Liz Jones’s Diary: In which things get a bit too personal

Would you like to hear about Gracie’s 12th birthday, or my sex session on Zoom with my ex ex? Would you like to hear how Gracie now sleeps through the night, no longer chases joggers but still wriggles on her back and does a vertical stress wee if you want to put on her harness? Aged 12, she still has to go with me to put out the recycling; if I leave her indoors, she will destroy the sofa.

Abbey Lossing

Or would you like to hear what remote sex is like during lockdown?

Thought so!

Well. I’d expected a preamble: catching up, talk about work, has he had the vaccine, got married again, have I returned my engagement ring*, that sort of thing. You know: normal. It would have been more sedate if we’d been able to meet for dinner somewhere public. But as this was a Zoom call, he knew we were alone, bar collies.

When he said, ‘Take your laptop to the bedroom,’ there was a small (hopeful) part of me
that was thinking, ‘He must want to see the bottle green walls. The mushroom velvet curtains. The new dark teal bed linen. My H&M Home pink velvet cushions. Perhaps the bathtub again.’

But no. He is a man, after all.

I unplugged it, and carried it upstairs. ‘I’m on the move!’ I said, grabbing my wine from behind Mini, where I’d hidden it. I couldn’t possibly do this sober. My side lamp was on. ‘What do you think of the walls?’ I asked him, swivelling my laptop, spilling wine on Mini’s head, so she now resembled Sonic the Hedgehog.

‘I couldn’t give a f*** about your new paintwork. I’m sorry, I’m not a woman. I’ve not had
sex for a year.’

You can understand me not having sex for a year. I’m from Chelmsford. I used to play netball. The spas are closed. But him! I felt exactly as I did when I heard how Prince had died. I had worshipped him for decades, listened to his explicit songs on repeat, been jealous of all the women in his life: Kim Basinger, Veronica Webb. I imagined him spending every night in a hot tub with supermodels. Yet he had died, alone, in a lift.

Not having sex isn’t how I imagined my ex ex. We broke up not just because I chose my next boyfriend over him. That’s only partly true. I never felt good enough. Poolside at the Hôtel du Cap in the South of France I had believed, given I was horizontal and had been airbrush tanned, that I looked OK in my hot pink bikini. But he had leaned over, and whispered – as I positioned myself on the bed next to Gracie, who had made a nest, and was looking expectant, I remembered how his breath on my neck felt – ‘You need to pull the bikini top up. Your surgery scars are showing.’

He meant the scars from my breast reduction. And I thought, why mention them? Who cares, anyway? At least I hadn’t had them inflated like a lilo, which is what the other women round the pool had done. But I just knew he could get someone better.

But, turns out, he hasn’t. Without me, he might well die, alone, in a lift.

I was, for our call, wearing a tank top. ‘Take off your jodhpurs,’ he said. I was annoyed, then, that he saw them. I wasn’t expecting more than 50 per cent on show.

‘Stop bossing me!’ I balanced the laptop on the duvet, sending daggers in Gracie’s direction in case she felt chewy, and peeled them off. I kept my socks on, as it’s the Dales, and he can’t want feet as well. What is he, a pervert?

I was ready. Laptop covering my navy school knickers. He was peering at me. ‘Hang on,’ he said. Oh, for goodness’ sake.

And he disappeared! I could hear drawers opening (not dropping; oh dear god no, I don’t
want to see that).

He loomed again. ‘That’s better.’ He had gone off to fetch his spectacles.