LIZ JONES’S DIARY: In which pre-dinner questions are asked
So! The dinner with the man I met four years ago at my book signing has been confirmed. I’ve chosen Locanda Locatelli, just off Portman Square, as the venue because it means that even if the man turns out to be a dud, I still get a nice bowl of spaghetti pomodoro. The new man, T*, is being very precise about everything, dotting and crossing things, telling me the table is booked for me and Mini (we are in London that morning for a photo shoot) at 7.30pm and that dinner is on him. At least with Mini on hand, I can lean on her when my high heels start to hurt.
With a week to go, I received this: ‘Hi Liz. My son has just shot off, having been fed and watered, to see his lady friend. I realise I have been most unfair as through your articles and books I know everything about you**.
‘However, you have kindly agreed to give me your time at dinner and only know me as your reader’s brother! Well, I am not a mad axeman but you hopefully will remember me from that night. I hope we have a fun evening as I can give you enough copy to enable you to write many articles and countless books: money problems solved!***
‘Please feel free to ask me any questions prior to next Monday so we can start halfway through the saga! Tx.’
Me ‘Haha! Well…
1 Is it a date?****
2 Are you married? Engaged? Gay?
3 Are you veggie?
4 Any pets?
5 If it is a date, why four years till you asked?’
Him ‘You are so funny. I’m just having a port and some cheese and biscuits, how sad is that? In answer to your questions:
1 Well, yes, it is a date! A dinner date and two people, enjoying each other’s company.
2 None of those. My wife died six years ago, so a widower, sadly.
3 Not a veggie but prefer to veer towards for many reasons.
4 I had a neurotic dog for many years, plus many other strange animals. The only one left is the tortoise who has gone to live with my daughter and family as they seem to live for ever!
5 How good is your memory? When I came to your book signing I submitted a question with my name which said: “Will you marry me? T.” You did not say yes and you did not say no, so when you signed my copy of your book I asked for an answer and you wrote in the title page: “No, because I have met David again!” So there is your answer! Tx.’
Me ‘Oh, I’m so sorry you lost your wife. How awful. I think you need to get the tortoise back: women always neglect pets when they have children. And, well, David was a mistake!’
Him ‘Actually, I was blessed to know my wife and I have two lovely children. I thought you had loved David for 30 years plus!’
Me ‘I loved an image of him. He only went out with me for him, not for me. He didn’t try hard enough. I can’t stand laziness, and he refused to go up a stepladder. So you waited until we had split up?’
Him ‘Of course! And a number of other reasons. You were forging a life with David and I was not going to spoil your dream!’
Me ‘Nightmare, more like.’
But I’m wondering. Should I tell David I have a date next week?
*I’m going to keep this one’s identity secret because my column causes men so many problems, particularly if they are bad at sex or think pedicures are only for women or, indeed, refuse to go up stepladders.
**I cannot stand that everyone knows every detail of my life. It means I won’t be able to lie about my age.
***At least we know he’s not after my money!
****I have to be sure where I stand. After two years of marriage, my husband gave me a friendship ring.