Real Bodies: AUNTY AG UNCLE ONY
Two heads are better than one. Aunty Ag and Uncle Ony explain how to handle fussy bosses, land a job in television and what to say when you're (wrongly) accused of being pregnant
Sunday 21 March 1999
Maeve, via e-mail
Aunty Ag: If you're feeling brave, get yourself a decent agent and whenever your bosses ask you to do anything, refer them to him (or her). Then he or she can take the strain of pointedly refusing new tasks when your diary gets too full. This may rapidly lead them to get so fed up they sack you, but if not it may jolt them into realising how much pressure you are under. A less drastic measure is to fall ill. Fade gracefully into bed with that flu that's currently doing the rounds; it takes a good fortnight to recover completely. At worst you'll get two weeks of lounging around at home; at best, when they realise they need a temp each to replace you, they will be a bit more considerate.
Uncle Ony: Soldiering on in this way does nobody any good. It makes you resentful and from your bosses' point of view it makes you less efficient. Evidently you need extra help, perhaps in the form of an assistant, which would be a most reasonable request for you to put to them. However, given your insistence on your bosses' "fussiness" and your "key" position, I wonder if you actually relish the power it gives you over them. This kind of control-freakiness will do you no good in the long term, if it stops you from doing your job properly. Let go a bit and everyone will benefit.
This morning I opened the door to the postman in my pyjamas. He apologised for getting me out of bed, then looked me up and down and said, "Still, you'll be having plenty of sleepless nights soon!" I realised he thought I was pregnant! I don't think I'm that fat. (I enclose a recent photo.) What's worse is that I felt too ashamed to deny it because on balance I'd rather people thought I was pregnant than porky. What do you think?
Aunty Ag: What a ridiculous man. You are not fat at all. You know those amusing T-shirts the sprog-bound wear: "I'm not fat, I'm pregnant"? Perhaps you could get one of those printed up saying "I am neither fat nor pregnant" and make a point of answering the door in it early in the mornings.
Uncle Ony: From a male perspective it is hard to comprehend the pressures on today's ordinary women, constantly the subject of cruel comparisons with media images of the slender and beautiful. I can but sympathise. This tyranny should and must cease! Your postman is merely reacting to all the posters and photographs and features he has seen over the years that feature the young, skinny and gorgeous. So you're none of these - well, so what? There are lots of women in the same boat, so don't feel downcast. You probably have a delightful personality and we all know that's what really counts!
I was interested to read that the Big Breakfast presenter Kelly Brook can't read her autocue and gets people's names wrong all the time. I can read and wonder if I might be in with a chance at this kind of thing.
Aunty Ag: Being able to read is not the point, I'm afraid. Looking good in a skin-tight satin frock with a surface area of approximately 10 square centimetres is the point. And flirting with Johnny Vaughan is the point. There is more to this wiggly-giggly style of television presenting than meets the eye. And just think what time you'd have to get up in the morning.
Uncle Ony: Why would you want to? I can think of no more degrading job than being the bit of fluff in this kind of programme, valued not for your brains and personality but for your pert bosoms, cascading hair, pouting lips, firm young thighs, rounded hips, ogled by men with only one thing on their mind ... anyway, you get my drift. It would be a pointless, empty existence. I'm sure there are plenty of charities in your area that would welcome your skill with words, so why not take up a more worthwhile option?
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