Sunday, 21 December 2014

Follow Me: A Cautionary Christmas Tale

'You know what? You can stick this stupid job!'

And with that, my career as a medical secretary came to an abrupt end. I marched out of the office, head high, my heels clicking on the polished wooden floor. No more being ordered about by underbright oversexed Registrars. No more ticking off for wearing too much lipstick or bright red nail polish in front of patients. Finish. End. Gone.

Over the next few days, I revelled in the freedom and the absence of wage-slaving. I shopped for clothes. I bought lovely underwear at Agent Provocateur. And I thought a lot. About my life, my future. I was nearly 32, unattached though with several loose connections. I was bright, witty, and a total charmer. When it suited me.

I spent some time staring at my reflection in my mirror. My russet curls, my emerald eyes, the sprinkle of rusty freckles across my cheekbones. I thought about my ability to turn men's heads as I strolled by in the street, carrying my takeaway latte.

It seemed a shame that so much talent should go to waste on another boring job. I knew I was too old to become a model, and with the best will in the world, I had no intention of entering that dubious exploitative ''alternative'' world of modelling.

I was lying in bed one night, when the idea came to me. Belle de Jour. If Brooke Magnanti, an academic could pose as a call girl and make a shedload of money writing about it afterwards, why couldn't I do something on similar lines? Maybe I could even make money on the way.

And that's how @DoctorDiva was created. Early next morning, I went on Twitter and set up a fake account. I spent some time writing my bio, carefully selecting all the things that I knew would attract a certain type of male to my site. The professional ones with good incomes. I put that I liked Opera ... and also jazz ... I liked theatre and art exhibitions ... I liked Romcom films and fine dining. I added a bit about writing a novel: the thing about a good lie is that it always has to contain a modicum of truth.

I uploaded a couple of selfies - me smiling to myself, my red hair half-covering my face like falling autumn. Me staring at the camera with my head on one side. Cute. The classic poses. Then I went live. After five minutes, I had two followers. Both male. And that's when the fun began. In the months before the run-up to Christmas, I posted lots of tempting pics: me in the driver's seat of an Alfa Romeo. Me wearing a black beret. Me in a cocktail dress with spiky high heels.

I'd watch and see when the men who followed me came on line, then respond to one of their tweets. I had a good degree, I was very bright and I knew enough about politics and the media to sound convincing ... and of course there was always the doctor thing to give me credibility.

 It didn't take long before I had all my followers eating out of my little red nail polished hand. Every time a man sent me a flirty or suggestive tweet, telling me I was gorgeous and stunning and they'd like to meet me, or similar stuff, I cut and pasted it into a folder.

Soon it was time to move to Phase 2. I opened an Instagram account. I got a friend to take a lot of, let us call them 'artistic' pics. I suggested my followers might like to check me out on my new site. Most of them sent me a request at once. One click and there they were.

It is said that everybody leaves digital footprints all over the internet. You just need to know how to find them. My speciality was in IT - yes, my talents were completely wasted as a medical secretary. But I was very good at tracking people down online. Before long, I had the addresses and mobile phone numbers of most of my followers.

Then it was merely a matter of contacting them, and suggesting a 'reasonable compromise' to stop me forwarding their flirty tweets and my naked pics to their girlfriends or wives. Meanwhile, the novel was coming on in leaps and bounds. I quickly found a publisher, and several newspapers were already interested in doing interviews with me.

And now it is Christmas Eve. I sit at my brand new laptop, a glass of vintage champagne at my elbow, wrapped in the beautiful cashmere shawl I could never afford before @DoctorDiva was created. I go on line. Oh look - your partner has just followed me. Mmm ... nice. I like his avi: blue eyes that crinkle at the edges, finely chiselled jawline, the face with just a hint of stubble. I think I'll follow him back.



  1. So good! So believable. I'm sure it must have happened now and then!

  2. I'm sure it does, in one format or another.

  3. Oh, how deliciously dark, Ms Hedges - and I love it!

  4. Brilliant! And, oh, what a twist... :-)

  5. Glad you are all enjoying this. I am just grateful that my OH isn't on Twitter!!!

    1. For Twitter, you can also read Facebook. There are plenty of opportunities there too for 'ladies' such as these to 'meet' men who keep their privacy settings open…just saying.

  6. Lovely -- I'd try it if I thought I could get away with it


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