Liz Jones’s Diary: In which the New Man gets spooked
Forget being happy. All this grief on a Sunday has made me furious!
Oh. Dear. God. You know how I wrote that I am finally, FINALLY happy? That I have a lovely, sane New Man on the horizon? A new collie dog? Think again…
I was all keyed up to meet the nervous collie at the weekend, but the girl from the charity texted me to say the owner had gone quiet and was not returning her calls.
And then I got a text from the New Man. We had been messaging back and forth for a week. I asked about his parents, his son. He suggested dinner instead of lunch after lockdown. Sauce! I suggested The Saddle Room near Leyburn. ‘Looks lovely,’ he said. I even ordered a white tank top from Net-a-Porter. You know you have it bad when you order a new outfit from Net-a-Porter. I told him of my order, and that the tank top would go with a Gucci hanky skirt. ‘I don’t know what that is, but I am sure you will look beautiful.’ Then he sent this. Of course. We knew this would happen, did we not?
‘I listened to your podcast. Sounds like you are having a lot of fun. But can I be honest from the start?’
Here we go…
Me: ‘Yes, of course.’ Real me: What now?
Him: ‘I was a little spooked to realise you were mentioning me. It was fine and I know you talk about what’s happening. But I would hate to be identified.’ He was not identified. He went on: ‘But then I read the Andrew Neil postscript.’
I had written that when my husband went on national TV to complain about my column, Andrew Neil had said, ‘If you don’t want to be written about, don’t date a celebrity columnist.’
I don’t know what Andrew Neil meant by ‘celebrity columnist’; think he must have meant celebrated, or famous, or brilliant. I was annoyed to get this text, as you can imagine, from someone I’ve not met. Especially given the Net-a-Porter order. And so I replied: ‘I didn’t identify you. This is what always happens. I didn’t mention P’s identity, or was even mean about him, but he got upset and people guessed who he was.’
Him: ‘Who’s P?’
Me: ‘Been in column. I had lunch with him but didn’t name him. He went nuts and texted to say I had mentioned he gave me a “coin purse” in my podcast, when he had given me a scarf and diary and thank-you notes as well.’
Him: ‘It was something Nic said on your podcast about your new man being a stalker. You can understand her saying it, but I didn’t enjoy the inference. Probably overthinking it. X’
I’m not enjoying this conversation. I texted Nic.
‘What did you say?’
‘Nothing negative. I said he looked nice in his photo, and younger than 60.’
I replied to the New Man, ‘This won’t work, sorry. A man has to accept I have a job and am a writer and ignore it. I’ve been through this many, many times.’
This was the equivalent of me as Julia Roberts in Notting Hill.
‘I am just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.’
Anyway, he replied cryptically: ‘I understand and I am sorry. I am not interested in celebrity. I am only interested in you. I’ve loved getting to know you a little. Xx’
Again, I get all this grief on a Sunday. My day of rest. And let’s not forget, He contacted Me. What is it about these men that they think they are so special I will give up my job, and my talent, to date their uninteresting, self-obsessed selves? What makes them think they deserve me or my time? I am furious. I stop myself sending more, which as we all know is my wont: ‘What were you expecting? What, exactly, did you object to?’ I rise above it and don’t reply. Then, inevitably, he sends this…
Contact Liz at lizjonesgoddess.com and stalk her @lizjonesgoddess