15/ Order Chinese
Gloopy vegetables, boring rice and unidentifiable meat. The dinner of compromise. Perfect for when both of you grudgingly meet the other halfway and end up with something that makes no one happy. ‘Five minutes to showtime, Mr Metaphor!’
14/ Watch films with Diane Keaton in
As opposed to helicopters. Or a gun-filled dystopian future. Or palpable entertainment value.
13/ Go to the beach
Unless you’re in a Doritos advert, you never get round to going with your friends. And solo trips are out of the question, because nothing says ‘sinister voyeur’ faster than ‘lone single guy, face down in the sand because he forgot to bring a towel, pretending to read a book’.
12/ Sit silently across a country pub table drinking half pints
“Think of something to talk about… That younger couple at the next table have been talking and getting off with each other all night. God we must look old… think, conversation… he’s practically fingering her now… Got it! (slaps hands together) The sinking of the Kursk!”
11/ Lie in bed naked without any kind of sexual spark
And wake up rubbing your erection on the pillow you’ve been cuddling.
10/ Stay sober at a wedding
While tutting patronisingly at the bloke who’s been on the snifters since 11am and is now lurching around the dancefloor with the arse of his suit split open, a makeshift bandage on his hand and a flower behind his ear. Like you ever did that.
9/ Drink Buck’s Fizz in bed, in the morning, in a crap hotel, in Cherbourg
Before staring out at the mist-shrouded branch of Monoprix, pretending to shoot at seagulls, making a cup of instant coffee and wondering if you could walk to the ferry terminal in under five minutes.
8/ Dog-sit for her mental spinster friend
Who unironically refers to said mutt as “my baby”, and acts like she’s the mum in Sophie’s Choice the second you give it a well-aimed toepoke for munching one of your shoes.
7/ Go and be in the audience of a TV show
At one point, watching your girlfriend dancing through the crowd towards the stage, waving her hands in the air and whooping. And thinking really, really hard about your future.
6/ Go for long, adult walks in the park
It’s so cold you wish you had a spare sock on your nose, the tip of your penis has frostbite, the wind’s so strong it’s ripping new stress lines in your face and she’s only snuggling up to you in case she gets crushed by a falling, wind-flailed tree. So why are you now eating ice creams, feeding near-frozen deer, commenting on “the fresh air of the open wild’’, and panicking that your car’s four miles away being clamped?
5/ Lift the bottom of the duvet with your feet after farting
You’d usually lift the top to disperse the poisonous pong, but when she’s around a far subtler manouevre is required. Just don’t drop the duvet too quickly, otherwise the ‘backdraft’ effect may see your girlfriend running screaming from the bed like that little kid in Vietnam.
4/ Drink orange juice from a glass
That pointy bit of the carton is for pouring, not suckling noisily. Who knew? See also: eating at a table; owning lightshades.
3/ Play with children
With her there, you’re a magnet for the freeloading, sticky-handed little Napoleons. The second she’s gone you’re about as kiddie-friendly as Vladimir Putin crossed with the clown from It.
2/ Visit farmers’ markets
Usually on a Sunday, having overdone it the night before. Stumble around feeling sick as she expresses incredulity at the size of vegetables, while imagining living in a rural idyll à la River Cottage. You haven’t got the heart to tell her that it’d be more like Straw Dogs, relocated to Grozny.
1/ Split up every time you go to IKEA
Ending the trip angrily sobbing while she drives off with a bloke dressed as a giant promotional hotdog.