Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Belle de Jour: Not All Women are ‘Bunny Boilers’

Belle de Jour’s bestselling book from last year provides some wonderfully written relationship advice to women about men.

After that book, "Belle de Jour’s Guide to Men" appeared to widespread acclaim, the author promised that a sequel for men about women was in the works. Well gentlemen, soon it will be your turn to hear her advice, using the same literate, amusing and entertaining style that has delighted old and new fans for years – but not just yet.

For the first taste of things to...ahem...come, she just posted on her blog a portion of what readers can expect in the upcoming book. The post is yet another example of what makes this remarkable woman so wildly popular around the globe.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with her, Belle de Jour had been the nom de plume of a celebrated British erotic author, who was also a London call girl for two years.

Last year, Belle revealed her true identity is Dr. Brooke Magnanti, of Bristol, England, a noted scientist. Brooke’s specialist areas are developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology. She has a PhD in informatics, epidemiology and forensic science and is now working at the Bristol Initiative for Research of Child Health. She is currently part of a team researching the potential effects on babies of their mothers' exposure to toxic chemicals.

But, from 2003 to late 2004, Brooke worked as a prostitute via a London escort agency; she started blogging as Belle de Jour — after the Buñuel film starring Catherine Deneuve as a well-to-do housewife who has sex for money because she’s bored — shortly into her career as a call girl, after an incident she thought funny enough to write down.

She charged £300 an hour for her services, of which she got £200. The average appointment lasted two hours; she saw clients two or three times a week, “sometimes less, sometimes a great deal more,” she has said.

So fans, sit back and begin to learn a bit of what every man should know about dating and relationships. Here’s her post in full. Read it here, or read it directly on Brooke’s blog, but whatever you do, just read it:

mardi, février 23

People keep asking if there's a Guide to Men, where is the Guide to Women? All I can say is, I'm working on it. And also terribly mystified that anyone wants my advice on the topic, because if general consensus is to be believed, I'm not a lot like other women.

Which is bollocks. There are loads of women who are not like me but plenty who are. As flattering as the notion that I am a unique snowflake might be, it doesn't pass Occam's Razor or indeed any other logical test you might want to apply.

Bottom line, I can offer advice and you can take it or leave it. Your mileage might vary, nota bene and all the rest. I just write about what I like. If there was any such thing as a One True Way as re: relationships, there wouldn't be so damn many books about them, no?

So enjoy. And try to lighten up a little.

Belle's Guide to Women: Myths Busted

This is for the fellas.

Ever wondered how to get ahead with the fairer sex? Then put down that copy of The Game, dawg, and listen up. The first step to getting respec' from women is not honing your magic tricks and negs. It's rewiring some of the lame-ass received knowledge about men and women out there.

You know what they say, it wouldn't be a stereotype if it wasn't true. And unfortunately, as (sort of) accurate as that is, it also forms the basis of a lot of bad advice between male friends.

How do I know? Because many of my close mates are guys, and I see them all giving each other the same bad advice.

Maybe it's because loads of guys don't like to admit to deep weaknesses or insecurities. Maybe it's because the men they're seeking help from don't actually know themselves what to do but aren’t admitting that. Maybe it's because there are only so many hours in the day, and emotional shit takes time away from the important job of sitting down with a beer in front of Top Gear repeats on Dave. Whatever.

Luckily for you, I'm here to help.

So let's talk about some of the more common stereotypes of what women are like, why these things happen, and most importantly – how to avoid these common pitfalls.

Stereotype 1: "Women are a bunch of bunny boilers!"

I have to admit to a particular irritation with this phrase. Not least because it has been thrown out there in reference to myself, and I am one of the least bunny-boiling people around. Stalking is so not my style. Packing up in the dead of night and going ex-directory is more my speed.

And if I hear a man use the phrase, I declare his ass a no-go zone for all future assignations, because playing the Bunny Boiler card is like incest: once you go there, it can't be undone.

However, seeing as the term has taken hold like endemic syphilis in Victorian London, I feel compelled to talk you fellows through this one.

Since it's just you and me I'm going to ask you to take a good, hard, honest look at your past. Don't worry, you don't have to share with anyone else. But for the sake of this exercise be internally honest.

Have you ever called a woman you were seeing or sleeping with a Bunny Boiler?

If no, skip this. You passed. You're golden.

If yes, then here's a follow-up question. In the time between meeting this woman and having cause to call her a Bunny Boiler, did you do any of the following:

• Turn off your phone when you knew she was going to ring? (extra point if you later pretended to be in a place with no reception)

• Say you were on the way when in fact you weren’t?

• Reveal a girlfriend you'd conveniently forgotten to mention before luring her into bed?

• Told an obvious lie to get out of something you didn't want to do?

