Liz Jones’s Diary: In which things get even more familiar

Date No 2 with Cambridge Man is scheduled for three weeks’ time. I have a hotel booked in London. We plan to meet at a country pub about halfway between the two.

I think Date No 2 is too soon to have sex, given I don’t even know his surname. I figure now is a good time to find out more about him, so I ask him to send some photos – ‘Not rude ones!’ – of him, his life, where he lives.

Abbey Lossing

He sends a picture of his dog in front of the fireplace, then three shots of his garden. His lawn is neatly mown, he has a pergola and an outside table. It is all very neat and manicured, ie, there aren’t old mattresses, a broken-down shed, rubbish in among the weeds. He sends photos of the countryside around his parents’ home in France, and a photo of him with his parents’ collie. He looks very handsome and young. There must be something wrong with him.

I text him: ‘I have no idea why you haven’t been snapped up.’

He replies: ‘I am a hidden gem.’

He seems too good to be true. He doesn’t mind me being older; in fact, he hasn’t mentioned it. He hasn’t complained that I have started writing about him. When I suggested on our next date that I will pay for dinner, he replied: ‘Maybe. I think the third or fourth date would be more appropriate.’

Me: ‘You mean me paying or us having sex?’

Him: ‘You paying!!’

He has already asked me to his friend’s 50th birthday party in July, and to visit his parents as soon as lockdown allows. ‘We can then go to Paris. I’ve never been,’ he says.

It’s so nice, to be invited places. The best part of having a boyfriend is to be able to go on mini breaks, not have to drive, and to have someone who will go up stepladders.

Problem is, if I go as his plus one to the party, unless I go in disguise, his friends will then know who he is dating, and the secret will be out. How will he react to being written about once he’s been outed? We haven’t broached this yet. At the moment, he seems quite sanguine. After he read my column about double parking – ie, going on a date with another man directly before him – he texted on Sunday morning, ‘How is my double-parking queen?’ He doesn’t take himself seriously at all. He isn’t racked by jealousy. Yet…

I tell him the last time I went to Paris, I stayed in the Carrie Bradshaw suite at the Plaza Athénée, and the then boyfriend kept ordering espressos that cost 30 euros apiece, then complaining they were cold. I’d be woken at 3am by him pointing the torch on his phone at surfaces. When I complained, he’d say, ‘I’m looking for my tobacco. Wear an eye mask.’ I don’t think this one would do that.

Before his audition on Date No 2, he has to pass a couple of tests. I text to ask advice about buying a new car. I send him what I am looking at. But instead of being supportive, he is a bit negative. ‘How will it drive over long distances?’

Then I send him a photo of Missy, asking him to Name That Collie, and he replies, ‘Mini?’ Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Then I text: ‘Next test. On our date, will you know my skirt is Gucci, or will you make a wild stab and say, “Is it Next?”’

He replies, ‘Of course I will know it’s Gucci. Especially if it’s on the bedroom floor, so I can read the label!’

Sauce! He then says, ‘I was going to suggest we have an afternoon or evening on the champagne. But I might get too familiar…’

I tell him that is what we will be doing on Date No 2 for his audition. That won’t be too soon for sex, will it? I had sex with my future husband on our first date. I had sex with my ex on our third date, when he came to my house in the Dales for the weekend. I really want to get it over with, like measles.