Liz Jones’s Diary: ‘In which the haters really get to me’

It’s been a week of jellyfish alerts.*

I went to have my roots dyed as I was about to do a few TV shows promoting a piece I’d written in the Daily Mail about wearing an ‘empathy’ suit, or ‘fat’ suit. The hairdresser parted my hair, then said, ‘I’m not sure if it’s the silver, or it’s your hair thinning, because I can see scalp.’

Liz Jones
Abbey Lossing at handsomefrank.com

‘Listen, love,’ I said, quickly backtracking in my mind how big her tip was going to be, ‘I’m postmenopausal. Just cover it up.’ Whatever happened to, ‘Are you going anywhere nice on holiday?’

Then, when I went on a BBC radio programme to talk about my new book, the presenter said, ‘I read about your tour being postponed due to Covid. And I was thinking it was just as well, as I can’t imagine anyone more shy and introverted! I couldn’t imagine how you’d have coped!’

To coin the words of one of my famous exes**, ‘Thank you for your support.’ I went on Twitter and posted outrage at a protester for punching a police horse, calling him a ‘b*****d’. Someone replied, ‘Takes one to know one.’ Another woman tweeted, ‘Have you seen Tattle Life***? They’re being very rude about you.’

Just what I need to hear on a Sunday morning. Lovely!

After my piece on wearing an empathy suit was published, someone tweeted, ‘If you really cared about fat people, why haven’t you campaigned about them, same as you’ve campaigned for animals?’ I did campaign for bigger women. I think it’s one of the reasons I got fired from Marie Claire. I got a very small pay-off, which was taxed, and dented even further by taking my fiancé to Villa San Michele, overlooking Florence, where he splashed me in the infinity pool, and when we got back to London it was to a message from the publisher, demanding my laptop back. Jellyfishes! All of them!

It seems whatever I do in life, it rebounds. Become editor of a glossy and you think, yay, I’ve made it, then all you get is grief about costs, redundancies, sales. When I was made Columnist of the Year last month, the culmination of 40 years of work, I immediately started thinking, ‘What if I don’t win next year?’

Everyone is horrible to me. Even the man who came to valet my car, whom I’d given a huge tip last time, complained, stony-faced: ‘It’s very dirty. Couldn’t you have removed the foam from your dog chewing the back seat?’ ‘Um. No! That’s what I’m paying you for.’

I texted a decorator in April to ask him to paint my outside windows while the weather’s dry. It’s now August and still no sign. I chased him. ‘I’ve been very busy!’ he replied. I wasn’t asking for a favour. Why am I always the bottom of the pile? Even at my wedding breakfast, my husband didn’t sit next to me: I was next to a great big gap, like Billy no mates.

Even something that is supposed to be nice, like dinner at Locanda Locatelli with an ex ex, whom you hope will become a nice friend, or at least make up the numbers at your funeral, turns into an ordeal. There is never any humility from anyone. Don’t worry, cleaning the car is what I’m here for. Sorry I post horrible things about you, it’s because I’m married to a man who picks his feet. Sorry I splashed you in the pool when I know you wear contacts and have a morbid fear of drowning and sorry we couldn’t dine on the terrace overlooking the Duomo as I refused to put on a jacket, but I hate myself for not being good enough for you.

That’s it! You see! That is why people are jellyfish. It’s because of their own inadequacies. I know I should rise above it, like a Mary Berry sponge. But it’s hard when every day the haters try to make me feel small. Trust me, I’m my own worst critic. No one could ever hate me as much as I detest myself.

* People who insert thinly veiled, stinging comments into the conversation, as in Bridget Jones

** There are two!

***An anonymous gossip site