Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I met a horrible girl on Sunday.

One of the first things people usually ask each other when they meet is "so, what do you do?". This is a question that has tormented me since the day I was no longer a student, or more specifically the day I came to terms with the fact that "um, drink?" was not a satisfactory answer. I always say that I am a singer, which usually incites a little interest on the behalf of the other person.

I deal with this interest differently depending on my mood, depending on whether I want to continue to talk to the person, and of course, depending on whether I need to do something very urgently, like catch a plane, save an orphan or top up my gin.

So I met this girl. Her name wasn't really Petronella but for the purposes of my vitriol it is now.

On Sunday night I went out to celebrate the Bank Holiday weekend with a group of friends. One friend turned up fairly late with his new girlfriend in tow.


She didn't know anybody, and we were all quite loud and in high spirits, so I thought I would go over and have a chat with her, try to make her feel welcome and part of the group.

She seemed reservedly friendly, but I assumed she was shy. Until she asked me what I did.

"I'm a singer" I said. "I do a bit of other stuff, as well, I'm doing some temping at the moment to save for a holiday, but mainly I sing."

She laughed, a quick, barking laugh, then cast her eyes down and took a sip of her drink.

"Um. What?" I asked, unused to such a strange reaction.

She laughed again. "No, it's just, well, I love people like you" she said.

"Um, tha.."

"I'm a recruitment consultant, see. I work with a lot of actors and people like that. Out of work ones. They have these dreams and they think they'll get somewhere, but we all know they'll just temp for the rest of their lives and never get anywhere!"

I stared at her, completely and utterly lost for words.

Petronella, however, was not. She looked at my speechless face and laughed again.

"You all think you'll make it, but you won't! I don't care, people like you keep people like me in work!"

I continued to stare.

She was laughing at me. I could not believe that this girl, someone I had gone out of my way to be nice to, had been such a deliberate bitch.

I wanted to say something nasty back to her. I so wanted to do that, and to change her mind as well. It was just that I was in too good a mood, and anyway I knew that anything I said in my defence would have fallen on deaf ears. Her foolish mind was made up. She had decided she was a better person than me for earning money the way she does, and that was it. She was inherently narrow-minded, and I didn't need to justify my life to her. I consoled myself with the fact that I was not, and would never be like her.

(Also she had a bad haircut and a weight problem.)

Luckily for me, I had just that morning had coffee and chats with a very inspirational person and was feeling resilient. Also my friend Kirsten, who works in theatre and does very well thank you, gave Petronella a good talking to, while I took the more mature route and shamelessly flirted with her boyfriend.

I have, by now, accepted that there will be people in my life who disapprove of my choices, and who cannot understand why I would sacrifice living a normal life like my normal friends to pursue something that seems to them so risky. There are people who just won't get that I'm not just avoiding growing up and getting a "proper job", but that I am really trying to make something of myself. Actually there have been times when I have felt my heart would break through lack of support from that one person I craved it from, but that, I suppose, is all part of it.

This girl meant absolutely nothing to me, and as a result nor do her comments. I just find it difficult to believe that there are people in the world who derive such pleasure from seeing dreams cast by the wayside.

I hereby cast a pox on Petronella and her kind. May her life be lived out in offices with dodgy air-con and lights that accentuate every badly-dyed inch of that tacky and horrible haircut.


Anonymous Mr Angry said...

Have you mentioned it to your friend, her boyfriend? Or did you just snog him?

I recently found out that most of my friends really didn't like my ex, but no-one told me at the time.

Not that I would have done anything about it of course, she was quite fit you see.

9:55 pm

Blogger Léonie said...

I didn't mention it to him. I still might, though.

I did not snog him! Flirting does not mean snogging. I am worried that you do not know the difference.

10:22 pm

Blogger Salvadore Vincent said...

It's a very simple diagnosis: she hates her job and is insanely jealous of anybody trying to do something creative with his or her life - why else does she feel the need to justify herself and belittle others?

Remember what Tim said in The Office: "It's better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than halfway up one you don't."

Um, I don't usually go around giving inspirational quotes by the way.

11:06 pm

Anonymous Equine Pimp said...

How unbelieveably rude !

You seem nice but how did you resist the screaming urge to punch her in the face.

Recruitment consultant? Like that's a job you have to train for. Millions unemployed and not enough jobs - a truly challenging career choice.

Sing away dear girl to your hearts content. From what I've listened to on your other site, you're pretty damn good.

11:11 pm

Blogger andre said...

you are way way too kind my friend. x

Also there is nothing wrong with flirting - it is good for the soul(s)

And you can get a 'proper job' when you're dead

12:39 am

Blogger Dancinfairy said...

What a silly arrogant bitch.

Flirting with her boyfreind? A perfect revenge without sinking to her level.

And personally, when I found out that none of my family / friends liked my boyfriend after we broke up after 4 years I was totally devestated. My advice is to tell him now or never ever tell him at all.

9:04 am

Blogger Torsten Cool said...

I listen at your sing and it rock! Normal I not like slow song (sure "Carrie" by Europe) but I like very "Happiness" and I think that Petrolenna have shit in head!

