Liz Jones's Diary: In Which I Plan A Romantic Make Or Mini Break To Paris

It’s strange, isn’t it, how people can damn you with faint praise. Take this, in an email from David to his sister, after she informed him their mother was concerned an ex-girlfriend was after his money.

‘I don’t know how you’ve got the idea Liz is after “my” money,’ he wrote. ‘She may be many things, but that is not one of them. She has the highest morals of anyone I have ever known and is fiercely independent. She tells the truth even when it is embarrassing to herself.’

Did you notice the ‘She may be many things’?

What things, exactly? An OCD nightmare? Really good at pub quizzes? Too thin? Too controlling? Incredibly physically fit, given I shifted 60 barrows of horse manure over Christmas, on terrain that was extremely hilly, in a wet snowstorm. (I absolutely loved To Walk Invisible, the film about the Brontë sisters, who like me lived in Yorkshire on the moors, yet I couldn’t help thinking, as they trekked across the heather and bracken in bonnets, ‘Well, they didn’t have to shovel 60 barrows of horse poo, did they? They had it so easy!’) I am also in possession of a wicked sense of humour, viz, when Nic told me an ex, a marine, someone she tells me ‘fights from the sea’, had got back from a tour of duty and wanted to meet up with her, I replied, ‘Why, what’s wrong with him? Has he lost both his legs?’

But David was right about the ‘tells the truth even when it is embarrassing to herself’. Take the time I was interviewed by Lynn Barber. She asked me whether my then boyfriend was handsome. ‘No, he’s not, not really,’ I replied. ‘But he has made his own success with sheer hard work and talent. I respect that. I find that attractive.’ You cannot imagine the amount of hostility I got from him when he learned I didn’t find him handsome.

I told Lynn that the wives of his friends had banned me from a mini break, afraid of what I would write. I felt the real reason was that he was embarrassed to be seen with me. He had come to meet me at the Hôtel Du Cap, in the South of France, a few days before, and been ashamed by the fact my Accessorize bikini top had slipped, revealing my plastic surgery scars from my breast reduction when I was 29. Despite decades of revisionist surgery, and oils and scar reducers, there are still two angry red weals. They are angry? Try being me!

That isn’t a very nice thing to happen, your boyfriend reeling in disgust. ‘Cover yourself up,’ he’d said. It also isn’t a very nice thing to write about. The problem is, I have no ‘off’ switch. I never spare myself. Or the people around me. The other evening, I went round to Isobel’s to play Scrabble. As a prefix to every conversation, she would say, ‘You won’t allude to this in your column, will you?’ You can’t blame her for being cautious, but still. It doesn’t make for banter and an easy flow.

Anyway, I went for coffee with a friend the other day, and she brought along her mum, who lives abroad. ‘You’ve been through the mill,’ she said to me. ‘I never miss your column, so I’m completely up to date with you, which is more than can be said for what’s going on with my daughter. My favourite book of yours is How One Single Girl Got Married. I’ve read it three times. It’s so funny. The bits about your husband doing yoga, and his giant flip-flops.’

It made me think. (You do know how self-doubting I am.) I have to stop feeling sorry for myself. I have to list the positives, so here goes…

Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-4160620/LIZ-JONES-S-DIARY-try-bright-side.html

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