Liz Jones’s Diary: In which things get slightly X-rated

I’ve got a text!

I drove home after my first lunch with Cambridge Man. He hadn’t given me a peck on the cheek or a hug but had simply handed me three dog toys through my car window. As I drove off, I gave him a Duchess of Cambridge complete with face mask wave.

Abbey Lossing

I got home, waited for my review. And waited. Finally, he texted: ‘Hope you and the dogs
had a nice drive back. It was lovely seeing you.’

Hmmm. Not quite the rave I was after. But I replied, ‘Thanks so much for lunch! I had a
lovely time.’

Him: ‘So did I. You have a wonderful laugh and smile.’

Hmmm. So, does that mean I have Resting B**** Face? But I replied, ‘So do you!’

Him: ‘Thank you. When I first saw you, my heart jumped. [This is better.] Your smile makes you even more attractive.’

‘Was super nervous!’

Him: ‘Even after a glass of champagne? I was too. Flustered driving three hours to a hot
date and changing just before I got there.’

Now that was a revelation. That a man would change behind a beach towel in a car park before a date; I thought that was just me. I said he seemed cool and collected.

Him: ‘It was easier because I knew you a little [via text, oh, and three million Google entries]. The dogs settled me. You have lived a life [that was all my antidotes*]! So interesting. And you have a massive heart. But also, so attractive. I wanted to kiss you. But I want you to get your Covid jab first.’

Hang on. This is a bit bossy. And forward. Then he typed: ‘I’d like to see you again. And this time you know I fancy you in person, not just from your photos. Though I didn’t get to do a complete up and down, as you sat down so quickly.’ I was in Bottega heels for the first time in over a year. What did he expect?

When we left the restaurant, I gave him Gracie, the fastest collie, so she dragged him in front of me. I hate men who walk behind me. I find it passive-aggressive.

Two days later, he sent this: ‘So, now you know I fancy you, are we arranging another date?’

Thing is, I don’t know much about him, other than that he lives near Cambridge, works in London, has a son at uni. No ex-wife, but he’s friendly with the mother of his son. Also friendly with his ex, whom he broke up with because she wants children.

I asked. I had to. ‘How old are you?’

‘I’m 51.’

Yikes. I’d thought as much. He likes Take That, after all.

I replied nonchalantly, as though not worried in the slightest: ‘That’s a nice age. You’re a nice size, too. Not big and in the way like a lump, but not weedy.’

‘No, I’m not a weed. Bit bigger than I was before lockdown.’

When I told Nic his age, she said, ‘That’s great. You don’t want an old man.’**

The next day, a piece I’d written about a much-loved piece of clothing, half a century old, was published in the Daily Mail: a hacking jacket, bought when I was 11, and which is therefore as old as my New Potential Boyfriend.

He texted to say he loved the photo. I now know he knows. But it doesn’t seem to have put him off as he then sent: ‘I am looking forward to kissing you. I wouldn’t normally think about it this much!’

I can think of little else…

*Anecdotes. In the podcast we joke that Nic is like Mrs Malaprop as she always calls them this

**In the interests of transparency, she didn’t actually say ‘an old man’, but said an Actual Name