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Dear Richard Madeley: 'I worry that my niece’s slack personal hygiene will stymie her career'

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Dear Richard Madeley: 'I worry that my niece’s slack personal hygiene will stymie her career'
 'I worry that my niece’s slack personal hygiene will stymie her career' Credit: RII SCHROER/GETTY 

Dear Richard

After an extremely isolated and financially precarious childhood in a cluttered home, and an unsuccessful school career, my 27-year-old niece is now working part-time in catering. For some years it’s been apparent that she has inherited her parents’ unworldly attitude to life as well, I’m afraid to say, as their lax attitude to personal hygiene.

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appUnless she sharpens up her grooming and washes her clothes more often, I worry she will make no progress in her current trade, or almost any other. I would like to offer to take her in hand but do not wish to embarrass my brother and sister-in-law, her parents. Can you advise me?

Rebecca, Somerset

Dear Rebecca

Yup – I can. Stay out of it. She’s your niece, not your daughter. If you tell her she smells and looks as if she could do with a good scrub, you’ll cause massive offence, however delicately you deliver judgment. She’s 27, not a scruffy child. You may as well slap her in the face with a wet fish. As for her parents, your criticism of their daughter could hardly be more implicitly directed at them. They’ll be just as angry as she will.

Your niece has a career, and it’s up to her what she makes of it, not you. Remember the Serenity Prayer? “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference”? Recite it three times daily until the unreasonable urge to correct your niece’s hygiene has passed.

Dear Richard Madeley: 'I worry that my niece’s slack personal hygiene will stymie her career'