Metro column 3

Richard Herring: Food's my life, sex is a way to take my mind off chocolate
The countdown to Richard Herring's wedding is well under way and he's getting a suit fitted – but there's the small issue of a love of cake, chocolate, pizza…

I’m trying to lose some weight for my wedding in six weeks.

When I went to get measured for my suit, I warned the tailor for fear that my imminent dramatic fat loss might affect his measurements. ‘I hear that a lot,’ he replied with an admirably straight face. ‘I’ll work with what I’ve got.’

What cynicism. I nearly gave him what for but instead whispered: ‘Is there any way of putting in an emergency expanding waistband, just in case?’

‘Way ahead of you,’ he said.

I have always struggled with my weight – some sexists wrongly assume that it’s a womanly problem. But if fat is a feminist issue, where exactly did that leave Bernard Manning?

Food is my life, my love, my chocolate-coated raisin d’etre. Some people say chocolate is a substitute for sex; for me, sex is just a way to take my mind off chocolate for 35 seconds. It’s not fair. My fiancée can eat whatever she likes and she remains as skinny as a two-dimensional stick. I just have to consume one tiny, mini, low-fat muffin… a family-sized pizza, a giant tub of Häagen-Dazs, six pints of Guinness and a party bucket of fried chicken on the way home… and the weight just piles on.

I don’t understand moderation. If I have one beer, or one chip, or one of Mr Kipling’s French Fancies, I have to continue gorging until all available local supplies have been exhausted. Remember the French Fancy famine of 2003? That was me.

It was always like this.

When I was at primary school, Susan Restwell, the class swot, asked me: ‘Have you got any Easter eggs left, Richard Herring?’

‘Of course I haven’t,’ I growled back. ‘It’s September.’

‘I’ve still got three and three-quarters left,’ she smarmed. ‘I only eat a tiny piece every day, so my Easter eggs last for ages.’

I didn’t tell her that I’d stuffed my five Easter eggs down my gullet by 10am on Easter Sunday. And then vomited. I just said: ‘Wasn’t it William Blake who said “the Road of Excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom”?’

‘Yes,’ she smiled, with cold eyes. ‘But the Road of Excess is a two-way street with no signposts and in the other direction lies the Hut of Stupidity. That’s where you, like most of the travellers on that damned highway, will end up.’

Maybe my indulgences are a strength. I’m seizing the day, living for the moment. Like River Phoenix, Jim Morrison and James Dean, I want to live fast, die young and have a corpulent corpse. I’m a meteorite burning across the night sky and if I explode, so what?

Admittedly, none of those icons were felled by an addiction to Wham bars and Pickled Onion Monster Munch. But that’s as close to the edge as I’m prepared to go. I have hedonistic vertigo. Less a meteorite, more a sparkler being waved in the air, spelling out minor swear words.

Back in the playground, with staggering foresight for an eight-year-old, Susan concluded: ‘Of course, the fascinating thing about our respective attitudes to chocolate is the effect it is certain to have on our adult sex lives.

‘Inevitably, I’ll become obsessed with resisting temptation, tying up my lovers and leaving them untouched for days. And your gorging on chocolate will lead to you becoming too fat to ever get a s**g.’

Susan, if you’re reading this, you were right about me. If you turned out as predicted, maybe you’d like to get back in touch. Quickly, though, because I’m getting married soon. Wearing a muumuu.

Richard Herring is currently touring Britain with his show What Is Love, Anyway?

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