Single girl about town Bryony Gordon receives some unexpected news from her best friend .
It occurs to me that I haven’t seen Chloe properly for about a hundred years because she has been so wrapped up in her boyfriend, with whom she has been going out for an impressive length of time – just over a year (a decade in Chloe years).
There have been fleeting meetings, the odd phone call, usually outlining the roast they are cooking, or the soup they have made. It’s as if somebody has kidnapped Chloe and replaced her with a Chloe robot (a Chlobot, perhaps). How funny it is that, but six months ago, she was whingeing about me spending more time with the Socialist than her.
Anyway, we arrange to meet; Chlobot suggests dinner instead of the dingy Soho bar she usually frequents. 'It will be more civilised,’ she says. 'We can talk properly.’ Er, OK, I say.
Chlobot approves of my new hair, having previously said that cutting it would scare off the boys. Perhaps this is because she herself has taken on a more sober look. Gone are the 'stillies’, as she calls them, the glittery eyeshadow and spangly dress. She has on a tailored suit. The only thing she seems to have kept from her wardrobe is the knock-off Birkin bag that has been as trusty a friend as I over the years (occasionally lets her down when the handle breaks, but otherwise quite sturdy).
'Me and the boyfriend are trying to be more grown-up in 2011,’ says Chlobot. 'No more wild nights out, no more drinking vodka straight, no more ignoring red bills. I mean, we’re both almost 40.’
We are drinking white-wine spritzers, which Chlobot – when she was Chloe – would describe as an oddity; indeed, the only wine-based drink I have seen her imbibe is cava while dancing on a table. 'To be honest with you,’ continues Chlobot, 'being mature is a struggle for both of us, but we have decided there is strength in numbers and that we’ll succeed if we help each other.’ I find this quite touching.
Chlobot asks how my love life is. I tell her it is pretty much non-existent. 'Perhaps you should think about being chaste for 2011,’ she says. 'It might be good you!’ Just as I am thinking that there is about as much chance of that as there is of her getting married she only announces that she is engaged.