by Madame Descartes

Today we introduce Splendid Fred’s newest column, Shot Through the Heart with Madame Descartes, in which our resident Agony Aunt will be answering your letters of pain, heartbreak, and general misfortune.

Madame Descartes hails from the mystical Midlands, and is thus well versed in agony and misfortune. She has been offering advice for nearly fifty years, often at the request of others.


Dear Madame Descartes,

Although my father and brother both disapproved of our relationship, things were going great with my boyfriend— he treated me almost like a princess.

But it seems of late that he has lost all his mirth. He lost his father recently and his mother remarried very soon after, which must be tough for him to deal with but all of a sudden he’s like a totally different person.

Until the other day he’d always remained the perfect gentleman. He took me to this play he’d produced and spent the whole time making crude comments and lewd suggestions. I want to be strong and be there for him, but I’m beginning to think that things are never going to work out between us.

And now on top of everything he’s killed my father!

Am I crazy to have my doubts?

Dane in Distress, Elsinore

Dear Dane in Distress,

It’s only natural to have doubts about your relationship during clearly what is clearly a tough and stressful time for you both.

Guys can often forget that they’re not the only ones suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune. What you have to do is remind him of your existence and your needs as a woman.

Try talking almost exclusively in riddles or singing songs about virginity— and if that fails nothing says ‘notice me’ quite as emphatically as a suicide.


Dear Madame Descartes,

I’ve recently discovered that whilst I’ve been working overtime to keep my carpentry business afloat my wife has been seeking solace in the arms of an omnipresent deity and now she’s pregnant with his child.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to lose my wife, but I know she’d be better off with Him. I mean he created all life in less than a week and he’s always there for her whilst I could only knock out a few cabinets in that time. Of course I’d have to spend so much time working I’d barely be present, let alone omnipresent.

And now with them having a child in the way it just feels like I’m the one in the way.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to lose my wife but I want to do the right thing for her and the baby…

Cuckold Carpenter, Nazareth

Dear Carpenter,

I’ve heard from many men in your position, and believe me, it always ends the same— the omnipotent lothario soon tires of his mortal matrimonial meddling, whilst the woman becomes desperate to rid herself of such a controlling, overbearing presence.

Stick out the rocky patch and get ready for parenthood. Christmas is a stressful time, and the new arrival won’t make things any easier!


Dear Madame Descartes,

A couple of weeks ago I thought I saw Angela Lansbury working the till at my local Costcutter. I didn’t think anything of it then, but since that incident I’ve been seeing Angela Lansbury everywhere— that is to say every woman I see looks uncannily like the popular TV super-sleuth.

Now my girlfriend of three years (that’s how long we’ve been together, she’s much older), thinks I’m cheating on her because I keep calling her ‘Angela.’ Fortunately I’m more than a little sexually attracted to the former Miss Marple, but I’m worried about the long-term effects on my relationship and general mental health…

Even as I write to you now your photograph looks uncannily like a young Miss Lansbury— please help me Madame Descartes, you’re my only hope!

Jeff, 15, from Bromley


So you’re in a frame of mind where every woman in the world seems attractive to you? There’s a name for what you’re experiencing— puberty.

If your girlfriend doesn’t like to be called Angela, then ditch her for someone who does. If I’ve learnt anything from my career as an agony aunt it is that young love never lasts. If all women look the same to you it doesn’t really matter who she is.

You really think I resemble a young Angela Lansbury? I’ve forwarded you my personal e-mail.

That’s all for this week— if you want all your problems pseudo-solved by a old Brummie harridan then please e-mail us at Please state the nature of your agony in the subject line, unless your agony is related to a recent amputation of the hands, or confiscation of your hook.