Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How do I stop men sending me articles from the Guardian?

13 July 2019

9:00 AM

13 July 2019

9:00 AM

Q. It is difficult to know what to do when homeless people ask you for cash as you are leaving a supermarket all laden down, so may I pass on a tip to readers? Instead of claiming not to have any cash or appearing uncaring by refusing to give any (and sometimes feeling intimidated), help out the homeless person by purchasing hot meal vouchers from a local charity. In Bath where I live there is one such called the Genesis Trust — the vouchers cost 50p each.— S.G.B., Bath

A. Thank you for submitting this tip. It is useful, but of course you would have to stock up in advance. A voucher for the particular supermarket the needful person is outside would deliver more immediate results. Perhaps you could buy one/some at the till and distribute when, laden down, you leave.

Q. How should I react when a fellow motorist makes a V-sign at me after I have made a silly traffic error? I don’t feel comfortable making one back.
— S.G., London SW3


A. Quite right. Instead why not blow them a kiss? It’s better to disarm (or unnerve) than to further enrage.

Q. With regard to Brexit talk at dinner parties (Dear Mary, 29 June), to manage guests’ behaviour I typically announce at the beginning of dinner that
we will be playing ‘Strip Brexit’. The rules are simple: every time anyone mentions the B-word they are required to take an item of clothing off. It works!
— T.E., Iwerne Minster, Dorset

A. Thank you. As reader R.H.W. observes by email, while contributing a similar suggestion: ‘It is hard to be dogmatic when naked.’ You should bear in
mind, however, that certain cocksure guests may be excited by your diktat. Therefore it could backfire, as they may use it as a pretext to perform an all too enthusiastic striptease.

Q. Two men are constantly emailing me articles from the Guardian. One sends literally four a day. If I want to read a particular paper each day, I am capable of doing so. The spate of these articles (sometimes accompanied by mini lectures on politics) is taking up space on my phone and preventing me from quickly accessing other more important emails. How do I put an end to the nuisance? I do not wish to fall out with the senders.
— E.S., London W11

A. This non-problem brings to mind an exchange between an older and younger woman. The latter had complained of receiving wolf whistles. The former observed: ‘Just wait till the days when you’re not a sex object.’ In short — just wait till the days when you’re not being bombarded by articles from well-wishing men probing for intellectual compatibility.

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