I have to tell you about Valentine’s Day. A card arrived in the post. It was blank with no message at all. It came from a website, so there was no handwriting. No point examining the Post Office stamp with a magnifying glass, or dusting it for prints. Hmmm. How annoying.
I texted the most likely culprit. ‘Did you send me a Valentine’s card? If not, Oops!’
He wrote back. ‘I admit I did send a card. Stupid, I know.’
‘It was lovely,’ I wrote, when in fact I had just posted a photo of it on Twitter with the caption, ‘Send flowers, you cheapskate!’ Lots of people then commented that I have written about how much I hate being sent flowers, given they are usually the wrong sort, and I have to find a vase and a pair of scissors. I was indeed once sent roses with GLITTER on the petals: I still get flashbacks. I then sent him a photo of Mini Puppy. ‘Ah, so they got all their toys at Christmas,’ he replied.
‘So it was you who sent the toys!’
‘Yes, of course.’
I told him to press the picture of Mini to make her tail wag.
‘No, still no.’
‘Is that last message about making Mini wag, or me?’
I then got a Whatsapp message from the New Man, the one who has heard of Emily Maitlis, telling me he has just listened to my new podcast where I talk about being ghosted by him. His message landed barely five minutes after it went live; do these men have nothing better to do? He wrote that ceasing contact, after our frantic week of texting and arranging to meet at a restaurant with rooms, ‘wasn’t deliberate on my part… just thought I had disappointed you. No excuses.’
Honestly. HE contacted ME! And do men think sending a Valentine’s card from a website and a chew toy that massages gums will do the trick and win me back?
This latest card has gone in the blue Tiffany box full of notes and memorabilia that men have given me over the years, as well as keepsakes from my so-called career. My husband used to secrete poems in my luggage, to be discovered as I unpacked in yet another hotel in Milan or Paris or New York. ‘Please don’t dump me. You have given me the only secure home I have ever known.’ A postcard sent from Portugal in the summer of 1983, with a promise he would come to my party at my new house in Brixton: he did indeed turn up but got off with my friend Wilma.A Christmas card: ‘Let’s have a wonderful Christmas and an even better life. Yours for ever…’ A note with a gift I can’t remember: ‘You are always in my mind.’ Another card: ‘Happy birthday, my darling, Liz.’ I do remember that gift, it was a David Linley tealight holder. Strange! A note from Helen Fielding: ‘Thank you for writing such a lovely piece. I got a bit teary…’ A note from Grace Coddington of American Vogue: ‘I love your book* and am honoured to be included.’ A Polaroid signed by Jennifer Aniston after a cover shoot. Another signed by Ricky Martin, from a magazine cover shoot with him in Hamburg. I learned a lot on that day. His co-star for the cover was Brazilian supermodel Fernanda Tavares. I kept putting her in plunging Versace, telling her, ‘Try to look sexier.’ In a break, she sat on the floor with a comic, as she was in fact still a child. A Christmas card from a famous pop star with a lovely message, a sentiment only marred by the fact he included a copy of his new album.A scribbled note from a man: ‘Chère Lizzie. If I’m asleep when you return and you want sex, please pull my willy three times. If you don’t want sex, pull it 753 times. X’
We only ever remember the bad reviews, the arguments, the betrayals, the deadlines, the hatchet jobs, the abuse on Twitter. But some of it has been fun, after all. I have been loved, if only briefly. Who’d have thought…
*Fur Babies, a book about cats I put together for charity