High50's dating columnist Louisa Whitehead-Payne and her new boyfriend have now been dating just under three months. She has met his grown-up children and they are reassuringly eager to be friendly. But now she has the challenge of meeting the whole bang shoot of his life, including not one, but two significant others at a family wedding. It's encouraging that he wants her there, but pretty daunting.
The bride is his goddaughter, to whom he has been a father figure since her own died 10 years ago in a car crash. I met her when we had dinner in the restaurant that she manages. She is fun, witty and demonstrated great fondness towards him.
He is doing the whole father-of-the-bride thing at the wedding; giving her away, receiving guests and the speech. Everyone that mattered in his life is going to be there, including his ex-wife, two children and all his oldest friends. And it is going to be a big number as the mother-of-the-bride was left loaded by her hedge-fund ex. Let's call her Mother-of-God. No pressure then.
Meeting The Bride's Mother
Before the wedding, I want to meet these two significant women in his life, as I can't face a first encounter on such a big day. Emails are sent and dates set up for ladies' lunches.
I seriously suspect that Mother-of-God has designs on Delightful Dick and there is a lot of evidence to back that up. She pops up with monotonous regularity in his social gatherings, aided and abetted by some pals who push her as a potential partner.
And he had confessed that he had fallen into bed with her after a drunken party, although nothing materialized due to heavy alcohol consumption. He called her the next day to say that it was a big mistake. Apparently she felt the same.
Yeah, right! Strangely, she has been much less communicative since he has been dating me, restricting it to wedding matters only. And we have not been introduced. Well, if you can't read the writing on that wall...
I meet Mother-of-God for a coffee. She gives all the illusion of gracious affability, but has a diamond-hard glint in her eye. She is so so sorry she can only give me time for a coffee, but she has so so much wedding preparation to do with the 250 guests and the castle to decorate.
She unsettles me with a lot of "Oh, didn't Dick tell you, back in the day" intimacies. OK. I'll have to watch you, I think. She is nicer-looking than her photographs, but not that bright. I reckon I could take her in a fight. I rename her Godzilla.
Meeting The Ex-Wife
The next suffering I have engineered for myself is meeting his ex-wife. She is relentlessly hostile to him, so I have no idea what on earth she will do with me. I am surprised by how pretty and sexy-looking she is. She is very guarded at first, but opens up and lunch passes quickly.
I get the sense of her more towards the end -- she is a woman who likes things exactly her way, and woe betide those who don't toe her line. I sense we are opposite in many respects and that reassures me that Dick isn't going for clones. All in all, it is a perfectly innocuous hour and I breathe a sigh of relief.
So I am facing into the wind of the big day. I suppose one of my less attractive qualities is a strongly competitive spirit, not in everything, but in matters that matter to me. And I certainly need to outclass Godzilla. Mrs Ex-Dick, not so much, although she could be head-turningly pretty, so yes, her too, I suppose.
The 'Two Grand' Wedding Outfit
The wedding is black tie with long dresses specified. Bugger -- my 36-inch legs are my best feature. Michael Kors comes to the rescue with a striking orange and black number that is short at the front but long at the back. Yes! I can comply and get the legs out.
Two grand down but Godzilla must be vanquished. And half-price Jimmy Choos in the Selfridges sale complete the look. Yes, I feel the shallowness and the burn of the expense, but do it anyway.
It is a shame that the matter of looks rears its ugly head even at my age but insecurities can overwhelm you. Dating again is just like being a teenager again. I feel like a 17-year-old facing the Prom. At least I have a date, even though mine is effectively taking another woman to it.
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