WITH DIANE KEATON AT BOCCO DI LUPPO

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I strongly advise young ladies to be on their guard for when their husbands/boyfriends turn 45.

I’m issuing this warning for this reason:

When the nation of men turns 45, something strange happens… Their blood starts to bubble, just as it did in their youth, and their eyes scan the field. Either their brains or their bodies want a young woman or, so to say, “fresh meat!” In general, they plot a course toward whoever has the youngest body in the vicinity – whether it be an assistant, nurse or colleague. After that, it turns into the usual movie featuring a “mature man and a young lover”…

To a large degree, they suggest such behavior stems from a “chemical problem” in the male composition. “What’s the poor guy to do? He can’t do anything about it – it’s an irresistible chemical urge,” they say, lending an air of unquestionable scientific authority to the reasons mature men plump for young women. It’s as if you’ve done something stupid, but it’s not your fault!

One of my elders once said this to me: “Whatever man who has reached that age and says he hasn’t had an interest in young women is either lying or gay!”

It certainly isn’t my place to discuss how correct this frightening generalization is, as I want to relate something else to you!

Harry is a man who’s reached his mature years and found himself a young lover: Marin.

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One weekend, they head to Marin’s country house in the Hamptons, which is full of the cottages of the rich outside New York, with plans to walk in their bare feet in the sand, sip wine on the veranda in the evening and generally just enjoy life. It would be great if they could get into the water, but America unfortunately doesn’t present many opportunities to engage in such activity: If you take leave of the endless and inviting sand for the ocean, it would appear the two most likely outcomes are either hypothermia or finding yourself in the mouth of a shark.

Anyway, that’s the plan. But what’s this? As they’re getting their stuff from the car, who do they see but Marin’s mother, Erica.

Harry, like many who would find themselves in such a situation, mutters a silent obscenity to himself along the lines of “What’s this shrew doing here?”

And that’s the awkward bit… Erica has also come to the summer house to spend the weekend! Unfortunately, there’s not much to be done. As Harry’s brain begins working on a Plan B to escape from the senior lady of the house, things are set in motion, and the surprises life throws up at people begin appearing one after another.

At the conclusion of the successive events, you see that nature has passed judgement and that everything has found its rightful place:

The old lecher Harry has to settle for Erica, instead of the young Marin!

That’s what life is like!

The incident I just related constitutes the plot of Nancy Meyers’ much-loved film, “Something’s Gotta Give.”

Harry is Jack Nicholson.

And Erica is none else but Diane Keaton.

When I was at Bocco di Luppo in London with my wife, she adroitly whispered to me, “Look who’s behind you, but don’t make it obvious.” I turned around, and wouldn’t I see Diane Keaton having a meal with a lady friend at the table in the corner?

It was as if I had seen an old friend (she’s just a year older than me). Movies like “Godfather I, II ve III,” “Annie Hall,” “Hanging Up,” “The First Wives Club” and “Baby Boom” began playing before my eyes.

Just like in her films, she was elegant, fragile and chic while eating. She was wearing a beautiful hat and sporting dark sunglasses. I didn’t understand, though, why she didn’t take off her gloves while eating.

They finished before us. As they were passing by, I started to applaud and was soon joined by the whole hall. Diane wasn’t surprised in the least – obviously she’s quite used to it. She contended herself with holding my arm and patting it.

Bocco di Luppo is a warm and friendly Italian restaurant in Soho that features wooden tables. The food is scrumptious, but I was struck by the mozzarella they brought along with the grilled aubergine and the way they presented it in a fashion that isn’t even on offer at restaurants in Italy. The shaped and fried artichokes didn’t even have you pining for the artichokes of Rome. Encountering red beans after the mozzarella aubergine was another wonderful surprise. But for me, the best of all was the wonderful and delectable bonet; this dessert featuring chocolate amoretto capped off our meal in style.

I just wish that the massive wooden tables didn’t absorb oil, making them hard to clean and thus appear dirty, that the toothpicks weren’t out in the open and that they had given a real serving spoon for mezes like the peas and beans and entrées instead of a small fork!

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