auntie ag

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

When and where is it bad manners to use a portable phone? I totally rely on my mobile and use it as often as possible but I'm sick of people glaring at me as if I'm some ghastly yuppie. Why is it considered ruder to talk on a mobile in a train carriage or in a cafe than to talk to a companion?

Rachel, Peterborough

AUNTIE AG: Because it's so much more annoying, darling. You see, if two people are talking on a train or in a cafe they're both (unless they're insensitive boors) aware of what's going on around them, the general noise level and mood and are sort of fitting in. On a portable phone they're not part of the little world of the cafe or train carriage anymore, their sensibilities are all directed somewhere else. And that's when they start to bellow, hold spoilt conversations about strings of Polo ponies in front of poor people, behave as if there's nobody in the world except them and their conversational partner and generally get up everyone's noses.

The general rule of thumb is that it is bad manners to use a portable phone in a place or on an occasion where it matters if you lose your grip on what's happening around you and either disrupt the atmosphere for other people walk into them or electrocute them. It is therefore bad manners to use a portable phone: in a Jacuzzi, sauna or steam bath; at the table in cafes or restaurants; in railway carriages if your voice is anywhere near as noisy as the noisiest person's; in a doctor's or undertaker's waiting room; whilst walking along a busy street if it stops you looking where you're going; during love-making; in church.

If you want to spend half an hour making a string of calls do it at home or in private. And if you have to make an urgent one - just step outside or into the corridor. Does that sort it out, angel?


I have slept with a good friend of mine three times - none of which was because I wanted to. The first time was because we were both drunk after a party. The second time was because she asked me out for a follow-up drink and I was too polite not to. And the third time was because we went away for a weekend with a whole group of friends and they put us in the same room, which, had we not started sleeping together would have seemed perfectly normal. We get on brilliantly. She's very attractive and nice and we have great sex. It's just that I don't really want to go out with her. I feel I have to stop it soon or it will get completely out of hand, but don't know how to go about it without losing her friendship.

Tom, Windsor

AUNTIE AG: Hmm. I'd stick with it if I were you. You'd be surprised how many young men think a relationship isn't "The One" unless there are fire engines and police sirens all over the place and they feel in a permanent state of misery. You'd be surprised, too, how often people find that the one person who makes them happy is one who started off as a friend. If you stop a perfectly promising affair for no good reason, you bloody well deserve to lose her friendship, you silly boy!


After I wrote to you about drunkenly throwing myself at a colleague who I am in love with, and being rebuffed, I took your advice and when I saw him again, just gave him a cheeky grin and said "Oops" which worked because he laughed and has been really friendly ever since. You also said "carry on flirting". But now he has rejected me once how can I find the confidence to flirt? Surely if he was going to ever be interested he would be interested already. Aren't I just laying myself wide open to being humiliated?

Tania, Brixton

AUNTIE AG: Darling! I do so love to be proved right about things! One gains so much by keeping matters light with a chap. Now what's all this nonsense about confidence? As if men knew their own minds! Make no mistake, men don't get women, it's women who get men - well, the clever ones, anyway. The trick is to make a man's mind up for him whilst giving him the pleasing impression that it was his idea all along. Before I got engaged to Ronnie I had to spend bloody months on end pretending to be his PA, his "friend" (imagine!) and God knows what before the penny finally dropped (after the most gigantic push from me) that he was in love with me. Keep things light, fun and sexy. Give him the confidence to make all the ostensible moves - the askings out, the initiating of passes etc - without letting anyone but him notice and without making him feel pressured into it. It's a delicate art, but once you've realised what you're supposed to be doing, and as long as you stay practical and don't get all soppy about it, it's really very easy!


If someone rings you, and you have the answerphone on because you're screening calls and they don't leave a message, so you dial 1471 to find out who it was: is it rude to then immediately ring them back?

Lucy, Bishop's Stortford

AUNTIE AG: Tricky one... unchartered waters. There is a school of thought which says it's rude to be screening calls in the first place, which means it would be admitting a rudeness to tell the friend that's what you were doing. Though you could pretend you'd just run up the stairs when they rang off. In any case any rudeness would be mitigated by the fact that when you found out it was them, you wanted to ring them back. Of course there's the risk that they didn't actually want to speak to you at all but were just wanting to check whether you were in or not; or that they thought they wanted to speak to you and bottled out, or their wife just came into the room. Until the etiquette is clarified by time, I would only call back on a 1471 if you recognise the number and it's a good friend, and always begin the 1471 call by saying "I'm 1471-ing you" in order to avoid freaking the person out with an over-spooky coincidence. Byeee!