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?
The man calls you, the man arranges the date, the man picks you up, none of this ‘I’ll meet you at the tube at seven’ business. We didn’t go anywhere ridiculously expensive, for one date we went Dutch, for another he paid.
It’s not old-fashioned necessarily – it’s nice.” As it happens – and this is probably more due to living in London than a lack of chivalry - both of my dates arranged to meet me in bars, rather than picking me up from my flat (although I’ve no idea how I’d have explained away the one-legged drunk who sometimes sits on my front wall if they had done. They were both much more interesting than I thought they’d be (for some reason, I was expecting a pair of soulless bankers who hadn’t left the office since the Royal Wedding).
In many ways the experience was easier – a third party conducting things meant there were no miscommunication, and the amount of money people were sinking meant everyone was pretty committed to meeting a partner. We limit ourselves tentative text messages and emails so we never get hurt. That’s the point though – Berkley International is designed for the sort of people who have neither the time or the inclination to mess around.
And maybe that’s something plebs like me can learn from.
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.
And so, just before Christmas, I meet Mairead Molloy.
When someone says it out loud it’s surprisingly difficult to hear.
Like everyone I’ve become so used to virtual interaction, and to an ill-defined dating life characterised with shades of grey, that the whole experience felt quite alien. We cushion our interactions with the opposite sex with euphemisms and half-truths, lest we hurt their feelings or they hurt ours.
The Big Short, the film adaptation of Michael Lewis' book of the same name about the causes of the financial crisis, opens in UK cinemas this weekend.
How will the story stack up against the greatest films about business?