A lonely expatriate, via e-mail
Aunty Ag: Going out specifically to meet men is like going shopping at short notice for a special-occasion outfit: there is never anything suitable anywhere, and you end up despairingly buying something that doesn't quite fit and isn't really what you want. However, if you really insist on trying it, Englishmen are easy enough to find. Hang around outside a pub at 11.20pm and take your pick. Failing that, for a wide selection and a captive audience, have you considered prison visiting?
Uncle Ony: Join a club or society where you will meet people with similar interests to yours. You will know that you will have at least one thing in common with anyone you meet there, whether you are keen on embroidery, stamp collecting or fell walking. (Actually, of those, to meet young men you might be well advised to concentrate on the fell-walking type of activity rather than sewing or philately.)
It's my birthday soon and my husband has offered to pay for me to have liposuction on my thighs and bottom. The thing is that he came up with this entirely off his own bat; I have never thought I needed plastic surgery, and I can't decide whether this is actually an enormous piece of rudeness on his part. Now he's mentioned it I am seriously considering it, but I can't help feeling a bit insulted.
Aunty Ag: I am stunned by this man's insensitivity. Yes, it is an enormous piece of rudeness on his part and yes, you should feel insulted. Offer him a nose job for his birthday and see how he likes it!
Uncle Ony: Maybe the way your husband has brought this up is a little abrupt, but I'm sure he has your best interests at heart. After all, if you have a fat bottom and lumpy thighs, it is a very unattractive combination. Surely you want to do something about it? Of course, if you do go ahead, it should be because you want to for your own sake and not simply to please your husband. But straws show which way the wind blows and if he is repelled by your nether regions it does not bode well for the future.
We have read so much about the property boom in London that the other day we got an estate agent in to value our quite ordinary house. To say that we were amazed by the estimate he quoted is an understatement. Simply by owning our home for the past three years we have made more money than we could ever have hoped to earn or save in years and years. Because of this unexpected windfall we have started to look at properties outside the city. The problem is that my wife has developed the notion that we should be able to afford a place that is practically a country house; she keeps rejecting houses on the grounds that they don't have enough land (goodness knows we have enough problems keeping our London patio in order, let alone taking on rolling acres in Somerset or Devon). How can I gently explain to her that she is getting ideas far above her station?
Michael, London SW19
Aunty Ag: Even when you reach the stratospherically monied heights of the true zillionaires of this world (which I doubt you are anywhere near, however much your des res may be worth), they all still keep wanting more. No amount of money is ever enough, I'm afraid. It's just a fact of life.
Uncle Ony: There is something rather distasteful about being handed a large sum of money for no particular effort on your part. Money does not bring happiness, nor does having money guarantee that your life will be easier. As you can see, the immediate effect is not a good one - it has turned your wife into a pretentious pain in the neck. Put your foot down. Tell her an acre or two is all that any reasonable person requires and to stop being so greedy.
Send your problems to Aunty Ag and Uncle Ony at the Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL or firstname.lastname@example.orgReuse content