shopping on Rodeo Drive and went in to ask the price. “That would be $175,000, ma’am,” said the rather charming salesman. “It’s platinum.”

I kept a straight face. “Do you have it in white gold?”

“That would be $75,000, ma’am.”

Ever since the movie Pretty Woman, in which the assistants on Rodeo Drive treated Julia Roberts’ character Vivien with such contempt, all the stores are careful to behave towards everyone as if they have loads of money – even though, given my current financial circumstances, contempt would have been entirely justifiable.

But I didn’t see any man leaping out from behind a pillar, waving his cheque book, declaring: “No, no. Let me, Miss Stephen.” “Thank you, Mr Gere.”

In Spain and LA, I see women draped in jewels all the time; so what have they got that I haven’t? A lot of space between their ears, I suspect is the answer, and men with money (and the equivalent acreage in nothingness between their ears usually) appear to like that.

So, for all my being unable to fill that little satin box and receive my cheque in the post from, I’m grateful that I pretty much live by the premise, and that I don’t dislike anyone enough to hand back anything I’ve ever had from anyone.

And that includes the green and yellow china duck. At least it was given in love. The only exception is the pig’s trotter. I hope the guy who sent it caught swine flu.

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