11 JANUARY 1992, Page 39


Dear Mary. . .

Q. They say that the late Robert Maxwell used to turn heads when he entered a room. I have the same effect but the heads turn away. Is it possible to acquire charis- ma, to make oneself more interesting? What do you suggest?

T.H., Luton, Beds A. I have noted, on the social circuit, that certain people can attain a spurious charis- ma by wearing a knowing smile on their lips and saying little. Their demeanour serves to unnerve others who presume that there must be more to such a person than meets the eye. Inevitably, this success is short- lived and the practitioner very soon un- masked, unless he is a younger person mov- ing in drug-taking circles and the silences are taken to denote wisdom. Many of the most pointless people of the 1960s and '70s got away with being cyphers for years by using this method. You may, of course, not wish to build your social life around drug- taking. If you are a man, another way of gaining charisma is to make passes at virtu- ally every woman you meet. Englishwomen are so surprised that roughly four out of ten will accept the overture. The confidence which accrues to you as a sequel to such submissions will help to develop any latent charisma you may have. Q. I received a number of Christmas cards over the past few weeks whose envelopes bear stamps which seem to have escaped the attention of a post office franking machine. What is the position about my re- using these stamps on another envelope?

A.B., W8 A. The offence you are considering is pun- ishable by up to 14 years' imprisonment under Section 13 of the 1891 Stamp Duties Management Act. I strongly advise against your taking the risk of being apprehended in the course of trying to make such a sav- ing.

Q. A girlfriend of mine gave my husband and me a so-called joke present of some edible panties for Christmas. My problem is that, having left these horribly packaged 'peach-flavoured' atrocities on my dressing table all over Christmas, my daily has now seen them. I returned from the New Year in Scotland and realised this. How can I throw them away without my daily thinking that we have 'used' the panties? The pack- age comes with complete instructions on the outside about how to use them.

S.C., Wilts A. Borrow or use your own dog for a morn- ing. Simply give the still wrapped package to your dog, having first played tug-of-war with him. Then release the dog into the room where your daily is cleaning and he can destroy the panties in front of herthim- self.

Q. I have broken the scales at over 20 stone. I am determined to go on a diet, but how can I work out exactly how great the problem is when no scales can tell me?

H.M.M., Clanricarde Gardens, W2 A. Why not pop into Victoria Station and ask a friendly official if you can briefly load yourself on to the baggage weighing scales there? The computerised assessment will be given in neat figures and will help you, too, in grappling with the scope of the problem.