Uncle Matthew

What about embracing a true humanitarian calling and travelling to a remote location, far from unappreciative civilisation and impart your wisdom to the doubtless more receptive locals?

Dear Uncle Matthew,

Please help me. I know I ought to quit smoking but I have no will power. Every time I see someone else light up, I am unable to stop myself sprinting to the nearest shop and buying a packet of Lambert and Butler. I know how bad for me this habit is, and I live with a constant sense of impending death by cancer/emphysema, but none of this changes the universally acknowledged fact that smoking is cool. I am convinced that women would no longer find me attractive if I ditched my dirty habit. What should I do?

Cancerous, Halifax

Dear Cancerous,

Sometimes the best way to conquer an addiction is to make the change seem imperative. You appear to have just as strong a compulsion to buy cigarettes as you have to smoke them. My remedy is as follows: whenever you see somebody light up, including total strangers, go and buy a pack of the most costly smokes you can find. The ruinous expense, ensuing bankruptcy and probable life on the streets will help you reassess your priorities. There are further benefits: the gutter is exempt from this summer’s ban on smoking in public places.

Yours vagrantly,
Uncle Matthew

Dear Uncle M,

My boyfriend won’t stop looking at other women in the street, even though he knows it really upsets me. Every time we pass a busty blonde in a short skirt, he seems to have no qualms about leering at her openly, even if he and I are walking along hand in hand. It makes me feel awful about my own appearance, because I have never been the type to flaunt my sexuality in the way I dress. It doesn’t seem right to change just to stop him perving on other women, but I can’t bear feeling so frumpy by comparison. What would you advise?

Jealous, Alcuin

Dear ‘J’ – as I feel moved to call you,

Coping with your boyfriend’s roving eye does sound tiresome indeed, especially since it seems to be damaging to your self esteem. I suggest you try and find ways of demonstrating your own sexuality to him. Have you considered perhaps experimenting with lesbianism? In this day and age such a choice need not involve you forsaking men entirely, indeed I’m reliably informed that many ‘recreational lesbians’ also maintain relationships with men. Not only is this likely to attract your boyfriend’s attention, it is quite possible he will become far more interested in you than he previously has been. If he doesn’t begin to show any greater concern for your feelings, and your patience is finally exhausted, at least you will have discovered something that you could do without him.

Yours tribadistically,
Uncle Matthew

Dear Uncle Matthew,

I need your help. I seem to have a bit of a problem dealing with authority. My tutors keep telling me that my essays are badly written and poorly presented, but I can’t shake off the feeling that they are just plain wrong. I know they have far more experience than me, and are experts in their fields, but surely even such people can make mistakes? I feel absolutely convinced of my merits as a scholar, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. What should I do to break this frustrating deadlock?

Arrogant, Derwent.

Dear Arrogant,

Respect is a commodity that must be earned, and learning to respect others can often prove very difficult. Clearly your tutors have done nothing to earn your respect and have failed to learn to respect your gifts. It seems to me that you have outgrown this university, and clearly feel the need to give the wider world the benefit of your talent. At times like these your instincts are invariably correct. Leave York as soon as possible and go somewhere which better appreciates your genius. The ‘brain drain’ across the Atlantic strikes me as insufficient challenge to you. What about embracing a true humanitarian calling and travelling to a remote location, far from unappreciative civilisation (the Amazon basin or Papua New Guinea spring to mind), and impart your wisdom to the doubtless more receptive locals?

Yours precociously,
Uncle Matthew

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