Agony Aunt: Trouble in Masked Paradise

This week, Elsie and Sonia combat your pandemic-related perils. That being said, we still don’t know how to properly snog with masks on. Please stop asking.

Met a really nice girl just before we both went home for Xmas. We were going to go out before tier 4 hit. We message occasionally, but not very often. Should I wait till we’re back in Ox, or should I start making moves now? – Anonymous

E: When living under a global pandemic and faced with a dilemma such as this, there is a very important question you must ask yourself. And it’s not ‘how can I sustain an online conversation for minimum 6 weeks’ or ‘should I wait until we’re back at Oxford to hit her up’ or ‘why does my laptop webcam make me look like a potato in a wig the moment I log into Zoom’. The all-important question is: during a national lockdown, what else are you going to do? 

Seriously, what else are you going to do? Yet another state-approved walk? (Please, God, not again.) Start writing that essay? (Hah! Funny joke.) Finally learn how to crochet/collect stamps/breakdance/tie your own shoelaces? No, of course you aren’t. So why not take this period of excruciating boredom/perpetual anxiety as an opportunity to chat to someone you genuinely like. This will at the very least be a distraction from the current hellscape of the world, but maybe it will work out better than you think: you might end up confessing your love for each other in a particularly steamy Zoom call (don’t think the words ‘steamy’ and ‘Zoom’ have ever been used together before, but there’s a first time for everything). Besides, this girl may have moved on from you by the time we return to Oxford, so it’s probably best to let her know now that she hasn’t been forgotten rather than say nothing and regret it. 

What I’m trying to say is you never know unless you try. If things do fizzle out before the lockdown’s over you can always have a second crack at it when you’re back at uni, inevitably resulting in an awkward drunk snog in the queue for Hassan’s and then never speaking to each other again out of shame. Good luck!


Agony Aunt, I’m an undergraduate living in private accommodation and I didn’t leave Oxford over the vac. I know I should only feel grateful/lucky, but I keep feeling really, really guilty about the fact that I’m able to stay in Oxford when my college won’t allow so many of my friends to return. I just feel like it’s so unfair. I don’t deserve it, not when everyone else is struggling. I keep feeling sick about it. What should I do? – Anonymous 3rd year,

S: It’s totally natural to feel a bit of guilt. In fact – I’m even kind of mad at you right now. I’ll try not to let it impact my answer, but I want you to know that I am.

That being said, there is a reason you’re still on campus, and you have to remind yourself of this. You toughed out winter break without your family because of these possible circumstances. I doubt it was a fantastic time, and I seriously doubt lockdown will be either. It’s not a question of whether you deserve to be there or not – we all deserve to be there – but nowadays things aren’t that simple. Try to remember that these times are unprecedented, and any decisions the schools or government make are not on you. It’s ok to be happy with your situation while still recognising the hardships of others and just general shittiness of the situation.

To put things in perspective though, I am currently writing this from under a heated blanket on my couch at home. My mom just made and delivered me a cup of tea. Soon, while retired in my queen bed, the dinner bell will ring (my dad will yell up the stairs) and I will be presented with plates of delicacies (taco ingredients) and puddings (no puddings). Life at home isn’t (always) that dire, so don’t feel too bad for us non-Oxford dwellers, haha ha. 

Got a problem that you think merits the attention of the Agony Aunts? Submit it to us HERE!. Good advice not guaranteed.

Yours in agony,

Elsie and Sonia

Image credit: Iona Shen, The Oxford Student