auntie ag and uncle ony

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KISSING WITH CONFIDENCE

I am fourteen years old and have never kissed a boy. One of my friend's older brothers has asked me to go out with him next weekend and I feel very nervous in case he wants to kiss me. I have tried to get my friends to tell me exactly how you snog, but they haven't explained very well and I'm afraid of looking like a fool in front of everyone in the youth club.

Marsha, London W6

UNCLE ONY: I really don't understand why you should want to go out and snog in public in the first place. Engaging in such ostentatious displays is actually a rather suspect way of psychologically stamping a "Mine! Taken!" sign on your partner; and it is, frankly, a less than pretty sight. Seeing a couple engaging in frantic oral slurpings is actually very much less of a spectator sport than many seem to think. Should he attempt any such display, rebuff him politely but firmly.

Auntie Ag: Snogging is one of those things that looks impossible if you've never done it, much like swimming or riding a bike. It's also pretty much impossible to describe, as you've found. But it is a very short step from the kind of gentle peck on the lips anyone can manage, to an extremely professional-looking snog - trust me, it'll just happen.

CRY SPREE-DOM

I have three kids (one working, two teenage) living with me in my house. I left their father six years ago because he was solid and dependable, but boring, selfish and unimaginative. I have a great job and my kids are only average trouble and quite nice to live with, so I'm very lucky. The problem is that my ex, without the kids and with twice my income, has developed a posse of lady-friends to go walking, biking, to India with etc, and insists on recounting their fun exploits. I'm not jealous but as I haven't got the money or freedom to copy his lifestyle I occasionally look petty and nitpicking in resenting the fact he's buzzing off somewhere and can't keep an eye on the kids when I'm at a conference or want a night out.

Nell, Manchester

UNCLE ONY: I fear that with children comes two decades of responsibility, both moral and financial, Nell. Don't despair, however. It can't be more than 10 years or so before they are all grown up and off your hands.

AUNTIE AG: Oh dear, angel, it does seem a bit bloody unfair that you are raising the kids on minimal champagne rations. But if your three are teenage and working, surely they can be left for a weekend (or longer) when you want to get away? Biking across India with a posse of lady-friends is all very well but strikes me as the kind of break that is more hard work than fun, frankly, darling. What you must do is bung some pizza (or whatever they eat) into the freezer for the children, and head off for weekends with your own friends whenever you can - don't let your ex have the monopoly on buzzing off, even if your buzzing is less swankily intercontinental than his.

NAKED AMBITION

I have just joined a posh gym where everyone apart from me is alarmingly honed and toned. In the changing rooms, everyone whips off their clothes with gay abandon, but I hate exposing my cellulite. How can I feel more confident about nudity in front of very fit total strangers?

Rachel, Chester

UNCLE ONY: The human body is a miracle and our differences should be celebrated not derided. So you have a bit of cellulite. So what? Don't let these people negate your self-image just because your thighs are covered in orange-peel! Why don't you spend a couple of weeks at home concentrating on a slimming-and-detox diet, to give yourself a good start in the body beautiful stakes? That way, even if your muscles don't quite measure up, at least you won't be flabby too.

Auntie Ag: Sometimes, Ony, you take my breath away. Rachel, darling, don't be discouraged. Start by going to the gym all ready to work out - that way you'll look enthusiastic and keen, but won't have to reveal any flesh in the ghastly changing rooms. The most important thing to remember, angel, is that none of these people were actually born in a state to flaunt themselves about. They have worked at it. Give it a few months and you'll be prancing proudly in the buff yourself.

DON'T MESS WITH ME

I have just moved into a flatshare with a good friend. She has already lived there for six months and had already organised the kitchen when I moved in; and frankly it is a mess. Nothing is arranged logically, particularly the utensils, and I can never find things like the big slotted spoon or the bread knife because they migrate from drawer to drawer. I am itching to reorganise everything but wonder if I really should, as actually the stuff all belongs to her.

Megan, Bristol

UNCLE ONY: It is typical of an anally- retentive personality to want to rearrange things; and from other people's slotted spoons and bread knives it is but a short step to trying to take over their whole lives. Leave it all be and try to relax.

AUNTIE AG: Some people like a bit of a mess, angel, and they don't see tidying up as a favour. It's just one of the pitfalls of flatsharing. For her next birthday you could buy her one of those lovely chrome racks that go up on the wall; that way everything will be in full view (as long as she can organise herself sufficiently to get it nailed up and then put all the kitchen paraphernalia on to it of course).

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