It seems to be my month for moral dilemmas. No sooner have I decided to spill the beans on Jane Bennett joining my pilates class (and she wasn’t there last Friday, I hope it wasn’t something I said!) than another thorny problem rears its head. A lady from a newspaper asked to interview me about teenage girls. Absolutely fine. I’m happy to chunter on about the horrors of the house of hormones for ever, as you know. Then she asked the names of my daughters. Suddenly not so fine. Then she wanted a photo! A screeching sound as my mental brakes went on. Nope. Not possible.
I backed out. The journalist was sweet about it, though I know full well how incredibly irritating it is when a promising case study interviewee suddenly flunks out. I tell myself it’s to protect my daughters. But is that all it is? Even when I worked on the Daily Express, I always refused to have a byline photo (a mugshot, usually glamorously posed, which goes alongside your name) while other journalists were clamouring to get their faces in the paper. I told myself then that I didn’t see what my appearance had to do with what I wrote.
When my book came out, I realised that my blog could no longer be anonymous, and so I let my name appear. Now, after years hiding behind a photo of a handbag, I actually even use the publicity shot taken for my book jacket. But on Facebook I still use a picture of the book instead of one of myself, even though most of my Facebook friends have known me for gazillions of years and realise full well that my face is not orange with pink swirly writing.
What’s it all about? I can’t quite work it out. But I am sure that I don’t want to stick pictures of my girls in a national newspaper. They, on the other hand, may have quite different views. Child Two was complaining the other day that she was being seriously held back in her career as an actress by my failure to find her an agent. An agent!! I don’t think I even knew what one was at her age. Well, I’m very happy that she knows what she wants. And even happier that, when she’s a famous actress (as she surely will be) she won’t be hiding behind a picture of her handbag.