auntie ag & uncle ony

I am about to go on holiday to a villa in Tuscany with a group of friends. I know that all the girls are going to sunbathe topless. I hate the thought of exposing my perfectly adequate but hardly Pamela Anderson boobs to general scrutiny but if I don't they will all think that either I am a frightful prude, or that there is something wrong with me.

Judith, Battersea

Uncle Ony: It is hard for me to advise you without knowing more about all these breasts - both about your own and those of your friends - since it seems to me this is not so much about shyness or modesty but competitiveness. If your breasts were, as you put it, "Pamela Anderson", would you be happier about exposing them? I imagine the answer is a very firm (pardon the pun) "yes". In which case you should ask yourself whether you are going on holiday to enjoy yourself or to be "top dog". Start thinking less about winning and more about sharing the sunshine and freedom to expose your bodies with your friends. If you could send me photographs and more details I may be able to advise you further.

Auntie Ag: (Ony - you appal and revolt me.) You're absolutely right not to want to go exposing yourself in front of everyone. Once one gets past the age of 19 there is a time and place to show one's breasts to their best advantage and that has a great deal more to do with peach lightbulbs and careful posture than harsh midday light and poolside sports. Keep your top firmly on, darling, and if challenged merely give an alluringly mysterious smile. If there's one thing better than an uplift bra to enhance the image of one's bosom, it's the imagination.

A friend of mine is organising a group holiday to Ibiza. I was one of the first to be asked and was really looking forward to it, but they couldn't fill all the places and have asked my recent ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend to fill them up. I still feel upset about her and don't want to go any more.

Michael, Portsmouth.

Uncle Ony: Holding on to old hurts, Michael, is one of the most destructive things we can do. I think it an excellent thing that this couple come on the holiday. It will encourage you to "let go", perhaps even form a friendship with your ex and her partner as a couple and leave you free to move forwards.

Auntie Ag: (Oh, don't be absurd, Ony.) Of course you bloody well don't want to go, darling. Everyone knows when you split up with a partner they should remain celibate to the end of their days in order not to interfere with your ideal of yourself as an irreplaceable Sex God or Goddess. If one of them persists in breaking the rule, the last thing you want is them flaunting their horrible behaviour in your face and ruining your holiday. Never be afraid of being petty, darling. First canvass the support of two or three other invitees. Ring whoever is organising the holiday, tell them they must be out of their minds to think you'd want to play beach ball with this couple and say it's either drop them or drop four of the original party!

I am going to a dinner party at which there will be a couple who are friends of ours, although we haven't seen them for a couple of months. A week ago the husband was sacked for fiddling his expenses which is a huge local scandal. What should I say to the wife?

Candy, Bournemouth

Uncle Ony: I think you should invite her to bring up the topic by looking deep into her eyes and saying, with a sympathetic tone: "It's so long since I've seen you. How have things been for you?", pretending the story is news to you. Remember, though, if she does open up it is important to maintain your integrity, and not appear to sanction professional stealing in an effort to support.

Auntie Ag: Yuk, darling - if you behave like that, I swear to God, she'll throw up straight in her soup bowl. It's absurd to pretend you haven't heard. Simply steam straight in with affection, say: "Darling, you must have been having a complete nightmare, let's have a glass of champagne and talk shopping," and just be a chum for God's sake. (Talking of expenses, Ony, those three lunches you put in at Orsino's with "Professor Laurie Taylor" - would that be the same Professor Laurie Taylor with a blonde ponytail, bare midriff and 38-inch bust who also answers to "Kylie"?)

What should you say to someone who insults you at a party in a nice smiley voice? The other night a man came up to me and said: "My, you've put on weight." I was so upset I fled to the loo and cried.

Janine, Newcastle

Uncle Ony: Why assume it was an insult? Not all men want women to look like boys; it is quite likely that this gentleman was complimenting you on a more buxom, comely appearance. You need to work on developing more confidence.

Auntie Ag: Darling, simply smile brightly and say: "Why thank you - and you've lost lots more hair!" Why should he assume that's an insult either?

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