Betty’s Bag – Your resident agony aunt is here to help!

Dear Betty,

I’m very worried about my son, Dennis. There’s something funny going on with him since he’s gone away to college in Tralee IT (TIT). He rarely visits anymore, saying he can’t “be himself” in such a small town. Most of his college friends are girls who wear very strange clothes and I think they smoke things, if you know what I mean…They say the funny smell is incense but I didn’t come down in the last shower! He was home last weekend and refused to drink the Lyons Tea because he said they’re unethical and will only drink Tesco fairtrade. I’m starting to think he might be…oh God I can’t even say it. I have no problem with how people to choose to live their life and I think that funny woman who owns the charity shop is one, and I’m perfectly nice and civil to her. I know it’s very popular these days, but it wasn’t like that in our day Betty as you well know. He never used to be like this and was a perfectly normal young man before he went away to college! I can’t possibly tell his father, he’ll go mad.

 I don’t think I could cope with the shame and the neighbours gossiping. There must be some way to talk him out of all this. What will I do Betty? My only son, a vegetarian!!

 Please help.

 Bridie*, Farranfore.

Bridie – I feel your pain.  But let’s face it – even if he isn’t eating meat, he’ll always be your son.  Is there anyone you can talk to closer to home about this?  Students tend to be more militant these days, not like in our day.  However, I want you to do this.  Visualise him at your deathbed eating a carrot stick.  Now, wouldn’t you rather have him there loving and supporting you as you go on your way, rather than him feeling alienated?  And as for the neighbours, Im sure they’ve all tried a bit of lettuce in their time.  Never mind about the gossips, what’s todays news, is tomorrows burger and chips paper.


Dear Betty,

I hope you can help. I’m having a bit of trouble with my neighbour’s dog. It constantly barks all the time! I mean constantly – it sounds like it’s going to come out the door and eat me. It’s very annoying but the lady won’t listen to me when I try to tell her, she just glares and walks off. Now it does stop when I leave her garden and stop peering in the windows, but it barks non stop for the four hours I’m hanging around there. It’s very bad noise pollution. How should I proceed?


Fintan, County Meath.


With extreme caution.  Dogs can be quite territorial.  Cut your time down to one hour and bring a steak with you and you should see a difference in a week.


Dear Betty,

I need some advice on talking to girls. I’m a 24 year old lad from Wexford and am currently studying Maths & Physics at Trinity. I recently met this girl that I really like, but she doesn’t know I exist. I met her when our Chess club had our weekly meeting next door to the Debating society, where she was taking part. I’m not sure how to get her to notice me. I debated joining her club (haha did you see what I did? Debating, because it’s a debating society. Gas!), but I’m not very good at public speaking. I’m not really good at talking about much beside maths or physics really, and you can’t debate those because they’re flawlessly accurate and absolute. I tried gelling up my hair but I think I had a reaction to the Brylcreme because I got a nasty rash on my forehead and hands. I’ve bought a nice brightly coloured shirt for next Chess Club.


Any other helpful tips? You’re a woman so I thought I’d ask you. Be way too mortified to ask mammy!


Lorcan, Dublin via Ballindaggin, Co. Wexford

Lorcan, Lorcan, Lorcan, where do I start?  You could write her a letter I suppose, and put your feelings down.  She might read it, you never know.  Leave off with the brylcreme, that’s too slick an approach.  If all else fails, take her out for a drink and after the first three, ask can you show her your bishop.  She may develop an interest in chess after a few tequilas.


Dear Betty,

Ive recently discovered that my partner of 14 years has been having it off with a younger woman.  I love this man and I don’t want him to leave.  What can I do to keep him?

Dawnie, New Lodge Road


In short, you need to get a grip.  If he’s done it once, you can be damned sure he will do it again.  A not so wise politician once said, “fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”  What he should have said was “fool me once, pack your bags, because you won’t get an opportunity to do it again.    What are you, a doormat?  Kick him out, cut up his undies, do whatever it takes to make you feel a bit better.  But don’t let him back into your bed.


Dear Betty,

I know this is a Vixens blog, but Im a man. That’s part of my problem.  My motion in the ocean seems to be ok if you get my drift, but I can’t seem to hold onto a woman.  How can I find the right girl – and hang onto her?

Steve, aged 62.


At your age, youre lucky your motion is working at all.  Next!


Dear Betty,

I’m a massive Patsy Cline fan.  I would hitch up my skirt while peeling the potatoes and sing “Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray” at the top of my voice.   The problem is last Tuesday night, two PSNI officers came from Tennant Street with an ASBO.  Im now barred from playing or singing Patsy, because my neighbours don’t appreciate good music when they hear it.  What am I going to do?

Depressed in Dun Eden


Well, Depressed.  You should count yourself lucky you weren’t arrested for crimes to decent human beings ears!  Short of falling to pieces, my advice is this.  You are driving. Your. Neighbours. crazy.  If you really want to belt out Patsy Cline songs, go walking after midnight, down to the graveyard and sing to your hearts content.  That way, no one will hear you, and only the dead will be offended.  Good luck!


If you would like Betty to answer your problems, send it to and mark it Betty’s Bag – she’ll be more than happy to give you some tough love!Image



Welcome to a collection of blogs from women who contribute with one aim - simply to write honestly. None of these women shy away from controversy, believing that subjects should be tackled head on, explored, and in some cases even enjoyed. We welcome contributions from anyone who feels they have something to say. Email :

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