Vagina Travelogue

Writing's still around. It has not left overnight as I keep thinking it will. Wrote 1000 odd words of new story on the way to see the Princess of Bela-Rus. Some of it was managed balancing on a fence, which made me feel particularly good.

I was disastrously lost at midnight on the way back home but the evening with the Princess was completely worth it. She is as funny and as replete with arcanae and anecdote as she used to be. We first met as interns in Delhi six years ago. The office was full of rats and fascinating women who threw hissy fits every half hour. On Day 2 we went to the terrace and stared glumly at the stars and the Qutb Minar. Half an hour later, we found out that each of us were in the first big relationship of our lives, were about to end said big relationship and that the boys in question were best friends. If we had needed any glue that coincidence would have been it. As it turned out, neither five years apart nor the absence of verbose, Wilde-eyed men in our lives has affected our ability to entertain each other.

The best story that the Princess told me on Sunday night had to be this one. I asked her about a common acquaintance we had had in Delhi. The common acquaintance was roughly our age, 22 or 23. She was incompetent and unable to hide it so got yelled at all the time. She was just back from a posh education in a notoriously demanding university abroad so her gormlessness was astonishing. I asked the Princess whether she knew where Gormless Girl was these days. She said that Gormless had also moved from Delhi to London. She was now married to the only boy she ever had a scene with and working in a due diligence firm. I said (this was the stage of the conversation when I was intoxicated by bitching) that I would never have associated the word 'diligence' with Gormless. I had to also admit that I did not know what due diligence meant. The Princess glossed it thus: 'She checks out stuff for people.' I doubted this seriously but the Princess was reminded of a good story about Gormless, back when both she and the Princess were colleagues in Delhi.

"You know, when she was still in Delhi working with me, her boyfriend came down from England. They wanted to exchange bodily fluids and she lived with family so he booked a room in the Taj. I get a call from her at 2 am. In those days I had a life so I was actually awake though uninterested in what she had to say. She says, 'It's going really, really badly.' "

The Princess who has higher standards of etiquette than Emily Post was horrified by the direction of the conversation but her response must have been adequately encouraging. Gormless continued: "It's really, really bad. He...can't find my hole." The Princess was now past horror and suggested, "Why don't you show him where it is?" "But, " Gormless moaned, "I can't find it either!"

So my question is this. Whatever due diligence actually is, what kind of checking is Gormless doing for that firm and how good could she be at it?


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