29 NOVEMBER 2003, Page 87

Q. Recently I have developed an enigmatic passion for a

rather grand gentleman. Unfortunately it is not entirely reciprocated and I wondered if I could glean some advice as to how to go forward with this. I fear the main problem is that he is rather disturbed by my lack of good furniture and, while I don't have the funds to go out and buy such, I would not be entirely against the idea. I am in my middle years and have to admit to being clearly rusty at seduction. An Edwardian sideboard, perhaps?

Name withheld, London SW!

A. You miss the point. If you are the kind of person who has to 'buy her own fumiture' in the first place, then there is little point in trying to appeal to his snobbish

side. A far more likely route to success would be to present yourself as good housekeeper material— he sounds about the right age to be looking out for this sort of partner rather than a romantic one. Coax him into your lair, generate an agreeable atmosphere and fill him with comforting foodstuffs next to a crackling fire. Then ask if you can host a charity luncheon on his own premises. Once you get your foot in the door he may like what he sees, and romantic congress can be achieved through the back door, so to speak.