• Make fun of her somewhere where she would find out (Facebook status, one-way police mirror, Newsnight)?

If you have EVER, and I mean EVER done any of the above, then the fault is not with her. I'm sorry to say it's with you. You provoked her; she reacted. Don't want a woman to freak out when you don't show up for a date? Then don't make a date you don't show up for. It really is that simple.

Granted, maybe she could have been a bit more Zen about the whole thing, accepted your jerkface actions, and flown off into the night like Ingrid Bergman doing that classy dame shit. But that's her lookout, not yours. Bottom line is you let someone down. See what this is turning into? You fib, someone freaks out, she freaked out, so next time you fib. Hurrah, you've just achieved an infinite feedback loop.

If this is you, what can you do about it? Well, learning how to be honest with kindness is a good start.

It takes stones to be honest, but damn it, that is worthwhile. Because if you start being a weasel once or twice, then a couple of years down the line when you find someone you really like, she's going to go to her friends. They're going to have heard about you. Or else she'll sniff you out, because someone whose time is worthwhile is usually pretty good at doing that. And right out of the box she's going to know you're not someone whose word can be taken at face value.

Which, in case you didn't know it, is not a highly attractive feature to be known for.

Thing is, not everyone is born with Steve McQueen style skillz. Not everyone instinctually gets how to send out the signals that he is not just a man, but a Man. But what you probably didn't figure is that these skills can be learned. And they're simple. Put a few basic principles into practice, and wave bye-bye to Bunny Boiler name-calling for good.

So how do you do that? Here's the three-point plan:

Say what you mean, mean what you say. Maybe men back off this sometimes because they equate honesty with verbal diarrhoea. Saying what you mean does not mean spouting any damn fool idea when it comes into your head. It does mean representing your intentions honestly.

Be up front at the right time. If anything in your life can be reasonably described as 'it's complicated', get that out of the way fast. Post-sex pillow talk is not the time to drop the This Is Just Casual, Right? card. Um, no, cowboy. You get that shit out in the open while you're still vertical.

Take criticism, leave the rest. Sometimes you'll inadvertently do something someone doesn't like. They'll let you know about it. Know what to do with that? Learn the lesson – figure out what's true in what she's saying - and ignore the heat. Someone getting upset with you does not mean whatever they're saying is untrue. Take it on the chin like a man and don't call her names.

If that sounds simple, that's because it is. Games are for children. Like Prince so deftly put it, act your age, not your shoe size. Maybe, then, you too can do the twirl.

Next Stereotype: "Women are never statisfied!"


As Belle de Jour, Brooke has written four books in addition to her always fabulous blog about her work in the sex industry. Her fifth book, Belle's Best Bits: A London Call Girl Reveals Her Favourite Adventures, was released last month and is widely available across the pond and at Amazon UK.

Here is a description of the book, kindly provided by Orion Books:

“From the summer of 2003 Belle charted her day-to-day adventures on and off the field in a frank, funny and award-winning diaries. She was the first to reveal (among other things) how she became a working girl, what it feels like to do it for money, and where to buy the best knickers for the job. She also discusses her efforts to change from 'working girl' to working girl, whilst sneaking off to visit clients in her lunch hour. From debating the literary merits of Martin Amis with naked clients to smuggling whips into luxury hotels, this is a no-holds barred account of the high-class sex-trade, and an insight into the secret life of an extraordinary woman.”

In addition to Guide to Men and Belle’s Bits, her other books are: The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl, September 2005; The Further Adventures of a London Call Girl, May 2007; and Playing the Game, June 2009. All of them are worth reading and re-reading – trust me!

Her writing has been so popular that it became the basis for the international hit TV series, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, starring Billie Piper. It can be seen on Showtime in the U.S., and the first two seasons are available on DVD. The third season premiered this month, and was previewed by a special 30-minute interview of Brooke by Billie. Hopefully, that interview will be included in the third-season DVD boxed set once it becomes available.

— The Curator


  1. "Bunny-boiler" use that phrase and you've practically admitted you are complicit, and a contributor to your demise.
    A couple of questions: Sooo ... how and when does someone gain the right to trash your life?
    And a comment: If the answer to Why? = "because I can" then, sorry, in my eyes, 'bunny-boiler'= true.

  2. Not clear exactly what you mean. Stalking is NEVER OK. Trashing someone's life is NEVER OK. Unfortunately, some men use Bunny-Boiler derisively about any woman who wants more from them, i.e., emotional committment. The term is vulgar if the woman does not deserve it. Stalking is a crime, and is NOT something that I approve of, nor do I think that Ms. de Jour approves of it, either. Again, thank you for taking the time to write.

  3. I completely agree, and thanks. Sometimes even the obvious needs to be spelt out.

  4. Absolutely! Relationships should NEVER cause misery. I truly appreciate you writing.