'I left home to marry a man whom no one liked, and after I married him I didn't like him either.' Margery Allingham

First published in Columns by

'I want a new husband. Can you find me one in the Cotswolds?' I was sitting perched on the edge of a ginormous sofa somewhere in Chelsea fighting with cushions when my friend asked this of me. I shouldn't have been surprised. After all I must be a world expert, having One myself, and I think she has only the vaguest idea of where the Cotswolds are or what they are like, because she refers to Richmond as being in the country. I am losing my battle with the cushions on the sofa. There are five lined up behind me, one in front of the other, ranging in size from vast to tiny, as is the fashion. I think I have already inadvertently eaten one. Her home is a nightmare. (I do not have to worry about her reading this as all she reads are Farrow and Ball paint samples.) However I am able to help. Not because the Cotwolds are littered with eligible, wealthy men who don't make a mess around the home, but because I listened to a programme on Woman's Hour that addressed the issue of deal-breakers in a relationship. These, it seems, are those little details that warn you that Mr Right is an unsuitable potential partner. Like, adults who have cuddly toys or speak in a baby voice to a partner or, in my case, men who wear short-sleeved shirts. I mention the shirt thing with some bitterness because I once had a lunch date with a promising chap but an eagle-eyed assistant spotted his short sleeved shirt under his suit jacket and refused to allow me to go. I could now be the wife, or better still ex-wife, of one of the richest men in the country, but hey ho, bitterness can be a deal-breaker too.

Anyway this contemporary issue fired a huge debate on twitter with women being particularly vociferous. Which, if I were a man, might well be a deal-breaker in a partner. For men, it transpires, do not like nagging, or women who are picky with their food. Forging a career as a relationships expert is going to be easy, I thought. 'Ditch the cushions.'

visit Lesley's website at www.lesleybrain.com

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