Cleaner minded

Dear Auntie, I live in a house with several friends and while I enjoy the ritual weekly clean they are lazy, so have suggested we hire a cleaner. I am uncomfortable about the idea of hiring someone to be our servant when we have plenty of time and are perfectly capable of doing our own cleaning. Does Auntie have a cleaner? And what does she think of the idea of hiring one? Ms Spick and Span

December 8, 2007 · 2 min read

Dear Ms Spick and Span

Auntie is by no means a domestic goddess, as her friends and former partners will testify; she’s quite happy living with a little chaos and disorder. Auntie’s theory is the messier a mind the more the need for order around you. Auntie’s mind is a clutter-freezone.

Over the years, Auntie has employed the odd domestic worker; housekeeping is an underrated and valuable skill she does not possess. She has also been involved in campaigns for the rights of migrant domestic workers, such as with Kalayaan www.kalayaan.org.uk.

A person making a living from cleaning is a domestic worker, an equal

providing a service, not an indentured servant to exploit. Lead by example:

ensure terms and conditions include a decent wage, paid holidays and sick leave. Visit the T&G website www.tgwu.org.uk for details. Make sure your friends are clear on what they expect, draw up a contract of employment and agree a list of tasks beforehand with your prospective employee. Be respectful and appreciative- remember it’s taking the piss to expect him or her to clean up your dirty knickers and used condoms. To salve your conscience further, do a quick clean-up beforehand.

As for Auntie, ideally she is seeking a submissive man who will pay her to let

him do the housework. Suitably respectful letters of application, with two references, may be sent to Subcomandauntie[@]gmail.com



The crack pipe of peace

Dear Auntie _ War, famine, economic depression and global warming - the idea that 'another world is possible' seems remoter than ever. Will we ever have a just and peaceful world? _ Desperate for peace, Preston

Learning by number

Dear Auntie _ At one of the Gaza protests in London, Stop the War put the number of protesters at around 100,000 but the police insisted it was only 20,000. Can Auntie reassure me that the Met has a scientific methodology for estimating crowd numbers? _ Numberless in London

No hope

Dear Auntie, All my left-wing friends seem to be overjoyed about Obama winning the US election, holding real hope that he will bring change, that he'll stop the wars, and that he'll somehow make America all cuddly and nice. But haven't we been here before? I'm getting flashbacks to the expectations people had of politicians like Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, and how quickly they betrayed us. Is it terrible that I think Obama will be just more of the same? Hopeless, London


Both feet not in the grave

Dear Auntie, Having reached 50, I've become invisible. It's the only explanation of why people look right through me. I'm ignored in shops and at bus stops; and getting served at the bar is an endurance test, as men and younger women always take priority. I have a lifetime of experience as an activist, but these days there's always a 'Darren' or 'Ryan' whose opinion matters more. I'd go as far as saying they don't even hear me speak! It seems white hair and wrinkles are taken as an early indication of Alzheimer's. But I'm not ready to go gently into the night and as Auntie looks of a similar age, does she have any advice? The invisible woman, London

Do what I say, not what I inhale

Dear Auntie, _ My daughter is starting to ask awkward questions such as 'Mum, did you take drugs when you were young?' I don't want to lie but I don't want her to venture down the same route. What do I tell her? _ Amy in London

Nice smelling poo

Dear Auntie, _ I'm a vegetarian who is fed up having to justify why I don't eat anything with a face on it. And it's the environmentalists who are also meat eaters who seem the most personally affronted by my choices. Do you have any suggestions how I can deal with this? _ Chickpea not chicken lover, Totnes