In the February 18 issue of the world’s greatest weekly I wrote that I had fallen madly in love with Jessica Raine, the actress who portrays nurse Jenny in the Sunday-night BBC show Call the Midwife. In the throes of demonic, erotic exhilaration, I may have piled it on a bit thick. So what? If Gordon Brown can ruin the British economy, Tony Blair can take Britain to war based on an outrageous lie, and both bums can still walk around without cuffs on their wrists, surely Taki can walk on air and fly on gossamer wings over someone he’s never met.
My whole point was to renounce today’s so-called sex symbols, those drunken tarts one sees piling out of nightclubs wobbling on their thick ankles and slurring their words as they try to pretend they don’t want their pictures taken. Here was Jessica in all the grace, shyness, and understatement that makes a woman so attractive to the poor little Greek boy, so I went overboard. But nurse Jenny is my ideal woman, and although even I in my reverie was aware that it’s a role and nothing more, I compared her with today’s lot and wept.
Jenny-Jessica was my incarnation of goodness, and her enchanting looks turned me into an erotomaniacal fool. Even worse, I decided to get back to the Spectator’s deputy editor, who had repeatedly made a fool of me by letting me stew on the altar—and with a cardinal waiting to boot—while she amused herself with family and friends in Old Queen Street. So I wrote, and I quote from the greatest Greek writer since Homer, “Goodbye, assistant editor of the Spectator. So long, Keira. Au revoir pour toujours, Rebecca. You’re all through, washed-up, history, curtains, finished.” I swear on John Prescott’s fat head that I meant it.
In an act of unspeakable revenge, the deputy editor not only went ahead and got married and now calls herself Madam, she hunted down Jessica Raine and commissioned a diary from her. It was a rare honor for someone as young as Jessica, who only has one hit under her thespian belt. And the deputy editor knew exactly what she was doing. In a column last week, Jessica Raine admitted being perturbed by what I wrote about her, advised me to cool my jets, and plunged the knife in deeply by suggesting I read some bloody book by some female called How To Be A Woman.
This was insulting and wounding to me. It was like sending an Italian tank-warfare manual to Hasso von Manteuffel. Gott im Himmel, what does the deputy editor have against me to wreak such Oedipal revenge? Her father, Sir Humphrey, is an old friend of mine. Her brother Jack once had me down to Eton to speak; he got me so drunk with his housemaster’s excellent wine, I made a complete fool of myself. Plus, she went off and got married—why pile it on?
Oh well, Jessica-Jenny has now spoken, and I can almost trace a lawyer’s thoughts when she wrote about being compelled bring me “back down to earth.” Professors Klinghoffer of Basel and Wulffshlagger of Zurich have been working on my beta amyloid plaques, the frontals of my brain that trigger me off when I see enchanting females like Jessica. Klinghoffer wants an intervention, which means cutting some brain tissue out, but Wulffshlagger says it’s not necessary and that I might end up like that Kennedy girl whose father lobotomized her seventy or so years ago. I don’t know whose advice to follow. My wife thinks I should be lobotomized, but my children think it’s too much. One thing is for sure—I will not leave it up to the deputy editor, nor to the love of my life that could have been, even if the kind nurse Jenny would tend to me after the operation.
This has been a very hard column to write. I’m infuriated by Jessica-Jenny’s heartless remarks about a man who not only laminated her picture on a bike, but left copies of it on strangers’ tables the way handicapped people do. But I think the deputy editor’s conduct has been even worse than mine. My amulet against women I have wronged in the past obviously doesn’t work, so I threw it down a crevasse I skied awfully close to yesterday. Let Jessica-Jenny go with men her age and listen to monologues about football or other such rubbish. Let them lurch drunkenly toward her, unlike an older gent who would have given up drink for her. And let’s see who among my rivals will weave thousands of blossoms and use weathered green trellis lit from behind to simulate dining under a huge wisteria tree—a plan I had for Paris.
I was recently a guest of my old buddy Sir Roger Moore and his wonderful wife Kristina. “Keep away from young actresses,” James Bond told me.
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