Some flatteringly kind responses in a variety of channels to a recent post made me think that lessons I've learnt from my not-quite-many-but-definitely-some dealings with the opposite sex might be worth sharing, if just to save people having to repeat any of my mistakes.
And so, below, a few hints on dating that ten-to-the-dozen breed that plagues modern life: the celebrity.
1) The basic one: he/she/it (well let's be honest, who can tell with Liza Minelli these days) is not, and will never be, just yours. Paps, journos, autograph hunters, any member of the public with zero scruples and a desire to make a quick buck, gold-diggers: you'll have to compete with them all. If you're easily irritated by an inability to have an uninterrupted dinner out; prone to a touch of the green-eyed monster or in possession of exceptionally nosey friends, this ain't the project for you.
2) Unsubscribe from Holy Moly, Popbitch and heat, immediately if not before. They contain nothing you want to hear and trust me, you'll hear it anyway.
3) Be sparing in your use of the Sun online, Wikipedia and Perez Hilton. And don't even think about punching their name into Google. Just, don't.
4) There will be a vast back catalogue of indescribably glamorous and good looking exes. They'll be any intimidating combination of: Oscar-winning / blonde / leggy / the face of an impossibly fabulous luxury brand / UN goodwill ambassador. You can't compete. Don't try. And again, for the love of your self esteem, don't Google.
5) Develop a firm streak. You'll have to veto some pretty daft ideas, from large amounts of coke on a Tuesday afternoon to appearances on reality television via the choice of dog. Stand your ground. 9 ½ times out of 10 you'll be right.
5a) You'll be one of the only people in their world being firm; giving reasoned, considered opinion; and saying no. Stick to your guns. You will have to argue against well-meaning but short-sighted friends, agents and sycophants who crop up in the pub. It might not be big, nor clever, but the ultimatum does have its time and its place.
6) There will be photographers. However secluded the house, whenever you're opening the bedroom curtains, make sure you're doing so in more than your underwear.
7) Only tell the people you can trust to be the utter model of discretion. Being offered large amounts of cash by the News of the World because they’ve been told of the situation by a loud-mouthed acquaintance will make you feel so dirty you'll develop OCD in your attempts to feel clean again.
8) Celebrities seem to have an overwhelming sense of entitlement; a warped view of how the world works; and a heart-breaking naivety about the human spirit. Be kind. Because a lot of others won't be.
The Marksman, Bethnal Green
20 hours ago