The past week has got me wondering. Do we date men in order to have a plus one?
After Lime Wood-gate, when David got drunk on our mini-break, swore over the (Angela Hartnett) dinner and I locked him out of the room, I should have gone down to breakfast on my own and had lunch as planned. Instead, I scuttled away – partly in case he was loitering, but mostly because I didn’t want to sit there, abandoned, in what is really a romantic hotel for couples.
And so I’m ashamed to write this in a very un-Maura-from-Love-Island fashion, but I gave him a second chance. Mainly because I had a film premiere to attend. I met him outside the cinema, where he had lined up a drink and collected our tickets. Useful! We then joined the pre-film reception, where I spied an old work colleague, and so dragged David across to say hello.
‘Meet my husband,’ she said, indicating another Dave, only this one’s surname is Gilmour. I shook his hand and introduced my David to the Pink Floyd legend. Then my old colleague and her husband moved away to speak to someone else, so you can see how useful it is to have a plus one who will go along with your pretence that you couldn’t care less, rather than just be left standing, awkward and alone.
The next day David helped me move out of my London flat (you see again? Useful!), then we went to Primrose Hill for lunch before my long drive back to my home in Yorkshire. ‘I won’t have anything to eat,’ he said as we found a table outside.
‘I haven’t got any money.’
‘Well, I have euros, as I’m going to France on Monday. I haven’t had time to transfer some money to pay you back for the aborted mini-break.’
‘You’re a very expensive boyfriend,’ I couldn’t help but remind him, silently wondering why my old colleague managed to bag a multimillionaire and I didn’t. I continued to eat my lunch alone while he looked on, probably weighing up whether he could steal anything off my plate. ‘It’s wheat!’ I hissed (he’s coeliac).
At that moment, Robert Plant walked past. ‘His son once gave me a massage,’ I told David. It was a good job he wasn’t eating, as I swear I’d have had to administer the Heimlich manoeuvre.
‘He was, might still be, a masseur. Really handsome.’ He lit a cigarette and narrowed his eyes. When he had shouted, over that aborted dinner at Lime Wood, that he doesn’t trust me, turns out it really was a case of in vino veritas. ‘I think you’ve been seeing someone,’ he said now. ‘Whereas I, since we broke up last October, haven’t even thought about seeing anyone else.’
I’m afraid a very big part of me muttered inwardly, ‘Who would have you?’ (You see, that line is going to end things, as surely as ‘How Do You Sleep’ placed a wedge between Lennon and McCartney.)
I suppose I do have payback for the ruined mini-break, in that I wrote two columns about it. In a way, he’s the Pattie Boyd to my Eric Clapton, only with a lot more facial hair. Even Adele, when she got married, was probably only half-joking when she wondered if she’d need to engineer a divorce to fuel her next album. But it’s no way to live: misery as inspiration. No wonder women who manage to marry up often don’t carry on with their career. Wouldn’t it be lovely to spend your day bossing the housekeeper and snipping peonies in the garden? Or would I be bored?
The reason I didn’t break up with David after our one-sided lunch? I’ve just received a wedding invitation in the post. It annoyed me, though, as the bride had not only addressed it to ‘Liz and David’, which given our track record is a bit presumptuous, but had also penned that ‘all girls should wear flats’ as ‘part of the ceremony will take place on Saunton Sands’. (Oh God, hang on. Does this column come out after the wedding has taken place? Yes. Phew. But only just. I’d better not stay for breakfast.)
Because I’m not wearing flats to a wedding! This is tantamount to being told to arrive bra-less. Which reminds me of yet another use for a man: someone to cling to when you’re in heels and there are steps down to the beach. Or a lawn. Maybe I will hang on to him, literally, until the wedding’s done and dusted…