Setting up a dating agency
I find it annoying that, when I tell him I work for a newspaper, he doesn't even ask which one. ' Thanks to the international nature of Mairead's contacts, the next date is to take place in New York.
After precisely one hour he asks for the bill, which immediately tells me he doesn't fancy me. Contrary to popular opinion there are, according to Mairead, a glut of rich, single men in New York.
I tell her I was married to someone much younger who never paid for anything.
Mairead, who is 38, blonde and delightfully blunt, asks me to fill her in on my background, and tell her what I look for in a man.She never sends clients photos, but instead supplies a brief resume of their qualities. He says he likes good hotels and restaurants, long walks and log fires.She has, she says, an instinct for knowing who will hit it off. 'Looks are subjective,' she says, and adds 'he is charismatic and an animal lover with a Labrador.' That swings it. I tell him I live in the middle of Exmoor, have horses, dogs, cats and rescued farm animals, and am recently divorced.Miraculously, given that I was the editor of a woman's fashion magazine, before meeting my husband in my early 40s (then a BBC journalist, he came to interview me; as soon as we got married, he gave up his job and started having sex with other women), I had only ever had three boyfriends, two of whom hadn't even liked me that much.Liz Jones braves the snow in Times Square, New York, as she searches for Mr Right I think the reason I never met men was that I was either working, or sat at home, wishing they'd come to me, which, of course, they didn't.Until now, I always thought people who resort to dating agencies must be a little desperate. I have never before even been set up by friends or been on a blind date.But then I reached the first anniversary of my divorce and, much to my surprise, having sworn off men for life, I started to wonder, with the prospect of a great big yawning new year stretching ahead of me, whether there might be someone out there for me and, if so, how on earth am I going to find him?'You need someone generous,' she said, my husband's name unspoken between us, 'with a bank account, not a piggy bank'.And so, just before Christmas, I meet Mairead Molloy.I hobble off into the night on my shoes and text Mairead: 'Am V depressed. I find this hard to believe, having watched a great many episodes of Sex And The City, but I valiantly call skirt and shoes into service yet again (wearing the same outfit acts, I as a sort of scientific control), meet Christie, from Mairead's sister agency, Premier Matchmaking, who is hand to arrange everything.Our chat reveals straight away how different the dating scene is in the U. She tells me where my prospective date went to school and college, lists his many degrees, tells me he is 6ft 2in, divrced with no children, and is the CEO of a bank. I agree to meet P at a restaurant on Madison Avenue. He arrives, and although he is indeed tall and dark, resembling none other than Mr Big, I know in less than five seconds that I will never fancy him. The test is what they look like straight out of the shower.' Oh dear.