11:00 am

Blogger Ys said...

What a bitch!

I usually hate the "what do you do?" question too. I write but am not yet published, so dog-sit on the side to make some money. Thankfully I've never met anyone as horrid as that girl. I probably would have sworn at her, been as that's my instinctive reaction to most situations ;)

3:29 pm

Blogger Robert said...

I agree with Salvadore. Creativity is the key here.

I remember Steven Soderberg winning an oscar, and saying "I want to thank anyone who spends part of their day creating - a book, a film, a painting, a piece of dance, a piece of music - anybody who spends part of their day sharing their experience with us. I think this world would be unlivable without art."

Petronella doesn't get that, and that's why she's a twat.

5:22 pm

Blogger Clarissa said...

You say deliberate bitch because you are a lady. I am not. So I say, deliberate cunt. What a bunt! runt! cunt! and bitch too!

And Salvadore is right. She is not just those nasty things, but she is a jealous one of those nasty things. You see 'proper jobs' are soul destroying.

I've got a proper job because I haven't got your courage. So dabbling in what little spare time I have has to keep me afloat.

6:28 pm

Blogger Curly said...

I like Roberts comment, especially the last sentence.

Your creativity (and probably because you have nicer hair) makes you interesting. Perhaps Pentronella had heard someone (perhaps her boss) say something similar in work and it was pretty amusing to her - leading her to try it no someone else.

9:49 pm

Blogger T. said...

Hi, Leonie - thanks for telling us this great story. I've put a link to it on my blog because I think it's fabulous. Made my day! You go, girl! I think you should print this all out and show your friend, Petronella's boyfriend.

1:46 pm

Blogger Miss Tickle said...

Also, she is called Petronella.

Which is clearly ridiculous.

2:29 pm

Blogger Katy Newton said...

I suppose it is difficult to spend time with someone as beautiful and talented as you when her life is clearly empty. I pity her.

That said, if she was my girlfriend, which she wouldn't be even if I did like the ladies, I would want to know how awful she was so that I could find someone nicer.

3:19 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's the best post I think I've read mate, funny stuff!

5:14 pm

Blogger Anxious said...

I have nothing but admiration for people who follow their dreams.

I have been struggling to escape the shackles of a "proper job" for years, but don't quite have the guts to let go just yet.

Just carry on doing what you're doing, with pride.

7:16 pm

Blogger Miss Devylish said...

Um.. hi.. I've been a recruiter and you do see the bottom of the barrel, BUT that said, who is she to judge who will and won't get a career from their dreams as artists? That career is one of the hardest to break into but clearly, lots of people do it or we wouldn't have the dreams to begin with. Also, recruiting? A fucking bore and you work on commission most often, which = lame. No limelight, no applause, no sense of creativity whatsoever. The only joy she gets from life obviously is by putting others down. Darling, she works in an office and you strive not to. That is a lofty goal in and of itself. We all marvel at your bravery (not to mention your talent), so there!

ps. So how did she take this 'talking to' and I'm DYING to know what was said to put her in her place. Do tell!

8:58 pm

Anonymous Adrian said...

I always think of decent come back lines later on but a good "You know I pity people like you, who cover up insecurities about having no dreams and will never get anywhere, by laughing that those who do." would have worked.

Failing that I reckon your 4th hit single should be called "A Pox on Petronella". "She had a bad haircut and a weight problem." makes a great lyric for the second verse.

That said when some people are really nasty I find it easier to ignore. Because I am quite happy that at the end of the day I'm not a prick/bitch, and that works for me.

2:22 pm

Blogger Huw said...

I bet you were out in Clapham. I always meet people like Petronella in Clapham.

11:44 pm

Anonymous lidija said...

Hmm. Recruitment consultant, eh? I note that people who spout this smug, patronising crap never seem to be, say, millionaire entrepreneurs, or top scientists, or neurosurgeons, or nobel laureates. Or, in fact, successful at anything at all.

I like to think if you'd only aspired to having a 'proper job', you'd have done a lot better than recruitment consulting by now. Glad you've aimed higher though.

One thought - does the friend in question not read this blog? Surely the chances are he'll see this and recognise the searing portrait of his ladyfriend and her unfortunate haircut? In which case, no need to worry about whether to tell him what you think.


12:44 pm

Blogger jeff said...

Don't sweat it young lady-
Avoid "Proper Jobs". The temping you do merely hints at how bad it is to work in one. The walls start to close in after a few years of it.... Too many of us are trapped by jobs because of payment plans, spouses and inertia and the poison sprays out on anyone who seems free.
Keep your freedom and ignore those who want to keep you at their level.
You'll do fine!

2:04 am

Blogger Blewyn said...

Funny how something like that can knock the wind out of you when you don't see it coming though eh ?

10:14 am

Anonymous Row said...

I know this post 2 years ago, but nevertheless, everything you say is true, alas, there is nothing you can do to convince someone who has tied themselves to the straight and narrow, who cannot comprehend why you would choose struggling and trying over daily misery and a mortgage.

You write beautifully, by the way.

12:58 am


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