LIZ JONES’S DIARY: A picnic with the Mystery Man, part one

I am always being slighted. I take this as the norm. Viz…

  1. My friend Dawn, after I left the Celebrity Big Brother house, said I always looked beautiful on the programme. The boyfriend at the time said, ‘No, she didn’t.’
  2. When I was married – me: former editor of a glossy and a Fleet Street columnist; husband: one novel under his belt (surprised there was room) and not a Fleet Street columnist – my husband said to me, ‘One word of advice. Never write a column expressing your opinions.’
  3. Just before Christmas, I posted a video online, promoting my Zoom party, all in aid of charity. A woman messaged me on Twitter, not to say, ‘Oh, well done Liz. Donating your time and possessions to help dogs and cats.’ Oh dear me, no. This person bothered, on a Sunday, to find time to type: ‘I preferred your hair shorter. And the colour is too dark and blocky for an older woman.’ It’s unbelievable, isn’t it? You are doing something for charity and someone bothers to criticise your hair!* And – I am also choking on this bit – ‘older woman’!
  4. Then I got an email from the woman who used to tattoo my eyebrows, who said, ‘Hi Liz! You know I also do semi-permanent make-up on the scalp to disguise hair loss.’ Hair loss! I haven’t lost my hair! It must have been the light from the tree bouncing off my scalp. Seriously. I don’t feel old, especially as a) I have had a face-lift. b) There were quite a few years when I used expensive face products such as Révive and Sisleÿa. And c) There were quite a few years in the Dales with no central heating, so I figure the cold preserved me.
Abbey Lossing at handsomefrank.com

Anyway, a couple of days after the video went live, I got this, from the MM**: ‘Love the video. Stunning. Tree a bit dull. Makes me want to stop off and see you even more.’

You see? Another slight! He criticised my Christmas tree! There is always something with men, isn’t there? They always notice you forgot cider vinegar and to iron your hair.

But I am slightly heartened/flattered that he has been googling me. I have over three million entries, whereas if you google my ex-husband, or P, all you get is me instead. Ha! The ultimate revenge.

Anyway, I replied that I can’t be bothered to get any food and, amazingly, he wrote, ‘I could bring a vegan hamper?’

Oh great! Already I am thinking, maybe from Daylesford farm shop?

Then he added: ‘We could picnic outside as I’ve already chosen a different bubble.’

It’s like a rollercoaster, isn’t it? Up. Down. One minute they want to see you; the next, you are an older woman who has gone bald. None of this is any good for my self-esteem.

But I like a challenge. The year I divorced my husband, I landed a Fleet Street column that was all about my opinions. It was shortlisted many times. At one awards ceremony, the editor of The Guardian (who used to be my intern; oh God, I am as old as the hills) came over to my table and said, ‘Well done. It’s very unusual for a column written by a woman to be so honoured.’ So there!

And so I said the picnic would be fine. My plan is to be aloof and wear a relaxed sweater by Navygrey, with ‘no make-up’ make-up. I haven’t booked for my scalp to be tattooed, but I have exfoliated my lips (does anyone else do this or is it just me?).

I plan to burst his other bubble. Just watch me.

*I need to note here that someone else tweeted that my assistant Nic, also in the video and co-host of the charity party, looked like Matt Lucas.

**Mystery Man. It is not P or the man direct messaging me on Twitter who, it turns out, is ‘married at the moment’.