12 Things You Really Don’t Want to Hear at a Dinner Party

1. “I could have sworn I had 10 fingers this morning. ‘Sausage Surprise’ anyone?” 

Oh drat. I’m all full-up from the Bloody Mary soup.

2. “You need to bite off the wichetty grub’s head first. Then you just suck out its insides”.

When you say “need” – is participation mandatory? 

3. “I might have mistaken washing powder for sugar. You may wish to give the trifle a miss”.

I think I’ll brave it. I’ve been looking for brilliant cleaning and long-lasting freshness for some time.

4. “Of course it’s vegetarian. Chicken is vegetarian, right?”

Don’t be an idiot. Fish however is fine.

5. “I don’t want to alarm anyone, but I appear to have misplaced my pet caterpillar Dilbert. Who’s for side-salad?”

That’s terrible. What kind of name is Dilbert? 

6. “You’ll be fine, so long as you eat around the highly poisonous parts of your long-spine porcupinefish”. I’m experiencing shooting pains down both sides and have just gone blind in one eye. Is that a bad sign?

7. “Is this how they cook food where you’re from?”

I spat in your starter.

8. “I’m a fruitarian. I only eat what naturally falls from the tree. Steak and marshmallows grow on trees, right? ”

Do me a favour – pass me your steak and let me beat you with it.

9. “I hope you don’t mind, but I couldn’t find a babysitter – so I brought along Candice, Chardonnay, Tia-Maria, Rocky and Tyson”.

Curious names. Are you familiar with the term ‘child abuse’?

10. “Is this triple chocolate caramel fudge cheesecake non-dairy and non-fat?”

Oh absolutely. Haven’t you heard? All food eaten on a Thursday is fat and dairy-free.

11. “Party games? I know LOTS of party games! Let’s start by throwing our keys into a bowl…”

Let’s start by showing you the door.

12. “Just updating Facebook. Does nauseating have one ‘S’ or two?”

Allow me to demonstrate by a show of fingers.

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Salt Lowers Blood Sugar and Other Utterly Preposterous Things to Say

I have a confession. I secretly love it when other people say really dumb things. Does that make me a bad person?  Quite possibly, but I can live with that.

Here are a few of my favourites. All genuine:

“I don’t believe in God. I’m an amethyst”.

“You’re going on holiday? Anywhere nice?” No, self catering in Afghanistan. In a cave. Alone. Or I might circumnavigate the Falkland Islands in a submarine.

“It’s raining. That horrible rain that gets you really wet”.  As opposed to…?

“What’s the number for 999?” We’re in an emergency situation. I don’t have time for your stupidity.

“I really fancy the black guy from JLS”. You’re going to have to narrow it down a bit more.

“You are driving erotically. Pull over!” I shall take that as a compliment.

[To a diabetic friend whose blood glucose was a little high] “Do you want me to get you some Ready Salted crisps? Salt lowers blood sugar”. They’re not acid and alkaline – salt doesn’t cancel out sugar. Who taught you Chemistry?

“Can you see out of your glass eye?” Who said that?

“The exception proves the rule”. Does it? Does it?

“How many sides does a triangle have?” I no longer wish to be associated with you.

“I could care less”. You could? Excellent.

[Having purchased one item at the supermarket, the checkout assistant asks] “Would you like help with your packing?” No, I think I can just about manage a loaf of bread singlehandedly, thank you.

“I recognise your voice from your email”.

“Tell me everything. Be pacific”. I’m not great at this role-play thing, so you’re going to have to help me. How exactly do I become an ocean? 

“My eyesight has been playing up, and I keep getting headaches, so I’m having a rectal scan tomorrow”. You need to change your doctor.

[Upon hearing Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ for the first time] “Has someone covered Hearsay?” 

“Well, me, myself, personally…” How many of you are there?

“Absolutely. 110%”. So Maths – not your strong point? 

