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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.I feel as though I'm about to sit my A-levels all over again. Mairead phones to tell me about M, who is 46, in wealth management, whatever that is, and a divorced father of two grown-up boys. We agree to meet the following night in the bar at Claridges. I buy a black lace skirt and silver platforms from Prada, and get my hair done.I tell him I have dark hair, and will be wearing purple Burberry platforms. I invest in a Hollywood wax, and an all-over light sheen of fake tan.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.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?
He tells me she spent £500,000 of his money on the divorce and that they now barely speak.
Irish by birth, and having made a fortune in hotels, she now divides her time between Cannes and London.
Five years ago, with an address book positively bulging with successful but often lonely men and women, she decided to set up a dating agency.
Otherwise, the qualities I am looking for are pretty standard: he must be kind, funny, not pompous or bossy, be intelligent and well read and an animal lover.
I tell her I'd prefer someone around my own age (she tells me I don't look 50, and am in fact 'slim, fashionable and gorgeous', which makes me want to date her), but they must be boyish rather than Steptoe-like (I tell her Imran Khan could be her template, although I wouldn't date him as I don't think my cats would want to live in Pakistan).