Published on February 3rd, 2014 | by The Town Crier0
At Town Crier, we occasionally get letters from readers seeking advice on all manner of personal situations. They could be questions of etiquette, social faux-pas or family matters. We are always happy to help and so we have enlisted the help of a local stalwart who in her own words has seen it all and calls a spade a gardener. Lady Ophelia d’Knight, (Offa to her friends, but we’re allowed to call her lady d’Knight), will be happy to answer any of your queries in future issues.
Dear Lady d’Knight
My best friend from college, now aged 45, has turned into a total gym bunny. This has “midlife crisis” written all over it of course, but I can’t deny the results are impressive. Even so, when we meet he constantly taunts me about my physical shortcomings. What’s more, he has turned into an absolute lightweight so our evenings in the pub are curtailed, we can’t go for curries, et cetera.
His conversation now largely consists of gags about how lardy I am and the importance of taking charge of your own destiny. But somewhere in there is a really funny guy, balding and soft in the belly, but accepting of his and others’ failings, and excellent company – and I really miss that guy.
For the moment your friend is gone. Late-night curries and lager may still float your boat but your mate has moved on to the clang of barbells and the rub of a cheap towel. Obviously you are not just upset that after all these years your good-time companion appears to have vanished, you also hate feeling judged. Your friend looked in the mirror and didn’t like what he saw. I’m sure you do the same. The difference is that he actually put down the packet of crisps and did something about it, and if you are honest with yourself, along with the boredom and irritation, you’ll find a great big dollop of jealousy.
This man has shown willpower and strength of character, and even if he wasn’t calling you fat you would still be sitting across the table feeling lazy and miserable. I grant you there is little less nauseating than an evangelist or zealot, but your wise words about finding the pleasure in life through moderation might have more credibility if you didn’t look like a walking, talking “before” picture. You are 45 and it may be time to ponder if yet another plate of curry really is the spice of life.
Dear Lady d’Knight
Do you have any brilliant advice on what to wear/say/do on a first date? Or what not to wear/say/do? I haven’t done this for a while and I am feeling a bit rusty. I am straight, male and pushing 40; we are going out for drinks and dinner.
This is not rocket science. It’s barely as complicated as a rocket salad. Be yourself. Of course it’s best to be a very good version of yourself, but trying to “make an impression” will end in disaster. The main thing to remember is to dress appropriately. Don’t wear jeans and a T-shirt if you are meeting in a Michelin-starred restaurant, but equally don’t show up at the local boozer in head-to-toe Tom Ford. (He’s an expensive designer. I forgot you were straight.) Whatever you’re wearing, make sure it is clean.
On the date, ask questions and then – and this is very important – listen. Remember to smile and when you are talking, don’t moan. Don’t drink too much and don’t lunge.
Basically, going on a date is like the first time you meet anyone, except you hope to see them naked at some point. Go forth with confidence. A great date will end with a love story and a terrible one with a great anecdote. It’s all good.
Lady Offa d’Knight