3 OCTOBER 1992, Page 47


Dear Mary.. .

Q. I am the editor of a well-known publica- tion. On my desk I have a direct-line tele- phone whose number I have given out to Only about seven people. Yet about three times, or more, per day, this line rings and I pick it up to hear the high-pitched beep of someone trying to send me a fax. How can I find out who this is and stop them?

D.L., WC1 A. You will have to borrow a fax machine from another office in the building and Plug it into your direct-line socket. Borrow °tie of the models which adapts itself to receiving either a fax or a telephone call and also flashes out the fax number of the Person trying to contact you. In this way, you will be able to identify and punish the offender, who may well be a nuisance caller trying to annoy you.

Q. This is a serious problem: I have been contacted by an old boyfriend whom I had hoped never to hear from again. I went out with him between the ages of 20 and 22 while we were at art school, mainly to annoy my parents. Not only was he unsuit- able, he was also, as it turned out, obsessive and rather violent. I spent about six months Cooling the relationship, using all the Psychological trickery at my disposal to make him think he had gone off me, then I made my escape. He was one of those peo- ple without a network of social contacts and therefore it took him this long (12 years) to track me down again, which he did purely by chance. I had to agree to meet him next month. He is not married and neither am I. How can I prevent him from falling in love with me (in an obses- sive and violent way) again?

Name and address withheld A. There is a marvellous product available from Hamleys toyshop on Regent Street, . London W1 . Named 'Fake Skin', it is pro- duced by an American firm called Imagi- neering Inc and enables users to position utterly convincing warts on any part of the body. The warts are easily removable with cold cream, and then warm water when you have finished with them. I should go for about five or six, to be positioned facially

— one on the end of your nose; one on each eyelid and two hanging down from your chin, perhaps with food attached to them or a human hair. Wearing these warts, you can re-meet your former boyfriend with confidence, as it is very unlikely he will want to resume romantic relations with you.

Q. I have been invited to spend the week- end in a house party with seven people whom I hardly know but whom I wish to impress. Should I arrive on the Friday evening or on the Saturday morning, given that I am considered to be an 'acquired taste' personality-wise and that my hostess has indicated either arrival time would be acceptable to her? J.D., SW3 A. Do make a point of arriving on the Fri- day evening. Weekend house parties begin- ning on a Saturday give only enough time for the assembled company to scratch the surface of each other's personas and conse- quently make very little real impact. You can allow your own personality to be dor- mant on the Friday night and begin to let it emerge during Saturday luncheon. A word of warning. Do not let yourself go full tilt on Saturday night but rein yourself back until Sunday lunchtime, when you can let your personality blossom fully.