Miles Kington: Beware of sultry signoras and cross-dressing Pete

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A lot of people write to me with their sexual and emotional problems in strict confidence. Thank you. They keep me well entertained. Here are the answers to some recent dilemmas, in complete anonymity.

FIFI You are quite right. A gentleman would not ask to be given a girl's tax code on the first date. Have nothing more to do with him.

TESSA When your partner keeps going to Italy on the pretext that he is wanted in an Italian law court on charges of getting bribes from the Italian Prime Minister, even the most jejune teenager should smell a rat.

He is clearly having an affair with some sultry signora. Bribes from the Italian Prime Minister, indeed! Chuck him out, a) for infidelity, and b) for inventing stupid excuses.

SIMON If I understand you aright, you recently got engaged to be married to a woman called Petra and it was only after the marriage ceremony that you discovered you were actually married to a cross-dressing man called Pete. Well, that is certainly an argument for sleeping together before you get married, isn't it?

But what you want to know is whether the marriage is valid. It is certainly true that up to a few months ago the marriage would have been declared null and void, because it was illegal for a man to marry a man. This is no longer true, alas. You may have blundered unwittingly into a quite legitimate gay partnership. I am enclosing the name and address of a back-street divorce specialist who may be able to help you out.

TRINA You are quite within your rights to have tattooed on your chest the warning, "If I get drunk, I do not wish to have sex with you", but I am not sure it is the best guarantee against rape or that it will necessarily stand up in a court of law. Have you thought that the person you wish to deter from sex might be illiterate and unable to read the health warning on your chest? Or unable to speak English at all? Or even unable to read without glasses, which he would have removed by that time? All these would be an adequate defence for him in law.

BESSY No. When your friends get divorced it is not all right to ask for your wedding present back. You should have given them something cheap in the first place.

THEOPHILUS I'm sorry about the lack of success with girls, but have you thought about changing your name?

JOCK No, there is no truth in the old adage that a Scotsman wears nothing under the kilt. Actually, a Scotsman doesn't wear a kilt either. He leaves that to Americans. And Englishmen at weddings. What Americans wear under the kilt I have no idea, but judging from their predilection for central heating, I would imagine quite a lot.

As for your other question, the answer is No. A proposal of marriage made during an eightsome reel has no validity in law. Nothing said or shouted during Scottish country dancing has ever been accepted as evidence in a court of law.

GEORGIA When a man says to you, "I want you to be the mother of my children," it's quite possible he already has a few pre-existing children in mind for you to look after. Make urgent inquiries into his recent history.

WENDY Yes. When a man goes down on one knee to propose marriage to you, and then cannot get up again without your assistance, you may safely marry him. You will be free again in a few months, and all the richer for it.

JIM No. A refusal by your wife to watch the Oscars ceremony is not grounds for divorce. On the contrary, it is grounds for hope. She is clearly a woman to cherish.

HELEN I don't like girls who shop around. If you don't like Virginia Ironside's advice, don't come snivelling to me.

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