Dear Auntie Oxidant
I am considering becoming poly, as I have accidentally started dating a really lovely poly chap. You have been rather scathing of polyamory in the past, so I was actually a bit wary of telling you about this. Is it really so bad? Polly Private
It is true that my heart sinks whenever I see the word 'tertiary' followed not by 'college' or 'syphilis', but 'partner', but it's a particular sort of poly that I am so negative about. It's the 'look we've disinvented jealousy, and evolved a new way of living, and we're never going to stop going on about it' Brigade. Poly relationships are just like any others; some of them are crap and some of them are brilliant, depending on the calibre of the people involved. And people have been making their own special arrangements for sexual and romatic liasons for years, in ways that have involved concurrent multiple partners, without needing to identify as some sort of Special Snowflake Subculture. It's isn't special, it's just sex, or in an awful lot of cases, it isn't even sex; for half the pollies I know it's about having a number of dead or atrophying relationships that you never have to actually develop the backbone to end or the commitment to maintain properly. In the London poly scene a lot of the men seem to be sleazy douchebags who'll sleep with anything, and my most scathing comments about that scene were after watching a very young, very vulnerable woman get passed around and exploited in a way that would have had the alleged feminists who stood by and watched/colluded up in arms if 'chav' blokes on a housing estate had behaved in the same way. And a lot of the women seem to be desperately unhappy, and trying to construct a kind of Frankenstein boyfriend out of a bunch of rancid spare parts, whilst competing with some other poor bint for quality time. This is why I mentioned 'tertiary'; the first two women only seem to get on together when they can gang up on the perceived threat of the third one. It always seems to be the women who take responsibilty for organising the relationships, as well. If your new chap is lovely and you are having a good time, then hurray for you. You are a secure, sensible, unselfish person, so you'll treat him well, and have the self-esteem to bail on him if he doesn't treat you well, which is the recipe for any decent relationship, whatever label you put on it.
My ex is living in a house that I need to sell before my beloved and I can go off and be hippies in a smelly field. How do I get rid of house and ex and make lots of £££? Anon Imuss
Oh exes are endlessly vexatious, aren't they? Why can't they all just tactfully die of a broken heart or join the Foreign Legion? Is the ex such a minging, malodorous muntbag that s/he is actively lowering the tone of the property? Or does s/he want to stay there because moving out will mean downshifting? Hmmm. I suspect what you should do is fake a number of vampiric happenings in your local area (disturb recent burials, leave trails of bloody footprints, show up at a goth event in suit that fits, that kind of thing). Then kill the ex by draining all the blood from her body and staking her out like a vampire's victim, at the property you wish to be rid of. The resulting notoriety will ensure the house sells at an inflated price to some drooling psycho/twilight fan/whatever. Even if it doesn't sell, you can rent it out to the producers of that terrible show with the Scouse charlatan and no light bulb budget.
Should I cure my self of my increasingly unhealthy addiction to Gossip Girl (I've even started reading the books) and plough on with a Tale of Two Cities (I've been referred to as Madame Defarge and so need to find out exactly how bad she was) or should I just revel in its glorious first world shallowness and carry on with worrying whether or not Blair will end up with Chuck and leave Louis the improbable foreign prince at the altar? ;-) ms_siobhan
Dickens was the populist drivel of his day, my lovely lady, and A Tale of Two Cities is full of unlikely foreigners. Never be ashamed of your tastes, nor feel the need to defend them. Are you reading on a Kindle? If so no one's going to know what you are reading, anyway. I find this one of the more tiresome aspects of their proliferation, actually, as I can no longer alleviate the tedium of crowded tube journeys by stamping on the feet of people reading Dan Brown.
Dear Auntie Bellum,
I seem to have gone sweet on one of those Lefties. He has a sense of humour, no, really, but if I pursue him, the sex will be inevitably incompetent and possibly offensive (not in a good way) - what is a Centrist to do? Equivocate or spread 'em?
Oh dear. I must have told you about the Guardian journalist I unwisely took to my bed, who had a fit of the screaming abdabs when he discovered a pile of old Telegraphs and a copy of the Spectator next to my bed? Anyway, it IS possible to shag The Wrong out of someone, but seldom worth the effort. There's a possibility he might be alright in bed, but not if he's one of those middle-class Islington organic hemp lefties, in which case he'll probably be too busy examining his privilege to locate your clitoris, AND need Viagra for his upper lip, let alone elsewhere. Spread 'em and blog about it?
Dear Auntie Oxidant,
I am newly, and happily, married. My husband is mostly splendid, but like many of his kind, he finds nothing wrong with leaving his pants on the bathroom floor. We have a very small bathroom and thus this quickly leads to a large pile of scants. Polite requests do little more than address the immediate issue, and an unfortunate incident where the pants were stacked up so high that the cat whisked a pair into her litter tray (which also exists in the bathroom) did not change anything, though it was hysterically entertaining (to me, though the cat was nonplussed).
My question, then, is: can you recommend any particularly colourful or interesting male underwear, so that I can at least be marginally entertained?
