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ask mh We understand: you don’t want to see your niece turn into a Kardashian clone. The problem is that parents see offspring as extensions of themselves, so your niece’s parents may view any criticism of her as a personal attack on them, says clinical psychologist Dr Aaron Cooper. So tread carefully: the next time you’re alone with your niece and she acts up, make a mental note and mention the incident to Mum and Dad later, suggests Cooper. Say something like,

– GZ

“If it happens again, would you mind if I gently corrected her?” If they’re receptive, ask how they set her straight so you’re all consistent. Are they defensive? Drop it. And don’t go behind their backs. Once they hear about it – and they will – you might be left off the Christmas card list. b

How can I stop waking up an hour –BT earlier than my alarm? The problem may be another other alarm clock, that solar-powered job that’s so annoying it can wake you from 149 million kilometres away. In fact, it just takes a little sunlight sneaking past your blinds to tell your body’s photoreceptor cells to sound a biomechanical wake-up call, says sleep medicine expert Dr W. Christopher Winter. Fortunately, there are fixes: wear a sleep mask, such as the Earth Therapeutics Dream Zone Sleep Mask ($9.85; au), which stays put and

covers just enough of your face to keep the light out, or install room-darkening shades like Redi Shade Black Out ($59.95, ezyblind. If that doesn’t do the trick, there could be too much darkness in your life – depression is strongly associated with chronic early morning awakening, probably because depression can disrupt key sleep-regulating hormones, including cortisol and melatonin. If you have other symptoms of the disease – pessimism,

you saying you’d love to see her with a bit of fluff, but just pick the right moment. In bed = yes. At the dinner table = no.


Ask the MH girls the questions you can’t ask anyone else. They’re three women with strong opinions, so don’t expect sugarcoated responses

Got a question for Ask Men’s Health or The Girls in the Office? Email or head to


My 22-year-old girlfriend is virtually bare down there, but I’ve always enjoyed au naturale (what can I say – I was born in the Seventies). How do I broach this sensitive issue? – PQ Alice Fancy the occasional bush bash, PQ? Good for you. Ask her straight: “Hey sugar puff, ever thought about rocking something more scourer-esque down south? Just be prepared for her to ask you to alter your pubic hair habits in return. All is fair in love and landscaping. Cassie The only “sensitive issue” here, PQ, is her vajayjay after the trauma of getting a Brazilian. She’s going to love your request – trust me. Crystelle I hope she hasn’t had laser hair removal, PQ, ’cause then you’ve got no chance. I doubt she’ll be offended by

My ex and I recently tried to do long distance, but I got drunk and kissed another girl. Should I admit that I cheated – and how do I tell my girl I’m having doubts? – NV Crystelle Your drunken snog makes it pretty obvious you’re having doubts, NV. Tell her what happened and apologise. Next time you’re unsure about your relationship, be honest instead of cheating – otherwise you’re going to give girls across the country serious trust issues. Alice ’Fess up, NV. Honesty is the backbone of any relationship. But be sure she bows out of your duo with confidence intact. The worst thing you could do is cripple her esteem for the next Mr Right. Cassie Devil’s advocate here: don’t admit to cheating. The distance has probably made her insecure enough as it is and you’ll just confirm her worst fears. Then she’ll take serious trust issues into her next relationship. Be honest about your doubts, break up with her, then let her move on.


I’ve stopped drinking to improve my mental health. I’m wondering if it means I’ll now come across as boring when I meet girls. Who’ll win in the end: the sober, mentally stable guy – or the courageous party animal? – DG Alice There comes a time, DG, when BoozyPants McGee needs to put down the yard glass and retire his swizzle stick. Throwing up at the bouncer’s feet is funny the first time round. The third? Not so much. If you’re worried about being a wet


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appetite changes, feelings of guilt – see a mental health professional who specialises in treating men. Visit for more information and help.

blanket, scrub up on current affairs and have three conversation starters on hand to keep you out of Boreville. Crystelle Good on you, DG! Any girl who finds you boring because you’re being sensible, smart and true to yourself isn’t worth your time, so don’t worry about it. Just be confident in your decision and wear it proudly. Cassie I’m totally onboard with this, DG, and you should be proud of yourself. It’s a stage most of us reach when we grow up a bit and you’ll find most women have beat you to it. The ones who give you a hard time about being sober are better left in the pub loo.


I met a girl who I like hanging out with but am not particularly attracted to. I was up-front about this before we had sex, but she showers me with presents, home-cooked meals and full-body massages, which make it hard to break it off. How do I get her to cool it without being an arse and hurting her? – SG Crystelle You have to be blunt, SG. This girl needs a serious dose of truth so she can move on to someone who wants and appreciates her full-body massages. Alice C’mon guys. There’s a common theme to this month’s column: honesty. Tell her how you feel (albeit again, but hey some folk revel in denial). If she’s still willing to tap into her inner Betty Crocker knowing you’re not open to change, you have my blessing to add monobrow maintenance to the treatment list. Cassie I can smell her desperation from here, SG, and it’s not nice. You say you’ve been upfront with her, but what kind of impression do you think signing up for full-body massages is giving? Stop kidding yourself and pull the plug on it. You’re milking this, even if you won’t admit it to yourself.

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My five-year-old niece is a brat. Can I tell her to straighten up without annoying her parents?

Ask The Girls in the Office, November 2013  

Monthly Men's Health column