Auntie Nancy Fancy-Pants' Q&A

Are you baffled by the world around? Ever wonder why water tastes so much better when hung over? Or why you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Auntie Nancy has an answer to everything! If you have questions, send them over to BTSB (staff @ for Auntie Nancy to solve. Dear Auntie Nancy,

Underwear is what you wear closest to your skin, right. Why is it not called undest-wear?

Yours, “I used to have a life, now I study languages.”

Dear linguist,

The answer to this is quite simple. The labelling of layers of clothing into categories such as under- and over- (cf. overcoat) enables the current fashion trend of layering clothes. Were there such a category of clothes as undest-wear, it would become impossible to wear anything under the undest clothes. Now, you can pile on as many items of under-wear, and it is all well and dandy, since they are all layers that are closer to your skin than the over-items. Of course, this ideology is in blatant contrast with the trends that feature tops that look like lingerie (for women) or boxer shorts that are visible above the knee-skimming waistline of circus-tent-sized jeans (for men). If you are in any way fond of wearing the aforementioned styles of clothing, be sure to wear an item of over-clothing or keep one handy, in case you come across a strict follower of the under-vs-over -school of thought on a dark alley when there is no one else around. Better yet, stay out of dark alleys altogether.

All the best, Auntie Nancy Fancy-Pants ----- Dear Auntie Nancy,

I need to lose some weight, preferably so it will stay off. Can you give me some pointers?

Yours, “Freshman fifteen”

Dear freshman,

As we all know, losing weight is a tricky business. The easiest way to lose some is to give birth, if you are pregnant; that way you will get rid of at least a few pounds. Also, if you are in a relationship, break it off. Depending on the size of your companion, this can result to a loss of up to two hundred pounds. If you want to lose weight off your own body, the matter becomes even trickier.

Since the basic rule of weight loss, “burn more energy than you gain”, approaches in its complexity the rules of quantum physics, people have developed hundreds of different, simpler methods to weight loss. Scientists have solved this problem by substituting calories, those evil minions of excess body weight, with joules. An average woman needs an intake of 2,000 calories per day, compared to men's 2,500 calories. If you express that in joules, however, a woman can eat around 8,300 joules, and men can devour a whopping 10,000 joules a day! Imagine the weight loss you will achieve if you start eating in joules instead of in calories!

Of course, for you non-scientists out there, friendly doctors and marketing directors have developed non-scientific ways to lose weight. Most of these involve eating foods from specific food groups, and their effect is undeniable. Mostly this is due to the fact that no-one can eat 2,000 calories' worth of cabbage soup, steak, or white wine and boiled eggs. Then again, there are people who would not eat an ounce of cabbage soup if their life depended on it.

If you want to take the pleasant route to weight loss, why not come up with your own “eat only” -diet? Choose three or four of your favourite food ingredients, and resolve to eat only those for the next month. You can even take advantage of this when eating out – what restaurant would deny you a double-chocolate-chocolate-chip dressing on your green salad if you inform them you are on a very strict diet? On second thought, hold the greens and only bring me the dressing. After all, I don't want to mix up my diet too much.

Good luck with your weight loss, Auntie Nancy Fancy-Pants [tags]question, answer, auntie, nancy, underwear, weightloss[/tags]

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