Image description: A mix of newspaper cuttings with the words ‘agony aunts’ written in block letters.
This week, Elsie and Sonia are feeling a little… romantic. That is, in the sexually frustrated sense of the word. We’re talking touching (with a 2 metre wooden pole), feeling (that existential dread), and desire (for several pints). We are single and ready to be reminded of it.
Dear Agony Aunt, last term I went on a number of Tinder dates. However, the romance of these dates was somewhat spoiled by my chosen Covid-friendly initial greeting, the humble elbow bump. It just doesn’t scream “take me now”. Do you have any suggestions of what I could do instead?? – 1st year AMH
E: First date greetings were difficult enough before social distancing became the universal cockblock. I personally take no issue with the elbow bump, but then again, I am socially inept and probably shouldn’t be giving out advice on this sort of thing. Remind me again why I’m allowed to write this column? Nevertheless, if you’re going to sneer at it, you may want to consider the following practical and pandemic-conscious solutions:
- Choose a limb other than the elbow. Raising it in someone’s face can admittedly look stupid and aggressive. So why settle? Bump knees instead, or ankles, or taking inspiration from the Teletubbies here —hips. This will, at the very least, make you stand out.
- Channel your inner Year 5 disco chaperone and insist you must ‘make room for Jesus’. This will go down very well with students from St Benet’s, Wycliffe Hall and Blackfriars, if by some miracle (sticking with the Christian metaphor there) the monks have all decided to join Tinder. Stranger things have happened in Lockdown 3.
- A 2 metre gap is only the government guideline — why stop there? Be ambitious in getting as far apart as possible. Consider having the date with each of you placed on opposite sides of a noisy A-road and communicate entirely by semaphore.
- Say, fuck it: love > corona. Greet them as you would any other date in normal non-rona times. Would Chris Whitty approve of this? No. Is this a sensible suggestion? Probably not. Then again, nothing on this list is. We did warn you that ‘good advice is not guaranteed’. I’m glad to have been of service.
ppl in the room above constantly having sex at night… – Anonymous
S: Short and sweet – I like that. There are a couple ways one can approach this daunting issue. Nothing beats ye olde broom knock on the ceiling. Try to establish your own little language with it. Six short knocks could mean “you sound like you’re having fun but I’m actually trying to read” and four would be “you two are sounding a little repetitive, why not try something new?” If you’re feeling adventurous, go knock on the door and offer to demonstrate. Someone needs to make sure they’re still wearing masks.
If you’re looking for a more passive approach, try playing heavy metal tunes at extreme volume. Bear in mind, you may run the risk of them actually being really into that sort of thing and subsequently getting louder. This is where the broom system comes in handy. 13 rhythmic knocks can mean ‘If you don’t quiet down, I’m turning this music off.’ In conjunction, my methods are 100% effective.
I’m no sex columnist, but the brevity of your question suggests you’re not that mad about the noise. The ellipsis even points to the fact that you’re a little… curious? There’s no time like lockdown to engage in some experimental promiscuity. But, you didn’t hear it from me.
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Yours in agony,
Sonia and Elsie
Art by Iona Shen