[In the boardroom] “We don’t have to boil the ocean”. Always reassuring to know. Now back to work…

“I may not know a lot about politics, but I do know that James Cameron is not the right Prime Minister to lead us out of recession”. Very true. Despite a strong Directing career, his political credentials are somewhat lacking. Shall we see how David Cameron fares instead?

“Silence when you’re talking to me”.

Sometimes there are no words.

Dearest Spammer, What Can I Say?

Dearest Spammer,

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the mass-produced unsolicited marketing material you so thoughtfully sent to me and half a million others today.

And yesterday.

And every day for the last six and half years.

So good of you to think of me for your latest herbal supplement weight-loss campaign. You shouldn’t have. I feel that I owe you something in return; so please consider this letter my gift to you. No need to thank me…

There were several reasons I needed to decline your generous offer to test drive a Honda:

  1. I heard about the recent product recall over dodgy airbags and did not wish to risk breaking my face.
  2. As a jobless hobo I am currently unable to afford a paper aeroplane, let alone a shiny new car.
  3. They don’t make them in purple.
  4. I cannot drive.

How considerate of you to address the emotive topic of death whilst trying to sell me life insurance via email. Most people just can’t find the right words, but you nailed it.

Thank you so much for drawing my attention on 5th April to the imminent festive season. Season’s Greetings to you too!

I have decided to spend every penny of my one thousand pounds on Christmas decorations to adorn the roof of my home. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, after all.

Moving on – thank you so much for the MBNA reminder. I would have happily provided all of my personal banking information, including sort code, account number and Pin, if it wasn’t for the fact I don’t have an MBNA account.

So I input my husband’s details instead.

Despite having no need whatsoever for Viagra tablets, your ‘professional packaging’ intrigues me. I’ll take seven batches.

While we’re on the topic, I also have no requirement for a cure to male pattern baldness, nor do I need to enhance my ‘member’.

Feel free to send me free chocolate though, to accompany the herbal weight-loss supplements.

Yours,

Jessseeker

Face to Faux with Simon Cowell

When meeting The Queen of England, one must abide by certain royal etiquette:

  1. Approach her face-on.
  2. Do not speak, unless spoken to.
  3. No touching.
  4. Try to mask the giant bolognaise stain you have on your blouse.
  5. Do not ask her to sign your cleavage; she doesn’t have a pen.

I was unsure of the correct etiquette for approaching television royalty Simon Cowell recently, when I faux-interviewed him. But I felt that a curtsy was in order:

Jessseeker: Your highness. I’m Jessseeker. It is great to meet you at last.

SC: Seriously though – what’s your real name?

Jessseeker: Jessseeker.

SC: No, really – what’s your real name?

Jessseeker: Jessseeker is my real name.

SC: Well, I’m not going to call you Jessseeker, because I think that’s a stupid name. I’m going to call you Paula Abdul instead.

Jessseeker: Moving on – you were recently confronted by a female intruder armed with a brick, in your London mansion. That must have been terrifying?

SC: It was. I told her “Take anything you want, just don’t hit the face”.

Jessseeker: So with hindsight, do you regret not hiring Kevin Costner as your Bodyguard?

SC: Along with high waisted trousers and dating Sinitta, that is one of my biggest regrets.

Jessseeker: Good to know you are so grounded in spite of your fame and fortune. I can see you look after yourself. You’re obviously in great shape.

SC: Tell me something I don’t know.

Jessseeker: Is it true you do two hundred press-ups a day?

SC: Five hundred. Sack your researcher.

Jessseeker: You’ve been accused of being rude, arrogant and insensitive to contestants. Do you think it is fair to be so critical of others when you’re not exactly perfect yourself?

SC: One million percent yes.

Jessseeker:  Final question. You said in the past that every show you have produced is something you would want to watch yourself. Can you explain Jedward to me please?

SC: Well Paula, let’s face it; they weren’t the act we were looking for. But the truth is – I don’t take myself too seriously and I don’t consider myself a star. Now where is that water I ordered? I wanted Evian, not Vittel. I said ‘tepid’; this is ‘lukewarm’ and I’m still waiting for my peeled grapes!

