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LIZ JONES’S DIARY: In which I consider an illicit tryst


Should I embark on an affair with a married man?

Shall I tell you first what I wore to meet the aforementioned husband? Inky Paige flares. A Zara tank: only its second outing, so it hasn’t yet gone bobbly; I quite like my arms. Gucci slides. Essie Ballet Slippers toes. Hair so newly tinted, I still had a tide mark.

OK, now that this is just between us, I will reveal all. 

I received an unexpected text. I got a text! Just pipe me into a thong and I could be a contestant on Love Island All Stars.

‘Hi Liz! I’m staying at Swinton Park Hotel* for a couple of weeks on a hiking holiday, do you fancy meeting me for Sunday lunch?’

I wasn’t sure who this was at first. I had to scroll back through the messages. Ah. A man I once interviewed. Older. Married. Rich. Married. Married. Married.

Hmm. Is this a work thing?

Thirty years ago I had a boyfriend, Trevor, whom I arranged to meet at Bar Italia in Soho for a third (for which read, post-sex) date, only for him to introduce me to his male friends as, ‘This is Liz. She works for The Sunday Times Magazine.’ He later apologised; it transpired he was ashamed to be seen dating a white woman.

It could be work, or Mystery Man could be asking me out.

I’ve never dated a married man before. When I was lusting after the Liam Neeson lookalike photographer on assignment in Bali, I had a feeling he liked me. He would scour the internet for vegan restaurants.

He made notes during my interviews, as he knows I’m deaf. He gave me subtle hints: ‘Well, I’m trapped, aren’t I?’ he said of his life in Sydney. And, when I said my favourite, ideal man of all time is and will for evermore be Prince, he said, ‘That rules me out, then.’ (He’s very burly.) 

On another assignment, in Bolivia, he would cover my eyes when we drove past markets stuffed with shrunken animals. 

We never stopped talking, because only those who have worked in Fleet Street for decades are ever remotely interesting enough for me: the deadlines, the laughter, the disasters, the mistakes, the antidotes (as I call anecdotes). 

But I refused to flirt with him, even make eye contact, as he was married with children.

In Bali, on our last day, he texted to ask to say goodbye by the pool before he left for his flight, but I demurred, saying I was on deadline. But then a few years later he left his wife anyway, for someone else. It could have been me.

The thing is, I have been cheated on, and the worst part is not that your husband is having sex with someone else; it is the fact you are being made to live a lie.

Your life isn’t real. Your time is being wasted. As Emma Thompson said so poignantly in Love Actually: ‘You’ve made the life I lead foolish.’

So. I started fishing**, while browsing the menus section of the hotel website. I sent a text: ‘Is there anything in particular you want to talk about? Are you offering me an exclusive? No one ever likes my ideas so I can’t guarantee coverage.’

He fired back, within milliseconds. ‘Well, it would be an exclusive if we ended up going to my room for sex.’

Oh my god!

That would be too much for Mini Puppy, who of course will be coming along as moral support. And I’m not sure I fancy him.

 We get along, certainly. I’m an encyclopedia of all things Beatles, classic French cinema, mid-century Scandi furniture, holistic horse care, and he is too. He’s very knowledgeable about music and art. 

He texted me when Benji died, but I ignored him then, as I know he loves horse racing. I could overlook that as I also know he lives in a mansion with big windows.

I wonder if his wife has died. Yes, I googled, found nothing.

Oh god. I am officially a ghoul.

*I actually think I’m barred, as I once wrote about the snares on the estate that have caught cats, and why would a family staying in a cottage want to see a pet gnawing its foot off?

**Not literally. I’m vegan.

Contact Liz at lizjonesgoddess.com and stalk her @lizjonesgoddess



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