As Twitter crashes and burns to the ground, as Beyoncé refuses to release the RENAISSANCE visuals, and as the world generally becomes a harder and more stressful place to live in, the student body of UCD deals with a major unprecedented crisis of its very own - I am once again writing the Agony Aunt column for the University Observer.

For anyone who's not up to speed here, my name is Joanne Joanne - UCD drag legend, unlikely Philosophy graduate, Minister for Termite Affairs. This is my third (third!) year writing this column for the paper, because I have the editorial team of the Observer in the palm of my hand. I might be lacing my emails with drugs. No questions please.

This column is all about the questions and problems I am sent through my anonymous Tipbox account - throughout the year I'll be taking submissions and telling the good people of University College Dublin how to navigate their lives as college students. Maybe they'll take my advice! Maybe they won't! It's really not my problem what happens after the article is published. I'm a 22-year-old drag queen with a Philosophy and Social Justice degree. The degree is finished - I no longer have to worry about the "consequences'' of my "actions".

Hi Joanne,
So me and my boyfriend have recently gone long distance. We were having a great time over the summer, but he's going to college up North now, and so while things are still great, they have gotten harder. Do you have any tips for keeping the spark alive while long distance? BTW we're both boys xoxo

Admittedly, I haven't been in this situation since I was sixteen - when I was a young and impressionable teenager, I figured that being in a relationship with some other young and impressionable teenager from the backass of nowhere was a move that would work for my underdeveloped coconut brain. Predictably, it did not last - I have the patience and attention span of a half-eaten chicken sandwich at the best of times, so I'm not exactly a brilliant spokesperson on navigating long-distance relationships as an adult. But that's never stopped me from giving my thoughts anyway!

I get that it's 2022, the pandemic is definitely 100% totally over forever for real now, and we all have weekly meetups where we try on each others' masks and gargle each others' spit - but Zoom still has a place in this icky, icky world. It might be a good idea to figure out roughly when ye're both free and call each other a couple of times a week. Doesn't need to be super long - it's just nice to see your partner's face or hear their voice every now and then.

Maybe a fun and sexy little getaway could be a good shout as something to look forward to - ye could pick somewhere specifically gay, or you could be extremely adult and reasonable and pick the exact midpoint between where the two of you live. Mykonos has nothing on some nonspecific, uninhabited field in the depths of Monaghan.

Soooo my two best friends and I recently motivated ourselves to go to the gym. When we go together they copy every single move I do even when stretching… we look like triplets mimicking one another. They act like they are my minions in the gym and will never go to the gym unless I am going. It is getting a tad bit annoying as I feel like I have two minions and can’t enjoy my workouts…. how do I politely tell them to get personalities

Speaking from personal experience, it's hard being a creative genius every single waking moment of your day. When I was in PE in secondary school, it was really difficult using the treadmill every week - I knew that I was forever changing the world by inventing walking at the age of sixteen, and fame is tough! I want to be known for other contributions to the world, such as being the first person to ever read a sentence, or to breathe oxygen! Can't I have anything to myself?

On a real note though, I do get this - it can be irritating doing something with your friends only to be made feel like they're not as into it for their own sakes as they said they were. I'd approach the subject with them and ask what specifically they want to get out of their time at the gym, and whether or not they go to the gym by themselves. They could be mimicking you out of insecurity, so it's important to get to the root of it.

If that doesn't work, drop a dumbbell on their toes by accident - if you do it first they won't be able to copy you!


Heyyyyy Miss Joanne,
I just choked on my bottle of water. Got any tips for getting rid of your gag reflex?

None whatsoever, but write back when you find out. For research purposes, obviously.


That's all for this issue! Throughout the year I'll be taking submissions through my Tipbox, which you can find in either my Linktree (@joannesquared on Instagram x) or in the Observer's Linktree. There is no story too juicy and nothing I can't make myself needlessly invested in, so please keep the submissions coming!

For real though - basically all the submissions I got last year were about long-distance boyfriends. I had to answer another one of them for this issue. This is devastating for me and my career.