Liz Jones’s Diary: ‘In which I give a new man a chance…’

I have a confession. Last week, I wrote I got ‘Nothing, nothing, nothing’ for my birthday. Just an email from my printer. Well, that afternoon my friend popped round and gave me two Liberty print tea towels and a pair of Crocs. She’d worn hers on our mini break in the Lake District and she kept telling me I should get a pair. I told her I’ve probably written 15,000 words in the paper saying how much I hate them. The next day, Nic gave me a pair of wide-legged trousers from Zara. Such is my phobia about looking fat, I hate wide-legged trousers! I’m toothpick till I die!

Abbey Lossing at handsomefrank.com

‘I thought your wedding tuxedo was wide-legged,’ she said in her defence.

‘No!! They just went wide as I lost so much weight before the Big Day.’

(Someone on Twitter dug up the photo of me walking down the aisle, God knows how, and
accused me of wearing a tracksuit. Tuxedos have stripes down the outside of the leg, Numb Nuts!)

Anyway, the next day I got a card in the post. ‘Dearest Liz. Happy Birthday, X.’ It was an X,
from my ex! But it was a card you order on the internet. He hadn’t put on proper shoes, ventured out and bought one, carried it home. He hadn’t written in it himself or bought a stamp. It’s the birthday-card equivalent of making you get on top.

I’ve been brewing a bit over the news my ex ex is dating a 26-year-old (she’ll be known forever more as The Foetus), especially as today I noticed a weird flap of loose skin under my upper arms. I’m like a bat. I’m just past the adult acne stage, only to discover that if I launched myself off a tall building, I’d glide safely to the ground.

But the good news is, I have a date! With a vegetarian photographer! Sadly, it’s not Nigel, as he’s locked in a cupboard in Sydney. This man is late 50s, divorced, has a giant child. I haven’t seen a photo of him although, believe me, I’ve searched on Google. I’ve found his house and zoomed in on his garden: he lives on the other side of the Pennines.

We’ve agreed to meet in Leeds. I’ve booked an executive room in a hotel. I won’t tell him I have a room; I just can’t risk driving late at night when dizzy. I almost hired a Victoria Beckham slip dress from My Wardrobe HQ, then remembered I haven’t seen a photo of him (worth it? Not worth it?) and that I already have a VB bodycon in my wardrobe. The great thing about a new man is he hasn’t seen my Louboutin shoe boots before and will think they’re new; I sometimes think it’s easier to get a new man than new shoes.

He sounds sweet. He has already told me he’s 5ft 6in and asked if this is a problem. I told him it depends on which shoes I’m wearing. He has promised not to ghost me, block me or say distance is a problem. Am hoping, too, if it works out, he won’t call me the ‘C’ word, cheat on me before and after we marry then sell his story to Grazia. That’s always the risk, isn’t it? I’m reminded of that great line in Mad Men. Don: ‘We should get married.’ Midge: ‘You think I’d make a good ex-wife?’

I hate the thought he might be rummaging through my metaphorical bins: the photos before and after my face-lift. Me in a bikini: I have short legs, like a dachshund. Me having my eyebrows tattooed (they’re now worryingly purple). I’ve learned, though, that men are only interested in you in as far as it impacts them. My last boyfriend had NO IDEA I write for the newspaper about lots of different topics – fashion, earthquakes, famines, animal rights. He thought I only had a column about him. We were at a dinner party when he let this slip out, and that night I made him sleep in a different room, even though we were staying at his sister’s. This new one seems interested, but not a stalker. Maybe I’ll wear Gucci loafers instead. I don’t want to frighten him too soon…