Mary Killen

Dear Mary | 20 April 2017

Plus, how to avoid drinking too much at parties when the waiter keeps filling your glass

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Q. May I pass on a tip to readers wishing to reject a hopeful romantic partner without hurting their feelings? I recently made an overture towards a friend I have long admired. At first I was hurt when he confessed he didn’t return my feelings. However, he said the reason he didn’t see me in that way is because I remind him of his niece, to whom he alleges I bear a close physical resemblance. My self-esteem was spared the hit it would otherwise have taken and we have resumed our friendship.

— F.W., Notting Hill, London

A. Thank you for passing on this helpful tip.

Q. I’ve been invited to Barbados. I’m fair-skinned and have been warned by my doctor not to get sunburnt. However I have mousy blond hair which looks so much better with highlights from the sun. Mary, is there an ingenious way in which I can get the sun on my hair but not on my face?

— E.C., Balham, London

A. Cover up well with Factor 50 sun cream and lightweight clothing, but expose your hair by means of a broad-brimmed hat out of which you have cut the top. Splay your hair through the hole while your face remains protected in the shade underneath it. Meanwhile, you can enhance the chance of golden-flecked highlights by dousing your head in sea water and squirting lemon juice on to individual strands.

Q. I go to a lot of the sort of parties where waiters fill your glass and you lose count of how much you have had to drink. Once I start it is hard not to carry on, but I recently had a fall as a result of having drunk too much. I don’t want to go teetotal because I can drink a whole bottle before it becomes a problem — so can you suggest some middle-ground alternative ? I am suffering from FOMO because of avoiding so many fun parties.

—O.G., London SW12

A. The purchase of a champagne stopper will help to change your drinking habits. Take your own pre-opened bottle of champagne or wine to a party and only fill yourself up from that. Bringing your own drink also allows you to avoid consuming killer cocktails, the strength of which you have no way of calculating. There is no need for secrecy — having alcohol issues is considered fashionable and edgy within your age group.

Q. My problems are so mundane in comparison to the complex dilemmas of the majority of your readers that I am reluctant to bother you —but what should you do when your boss has forgotten to fasten his fly? Please don’t advise me to change jobs.

— J.R., Hale Cheshire

A. The safest course is silence. Imagine it the other way round: should a man tell his woman boss that her skirt is tucked into her knickers? Perhaps the answer is to email a reliable male colleague and get him to do the telling.