Incidentally – he offered to sign my cleavage, but I graciously declined. 

I Just Found a Chicken Bone in My Cheesecake… Is that Bad?

Having founded his own internet solutions company, run the New York marathon and purchased his first sports car, my brother Oliver decided recently that 2012 would be the year he finally learnt to boil an egg. Cooking has never been a priority to him, with culinary talents at the age of thirty-something on par with my neighbour’s cat.

So to address this glaring oversight, Oli set himself a challenge to cook a different meal every day for thirty days, in the hope he would magically metamorphose into a slim, follicly-challenged Jamie Oliver. Once a week, he held a ‘Come Dine with Me’ style dinner party where each guest rated his cooking and general hosting skills.

I was fortunate enough to be invited along with my mother and youngest brother Mike for Sunday lunch at the end of this process, once Oli had mastered the basics.

Oli's attempt at a pancake didn't exactly fill me with confidence

There was still a moderate risk of food poisoning, but having taken advantage our mother’s cooking for over thirty years, we were all in agreement that it was about time Oli returned the favour. I should have noticed the warning signs though:

1. The roast chicken was the size of an albatross and had only been cooking for an hour and twenty-five minutes.

2. The carrots made a bid for freedom by jumping off the kitchen worktop.

3. Oli referred to his colander as coriander.

But the food was surprisingly yummy. Had it not been for the fact the chef needed to nuke the undercooked albatross in the microwave three times after it first came out of the oven, we may have eaten within an hour and a half of schedule.

Dessert was also delightful – a fabulous boozy cheesecake, laced with glacé cherries. The biscuity base was quite crumbly though, due to Oli neglecting to purchase butter at the supermarket. Praying alone was insufficient to bind the biscuit crumbs together. Mike however loved it. I think… 

Oli took the liberty of documenting the event for prosperity. See if you can notice the subliminal jessseeker plug. It’s really quite subtle:

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that the camera adds ten pounds – and there were at least six cameras on me at the time.

And The Bride Wore Monkey

I finally learnt all of the words to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1993. This would have been the highlight of my year – had it not been for a crazy girl named Carrie asking me to be her friend. We hit it off immediately and during our years together at secondary school, developed a mutual understanding:

1. The back of the class was always the best place to hide.

2. Boys liked girls in short skirts, but thick black tights were imperative. (We were classy young ladies after all).

3. Carrie would pick me for her team in PE every week, so long as I pretended not to notice when she fell backwards off her chair in Maths class (for the third time that day).

Nineteen years on and now a fully fledged teacher – Carrie spends far more time at the front of the class than the back. She continues to fall backwards off chairs on an almost daily basis, but in line with the school dress code, her skirts are much longer than they used to be.

It was only ever a matter of time before a man fell head over heels in love with her. Having spent years fashioning faux veils out of toilet tissue, next month Carrie finally gets to wear the real thing, when she marries the love of her life James.

To mark her forthcoming nuptials, this weekend, I joined nineteen of Carrie’s closest friends for a nice quiet, tasteful and sophisticated hen do celebration, complete with willy straws, a large inflatable banana and a phallic shaped cake.

As a bit of a getting to know each other exercise, the party was split into two teams, each given ten minutes to make a demure wedding gown fit for a Queen. I know ten minutes doesn’t sound like very long, but there was no need to panic as we had all the materials we could possibly need: Half a dozen rolls of toilet paper, some white bin liners, masking tape and fifteen metres of tin foil. Having made a valiant contribution to this task, by crafting a crown and several long stemmed roses from foil, I am now considering a new career in costume design. I’m sure you’ll agree, they both look ravishing:

The only information the bride-to-be knew in advance of the hen do, was when it was taking place. Everything else was clouded in mystery. As a result, understandably it took several weeks for Carrie to organise suitable attire for the occasion. With hindsight, she need not have bothered – as an outfit had already been picked out on her behalf. One that she would wear throughout, whether she liked it or not. Yes, that’s right, the bride wore Monkey: 

Having downed several Strawberry Daiquiris and French Martinis, we played a game of Mr and Mrs, where Carrie tried (and failed) to convince us she dated James for two whole months before they first kissed and then went on to justify why she once put her hands down the pants of a complete stranger. 