Yours with no belief that I will ever change my man (but I love him anyway),
I think you have two options, really. Either get a crafty friend to run you up a load of pants made out of cotton chenille / camberwick, so they look like little bath mats when your beloved lazy oik scatters them about the place, or coat all his clean pants with Acme Itching Powder, so he becomes a little more pants-aware.
Is it ok to have a hip flask of gin in one's anorak pocket whilst doing playground duty in the cold & rain?
It is not remotely 'okay'. It is bloody well compulsory.
I want to remain anonymous because this is a serious question. You know my circumstances, and that I have been in a very unhappy relationship for a very long while. What do you think I should do? You don't have to pull your punches, because I want you to say what you exactly what you think, not what you think I need to hear.
Your partner is a selfish, narcissistic, weak, lazy bully. Like all bullies, underneath his bombastic exterior he is a coward and, because he is a coward, he will never leave you, despite his pathetic threats. You have made his life too easy, and your own way too hard. You have mentioned recently how you fear he is undermining your children in the same way he has undermined you. Leave him. You think you are weak and valueless but the very fact of leaving him will show you how strong you are. You will become the person who had the strength to leave the mediocrity who was making her family miserable. Your daughter will absorb the message that a woman should walk away from a man like her father, who has been given every chance - emotional and practical - to improve his behaviour and has squandered every one. Your son will absorb the message that men who bully and denigrate women and children get abandoned. I can't begin to imagine how hard leaving will be, but there are people (and organisations) who will help you. You should also know that the person you mentioned in the post you made and took down almost straightaway at Christmas feels the same way you do. He's just even more unassuming than you are. Cheating isn't wrong, necessarily, you know; sometimes it's the fraught but lovely means to a necessary and liberating end. You don't realise how many people are fond of you, respect you and will help you. It doesn't matter how long you have been with your husband, the rest of your life will be longer. You deserve it to be happier.
I have said what I think here, but it is also what I think you need to hear. I suspect the reason you are not hearing this from your two closest female friends is that they are both heavily invested in their own troubled marriages, and that supporting you to remain in your unhappy position helps to validate their present decision to remain in theirs.
Dear Auntie Oxidant,
There seems to be an increasing trend amongst my friends to organise a weekend abroad or something similarly expensive for their birthdays. Much as I love them, I do not have enough weekends or enough money. Why can't they have a night in the pub? And where will this attempt to outdo each others birthdays end?
Broke of Borsetshire
Are they all having the same Significant Birthday over the same couple of years? I find the easiest way is to reply to excessive invitation with "That's a brilliant plan! I can't wait! And it is just SO GENEROUS of you to pay for all of us, knowing how skint we all are. You're great", which usually nips the matter in the bud. You could also expand your social circle to include some poor people, too. Or simply say "No, much as I love you that's just way too expensive, and I can't spare a whole weekend, but can I organise a pub meet for a lovely night nearer home so that more people can share the celebrations".
Dear Auntie Oxidant
I am fortunate to be dating two lovely gents. My problem is that one of them is hung like a carthorse and the other, well, very much isn't. How can I enjoy Wee Willie while retaining the ability to accommodate Horseboy? I await your expertise!
Hmm. I am slightly perplexed by your question. Is your vagina not constructed out of a superior sort of Memory Foam, so it can happily accommodate both? Alternately, I mean, not side-by-side, obviously. You aren't being impeded in your appreciation of one by recent concupiscence with the other, are you? I'd stick to engaging in specific acts with each of them. Peperami-cock is probably aware of his shortcomings and may be a bit of an animal in other areas, one hopes, and you can probably accommodate him comfortably in alternative points of entry, while sticking to Catering Saveloy for your basic hot, thrusting action.
Dear Auntie Oxident
I recently married my darling man in a small church ceremony. This was done with the assistance of family and in front of close friends. I am now concerned that as every detail of my wedding was not arranged, advised and approved by a committee of over 2000 women, that I may not be properly married at all!
What you mean you just got married, in a church, in a big white frock? Was your vicar - God forbid - male and heterosexual? You didn't write your own vows recite them in Klingon? You didn't have a chorus of groomsmaids and bridesmen sitting in wheelchairs toasting you with vegan mead in mooncups? Or make your friends all stick to some arbitrary and tiresome dress code or theme? Good on you. This means your descendants will look at your wedding pictures and marvel at seeing a Proper Normal wedding entirely free of self-indulgent wankery at which none of the old rellies are pulling affronted Wodehouse aunt faces because they havn't a clue what hand-fasting is. Your wedding, your rules, you're wonderful.
Dear Auntie Oxidant,
I have appallingly low self esteem and find it difficult to approach women. Do you have any tips that don't involve heavy drinking? I've got that one covered.
Women are much easier to approach than you think, actually. And the best ones prefer a shy, slightly gauche approach from a decent, modest human being, to a slick assault from a smooth-talking player. It does depend, of course, on the calibre of the women. Do you like gothchicks? I think vaguely alternative women might be more appreciative of your charms, if you could be bothered to stalk them in clubs where the music is awful. And smile at the girl before you approach her. If she smiles back, go and talk to her. Imagine she's a bloke and talk to her the way you would a mate. Or try online dating - you are very witty engaging in writing and women are easily wooed by wit. Do let me vet your profile, though.