Auntie Ag and Uncle Ony

Counselling

FOR THE BABY WHO HAS EVERYTHING

I am currently on maternity leave from work, and have just given birth to an adorable baby girl. I came home from hospital to find a magnificent bouquet of flowers from my colleagues, plus an almost embarrassingly lavish gift and a card signed with about 30 names. I am wondering what is the best way to express my appreciation?

Selina, Milton Keynes

UNCLE ONY: Why not send a short home video of your new daughter using or wearing the gift that they sent? Make sure the bouquet is prominently displayed in the background! This will make your generous colleagues really feel part of your new experience.

AUNTIE AG: How super, angel, that you should have such caring workmates! Either that, of course, or they are going to sack you and they are sugaring the pill. In any case, a pretty card with a graceful note is all that is required, along the lines of "Thank you all so much for the wonderful bouquet and the delightful solid silver teething ring... etc" - no individual names are required. Send it care of whoever is in charge of the office noticeboard (perhaps the boss's PA?) with a word asking her to pin it up where all will see it. Under no circumstances send a photo of the baby or anything of that ilk; it is irredeemably naff, and if the picture is pinned up alongside the card it will have a inky moustache scribbled onto it in no time. No further gesture is required; after all, even if their present was so stupendous that you long to send a case of vintage champagne, angel, by the time you show your face again everyone will have forgotten your largesse.

ALL'S HAIR IN LOVE AND WAR

Having developed split ends as a result of repeated perms, I recently took my hairdresser's advice and had my hair cut into a bob. My new straight hair was greeted with delight by my children and husband (who showered me with kisses) but completely ignored by my friends and colleagues. (I told one colleague I liked her new hairdo and she replied, "You've changed yours too, haven't you?") Not only am I convinced that no-one but my nearest and dearest like it, I don't like it myself and feel dejected every time I catch sight of it. What do you think? Why do my family see me differently from the rest of the world?

Janet, Essex

UNCLE ONY: I suspect you have an underlying problem with self-assertiveness. Why do you need so much positive reinforcement to confirm your decision to change your personal appearance? After all, on your own head it be, as it were! Quite frankly, the significance that ladies attach to their coiffures is a bit beyond me; after all, it will always grow back.

AUNTIE AG: Don't be dejected, darling. Any drastic new haircut is like a strange dead cat on one's head until one gets used to it, and this can take time. And any hairdo that causes a shower of kisses from a husband cannot be bad! What a morose and miserable bunch of rotters your colleagues are. However, I suspect they are simply apathetic rather than unenthusiastic. If people make any comment at all to one's face it is generally flattering, whatever their inner feelings may be, so I think I would interpret their complete silence as lack of interest rather than lack of enthusiasm, angel. Although you didn't send a photo, I have never seen a perm that was as flattering as a sleeker, more shiny style, so I tend to believe that you will come round to it in the long term. And if you really, truly don't, keep sight of the fact that, as Ony so sagely observes, it will grow again.

TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF A BOSS CLASS BUFFET

I have a medium-senior-ish position in a fairly prestigious company that has recently acquired a new boss. Much to my utter horror, this new man has decided to embark on a ghastly "getting-to-know-the-staff" programme by holding a series of informal buffet dinners at his home. Attendance seems mandatory and my ordeal is next week, along with a dozen or so of my colleagues. Please, please, any tips on how to get through it?

Marina, Chiswick

UNCLE ONY: Why is this such a potentially ghastly ordeal for you, Marina? It strikes me as a charming notion that your new boss would like to know a little about the real you. The very fact that he is holding this exercise means he is interested and friendly. Don't put up any facade, just be yourself!

AUNTIE AG: I can only agree, darling, that this does not sound like an evening of fun. And first and foremost, don't think of it in those terms. However much your boss may think he is hosting a delightful social soiree, you must look upon this as a formal work assignment. Dress as you would for work, even if your usual eveningwear would include a plunging decollete and leather trousers. Eat before you go, that way you will be able to nibble delicately on a dainty canape or two and concentrate on the conversation rather than falling on the buffet like a half-starved horse. Don't eschew the drink altogether, it looks terribly prissy, but restrict yourself to one or two glasses of wine; and don't let anyone top your glass up with too much alacrity. Your boss may claim he wants to get to know the real you but in fact you should concentrate on impressing him with your impeccable work persona, angel; if the real you is a hard-drinking, salty- talking wild-child, don't take this opportunity to reveal it. (Anyway, frankly, darling, the real you is none of his business.)

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Property Finance Partner

    Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

    Agile Tester

    £28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

    Senior SAP MM Consultant, £50,000 - £60,000, Birmingham

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP MM C...

    SAP BW BO

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW BO - 6 MONTHS - LONDON London (Gr...

    Day In a Page

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried