WOMEN AND MEN : auntie ag & uncle ony

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Indy Lifestyle Online
It is my birthday soon. I want to have a small restaurant dinner for about six or eight friends but there are about 14-16 friends I ought to ask, all of whom will be offended if I don't. The problem is, I can't stand those restaurant meals with great big tables, flapping service, and embarrassment over the bill - and my flat isn't big enough to ask 16 people round.

Sally, Chester

Uncle Ony: Yes. You are suffering from, "Barter Syndrome": seeing friendships as a series of debits and credits which must be balanced, rather than a flexible and mutually nourishing organism. A birthday is an excellent moment for life review and the time has evidently come to rethink your view of friendship, perhaps with the help of a therapist or counsellor. You may actually find, when you begin to understand the real nature of friendship, that these 12 or 16 so called "friends" are not the sort of real friends you are actually seeking at all.

Auntie Ag: (Take no notice, darling. Ony's mad.) Know what I'd do? - I'd make it six. There's something rather intimate about six. No one could call not being invited to a six being left out of a party, and if anybody does get offended - stuff them: it's your bloody birthday. (Just a thought though, darling: has it occurred to you, you'll only get five presents? If it was me, the second I started worrying about large table/ bill sharing trauma I'd think "16 presents" and the next minute I'd be booking a table for 35.)

A couple of months ago I discovered Wonderbras - and was so overexcited by my sudden cleavage that I took to wearing plunging necklines and exciting see-through tops at all social occasions. The whole thing proved a marvellous innovation. I did major flirting and a few weeks ago met a fantastic bloke. He's asked me out a couple of times, and we've got to the point where if we don't go to bed on the next date it will begin to seem almost eccentric. The trouble is I keep putting it off because I'm terrified of him seeing me without my underwiring and booster pads.

Maria, Brentford

Uncle Ony: Yes, you see. When we over-compensate by deceit for what we perceive as our own inadequacies the Day of Reckoning must surely come. You have only yourself to blame. This young man has been duped and deserves to feel cheated. If you are fortunate his feelings for you may override his distaste at your duplicity. If not, you have only yourself to blame.

Auntie Ag: Angel, the thing one has to understand about breasts is that - unless one is 19 and a favoured Godchild of Mother Nature - their full glory depends heavily on presentation. Inevitably occasions will arise which require the forfeiting of underwiring, but when one door closes another opens and the words "dimmer switch", "peach lightbulb" and "well- rehearsed flattering pose" will quite naturally find themselves popping into your brain. Do remember, also, that there comes a moment where sexual attraction ceases to be a spectator sport and aesthetics rather go out of the window. Oooh, have a lovely time, angel. I'm insanely jealous.

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