Today is the birthday of one of my favourite friends and partners in crime, the radiant Scarlett Diamond. Despite living in the same city, Scarlett and I did not meet until we were introduced by Alex "Squire" Jeffery in Oxford two years ago. It began as it meant to go on. Laughing at somebody's misfortune (Sorry, Derek! ... We are in no way sorry) one night and drinking for seven straight hours on the second. In fact, it was in the dubious confines of Po Na Na's, Oxford, after said seven hours that we crab-danced our way onto the dancefloor and decided to tell each other how delightful it was that we had found each other. Alex meanwhile was locked in a furious battle of wits with what later turned out to be his own reflection. (Note: floor length mirrors are VERY tricky after 7+ hours of Lady Liquor's dark embrace.)
It's hard to say where the nickname "Lover" came from or why it stuck, but we now very seldom seem to refer to each other by our actual names. One friend of mine hypothesised that the reason for our closeness is because neither Lover nor I judge each other, but that is untrue. In fact, we do judge each other. Favourably. All the time. Once when I smashed a glass in her flat, by accident, she applauded my "excellent smashing skills." Lover, here is a run down of some our favourite moments in honour of your birthday - the ones we could announce on a public forum, anyway. I wanted to stick to twenty-one to be age appropriate. But I did not. In no way did I feel like limiting myself.
1. ‘I informed my mother that we had calculated that, due to my volunteering, we could freely sabotage several random others’ lives in the grand scheme of things and feel totally guilt-free about this. She was very much in favour of this and thought that our logic was exactly right.’ - Scarlett, shortly after completing work for the Diabetes campaign
2. We both insisted that we could not make it downstairs to Hugo’s birthday party, because we were too ill from the night before. Four hours later, we were leading the charge to the nightclub, taking time off to allow a cardigan wearing Hugo to tactically whitey in some poor soul's garden in Maryville so he could keep drinking at the club.
3. ‘Lover, this Belvedere vodka really does go down like water. You practically don’t even need a mixer.’- Scarlett, four hours after we started drinking
4. The time I tumbled down a flight of stairs at a club, falling like a rag doll, smacking into the wall below, but somehow still managing to keep my drink entirely un-spilled. You congratulated me on my superiorly radiant way of falling. Better.
5. SCARLETT: Lover, you have inspired me to join the Facebook group against using live dogs as shark bait. Spiritual, much?
ME: I know, lover, it’s awful.
SCARLETT: It really is.
ME: They should be using fuglies instead.
SCARLETT: Well said, lover. Let's call Ruth and ask her if she'd like to volunteer.
6. ME: Mark says he doesn’t like Meredith because he just doesn’t approve of people who ruin other peoples’ lives for fun.
SCARLETT: …. Interesting.
7. 'Lover, wouldn't it be a delightful idea to install an infinity pool in our chez together that overlooks a ravine. Then carve enormous versions of our faces in the rocks below, so when we push our frenemies to their deaths, the last sights they see are our faces cackling up at them?'
8. The Doorway of Cackling
9. My panicked grimace when I was unexpectedly surrounded by a swarm of tourist-Others in London.
10. Your revolted grimace anytime an Other tries to use the word "Better" in convo.
11. The time we were already 20 minutes late for a lunch, but instead decided to leisurely experiment with the dozen or so different ways I could wear my new Ermenegildo Zenga scarf before even contemplating leaving.
12. ME: Scarlett, why are my jeans hanging on the curtain rails?
SCARLETT: Lover, last night when we returned from the club, you decided to perform an impromptu striptease for me. Needless to say, I was distinctly aroused.
13. 'G, I have just heard about you falling on the ice. How generous of you to touch the ground with your radiance.'
14. Every time we have ever been to AM:PM. Ever.
15. ‘I say “interesting.” I do not mean it.’
16. When I couldn't understand why the woman at the cinema kept looking at me funny, only to realise when I got to the bathroom that I had popcorn stuck to my sweater from chin to navel.
17. The night we placed at least a dozen phone-calls to people informing them that whilst they could come round to your house for pre-drinks, it was definitely not a house party. Not. A. House. Party. Needless to say, by 10:30 p.m., we were standing in the open doorway of the kitchen with a bottle in each arm chanting, “House Party!”
18. ‘Lover, last night’s “not house party” may have gotten slightly out of hand … Do you have a polyphil gun?’
19. The night at my house when, mid-house party, we decided to dress in 18th century aristocratic period garb, which naturally I just happened to have lying in my wardrobe.
20. The night we opened our sixth bottle of champagne, only to decide that now that it was 5 a.m. it would be a much better idea to save it for our steak and eggs breakfast we were making in the morning. In order to keep the fizz, we decided to stick a lid on it with duct tape.
21. The night Alex Jeffery left Po Na Na’s forty-five minutes earlier than everybody else and we found him outside in the middle of a thunderstorm next to the Ashmolean Art Museum, soaked, shivering and with the world’s biggest cheeseburger in his hands.
22. When you were due in at college curfew at 11 o’clock and we drunkenly rolled up just after four a.m., in the middle of a torrential downpour, both clearly wreaking of alcohol, with Alex Jeffery swaying immediately post-whitey behind us, you wearing leather trousers, my shirt soaked with whiskey, half your hair still perfectly hairsprayed and the other half now drenched and sticking to your face, your make-up smeared and running all over your eyes and cheeks. And I announce cunningly that I will explain to the porters why you’re late. “It’s my fault,” I say. “We were at a family funeral in London.” You immediately pull a very sad face and stumble in.
23. The night we smuggled your sixteen year-old brother into a club and then he refused to let us dance with him because we were cock-blocking him. A low point, lover.
24. The Age of Pauper, which followed your telephone bill from your time in Thailand.
25. 'Lover, I thought I was nothing but nice to him in school but it turns out that apparently the night I stood outside Parlour, laughing, squealing and giggling as he was manhandled by the bouncers may or may not have made him think I was a bitch ... Paranoid, much?'
26. One morning, when you were still asleep, I asked you where the BlackBerry charger was. You were obviously too drowsy to understand exactly what had been said, so from the depths of your unconscious you quickly tried to pull a phrase which there was a 50% chance would fit whatever conversation we were having. You sighed in your sleep and mumbled, "You're right. She is so clingy, lover."
27. 'Lover, my friend Joel often mocks my stories as being too long.'
'Interesting, lover, since that is not a description which will apply to his life if he keeps that strategy up. Time for us to get out the Assassination Birkins again.'
28. At Kyle Williamson's birthday pool party, I found you napping in his bath in your bikini. I say, napping ... Anyway, I decided to warm you up by spraying warm water over you from the showerhead, while Fergie hovered nearby, worried that this was the second time she was going to explain a stomach pumping to Ange.
29. 'Lover, the stomach pumping is not the funny bit. The funny bit is the letter of apology written to the parents whilst still drunk, in which their names are spelled incorrectly and no letters actually touch the lines.'
30. Happy birthday, Scarlett - for all the things I couldn't post here and for all the time we've had to hold each other's hair and murmur words of comfort, for the hours of chats and jokes .... Better. ... xx