Well, Tiers 3 and 4 put paid to my flying visit from the Mystery Man, though I had started to go off him anyway (now, there’s the surprise). He texted to say he was staying put, but that he had been googling photos of me, and placing them in the order of best to worst.
OK. Thank you for doing that. What annoyed me even more was that he refused, as always, to put his cards on the table. No declarations of intent, just vague plans. As though I’m on standby. I deserve better.
Interestingly, since announcing I’m single, I have been getting a lot of attention from men on social media. Not all of it good. One, a plumber from Sheffield, messaged me a topless photo of himself, telling me he is 41 and would love to go out with me ‘when you are next in Sheffield’. He asked how tall I am, so I replied, ‘Um, five seven or eight.’
‘That’s good,’ he said. ‘I’m six foot two, so won’t have too far to bend down to kiss you.’
Is this how men choose soulmates? How far away you are on the satnav and how much bending they have to do?
Then I got this, sent to my website. Nic forwarded it with, ‘This one sounds nice…’
‘Dear Liz. As a long divorced still single man, I have thought for many years we’d make a very happy and good couple. I’m still fit and healthy. I am up and down ladders regularly. I used to date a fashion designer so have an interest in common. I keep my wine racks full but am a hopeless cook. I love good hotels and restaurants and to travel. You must get sack loads of these messages, but perhaps I will make it to one of your shows and sit front row and catch your eye.’
He does sound nice. Good punctuation. Not insane. I replied: ‘You sound lovely. I’m glad you like ladders. Maybe a drink in the New Year, plagues allowing?’
Turns out he lives on the south coast. Married twice. Has a beard. Taurus. Nearly six foot. Used to have a dog and a horse.
He replied swiftly: ‘I never thought I’d be corresponding with the girl [!] whose columns I always turn to first. Life doesn’t have to be so difficult and you shouldn’t have to try so hard to please people. I’m glad you’re single as I didn’t read of anyone who deserved you. I don’t sulk or get angry. Not been in a relationship for ten years as am happy within myself. Spent Christmas Day on my own, went for a long walk. X’
Well. Can go for long walks without whining! What’s not to like? This went on for a bit, back and forth, like a game of exploratory tennis. Then he sent this: ‘Distance is never a problem. I’ve been attracted to you for years. You’re not my normal type, which is blonde. I hate animal cruelty, always have done.’
The next day there was a terrible storm, and he offered to drive up to help with the horses. Of course, I said no. Then he sent this: ‘Let’s have lunch. The kisses would never stop. I’m a good guy who adores you. So silly, emailing considering the time I’ve been in love with you. I’m always thinking, “Why are we not together?”’
You see, they always go too far. This is all nice and flattering, and at least he doesn’t believe we are ruled by reptiles who live in the earth’s crust, but he doesn’t know me! I either get, ‘I need you in
my bed and in my life!’ And, ‘Nothing matters as long as I have you by my side.’ Or, as with the Mystery Man or my ex-husband, complete indifference.
Hmmm. I don’t know. I’ve just got this: ‘What will I learn from the Sunday papers today?’ I quickly look at that day’s column. Ah, it’s about the Mystery Man, saying I’m ‘beautiful’. I also wrote, ‘Things happen in life when you don’t force them… out of the blue.’ OK, that’s not too bad. Whoever thought I’d be juggling men?