Illustration: Rui Ricardo
14/ Eating jelly sweets
While you’re lounging on the couch and tossing them back, it’s a veritable fruity heaven. But then your eye scans the ingredients. What the hell’s ‘bovine gelatine’? Yep, you’re treating yourself with E numbers and melted cow hooves. No wonder the kids are going mental.
13/ Supporting a football team
Either in a stadium or gawping at a giant screen, it’s always: “Right, this Saturday I’m going to go and bellow at a load of self-obsessed millionaires who neither know nor care that I exist – but I’ll still wear the same item of clothing they wear. I’ll also yell abuse at similar blokes just because they come from a town 30 miles away. Then I’ll spend the rest of the night in a foul mood because my millionaires scored one less than theirs. All this, for only £40!”
12/ Having a Thai girlfriend
Inviting her back to the UK seemed such a good idea… when you were riding an elephant into the sea and taking handfuls of over-the-counter Valium. But back in Stoke? Those ‘mail-order bride’ taunts aren’t going away, are they? Thank God she only speaks Sanskrit.
11/ Showering at the gym
“So I said to the prick, ‘You work for IT, you sort my computer out.’ “Hang on. Are you rubbing soap onto your bollocks while we have this conversation surrounded by other naked men?”
“Yeah. What of it?”
True, their existence – and the hope of exploring them – is pretty much all that stops us topping ourselves. Strange, then, that so much of a man’s focus should dwell on a warm, earthy-smelling fleshy aperture resembling one of those Scream masks painted pink. Cunnilingus? Maybe we’ll just hug, eh?
An unthinking part of any big night out. And an enormous act of self-delusion: that women are attracted to sweating men thrashing around arrhythmically, clapping down to the chorus, punching the air like a malcoordinated Black Panther and breakdancing ‘ironically’. Chips on the way home? Why not.
Sure, the Chinese made them tasty delicacies that go valiantly to their delicious chilli grave wrapped in a lip-smacking batter shroud. Anywhere else? They’re an insect. A muscly fly of the sea, that feeds by treading water outside sewage outlets with its mouth open. Thanks, Ken Hom.
7/ Your mates’ antics
The acid test? Recounting them to your girlfriend on Sunday: “So then Pogo turned his jacket inside out and lobbed a pint glass across the bar, just before Mongy Baz had to dive into a skip because that bloke kept doing Hitler impressions. That cab driver who went mental after Diddy Dave vomited into a kebab box? Jeez. And… hey love, why are you crying? And what’s that suitcase doing on the bed?
6/ Nicknames for your girlfriend
Even if you could remember why you started calling her ‘Minty Paw-Paw’ in the first place, is that really something you should be sharing with the rest of the pub?
5/ Owning pets
Or: sharing your house with an actual animal. A farting, attention-seeking financial black hole who leaves dead mice in your shoes. A crucial insight into Kerry Katona’s marriage, in fact.
4/ Rinsing bottles before recycling
Somewhere in the third world, a starving man takes a break from burying his two-year-old son who died after a drought: “Let me check this. You’re washing your rubbish?”
A ‘playful’ guide to your week ahead from some overpaid modern warlock. Why not have a page on ouija boards and ‘just guessing stuff’?
2/ Low-slung jeans
Outside of fashion circles and homeless shelters, everyone else refers to this as ‘half a moony’.
1/ Taking cocaine
In the cold light of day, nobody ever looks at someone on coke and thinks, “They’re having a good time.” And it’s probably been wedged up someone’s arsehole, too.