By GEMMA ASKHAM
We can have a calm discussion about overdrafts, children, and when to have the sex to create said children….
But put the toilet roll on the wrong way and we’ll lose our collective shit.
Researching her new book, Clash of the Couples, author Crystal Ponti proved this; finding it wasn’t life-changing issues that caused tempers (and possibly household objects) to fly. Instead, it was the daily, grating grind of your other half just existing.
So in a completely scientific experiment – i.e. a discussion at Mamamia – we present the five topics guaranteed to get coupled-up women everywhere wondering why they didn’t become nuns instead.
1. Food shaming.
For a harmonious relationship, the theory goes like this: find someone who you like as a person, and who you like thrusting with. This rule works wonderfully – until you need to eat.
If you’re a vegetarian, expect meals to be an attempt at meat-conversion, often delivered with such intensity that it makes the Scientologists look chilled. If you’re the meat-eater, expect sly passive-aggressive glances that translate to: ‘You’re eating a little lamb. I think you’re dead inside.’
2. The Internet.
There was a time, a few years back, when people worried that men were spending a lot of time online looking at porn.
Well, they still might be – we just haven’t got time to worry about it because we’ve got to finish this cat meme, watch the new flash-mob proposal that’s gone viral, revisit that Kate Middleton gallery, update Facebook, look on Twitter, check Instagram.
Rather than getting mad at us, our partners should be grateful that we don’t need Tinder. Think how much time we’d spend online then. Ha.
3. Household minutiae.
It’s not the simple domestic stuff that gets us going, like, say, mortgage contributions or deciding whether to live in the countryside or the city. It’s the really important stuff that hits our rage buttons, such as: How many pegs to use per item on the clothesline? Exactly how much time is allowed between finishing a cup of herbal tea and disposing of the tea bag?
Should plates really be rinsed before going in the dishwasher? Exactly what circumference of a bed-sheet should be tucked in? And is ironing is a night-before activity or a morning one? Best to get all of these points covered on your first date.
4. A general lack of life enthusiasm.
In some circumstances that we don’t consider unreasonable – such as after telling a joke so hilarious that we’re still bent double – we women like a bit more of an extreme reaction than NONE. But getting beyond a grunt can feel like trying to get a Bachelor contestant to be sincere.
My partner is Swedish, which, in true Scandinavian stereotype, means his default reaction displays just enough emotion to show he’s still alive – but not a lip-twitch more. After years of screaming, “Are you listening to me? Did you hear me? ARE YOU F**KING LISTENING?”, I’ve accepted that him giving me a deadpan, ‘that’s nice’, basically means, ‘you are blowing my mind’. Well, that’s what I’ve translated it as, to stop more arguing.