Last week, I wrote how the New Man – you know, the sane one, with a house, own business, son at university, has heard of Emily Maitlis – ‘did not enjoy’ the references to him in my podcast. Despite the fact he was not identified, apart from me saying he looks a bit like Bruce Willis but, thank God, is not bald, and that I was nice about him!
I told him straight: ‘I’m sorry but this won’t work.’ That he has to accept being a writer is my job, and to just ignore it. Also, what did he expect when HE got in touch with ME? If you want to remain incognito, date the woman who works in your local branch of Boots.
He replied: ‘I was a little spooked and worried you would identify me at a later date. I spent ten years not in a relationship to protect my son, then felt like I was going to the other extreme. I knew you would mention me if we had met.’
Me, given I’d just taken delivery of a top from Net-a-Porter: ‘I won’t identify you. I hope you’re worth it!’
And that was it! Nothing, nothing, nothing! Ghosted! How rude! He had even, when
I suggested lunch at the Saddle Room, not far from where I live, said that we should each book a room so we could have a drink. I had started imagining the date, as you do: I’d have been renovated. Sometimes, he’d just walk me to my room. Other times, I would invite him in.
But, of course, dates and relationships never quite match up to the drama in your head. You arrive at a pristine hotel room and he plonks his holdall on the bed: even before Covid, my inner siren would have gone off. He places a washbag covered in toothpaste stains in the marble bathroom. At an ancient inn, he gets up in the middle of the night to use the loo, waking you in time to notice he has failed to wash his hands. Over what should be a romantic brunch at the Ivy, you can see spinach lolling on his tongue.
Anyway, excuse me! What is so WRONG about being identified? We all know George
Clooney is married to Amal! Ah, OK, now I get it. They don’t mind being identified when to do so involves lovely holidays, red carpet premieres, gifts, being introduced to Zadie Smith,
What they do mind is having any faults, infidelities, bad habits, swear words and bad hygiene written about. Trouble is, I am not writing up my daydreams about dating and being married. I am writing about what actually happens. Best course of action is to not cheat on me. Be useful. Be kind. Be supportive. Be tidy. Use a coaster. Basically: don’t get
on my nerves. Be spontaneous, but not too spontaneous. Be Alan Carr in the kitchen and Daniel Craig in bed: I mean, come on, how is that confusing?
So here’s some advice. Do not, when I’ve just spent £300 in Waitrose, whine, ‘Did they not
have any white pepper?’ (This from someone whose idea of dessert is a packet of warm
Revels.) Or, in my gorgeous (long gone) Georgian dual-aspect sitting room, mumble, rubbing knees ostentatiously, ‘What is it about women and floorboards!’ When I am functioning on adrenaline, telling him, ‘I have 20 minutes to file 1,200 words on skinny models!’, do not say, ‘Just tell them to f*** off.’ How is that helpful? How will that attitude fund your yoga habit? Do not say, ‘You look better without make-up.’ And, ‘Can’t Gracie sleep in her dog bed?’ And, ‘Can’t Squeaky eat Whiskas, just this once?’ No! She can’t! Never, ever say any of those things!
And if you want to remain anonymous, don’t contact me!!!!!!!! As Bridget would say, ‘B****r off!’