I share the same birth date as Al Pacino. Last week I went to see his new film, Donnie Brasco, and was shocked to see that he looked really old and seedy, and he wasn't playing the male romantic lead any more but some grotty, old, failed gangster. Ever since, I have felt completely miserable and over the hill.

Charles, Sutton Coldfield

Auntie Ag: Oh, don't be so silly, angel. First of all, cinema isn't real. Al Pacino could be playing a grotty, old, failed gangster one minute, and taking the lead in a remake of Gone With The Wind the next - they do it all with make-up and lighting, as everyone knows. Quite honestly, anyone would look ghastly in those sideburns they made him grow for Donnie Brasco. And bear in mind that Al Pacino has always been a bit seedy - it's part of his appeal. Fresh-faced young charmers aren't automatically more attractive than someone who's a bit older and more rugged, as any woman will tell you.


I have a very good friend who I often invite for supper, but he is a complete sucker for strange alternative remedies and is always on some ridiculous diet. This has accelerated to the point where I have got to devise a meal next week that contains no potatoes, tomatoes, wheat, cabbage, oranges, yeast, cheese, strawberries or scallops. Also, he is toying with vegetarianism. I suppose we could have something involving fish and rice, but I just feel thoroughly resentful at having to jump through all these culinary hoops, particularly when he always looks perfectly healthy - more so than me, in fact. Most aggravating of all, he never invites me and the rest of our friends round for a meal, because he always says his diet is so limited, it's not worth attempting to cook.

Melissa, Southend

Auntie Ag: How very annoying. I quite agree that people who wish to follow tortuous diets for no good reason should do so in the privacy of their own homes, where they can eat dry Ryvita to their heart's content and not put everyone else off their champagne and chocolates. Also, if everyone else is taking his dietary preferences into account, it is outrageously spoilt of him not to take his turn cooking for you. I would simply ignore his lists of forbidden ingredients next time he comes over, cook whatever gives the most pleasure to you and your other friends, and let him whisk himself up a nice plain omelette when the rest of you are ready to eat.


I have fallen out with my best friend because she says that this summer it is okay to show your bra straps under a top with very thin straps, and I say it is sloppy and nasty, particularly where the bra in question is a completely different colour to the top.

Caroline, Canterbury

Auntie Ag: Well, normally visible underwear is a complete no-no, but this year it does seem to be perfectly acceptable (this is a very good reason to stock up on real silk, because I agree that it's nice to have everything matching). Fashion is terribly important, angel, but don't get too preoccupied with the minutiae, or you will end up like Kathleen Turner in Serial Mom, battering innocent people to death for wearing white shoes after Labor Day.


I have arranged a holiday in Spain to go and stay with an achingly handsome man who I want to shag. I'm going with a couple of friends, but the problem is that my boyfriend wants to go, too. I want to keep my options open, because apart from anything else, the logistics of having a lover abroad are hopeless, but I'm finding it hard to think of a suitable reason why he can't come.

Susan, Folkestone

Auntie Ag: If you're planning a liaison on the side, it certainly isn't a good idea to do it under the noses of the other friends who are going on the holiday with you. Much more sensible is to take your boyfriend along this time round, and act with perfect propriety around the achingly handsome one (even throw in a few remarks about how his nose is too big, or something like that). Then you will be able to arrange a solo trip later without arousing suspicions, if you really want to. But I would think long and hard about it, angel, just remember that a bird in the hand is worth whole flocks of them in Spain.


I have got a huge crush on this gorgeous girl. She's extremely good-looking and great fun, but the problem is that she's Australian and I just think her accent is incredibly naff - and, to put it mildly, she's pretty down- to-earth. All my friends are quite stockbrokery and posh, with rather Sloaney girlfriends and I'm dreading the prospect of having to introduce her to them, in case they find her terribly rough-and-ready.

Mark, London SW4

Auntie Ag: If your friends are stockbrokery and posh, they'll probably be enchanted by someone a bit unusual and probably a lot more fun than their own horsey women. I would be more worried about her being bored to death, because frankly, darling, if you're all so terrified of meeting anyone new, you must be a frightful bunch of bores. You had better make the most of her while you've got her, because when she works out (and she will) what a shocking little snob you are, she'll be off before you can blink with someone who's happy to accept her for who she is.