I turned down a date with George Clooney. Oh, the regret!

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. Looking back over the decades, I can’t help but wonder… what the hell was I thinking? That purple poncho I wore on a first (and last) date. That perm which looked as though I’d sutured my pubic hair to my cranium. That clingy leopard-print dress I bought at a vast expense which made me look more shabby tabby than cool cat.

The male accessories I draped over my arm – my human handbags – were just as misjudged. The surfie with the words “I am a genious” tattooed across his chest. The computer geek who thought monogamy was something used to make dining room tables. The bikie who had handcuff tan marks from the amount of time he’d spent in police line-ups…

Kathy Lette: If ever in doubt, just remember that embarrassment lasts a moment, regret a lifetime.

Kathy Lette: If ever in doubt, just remember that embarrassment lasts a moment, regret a lifetime.Credit:iStock

And then there are the jobs. I don’t know what I regret more – my stint as a go-go girl, despite the fact that I dance out of key, or my teenage waitressing career in a tourist tavern as a “buxom convict wench”, when my bra cups did not runneth over.

I also regret my many faux pas. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’m an embarrassment. My frequent foot-in-mouth moments mean I’ve spent a lot of my life blushing.

After moving to London in my 30s, my many gaffes meant I could have fried an egg on my face on a daily basis. But looking back now, all I can think is, why was I bothered? Misunderstandings that left me red-faced with humiliation I would now greet with an insouciant shrug.

Why the change? Because at the age of 63, my biggest regrets by far are not the things I’ve done, but the things I haven’t done. And top of the Regret list is the coffee I turned down with George Clooney.

At the age of 63, my biggest regrets by far are not the things I’ve done, but the things I haven’t done.

In the late ’80s, I was working on a hit sitcom in Hollywood. We cast this then-unknown actor as a love interest. He invited me for coffee – and I declined. I can still remember the exact words I uttered. “I’m a writer,” I replied, haughtily, “I don’t go out with actors. You put other people’s words in your mouth when you never know where they’ve been! ”

Years later I was raising two babies in London, splattered in breast milk and deranged from lack of sleep, when I was visited by one of my LA sitcom-writer friends. ER was on in the background. “Oh, that Dr Ross,” I purred. “I would swim through a pool of drool for that hunk.” My friend looked at me, amazed. “But that’s George Clooney. That’s the guy who asked you out. “

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