Dear Minxie, 
I love my dog, Petula, but I’m not a fan of taking her to the pooch palour as I like her to look natural. My friends all take their dogs for clipping and some of their pets even get their claws painted. I think it’s weird. Petula is always clean, but just not styled. How do I answer the dog fashion police? Jan

Dear Jan,
I’m digging your dog fashion aesthetic. I’m all for letting little Petula be a natural beauty. I took my two fur babies, Doris and Gidget, to the salon a few months ago and they came out looking like Kardashians, except classier. Never again. You can ease the misplaced concerns of your fashion obsessed friends by telling them that your dog’s a hipster. Hair is her flair, naturally. If you want to take it further, scoff when members of the dogerrati boast that they are baking rosemary and kelp biscuits for their pets. Tell them your Petula is following the Gwyneth Paltrow diet and is eating only gluten free kale kibble drizzled with coconut oil. If that hasn’t shut them up, add a reference to the obscure dog-care manifesto The Paleo Pooch and add that Petula will not be enrolling in any sort of training as it is against her anarchist beliefs. Also, she won’t wear a leash as it disrupts her astral travelling. That should stop your friends’ barking. If not, ditch these howlers as everyone knows dogs are much better company.MJx 


Dear Minxie, 
I'm a keen op-shopper but mix in some circles where this pastime may be frowned upon. Should I be loud and proud about my second-hand bargains or stay mum and pretend I've paid top dollar for my clothing? Kate

Dear Kate,
I’m a mad op-shopper (aka thrift shopper). I’ve always loved the thrill of the chase even though I am not short of a buck, or million. When you walk into one of these treasure troves you are confronted by the Wall of Style - the visual equivalent of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. Under one roof you get a glimpse into the tastes of hundreds - probably thousands - of people and it’s all there for the taking … for next to nothing. I wouldn't be surprised if Anna Wintour has jumped on the bargain shop bandwagon. She's not wearing those dark glasses 24/7 for nothing. The clothing in the land of Bargainalia is amazing. You can find a vintage frock rubbing shoulders with a terry towelling adult onesie of questionable origin. If you don’t want to disclose where you are buying your gorgeous threads, treat your trips to the other side of the shopping tracks as a fabulous affair. No one has to know. It’s between you and the objects of your affection. You'll enter op-shop heaven in a state of beautiful anticipation and hopefully exit smiling and carrying a little something in your bag for later. It’s a heady feeling of cheekiness, exhilaration and smug satisfaction. You will be drawn back again, as the feeling is just THAT good. Go forth Kate, plunder this bottomless well of delight … it’s your fabulous little secret, and you’ll look  amazing in the bargain.
Happy plundering!


Dear Minxie,
I consider myself to be a beer connoisseur and I love the atmosphere of a pub. Does this make me more or less of a lady? Vera

Dear Vera,
It's good to hear you are enjoying yourself and living large on the pub scene. Ladies have always enjoyed a good old-fashioned knees-up with a beer (women were the first to brew their own as a way of escaping the drudge of chasing down, then plucking, a chicken for dinner; lying back and thinking of England; ironing with a heated brick and using a big stick to stir the washing in a vat of boiling water). 
On the question of whether pub-going makes you more or less of a lady, I guess it depends on whether you love - or LOVE - the pub. If you love nicking in for a quick few, a singalong to the jukebox and a sly flutter on televised bingo, then great. If your love extends to a beer-fuelled tussle with other patrons over a rancid bowl of free peanuts on the bar, hurling chairs at your bar-snack competition, threatening fellow drinkers with a jagged glass or hitching your skirt higher than your forehead for entertainment, then I'd probably suggest otherwise. No-one likes a booze hound, especially one with a less-than-boutique boquet to her breath. There is a fine line between funny and fumigation. Too much beer also makes you want to fight stuff. This can be a bit amusing for onlookers, but when an otherwise sane woman starts giving a pool table a mouthful for taking liberties, the whole "isn't the tipsy lady cute?" routine stumbles into "holy drunkard, don't make eye contact with the crazy, smelly woman getting her groove on to Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap".  Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em.
Just walk away with a bit of dignity and don't be thinking you can run ... or tap dance ... in that state. There'll be time enough for dancing when the drinking's done (ie. in your privacy of your own home).
Time ladies! MJx


Dear Minxie, 
I am a single lady, and at a recent family wedding I was seated at the kiddies table. Should I feel insulted not to have been included with the grown-ups, or honoured that I was chosen to supervise the small fry. It did curtail my champagne consumption somewhat, I can tell you.

