real life

Leigh Sales' break up letter to her best friend, Annabel Crabb.

Leigh Sales read this letter to Annabel Crabb as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Dear Crabb,

Recently I’ve noticed I receive a lot of correspondence addressed to both of us. Invitations, complaints, tweets decrying our hairstyles, even television viewing suggestions. “You should watch The Katering Show on YouTube,” emailed my friend Ben the other day, “You and Crabb will love it.”

Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales.

Even an Easter picnic invitation arrived with the disclaimer, “Perhaps Annabel might like to come too.” It’s as if we’ve morphed into a sister act, perhaps a little more Laverne and Shirley than Thelma and Louise, but a dynamic duo nonetheless.

All of this makes what I’m about to say that little bit more awkward. I’m afraid it’s time to tell you that we can no longer be friends.

I know that may seem harsh. It may even come as a surprise. But in much the same way that Nicole Ritchie and Paris Hilton parted ways, albeit with better styled hair and more regularly shaved legs than us, the day has come when I must tell you and I don’t mean to be horrible but girl, you shit me to tears.

Here’s why my number two best friend is now getting her run at the top spot.

First, you are so funny that it is simply a matter of time until you cause me to pee my pants in public. Possibly even on national television. It’s fine for you to be funny in a column.

Like the time when all of our ABC salaries were leaked and you wrote that the whole excruciating episode had an upside, offering indisputable assistance on some nagging workplace etiquette issues, such as when sharing coffee with Quentin Dempster, who should pick up the bill?

That was a close run thing but at least I was in the privacy of my own home.

But you selfishly keep causing me to burst into hysterics in places of less convenience: cinema lobbies for example, such as the time we saw Fifty Shades of Grey and you suggested afterwards that “If you’re going to make a bondage film for a mass general audience, you can really only have Aspects of Bondage, to borrow a concept from Andrew Lloyd Webber.” Or crowded restaurants, such as the time recently when we were stood up for lunch by one of our great literary heroes and when we finally glumly ordered, you recommended “the bitter chicory of abandonment”.

No, I’m afraid that as a woman of advancing years and receding pelvic floor control, I can no longer risk your company.

Second, this little passive-aggressive competitive baking thing we have going on has to stop. You show up at my place with a lemon curd meringue cake and I show up at yours with a mixed berry hazelnut cake with toffee-dipped blueberries. You pop by with a banana caramel layer cake, forcing me to retaliate with chocolate, plum and almond Paris Brest. Breaking point came when I swung by your place one morning with a pistachio and rosewater cream cake and you airily plopped down a plate of store-bought jam fancies and tim tams and casually declared, “I’ve not had time for any baking this week, I’ve been too busy sewing Easter bonnets for the children.” I see exactly where this is going Crabb and if you think we’re going into some Halloween sew-off where you make one of your kids look just like Harry Potter and truss your dog up in a contraption that that makes him convincingly look like he has three heads, you’ve got another thing coming.


This final reason may be a little paranoid but I have a niggling suspicion that you don’t actually like it when I break into musical numbers and show tunes.

Ever wonder how Annabel Crabb manages to be…Annabel Crabb? She has told Mamamia all about it. (Post continues after podcast.)

When you were once moaning about having three columns to write and I burst into “In every job that’s to be done, there is an element of fun, find the fun and snap the job’s a game”, there was an odd tightness to your smile. Another time, when it was the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music, I thought it would be lovely if we did a road trip together so you could hear me sing the entire soundtrack. It did strike me as odd that you asked me to pull over somewhere just outside Katoomba because you were “busting for a wee” and then never came back. I assumed that you were so moved by my performance, you had decided to do your own version of Climb Every Mountain. But it did give me a moment’s pause.

Actually, no, I think I really am being paranoid about the show tunes thing, forget I mentioned it. There are only two reasons after all that we can no longer be friends.

With fond, yet hopefully more distant regards,


What’s the most ridiculous reason you have for needing to break up with a friend?


If this made you laugh, then we’ve got plenty more for you…

Get your listen on: Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb have a podcast.

Leigh Sales and Lisa Wilkinson respond to accusations they’re too ‘aggressive’.

The one where Leigh Sales schools Tony Abbott in the Westminster system.

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