Aunty Ag Uncle Ony

If you're stuck on a thorny problem, Aunty Ag and Uncle Ony can help. This week, health regimes that ruin relationships and a reluctant birthday girl...

FIT FOR WHAT?

About five months ago, my friend Charles gave up smoking, after years of trying. His lover, Cherisse, also stopped. They both went on a diet and joined a fitness club, cut down their drinking, went to bed early and avoided caffeine. After a few weeks, they both changed from pallid, coughing slobs to relatively trim and healthy-looking people. Two of their friends, Jane and Graham, were so impressed with their friends' new look that they fell in love with them and, by Christmas, Jane was having a torrid affair with Charles, and Graham with Cherisse. Now, Charles and Cherisse have drifted apart. This troubles them deeply, for, when they were over-eating slugs, they loved each other to bits, but now they're fit, their love is on the rocks.

Mark, via e-mail

Aunty Ag: Is she really called Cherisse? With a name like that and a gorgeous new body, she could consider a career in naughty films. After all that work and effort, Charles and Cherisse certainly should not relapse into slugdom. Could it be that, when they were together, pretty much all they had in common was a mutual passion for fags, booze and chips? Perhaps, sad though it may seem, it's time for them to move on separately into the brave new world of guarana, Aqua Libra and salad.

Uncle Ony: What a sorry mess. I really cannot hold out much hope for the Charles/Jane and Graham/Cherisse liaisons. They are based on that most ephemeral of phenomena: physical lust. It is those who love us when we are fat, pallid slobs that really love us. Those who simply have a passing fancy for a pert bosom or muscled buttock are not the ones who stick by us. Charles and Cherisse have, unfortunately, been carried away by their new physiques into a sad moral abyss of fornication. I fear that now the trust between them has been destroyed, they will not get back together in a meaningful way. However, in case anyone might be tempted to use this tale as an excuse to lead a healthy life in order to gain a new relationship: giving up smoking and getting fit does not mean adultery is a foregone conclusion. Simply work on your moral fibre as well as your physical muscle!

THEY LOVE ME NOT...

I didn't get a single card on St Valentine's Day. I feel very sad and upset, and also unattractive.

Maureen, Dublin

Aunty Ag: Oh, darling, never mind. You do know that Valentine's cards are supposed to come from secretive admirers. Evidently your admirers (and I'm sure they are legion) are very secretive indeed - in fact, too furtive to send a card.

Uncle Ony: Valentine's Day is no more than a manufactured commercial opportunity, puffed up by the makers and purveyors of trashy cards and gifts to part the foolish from their cash. I didn't get a single card either - no, not one! But I feel proud, yes, proud that no one I know fell for this blatant and ugly example of consumer exploitation!

BIRTHDAY, WHAT BIRTHDAY?

A friend of mine (female) has a birthday coming up. She never wants to be reminded of her birthdays as she is now well into her 30s and paranoid about ageing. On the other hand, she flies into a big sulk if one doesn't get her a nice gift. How can I get her a birthday present without reminding her of her birthday?

Robert, Strathclyde

Aunty Ag: Rather than turning her birthday into a big occasion, why not give her lots of charming little presents on unexpected and completely random dates throughout the year? Then you will be able to avoid the Evil Day itself without her feeling under-gifted and resentful.

Uncle Ony: Gently help your friend to change her perception of getting older: to see her middle-aged years as a time of ripening and maturing, not of wrinkling and fading. Carry out some positive reinforcement by providing some aspirational elderly role models. Point out the shining examples of Sharon Stone, Francesca Annis, Gloria Hunniford, all of whom grow more lusciously luminous with every passing year. Persuade your chum to keep in trim: recommend some appropriate diet and exercise plans (consult your local bookstore and buy her a few inspiring volumes on keeping one's figure under control). Encourage her to have a few judicious nips and tucks here and there: cosmetic surgeons can work wonders these days, especially if they can get started early enough. Thus empowered, she will welcome each birthday with joy, and you will be able to offer your gift to her without fear of reproach!

Send your problems to: What's Your Problem?, Real Life, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, or e-mail agony@independent.co.uk. Aunty Ag and Uncle Ony regret that they are unable to enter into any personal correspondence.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
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

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?