Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How do you stop someone wearing leather trousers to work?

Plus: Dealing with Uber driver flattery, and a cure for Christmas alone

6 December 2014

9:00 AM

6 December 2014

9:00 AM

Q. My husband employs an ageing rocker in his shop. She is highly efficient, and is an extremely nice woman. Our problem is that she will insist on wearing leather trousers to work and the noise is driving my husband mad. She is not the type to complain of harassment but how do you suggest he approach this delicate issue?
— Name and address withheld

A. In the early days of rock, it was thought that there was no better vehicle with which to display a good figure than leather trousers. The modern alternative — as worn by photographer Lady Brocket — are leather-look trousers, often with a waxed ingredient. They look like leather but are noise-free and with none of that distinctive leather smell. They are also resistant to pouching. Buy a pair yourself, wear them into the shop — and strike up a debate with this assistant on the rival pros and cons of real leather and leather-lookalike. You will soon see an end to the nuisance.

Q. Now that minicab drivers, specifically Uber drivers, are given online ratings by passengers on their performance I find it irritating to be showered by compliments and flattery by my drivers e.g. ‘Any children? Ooh you couldn’t be old enough to have a son in his twenties!’ or ‘Been somewhere special? You’re looking very smart.’ How can I put a stop to these oilings-up without being rude?
— J.F., London SW12

A. Just be pleasant for the first 30 seconds of the journey. Beam radiantly as you ask, ‘Will you excuse me? I need to listen to a briefing for work.’ Then put in earphones.

Q. I am a bachelor in my sixties working overseas. With trepidation I fly into Blighty for the holiday season and I am not sure what to do on Christmas Day. No one has yet invited me to lunch. A large part of me wants to be alone. A small part of me does not want to impose dozens of inadequate gifts on second cousins. I have never spent Christmas day alone before. Is now the time?
— T.E., by email

A. Why not set up your own Christmas salon des refusés? This charitable act would be almost as rewarding as giving out food to the homeless — you have left it too late to apply for this coveted Christmas position. Round up the refusés by emailing friends and family to ask have they any relations in London who they know will be alone and who they feel guilty about. Offer to treat about five of them to a Christmas lunch or dinner either in your own dwelling or in a smart hotel if you can get a booking. ‘Salons des refusés’ Christmas parties are widely considered to be among the most enjoyable since none of those present bear feelings of guilt or resentment towards the others. 

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