Dear Bubbles, 
Oh, dear. The old 'Sit the Single Lady with the Kiddies' trick. This used to happen to me until I unleashed Plan B, which I will share with you in a minute. I want to explain why you have been corralled with the kiddies. As you don't have a plus-one, you are clearly desperate and, if left in the vicinity of any man in that room, you are going to strike - like the barracuda you are. Well, this is what  goes through some women's minds when a unmarried loose-cannon gets gussied up and attends an event where there will be mixed company. I am a bit surprised they put you with the kidlets, as it is also well-known that unmarried women eat children. I was almost always seated between the widowed aunties over 80. Bubbles, yes, it is an insult. It's interesting because the women who are the worst guard dogs are usually partnered with the most offensive, over-confident, dull - and, therefore, deeply unattractive - specimens in the venue. Since it's not the right occasion to point out that you would rather fire a nail-gun into your eye than even entertain the idea of moving in on their pride and joys, you have to enact Plan B: swearing. Because you are a woman about town, you know how to drop a few F-bombs into general conversation. With adults, it is edgy. But if you use it in front of their precious kidlets (especially those littlies who are trying their best to be good and not laugh at some funny lady using naughty words) you are going to hell. Flag your habit for talking like a wharfie, and you will be guaranteed the best seat in the house - beside the mother of the bride, who will use all her passive aggressive skills to keep a lid on you so that her moment to shine will not be ruined by some minx with a potty mouth. Everyone knows that bride's mumsy also gets the best food and drink ... and fast. That means you willl too, because while you are eating and drinking, you are not singing dirty ditties. It will be over and done with in no time and you will be able to hug the bride and groom, tell them they look fab, then slink off into the night without having to worry about breaking up a fight between your plus-one and another pickled gent who are squaring off over who took the last cracker on the cheese platter.
Ah, bliss.
Taxi! MJx 


Dear Minxie,
I am a newly single man and I am about to set up an apartment of my own. I’m not really up to dating at the moment but I’d like a place that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to present to any future 'special lady'. Any tips for this bachelor, who is severely challenged in the interior design department? Kev

Dear Kev,
I could overwhelm you with a host of tips, but you might get scared and move back with your parents. I’ll start with the basics. The most important piece is a good lounge. Since you are a bit gun-shy, it will be your comfort zone when you are kicking back watching
Dr Phil re-runs. So it will need to be cushy. You’ll have to think about style and colour. When the ladies come a-visiting, they will be less than turned on by some weird couch colour combo that belongs in a teen’s rumpus room. Think about red (passion), deep blue (spiritual, and it might match your eyes) or gun metal grey (safe standby for the manly man about town). Think about fabric…just think plush velvet. Spend some money on getting it right and it will be the purchase that keeps on giving. I also suggest a good side-board. Here you stash the liquor (for before, during or after said lady visits, depending on your state of mind and date success). It is also good for displaying keepsakes from your travels – both real and imagined. It will gently suggest “Ken’s exotic, and a bit hard to pin down. Mmmm, challenging". Another tip: your remote-controls and
Sexy Girls with Sexy V8s mags are not top decorating devices. Neither is a gun rack. Your collections might impress your mates, but if the lady of the moment spots them she’ll instantly replay in her head all those high-school dates that – let’s face it – usually ended in disappointment, embarrassment and a sad walk home. Start with these baby-step decorating tips and you’ll be standing on your own in no time. General housekeeping tips: make sure the seat’s down (and clean) and invest in some crisp new bed sheets, the other ones will reek of loneliness. Think Law of Attraction.
Happy courting Cutie Kev, and learn to make a martini.


Dear Minxie,
Having recently passed the half-century age I have decided to let my hair return to its natural colour after years of dyeing. Some family and friends aren't big fans, with some being less polite about their opinions than others. How should I handle this? (I bought that book Fifty Shades of Grey hoping for some inspiration, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting) Gloria

Dear Gloria,
I must confess I had a similar reaction recently to my good friend, Andora’s, choice to let her glorious chestnut bouffant go au-naturel. But that was only because she is a terrible cheapskate and is skimping on her beauty regime in favour of buying food, saving for her luxurious retirement, paying bills, or god knows whatever else she thinks is more important. But, a few months on, she is looking a treat and, dare I say, I was wrong. Yes, wrong. Gloria, your best answer to the people who doubt that you will continue to be a total fox with grey hair is to look fabulous! You’ve got to own those grey hairs like nobody else. How about a silver beehive? It will take a bit of work every morning, but the gasps from passers-by will be worth it. Accessorise with chandelier earrings and pop on a turquoise kaftan and I guarantee people will be stopping you to ask the name of your stylist. And maybe you could call your new colour  “chrome” or “mercury”. I’ve been meaning to put Fifty Shades of Grey on my Book Club list, but I think the Collins sisters’ novels are more titillating and their love interests more compelling than a man who thinks he can impress the ladies with a tattoo on his forehead that says I’m an Alpha male, goddammit! and his collection of scout badges awarded for knot and rope tying. The author describes Mr Shady Grey as ‘enigmatic’ but we all know that word is code in polite social circles for
dull ... with a big whiff of creep. 
Go forth Gloria and be mercurial. Whip up a fashion frenzy with your hair.
Whip it good.