Q. I am going to have Botox injections. I am not yet 28, so it's mainly preventative. Some of my friends will understand and be fine about it but I know some others will be appalled. How do I handle this? K, Cheshire
A. It's very simple, honey. Read my lips: TELL NO ONE. Oh, OK, tell your mother/therapist/bichon frise if you must – but seriously, otherwise, keep this between you, the surgeon and the syringe. There's a gasp-factor attached to juvenile Botox, and if you've told one friend, even your besty best bezzie, you've told your entire social circle. It'll spread faster than fire in California. Men you've never met will know you as Barbie-face. Girls will crowd round you at parties, shrieking and asking if it hurt. So zip it, quick. Which leads me to ask: do you still want it, if no one knows? Or was being talked about really the point? If so, why not just take your clothes off at a party and have done with it?
Q. I am friendly with my ex, but I can't stand his perfect new girlfriend. Do I have to invite her along on the group holiday I'm organising? Caroline, London
A. In a word, yes. But think how much more fun it will be having her there. You can roll your eyes every time she mentions her high-flying job, criticise her bikini body sotto voce with your friends, pretend to hate her delicious home-made tiramisu and thrash her gracelessly at "Ring of Fire" and other after-dinner drinking games. Every group holiday needs a loser, and she will do nicely. It is more likely, however, that after a few days bonding over snorkelling and sangria you will have got over your jealousy and found a friend for life.
Q. Sometimes I worry I live only for pleasure. Is this so very wrong? Hannah, by email
A. Lady, who do you think I am? Alain de Botton? I am a strictly amoral philosopher, although some do say I have founded my own school of rhetoric (how to say nasty things nicely). If you want to chat about Epicureanism with Alain, though, you might want to go along to his new School of Life (www.theschooloflife.com) in Marchmont Street, London WC1, where brainboxes such as Geoff Dyer, Tom Hodgkinson and Susan Elderkin are available to help with such conundrums. You can even book to go on a guided tour of Heathrow with Alain himself, though to be fair this may not be one for you, seeing as you are addicted to pleasure.
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