Dilemmas: My brother-in-law makes passes

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Dear Virginia,

A month ago I was sitting next to my sister's husband at dinner. We were chatting and laughing as usual when I felt his knee nudging against mine. I couldn't believe what was happening, and moved away, but he then put his hand on my thigh and squeezed it. Every time I see him now he makes some kind of overture, such as sneaking a kiss in the hall when he lets me in, but though I move away I can never say anything or my sister will hear. Should I call him at work and tell him to stop it? Or should I tell my sister?

Yours, Chloe

All readers' comments are welcome, and everyone who has a suggestion quoted will be sent a Dynagrip 50 ballpen from Paper:Mate. Please write to me at the features department, the Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB; fax 071-956 1739, by Tuesday morning. If you have any dilemmas to share, let me know.

Should he go to public school?

MY HUSBAND and I are arguing bitterly about our 10-year- old son's education. I want to send him to a private school, for which my parents are happy to pay. My husband thinks the local comprehensive is perfectly adequate, in spite of rumours about drugs and lack of discipline. I know all the arguments for state education, but when it comes to my own child I can't help wanting the best for him. What do other people think?

Yours, Gwynneth

Readers' replies:

'Will Gwynneth's husband not accept that adequate is not perfect; and that for their child nothing but the best is good enough?' - Hugh Lee, Richmond

'If he goes to a private school, he will mix with people who have a totally different idea of money and he could become very resentful of the fact that his parents do not have an expensive house, expensive holidays, etc.' - Josephine Saunders, Seaton, Devon

'If there is financial back- up for a really first-class public school like Eton or Charterhouse, then for heaven's sake take it. If the only option is a minor public school, then spend all the money you can on private tutors after school . . . The rub is, when times are hard, you need the old boy network of a good public school to get you a job.' - Dawn Muirhead, Wimbledon

'Where does the boy want to go to school? Has he visited the schools in question and discussed the matter with his parents? It's his education and his future and he must be involved in the decision.' - Elizabeth Wardle, New Barnet, Herts

'Gwynneth should ponder the prospect of being eternally answerable to her parents before accepting their offer of financial support. I would be quite insulted, as well as highly embarrassed, by her parents' intervention. I can hear now their persistent nagging that they had wasted their money on the boy's education as he commits an inevitable juvenile misdemeanour.' - R M Jones, Exeter

'I am a 16-year-old girl who goes to a mixed state school and I have a 13-year- old brother who goes to an all-boys' private school. To do extremely well in a state school your child has to have the motivation to get through the first couple of years as classes certainly can be noisy and sometimes disruptive. Private schools, with their small classes and quite atmosphere, will benefit a child who is not motivated and needs encouragement. Consider the choice seriously.' - Kate Norgrove, London, N7

Virginia Ironside


Gwynneth's son is incredibly lucky. He's got a mum and grandparents who want the best for him, a dad who has principles and an opportunity to choose how he will be educated.

Forget sacrifices for principles - if Gwynneth's dad is against private schools, he should campaign to abolish them. The best is what's needed. The family should look at possible day schools, examining the curriculum, the attitude of the staff, exam results and, most important of all, talking to other parents and pupils. One school will almost certainly shine out. Whether it's private or comprehensive simply isn't the issue. The best is.