Dear Jasminda,

Even though my daughter has moved to Sydney and is in a new relationship, her former boyfriend, a uni student, still comes around for dinner at least two nights a week. I haven’t told her because it seems sort of odd, but I don’t know how to say anything to him without hurting his feelings.

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Mrs KC, Soldiers Point.

Dear Mrs KC,

I feel that this boyfriend – I’m going to call him Jasper – I feel Jasper can smell your kindness in the same way that he can smell your veal parmigiana with scalloped potatoes, julienned carrots, crisp beans and a baked cheesecake topped with drizzled lemon curd and berries for dessert. Uni students don’t have a lot of spare cash, and I reckon Jasper has factored you in to his weekly budget that goes something like this: Three nights a week as a Pizza Deliverer plus my student loan plus the money I got for Christmas plus two nights a week at Mrs KC’s house for dinner minus share accommodation costs, petrol, uni books, parking fees, drinking money and six packets of two-minute noodles equals an accruing debt that I may be able to pay off by the time I’m 28. Without Mrs KC, I’ll be at least 30.

Of course, I don’t doubt that you also have a very engaging personality, Mrs KC, and look, if you enjoy Jasper’s company and it isn’t inconvenient to cook for one more (particularly now your daughter has flown the coop), then I don’t see a problem with it. I would, however, tell her about this arrangement before she drops in for a surprise visit and sees his clapped out 1999 Mitsubishi Magna in the driveway. PS: If Jasper starts to bring his washing as well, all deals are off.

Carpe diem, Jasminda.

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