auntie ag and uncle ony
Sunday 24 August 1997
I have been seeing this fab guy for four years and, to be quite frank, our relationship is based on (great) sex. He doesn't want more, but I'm no spring chicken, and now this isn't enough for me. Should I continue sleeping with him until someone more deserving comes along? It's doing my head in.
Nat, London W1
UNCLE ONY: Once again, low self- esteem rears its ugly head. If I had pounds 1 for every case of it I've seen, I'd have pounds 237 by now. You are afraid of losing this "fab guy" if you tell him you want more. Start by strengthening and fortifying your self-esteem with positive affirmations. Stand in front of the mirror each morning, gaze deep into your own eyes, and repeat aloud, "I am an attractive, loving woman who deserves a deep relationship that will bring me lasting happiness". Then lay your cards on the table. If he is prepared to meet you half-way, all well and good. If he runs for the hills, then at least your dithering will be resolved, and your self-esteem will (hopefully) be sufficiently bolstered for you to cope with the rejection.
AUNTIE AG: I think your concern about your age is a bit of a red herring, angel. You say you are no spring chicken, but youth itself is no guarantee of attractiveness; there are some bloody grim 22-year-olds out there. I think you are worried that this relationship will stop you finding someone "more deserving", which is very sweet - two-timing is a nasty thing to do. Stepping into the unknown is scary and great sex should never be sneezed at, but it sounds as though you've already had enough of the "no-strings" option. Cool things off a bit and see how you feel. That way you have the option of maintaining the status quo, darling, but also the chance to put out a few feelers for another lovely man with more than his willy technique in his favour.
A RIND OF LOVING
I recently started college and my mother has been sending me parcels of Stilton cheese wrapped up new pairs of knickers. I love Stilton and the knickers are very handy, but how can I persuade her that the two things don't go together?
UNCLE ONY: Your shame at your mother's gifts is symbolic of a far deeper feeling that your family will let you down socially. Think back. Have you tried to keep your parents from meeting your friends, not told them about school parents' evenings, tried to stop them picking you up after parties? Are you by chance the first to break out of the narrowing confines of Cheadle and soar into the heady stratosphere of further education? You need to re-explore your whole relationship with your family, under the guidance of a trained psychologist, or I foresee grave danger of estrangement ahead.
AUNTIE AG: Angel, I don't see quite why the knickers and Stilton don't go together. If your mum knows that your underwear drawer is depleted and your grant won't stretch to the delicacies you love, surely they are the perfect combination. I think it's a tiny bit ungrateful of you to sniff at her gifts. After all, you can always wash the knicks before wearing them.
GEARS BEFORE BEDTIME
I am convinced my husband loves his mountain bike more than me. At first his enthusiasm to spend Sunday afternoons off-road was a source of amusement - we even nicknamed his bike Camilla "because there are three of us in this marriage". But now I've noticed him whispering sweet nothings to it and he's started insisting on keeping it at the bottom of our bed.
UNCLE ONY: I'm afraid that this is very serious, Margot. His "love" for his mountain bike, a potent escape-symbol, is a very clear signal that he wants to be elsewhere, and if he is keeping "Camilla" at the foot of his bed, it shows he doesn't even want to sleep with you; he is keeping a potential escape close at hand. Send him off for a prolonged course of deep analysis if you want to save your marriage.
AUNTIE AG: Oh, what a lot of tosh, Ony, the most likely explanation is that there is some kind of big competition coming up, the silly man has been reading some kind of sports psychology nonsense and is simply trying to gear up mentally as well as physically. Bikes in bedrooms are not on, darling. Puncture his inner tubes, and keep puncturing, until Camilla goes back into the shed.
When I was young, free and single, I used to drink a fair amount, but since I have had a baby, I now rarely go out or drink at all. I keep reading that alcohol is good for you and have become very worried that I don't drink enough to keep my heart in good order.
Louisa, London W12
UNCLE ONY: This is a clear case of Paradise Syndrome - people who have nothing whatsoever wrong with them actually start subconsciously worrying because everything is going too well. It is quite possible to buy the active, healthy-heart ingredients in red wine in tablet form, but I don't recommend it, because even if you do, you will just find some other hook on which to hang your fundamental insecurity about being perfectly healthy.
AUNTIE AG: Oh, really, angel, if you're that bothered, why don't you have a couple of glasses of wine each evening after the baby's asleep? People do drink wine with supper, you know, it's actually quite the done thing. (Ony, can we stick to people with real problems in future?)
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