Size Does Matter

Last week it was my 30th birthday and my boyfriend presented me with a beautifully wrapped box from Harvey Nichols. I opened it excitedly and found a pair of gorgeous trousers, but in a size 14. I am a size 10 and promptly burst into tears at the realisation that my boyfriend thinks that I am fat! To make matters worse, he mistook the cause of my distress, and said that if they were too small he could change them. Surely it is him I should change, rather than the trousers?

Marina, Chelsea

AUNTIE AG: A boyfriend that can not only find his way to Harvey Nichols but also locate a pair of trousers in time for a special occasion is a rare treasure, certainly not to be traded in under any circumstances. I can't help feeling that you don't bloody deserve him. After all, we all know that men can barely cope with the concept of small, medium and large, let alone actual sizes. Leave him be, darling. Or you may find that he hightails it off in search of someone who appreciates his lovely presents.


My parents are quite well-off but incredibly mean. They won't eat out in restaurants because they think it's a waste of money. Apart from that we get on very well, but their visits turn into one long ghastly cook- fest for me and I never seem to get out of the kitchen. I would prefer to take them out for lovely meals but they always sit there looking prune- faced, saying things like "pounds 1.50 for a portion of potatoes! You could make this yourself for pennies!" which takes all the fun out of it.

Suzanne, Canterbury

AUNTIE AG: You could tell them to bring their own supplies of sandwiches if the visit isn't too long, darling, because I think they are being a bit miserable about all this, especially if you are treating them. You need to find an old-fashioned restaurant where only the person paying gets a menu with the prices marked on it, so your parents will have no idea that two mouthfuls of mangetout is costing about the same as a package tour to Benidorm (and in this kind of restaurant it probably is, angel, I'm afraid).


I have two friends in a long-term gay relationship who met up with a Canadian in a Jacuzzi in Key West, and now they all claim to be equally in love with each other. They are talking about the guy emigrating over here, extending their house and even buying into a local business together. My friends have asked for my opinion, and for some peculiar reason I have strong feelings of disapproval. Should I tell my friends my feelings when I know it will all end in tears? I really can't be bothered with the hassle of picking up the pieces.

Mark, Carlisle

AUNTIE AG: Hmm. I can't help thinking you may be right, in the sense that a menage a trois is very rarely a success. Rather than confronting the subject directly, why don't you invite them over and lay in a stock of gloomy French film videos that deal with this very subject? An eminent film critic recommends the following titles: Jules et Jim, Les Valseuses, Trop Belle Pour Toi and French Twist. All you have to do is sit there tutting and sighing, and maybe dropping in the odd comment, darling, along the lines of "Gosh, it's difficult, isn't it, with three!", just in case they aren't getting it.


New neighbours recently moved into the house above our garden flat. They seem pleasant enough in most ways but they keep very late hours and their sound system in the living room is right above our bedroom. We lie in bed at night rigid to the sound of thumping music. We have tried to explain the situation politely, to no avail, and have recently had several unpleasant confrontations on their doorstep at 3am (they turn the music down a little, but by then we are so frazzled that we can't get to sleep anyway). We would set fire to their home except that it would mean setting fire to ours too.

Desperate and Sleepless, Bath

AUNTIE AG: How frightful. Beauty sleep is so important. First of all, darlings, book yourself a lovely little holiday, perhaps at a health farm in the quietest depths of the countryside. Two weeks should be long enough. Then pack away all your favourite trinkets securely and offer the use of your home to whoever in your family has the loudest, most rackety and (crucial, angels) most early-rising young children. (I'm sure they will be delighted at the prospect of two weeks in Bath.) Retire to the sylvan retreat and let nature take its course. If your neighbours are naturally night owls, two weeks of having to be early birds should set the selfish beasts straight on consideration for those around them. You may have a bit of cleaning up to do when you get home, but I'm sure it will be worth it.


What's the best way to get melted candle wax out of a Dralon sofa?

Rhona, Haverfordwest

AUNTIE AG: Heavens, darling, I haven't the faintest idea. Why don't you seize the opportunity to buy a lovely new one? And probably not Dralon this time round, angel.