From 'Just step into my office,' to 'Your card has been declined,' the phrases that send your testicles soaring straight up to your stomach...

 

09  “Can you, er, just step into my office?”

As you make that torturously slow journey to your boss’s fortress of solitude, you know the best-case scenario is a high-impact bollocking and a warning.

The worst? He shoots you dead, so that no other company need ever be infected with your catastrophic incompetence.

 

08  “What the hell is this in your browser history?”

You may think you’re smart, with your discreet windows and your cookie-deletions, but your filthy porn habit will always come back and bite you on the arse.

Your girlfriend only borrowed your laptop for a second to email her mum, but now she’s wading through the toxic porn-waters of last night’s one-man lovemaking session: ladyboy Latinos, lactating MILFs, BBWs performing DPs and ATMs... What’s wrong with you, you pervy bastard?     

 

07  “I’m late.” 

You haven’t truly achieved manhood until you’ve dealt with the knuckle-biting terror that comes with a sexual partner telling you her monthly doodahs are somewhat overdue.

Chances are it’s all fiiine, and her period is just temporarily wonked-out from all that Sambuca at the weekend. But that doesn’t stop you picturing yourself surrounded by screaming quintuplets, with cack-filled nappies  as far as the eye can see.       

 

06  “Please board the rail-replacement bus…”

No lengthy UK train journey is complete without a mind-destroying section that requires you to exit your prime seat; drag all your shit on to a BO-scented ’80s coach; be driven a vast distance by an apparently suicidal pensioner; and then board a second train that’s so packed you’re forced to perch atop your bag next to a toilet that smells like Godzilla took a dump in it. 

     

05  “It’s ringing – wait, it’s gone to voicemail...”

Mislaid your phone on a boozy night out? Got your mate to call it for you, in the hope it’s hiding behind a nearby cushion? And he says it’s ringing? Then it swiftly goes to voicemail?

It’s been nicked. You may begin the grieving process.     

 

04  *Sigh*. “You didn’t even notice, did you?”

You may think you and your girlfriend have been enjoying a pleasant conversation since she arrived 43 minutes ago, but no: she’s been secretly seething away the whole time, growing ever more enraged by your total self-involvement and waning physical attraction to her.

You’re in a tight spot, so make sure you fully look her over to ascertain what the change is, rather than blurting out random body areas: “Fringe? Nails? Arse?” 

 

03  “Your card has been declined.”

Unlikely: you only got paid 10 days ago. But then you do some mental arithmetic: your phone bill just came out, plus payment for that loan you’ve got, you filled the car up on Sunday, Netflix, council tax... Oh bouncing baby Jesus, you really are skint.

Off home with you then, to spend the next 20 days surviving on out-of-date pickled onions from the darkest recesses of the cupboard.    

 

02  “Oh, shit. My ex!” 

It’s not much fun having your girlfriend squint across a crowded room and then enthusiastically chirrup, “Heeyy! It’s my ex!” as if he’s swooping  in to rescue her from your boring, droning-on presence.

Far worse, however, is having her quietly murmur, “Oh, shit. My ex!” – a surefire sign that you’re about to be parachuted into the middle of a very heated, awkward situation.

And if things turn nasty, you’ll be duty-bound to step in and defend your woman’s honour, at which point everything starts going downhill like a burning bus with no brakes...  

 

01  “Erm… did you just finish?” 

You’ve let the lady down but, most of all, you’ve let yourself down.