At least two of the broadsheets have had agony columns that invite readers to respond with answers to other readers’ problems. A few years back one (I think it was the Guardian) printed a letter from a woman despairing of her live-in boyfriend ever “growing up” and marrying her. The majority of the female contributors suggested that she “accidentally” got pregnant so that he would “commit”. Today the Telegraph started its “Dear Graham and Ruby” column in which TV slebs Graham Norton and Ruby Wax deal with readers’ woes. Here’s one of Ruby’s:

Dear Ruby,

I’m desperate to marry my boyfriend, but despite him saying he loves me no mention has been made of marriage, or starting a family. Friends have said that I should get pregnant by mistake/on purpose, and not tell him that I’ve gone off the pill. Would this be a dishonourable thing to do?

People say that sometimes men have to be forced to understand the predicament of women, and their biological clock, or they never will. Pippa B, Harrogate, Yorkshire

Ruby Wax:

Dear Pippa, If he hasn’t mentioned marriage or family, why can’t you? Now here’s the important part. Don’t whine, nag or bring it up in that nauseating way they do on television soaps. Whatever you do, do not mention the biological clock – he will bolt.

The quickest way to a man’s heart isn’t through his stomach, it’s by making him laugh. Have a sense of humour and you will get what you want. (Warning! Only use this method before, not during, sex.)

Seventeen years ago, I was getting long in the tooth and I told my then boyfriend that I had an opening to marry him on April18. If he was interested, fine, if not there was a whole queue of other men who would love to take his place. Luckily, he didn’t check and I got him down the aisle on that date.

P.S. I also got pregnant by accident (not). If you can’t think of anything funny, this method definitely works, too. Believe me, by the time the baby is a year old, he will love it more than you and you’ll laugh about it when you’re fifty. Maybe.

Dear Uncle Agony

My girlfriend won’t sleep with me. I’ve tried everything but she won’t put out. Women just don’t understand the biological urges of men.


Dear Frustrated

Rape her. She wants in really. In a few years time she’ll look back and laugh. In case she doesn’t find it quite so amusing, just make sure she was too drunk to object at the time.

Uncle Agony