Sunday 29 June 1997
I went out with my former boyfriend for two years and he was very upset when I ended the relationship eight months ago. Since then he has written to me regularly saying how much he misses me, and sent me little gifts, poems and the like. Last month, he sent me a very sweet letter telling me how wonderful I was and I actually wrote back for the first time, thanking him and saying I missed him, too, I hoped we could still be friends, and suggesting we meet for a drink. Since then I've heard nothing. Why?
AUNTIE AG: The little twerp is probably now out telling all his friends that you are broken-hearted over the split, and waving your letter in all the bars in the West Midlands, I'm afraid, darling. There's nothing to be done about it - just remember in future that when something's over it's over. Best to ignore all communications and return all gifts (unless, of course, they are really gorgeous little trinkets from Tiffany's or cases of champagne. No sense in being too draconian, angel.)
LADY IN DREAD
I am engaged to the most wonderful man and we are getting married in August. The problem is that I am getting cold feet - not because of my fiance but because of his estate. He has extensive lands and a small stately home and I'm just not sure I can cope with being lady of the manor - the biggest property I've ever had to run up to now is a terraced cottage in Clapham.
AUNTIE AG: Oh, darling, what a fabulous problem, and it's one that I'm sure many of us would be happy to share with you. There is absolutely nothing for you to worry about - just leave it all to the servants.
KNOCKED FOR SIX
I recently allowed my name to be put forward for the captaincy of my local cricket club at the age of 54. After sounding out some of the other committee members I fully expected to be elected. So, I was distressed to find that when it came to the close of the secret ballot, the other candidate - a man 29 years my junior who has only been at the club for five minutes - was given the captaincy. I feel I can no longer show my face at the club as either some or all of the people whom I spoke to must have lied to me. I feel bitter for having been lured into this trap, betrayed by those I thought were my friends and distressed that with early retirement coming up engaging in my main hobby is just too painful to contemplate.
Tony, East Sussex
AUNTIE AG: Dear me. What a bunch of rotters, angel. But then again, cricket is less about the crack of leather on willow and more about losing with charm and grace. So take a leaf out of Kenneth Clarke's book and determine to have a jolly good time on the back-benches of your club. When you retire from work, the last thing you want to do is have a whole load of unpaid responsibilities to discharge. Far better to let someone else have to deal with all those tedious fixture lists, darling. And I hope you aren't still subjecting your wife to making their miserable cucumber sandwiches for tea.
A few months ago I had a grim experience. I went out for a Chinese meal with a newish boyfriend, Tony, and went back to his place for the very first time. I'm afraid I'd rather overdone the wine, and while Tony was in the kitchen making tea, I suddenly knew I was going to be violently sick. I rushed to the bathroom, but didn't quite make it and, horribly, all these Chinese mushrooms came up whole, over the walls and everywhere. I panicked, grabbed the nearest towel (pale green) and mopped up, but then I couldn't think what to do with the wretched towel. In the end I shoved it behind the radiator, brushed my teeth, went back in and drank my tea. Tony must know about this (apart from anything else he must have discovered the towel complete with mushrooms) but he has never mentioned it. I can't quite believe this and it is weighing on my mind. Should I bring the subject up, so to speak?
AUNTIE AG: Oh, darling, how wonderful. You have hooked one of a very rare breed: a gentleman. To clear up such an alarming mess would be one thing - and quite heroic in its way - but to say nothing is truly chivalrous. Of course, you shouldn't say anything. He is trying, rather charmingly, to spare your feelings and you should respond in kind. (One thought, angel. I'm sure you'll never do it again, but these things happen, and another time I'd suggest retrieving the towel, packing it into a sturdy plastic bag, taking it home for thorough laundering, and returning it explaining that you picked it up "by accident".)
Today, a man who sits near me at work who I've never spoken to much offered to get me a cup of tea. Should I read anything into this?
AUNTIE AG: Hard to say, angel, although the fact that you have bothered to write suggests to me you may sense that there is more to this than meets the eye. Was the tea offered playfully, flirtatiously, with a hint of a twinkle? I really don't know. Tea is an ambiguous offer. Wait till he offers to get you a glass of champagne.
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