Dear Serena

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Dear Serena,

What is the etiquette on who pays for weddings these days?

Laura, Buckingham

Well, we don't live in a world where women are only worth their dowry these days, so it seems a bit harsh that the bride's father should be expected to go into hock to pay for a party that, after all, the groom and his cronies will benefit from in equal amounts. And, what with the ever-increasing age of first marriages, many couples are marrying at the height of their earning power when their old folk are watching their savings shrink and doing miracles with mince. So: any contribution offered by either family (and I think it is right these days that both, if they can afford anything at all, should contribute) should be accepted with gratitude, and any shortfall should be sorted out, without grumbling, by the intendeds. After all, I don't think that our parents expected in their wildest dreams to spend the equivalent of a year's rent on their dresses, and honeymoons in St Lucia were the prerogative of the spoiled rich in their generation. Paying the lion's share yourselves also has the bonus of allowing you to be firm when the inevitable arguments start about your tasteless splashy plans when a finger buffet in the village hall would do perfectly adequately.

What can one do with a superannuated supermodel?

C, London, Paris and New York

Easy. Stand her in the corner of the bathroom and hang your clothes on her to dry.

As a male carer, I have come across another slight problem leading on from Mark's enquiry of a couple of weeks ago. When we are out shopping or whatever, and my daughter announces in her usual loud voice that she needs wee-wee, which lavatory do I take her to?

Sean, Worcester

Use the disabled loo. They are intended for anyone with needs not catered for by the average stall-and-sink setup. If you can't find one, see if a passing woman will take over for you. Or, take her into a stall in the gents': as you know, urinals are designed so the people using them have their backs to the room, and she has probably realised by now, being brought up by a man, that boys pee differently. It's a good idea to get girls into training for nipping into men's loos when circumstances demand: she will be grateful to you in later life as she breezes past all those forlorn lines of women hopping from foot to foot in nightclubs.

You know those American-style restaurants where someone turns up every two minutes at your table and tries to engage you in a chat? What's the correct form for putting a stop to it when you want privacy?

Bob, Brixton

Do you know how many restaurants there are in the country now, Bob? If you don't like that type of service, why not forsake the all-you-can- eat salad bar and go elsewhere?

I didn't say anything when my pal Matthew turned up one night a few years ago with a suddenly thick head of hair. It's not a bad weave, on the whole, though occasionally the static electricity it throws off attracts bits of paper, feathers, etc. The problem now is that he's not taken into account the fact that we have all got older and the real hair on his head has faded in colour. Now he has this mop of youthful red curls lined, around the ears and back of his head, with salt-and-pepper grey. It's really obvious and I have spotted people laughing at him. How do I tell him?

Beverley, Portsmouth

Depends. Your friend needs one day to face that he can't live a fantasy of youth forever, but maybe this is something he needs to learn for himself. You, meanwhile, could try tackling the immediate issue by saying something like: "Have you ever thought of dying your hair? That two-tone look makes it look a bit like you're wearing a wig." Then run for cover.

Can you suggest some low-calorie, healthy alternatives to Easter eggs?

Davina, Wheatley

No, I bloody can't, and I haven't got 30 tips on how to thrill your man in bed, either. This isn't a women's magazine.

My lover's mother has banned me from his younger brother's wedding later in the year. Could I go in disguise, do you think?

C, Gloucestershire

Bouncers are well trained in seeing past

those pairs of specs with the moustaches attached. Have you thought of taking a job with the caterers? Or maybe starting your own mobile disco (all you'll have to invest in is a copy of Chris de Burgh's greatest hits)? All else failing, no one will ever spot you if you simply hitch yourself up and pull the bridal carriage.

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