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.
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.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'm not interested in the boring banker types that make up the bulk of her clients.She tells me I seem to have narrowed my options to Paul Mc Cartney but, rather valiantly, accepts the challenge to help me find Mr Right. Once a client has been interviewed and then vetted - Mairead visits them at home, checking out passports and, if necessary, decree absolutes - she will then introduce them to prospective partners all over the world (rich people, it seems, have no truck with annoying things like distance and time zones).'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.With such a terrible track record, I started to realise that, if I couldn't meet someone when I was in my prime, how on earth was I going to meet someone now I'm 50?My friend Kerry, tired of my moaning, had told me about an upmarket dating agency that takes on only high-achieving rich people.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).