I recently married and am happy, except that my new wife wears her knickers on top of her tights. This seems strange and unhygienic to me. I've also discovered that her work colleagues know about it and call her Superwoman behind her back.

Andrew, Bristol

Uncle Ony: Interesting. An unusually graphic manifestation of the self- inflicted plight of the modern woman - attempting to be all things and assume all roles - to be, in fact, a superwoman. Your wife is compensating for a yawning sense of inadequacy as she measures herself against impossible goals. Reassure her. Let her know that so long as she supports you in the home and services your needs, she will always be your "superwoman". You may soon find the knickers restored to their rightful position.

Auntie Ag: You may soon find the knickers joined by sturdy reinforcements and refusing to budge, more like, if you turn into a ghastly chauvinist. I think the whole knicker-tight role reversal is actually rather a good idea. I wouldn't worry too much about the hygiene aspect of things: you'll probably find she's wearing tights with a built-in panty or (warning: horrid word coming up) gusset. Tights are never an attractive garment; they are certainly less attractive than a knicker. In putting the knickers on top she's reducing the horror of the knickers-inside-sausage-skin-with- crooked-seam-on-top effect. Ask her about it if it really bothers you - but remember: once a mystery is destroyed it can't be recreated.

I have a dilemma. I'm 18, innocent, lovely, and a student. I'm also virgin, but my current beau has been led to believe otherwise. I never said outright that I wasn't a virgin, but subtly avoided the question. Things have ventured forward, or rather upstairs. I'm wondering whether I should tell him the truth. Or let him find out for himself that I'm a sack of potatoes then dump me. Help.

O Welles, Nottingham

Uncle Ony: How the world has turned full circle: that a young woman should actually be fearful of exposing her own virginity. I'm sure your boyfriend will be both delighted and honoured to discover the truth. But if you feel you need a little instruction and guidance before the event, there are many excellent manuals available, or if you would care to contact me I may be prepared to offer some professional advice.

Auntie Ag: Darling! Why should you be a sack of potatoes? Do the words "basic" and "instinct" mean nothing to you? If I were you I'd build him up to it slowly. Give him just a little bit more each time, but make him wait for the denouement till you're both absolutely wild for it - far better than wasting your time poring over drawings of naked men with beards in strange positions.

I have lived with my boyfriend for eight years, and we have two kids. Recently he has been behaving in an odd way, going into the other room to make phone-calls and shutting the door and rushing for the post in the morning. Then he came home with a new car - a soft-top. He said it was on HP. Now he has resigned from his job and says he is going away for a few days "to sort his head out" because he claims he is having a mid-life crisis. At first I thought he was having an affair but this morning I saw him with a letter from Camelot. I think he has won the lottery and isn't telling. But why would he do that?

J Robinson, Salisbury

Uncle Ony: Dear, dear what a paranoid and over-imaginative young woman you appear to be. The mid-life cliche is ridiculed out of credence by women, in much the same way as PMT is by men. It is, nevertheless, real, and your partner is exhibiting classic symptoms. Paranoid questioning and demands are the last thing he needs at a time like this. Be gently supportive and understanding, and the crisis will pass.

Auntie Ag: Darling, trust your instincts. Go see a lawyer and don't let the kids out of your sight.

There is a guy who goes in the same cafe as me for cappuccino in the morning. I know a bit about him because my friend used to work with him. Although on the surface he isn't all that attractive - he's a little bit overweight, wears specs and is not tall- there's something about him I really like. Sometimes he looks at me then looks away quickly. I don't know how to get to talk to him because it's quite an empty cafe so it would look stupid if I went and sat with him, also my girlfriends say you should never pursue a man. (I can only say this to you because it sounds so arrogant, but I think he would like to talk to me because I am very pretty and have quite a few more flashy blokes after me, but it's him I like because he seems so intelligent and gentle.)

Rachel, Manchester

Uncle Ony: You are right to use the word "arrogant", Rachel. You are, at heart, certain that this young man would wish to be with you because you are "pretty". And at the same time you seem determined that it is he who must put himself on the line by making the first move. You are the one who wishes to initiate the relationship, Rachel. You are the one, apparently, who has grounds for confidence. It should, therefore, be you who has the courage to ask if you can join him.

Auntie Ag: Of course you can pursue a man, darling. It's simply a question of causing him to think that he's pursuing you. Plonking yourself down at his table might be terrifying for everyone, especially early in the morning. Why not simply walk past his table and drop your glove?

You are invited to send your problems to: Aunty Ag and Uncle Ony, Real Life, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. However, Aunty Ag and Uncle Ony regret that they are both unable to enter into any personal correspondence

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