Monday, 21 March 2016

Every girl needs a wife

Every girl needs a wife

For years I have been quietly irritated by the comments on Facebook where girls referred to their female friends as ‘wife’ or ‘wifey’. In fact, they used to annoy me so much, that I would delete them from my ‘feed’ to make sure I never saw them again.

Two years ago, somewhere between Easter and a bout of insanity (I was THAT unhappy with my role at the time), I finally got a new job. It was an unfamiliar industry, a new type of role and an upgraded salary. 

The new position was like nothing I had ever done before - I was working in a private office of a high net worth individual. It’s a world of private jets, numerous properties, countless staff, unlimited resources and great expectations. 

Fortunately for me, the job also came with Charlotte, my new boss’s business PA. She welcomed me with open arms and a box of documents for me to file. (All the personal paperwork that she dealt with had to be filed in the private office).

In the next few months that I was settling in my role, we became friends. Coffee breaks and lunches  quickly became our weekly rituals. And let's face it, nothing pushes girls closer than swapping gossip and paperwork over a glass of wine/ a cup of coffee right in the middle of a working day.

Weeks turned into months, and I began feeling more relaxed. The job no longer felt daunting, I finally found my feet.

And the more I understood the role and its requirements, the more I was beginning to realise that I could easily do flexible hours and work from home a couple of days a week. This was my chance to finally move in with Mr Chateauneuf and away from London.

I started working on a proposal to my boss. It had to be flawless - no question had to go unanswered. I had set up new systems and processes to enable me to be remote and yet for the support to remain seamless. And the important part of my new plan was Charlotte.

When I shared my idea with her, she supported me - with her on my side I knew I could literally do anything. A week later the boss accepted my proposal.

Months flew by. Since I started working from home a couple of days a week, I moved in with Mr Chateauneuf and the boys, we moved offices and I had a really bad hair cut. But one thing remained unchanged - my friendship with Charlotte and her solid support. 

She saved my skin more times than I can remember. There was that cheque to raise to an angry contractor while I was out of the country, an urgent bank transfer to orchestrate, a bigger jet to find and a different island to book for a holiday (because the sand had to be white, not yellow).

The latest near hit was last week, when the new Ferrari I ordered arrived in Estoril blue instead of Topaz blue. At the time I was dealing with a sick pony, tracking down a Chanel dress for the reception the following night and overseeing a shipment of antiques for the new town house. 

Charlotte called Ferrari. I don't know what she told them but the next thing I knew, I received an email from them apologising profusely for the inconvenience caused and promising to deliver the vehicle in the correct colour the following week.

A few days later, over a thank you lunch, I opened my mouth to express my gratitude and ended up saying ’You are my wife and I don't know what I would do without you.’ Both taken aback by my outburst, we laughed. 

And as our mains were cleared and the coffees arrived, I couldn't help but wonder, did I really just call Charlotte my wife? And if she really was my wife, then where did I stand on my girlfriend-wife-concept-hating policy? 

Back in the office I opened the pack Charlotte gave me for filing. And as I began the process of putting the papers into the correct lever arches, I realised just how much she does for me. Not only does she save my skin on a weekly basis, she also made it possible for me to move in with Mr Chateauneuf. Charlotte really was my wife, without her I wouldn't be where I am today.

I finished the filing, logged into Facebook and granted all my girlfriend-wife offenders a virtual pardon. It was official. I was now one of them. I had a wife too.