Auntie Ag and uncle Ony

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WHEN EXORCISE IS BAD FOR YOU

Much to my alarm, the friend with whom I share a house has started dabbling in spiritualism. I can cope with the seances and the fact that he has acquired three black cats, but he is now into regression therapy and has announced that I am the reincarnation of Genghis Khan. In the short term this has its advantages (he lets me use the bathroom first), but he has a very odd look in his eyes these days and now wants to try and exorcise me. Should I pretend to go along with it just to humour him, or should I refuse to have anything to do with such nonsense?

David, Rotherham

UNCLE ONY: This kind of rubbish is extremely damaging; a ludicrous hangover from the Dark Ages of ignorance. On no account should you agree to be exorcised, particularly by an amateur. You are clearly not Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan (if, indeed, he ever existed in the form in which we read of him) is long gone. The one who needs exorcising is your friend, but of course I'm speaking in the modern sense of the term: he needs therapy. And quickly.

AUNTIE AG: Oh, darling, how wonderful if you really were Genghis. For one thing, you'd never have to go shopping again; you could just brutally pillage your friend's half of the freezer and his wardrobe and CD collection. Does this friend seem actively dangerous, or just a bit dotty? If the former, I would move out without further ado. You don't want to find he's taken matters into his own hands and is exorcising you permanently with an axe. If the latter, I would hang on for a bit and see if he gets over it.

BUTCH UP YOUR HOUSE

My partner has seen a house he likes. I don't like it. It is certainly bigger than our present, small flat (we are particularly cramped as we have a new baby). But it needs lots of modernising - bathroom, kitchen - and redecoration. Should I follow reason and my partner, and move to the larger house, or my intuition, and stay put in our happy but cramped home? A friend who lived in a house while she and her husband converted it says "never again" - it went on for years!

Eliza, Wantage

UNCLE ONY: These days masculinity is very much under threat. However, one of the healthy and productive ways that men can prove their manliness is in the vigorous practice of DIY. Your partner's desire to tear out old bathrooms and kitchens and reinstall new ones, strip paintwork and paper ceilings, is his way of showing he loves you and wishes to provide for you. Rejecting the move will mean more than you think; it will involve thwarting his masculinity. You must move if you do not want to symbolically castrate him.

AUNTIE AG: How you can possibly contemplate living even for a week in a house you don't like without an adequate bathroom is beyond me, angel. Don't even think about it.

CAD'S UNDIGNIFIED DILEMMA

I recently left my wife of several decades for a younger, prettier, cleverer and in every other way superior woman. (She has waist-length blonde hair and a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics!) At first, my wife seemed fine about it, and I felt we had settled things in a most civilised and dignified way, but now she is cutting up rough and is criticising me to all and sundry - including those I work with and for, though not in any way that I can legally object to. I am getting very fed up but cannot think exactly what to do.

Tom, London SW1

UNCLE ONY: Alas, Tom, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I would try talking to the little woman, person to person. Establish a dialogue on a friendly basis, and explain that she is compromising your position, and that it is also doing her own reputation no good. I am sure she will appreciate it if you help in practical ways as well - offer to treat her to a course of anger management, at your own expense, as a parting gift.

AUNTIE AG: How very smug of you to think she was "fine" about things. There is precious little civilisation or dignity involved in dropping your wife for a new er model, and then showing how delighted you are to have traded up, especially when you start congratulating yourself on smoothing things out with the poor woman. You will just have to ride out the storm, and it serves you right.

NIGHTLY NAKED CONSTITUTIONAL

I believe that walking around with no clothes on is the natural human state; healthy and free, with no constraining layers of artificial fibres and fabrics to restrict our movement. I would like to follow my instincts but feel that the laws against such practises are draconian and unfair. What do you think? At the moment, I have to sneak around the garden under cover of darkness to get my daily quota of fresh air.

John, address withheld

UNCLE ONY: My dear sir, while I am quite sure your own personal proclivities are harmless enough, exhibitionism is quite rightly frowned upon in a civilised society. It's quite true that a certain lack of inhibition is healthy and good, but running around with no clothes on is simply taking things too far. I would suggest that you try to divert these urges into some other channel, with the help of a firm but sympathetic therapist.

AUNTIE AG: Oh, darling, quite apart from getting arrested, you must get so freezing cold. I'm afraid that, in my opinion, nakedness has nothing going for it when you could be wearing something lovely fashioned in silk or cashmere. Try to get some nicer clothes, angel, and you'll see my point.

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