At around two o’clock in the morning on the first night, Carrie leapt into her bed, without realising it was two twins shoved together – rather than a double. It takes style to wedge yourself between two beds. Style, poise, elegance and several strong cocktails. 

The weekend was surprisingly educational. We all learnt how to screw in light bulbs and throw chicken feed the following morning during Bollywood dancing lessons. 

I think we all aspired to choreograph a visual spectacle comparable to Slumdog Millionaire’s Jai Ho fame, but sadly, I let the team down. This photo sums it up pretty well. Yes, that’s right; I’m the one in the middle, getting it all wrong. 

Had it not been for the fact that I am unable to follow simple instructions, have no rhythm and can’t tell left from right, then I’m pretty sure we’d have had it in the bag.

We went for a group photo shoot in the evening – during which, Carrie was allowed a brief hiatus from the monkey suit. We’re kind like that. Then, adorned with tiaras, hen party badges and glow bracelets, we went into town for drinks. Whilst there, we bumped into some gents who looked strangely familiar – the entire cast of Super Mario: 

No, we have absolutely no idea what Batman was doing with them either. He obviously didn’t get the memo.

We went on to a brilliant comedy club, where one comedian performed an impromptu Haka and another made some very naughty jokes about willies and nookie. Loved every minute.

The club laid on a DJ in the evening and we all busted some moves to classic tunes with funky beats until the early hours of the morning, courtesy of Aerosmith, The Killers, 5ive, Steps, S-Club 7 and (believe it or not) the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. My funky chicken was of particular note.

We also bumped into our new friends Mario and Luigi et al. They nicked Carrie’s inflatable banana, so we took their mushroom. I don’t think anyone noticed; we were very discreet.

Several hours later, once most of the group had lost all feeling in their toes – we called it a night.  Everyone woke on Sunday morning feeling like they’d licked a cat. A thoroughly encouraging sign methinks that good fun was had by all.

To This Day, I Have No idea What We Were Thinking

I first committed fraud at the tender age of eleven, obtaining property by deception. The item in question: one child’s lucky bag.

Just to clarify – I did not steal the lucky bag; I merely purchased it under false pretences. That doesn’t however make this story any less embarrassing. Allow me to explain:

Lucky bags generally contain a mixture of vile tasting sweets, a miniature colouring book, one defective toy (usually a whistle or yoyo) and an extensive palette of three (yes, three) crayons.

At four years old, this would have kept me occupied for at least three days. I’d use the crayons for the Wassily Kandinsky homage on my bedroom wall, and then eat them for lunch. If there were any remnants left over – I usually stored them in my left nostril for later use. Beyond the age of eight however – lucky bags lost their appeal and suddenly seemed extremely lame.

At eleven years old, my best friend and I decided to be VERY cool and rebellious by purchasing candy cigarettes and pretending to smoke them in the park. The trouble was, we both also had a hankering for lucky bags that day – which quite frankly, at eleven, was social suicide. 

We took our chosen items to the counter and to avoid embarrassment, made a point of telling the cashier very loudly that the lucky bags were for our younger sisters and most definitely not for us, because we were like waaay too old for them. (I don”t even have a sister). Much to our surprise and delight – she didn’t bat an eye lid. It dawns on me now that this was because:

  1. We both looked seven years old.
  2. She did not care.

We paid for our items, and swiftly fled the scene of our crime. To this day, I have no idea what we were thinking. I certainly had no need for a broken whistle.

I’m sorry to say that was only the start of my life of crime. At sixteen years old, I managed to acquire a fake ID. I was utterly convinced that I could pass myself off as a thirty-two year old beautiful Latino woman called Carmelita Chiquita Estevez.

Apparently not.