Counselling: Auntie Ag and Uncle Ony

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THE BOTTOM LINE

I was describing my health club's wonderful male masseur to my best friend and she was horrified that I take all my clothes off. She says she always leaves her knickers on and that her masseur just tucks the towel into them. I'm now paranoid that my masseur thinks I'm hoping for some "extras" - but who likes oily knickers?

Ruth, London W4

UNCLE ONY: I am opposed in principle to anything that brings members of the opposite sex into close proximity unclothed. It can lead to all kinds of unwanted misunderstandings. Change to a lady masseuse as soon as possible; in the meantime, leave on as many clothes as is practical - all of them, if you can.

AUNTIE AG: Don't worry, angel. I firmly believe that most people, if they aren't as thick as a post and blind as a stump, are well aware of any interest, welcome or otherwise, in this kind of situation, and if you've never felt any twinges of alarm, then trust your instincts. My own masseur, who is an absolute sweetie, hands out paper knickers as a matter of course, which at the same time preserve one's modesty and protect one's Janet Regers from nasty stains. They sound odd (and look odd too, to be strictly honest, darling) but if you don't mind that, lay in a supply.

NOT SO GOOD ON YER, MATES

I'm an Australian working in London and I'm suffering from a severe identity crisis. Most of my colleagues think I'm a Kiwi and even those that don't constantly say things like "G'day, mate" in a joking manner, but eventually it loses its fun. What can I do? I also find it extremely difficult to relate to English men. They are difficult to approach and conservative, something I'm not used to. Please help.

Cal, London SW4

UNCLE ONY: As an orientation process, invite your colleagues and acquaintances to an Australian evening at your home. Put up posters of majestic Ayers Rock and get everyone to wear floral shirts and those terribly useful yet amusing hats with corks hanging off. Have a barbecue that you can throw shrimps and 'roo steaks on (if it's not raining) and play the video of Crocodile Dundee. That should fix your origins firmly in their minds, and effectively break the ice between you.

AUNTIE AG: Oh, darling, are you sure you really want to relate to English men? As you've found, they can be a terrible drag. I wouldn't even bother, frankly, if you've got lots of nice, jolly Australian chums.

TROUBLE DOWN BELOW

I've just moved into a flat with very thin walls, and every so often I can hear the tenant downstairs doing what sounds like murdering his old mum (shrieks, bumps, cries for help). He is often drunk and sounds very aggressive (swears) and dangerous (thumps). What should I do? I object to being made an accessory to domestic violence but I don't like to involve myself (or the police). A friend says, "don't get involved".

Anonymous, no address supplied

UNCLE ONY: The lack of any sense of civic duty in the world today both angers and grieves me. You have no doubt read newspaper articles after some vile domestic crime has been committed, when everyone is disgusted by neighbours claiming they had no idea what was going on and it was none of their business anyway. I'm afraid you are one of those see-no-evil, hear-no-evil neighbours. For heaven's sake, call the police next time.

AUNTIE AG: How dreadful, angel. I quite agree that trying to take matters into your own hands will probably earn you nothing more than a poke in the eye. Don't risk it. This is definitely one for the police. Your call can be as anonymous as your letter, darling, so don't hesitate.

PLUCKING HELL!

Is it okay to pluck your eyebrows in the ladies' loo at work? I was doing just this the other day and one of my colleagues came in and screamed, "Oh my god, how revolting!"

Claire, Nottingham

UNCLE ONY: I really have no ideas at all on the etiquette of the ladies' room, but I would be most disturbed to find anyone using the gents' for anything but its primary function, as it were. In any case, there is a time and a place for everything, and you shouldn't be wasting your employer's time on titivating.

AUNTIE AG: Minor make-up repairs and brushing hair at work are fine, angel, but all basic maintenance should be completed in the privacy of your own home. Quite apart from anything else, hasty shoring-up in the office loos suggests that you are the kind of person that doesn't have a proper beauty routine, hence a person that is sloppy and disorganised, and it may well lead to you being passed over for promotion.

IT STARTED WITH A KISS

There is this very nice chap I have (unfortunately) had only a brief snog with. I don't actually know him terribly well. Should I invite him to my birthday party or will that look a bit too eager?

Natalie, Maidstone

UNCLE ONY: I don't see why not, as long as you take the opportunity to get to know him a bit before rushing on to further intimacy. I don't understand this modern fad for doing everything the wrong way round. For all you know, you could have had oral contact with a crazed axe murderer.

AUNTIE AG: Of course you should invite him, angel. The whole point of parties is to invite everyone you know, from best-friends-for-years to occasional snogees. And who knows what might develop? Good luck.

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