After Lisa turned thirteen, Elizabeth Galsworthy-Grant turned into a one-woman precursor to Tinder.  She became obsessed with finding her daughter a husband, preferably a wealthy one, so she would never have to contemplate that nasty three-letter word job. She could never understand why her efforts were always so unappreciated by her rebellious daughter, with her feminist views and ridiculous mantra…’I don’t need a man to complete me.’  

Elizabeth dispaired.  She was so sophisticated and glamorous, how was it possible she had given birth to a daughter who was so uninterested in her appearance? Living in jeans and strapped into a pair of Doc Martins, was enough to scare off any red-blooded male showing a hint of interest. And her face.  She never did anything with her face and she could look quite attractive if she made an effort.  Elizabeth never went out before applying a theatrical amount of make-up.  She felt undressed without it and Lisa’s au naturale appearance made her look anaemic.

Elizabeth’s obsession with finding Lisa a husband came to a head when Lisa turned thirty.  Her birthday gift as in previous years was a head-to-toe session at one of London’s finest pampering emporiums.  Unbeknown to Lisa and in one last desperate attempt to erase the stigma of her thirty-year-old daughter’s unacceptable status of ‘spinster of the parish’, Elizabeth asked all her friends with unmarried sons to join them.

They were drinking champagne and discussing who would be wearing what at Ascot when Lisa arrived.  The room immediately fell silent as dishevelled Lisa burst through the door.

‘Lisa, dear.  You’re horribly late? Have you come straight from a sweaty gym?’

Eight pairs of eyes switched to prospective-daughter-in-law surveillance mode, looking disapprovingly down their stinky fish noses at Lisa’s running gear.

‘No Mother, I had a deadline to meet, so I ran here. It was quicker than getting a cab.’

Elizabeth rolled her eyes.  If only she spent more time working on her appearance, instead of her bloody deadlines.

There were eight women, excluding Elizabeth, stretched out on sun loungers, caked in make-up and wearing luxury Egyptian cotton towelling robes with matching turbans.  At first, Lisa thought she had got the date wrong and had interrupted one of her mother’s regular champagne drinking, keep young and beautiful sessions with her snooty cronies.

‘Have a glass of champagne.’  Elizabeth thrust a glass into her hand. ‘Belated, happy birthday, Lisa dear.  You remember, Chantel de Baskerville don’t you? Her son Henri is working for Cootes now you know.’  Lisa listened with a resigned acceptance as Elizabeth launched into a fully blown introduction of all the women and the virtues of their highly eligible bachelor sons.  In her head and in sync with each introduction, Lisa slotted each one into an appropriate category.

  • Un-marriageable
  • Gay
  • Asexual
  • Can’t be bothered either way