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Why do men and women insist on living together?
It's just not normal...


This is not The Husband. This man is much nicer than The Husband because he offered to take me dancing when the husband refused, declaring me "drunk" and insisting that I should go and sleep it off. I seem to recall the husband calling me various things, including "a nightmare". I don't care if my hair looks like cavewoman, or that I was no longer able to walk in my shoes. Nice Man didn't care either. Had his girlfriend not been running at me with an axe I may well have pulled.


The sleepwalking husband stayed in a hotel last week while pretending to have an important work do to go to. (Important Work Do is general man-speak for 'I want to go out and you are not allowed to object or ask questions about it because, ultimately, I'm doing all this for US, you know.' Seriously, don't get me started.) Where were we? Oh yes. Hotel. Husband. So he gets up in the middle of the night for a middle-aged prostrate pee, goes into the bathroom, shuts the door and realises that it's not the bathroom. It's the corridor. Disappointingly, nobody happened to be riding in the lift when he took it two floors down, buck naked, and went to knock on his partner's door. Angry Bird looked him up and down with a sigh. "Have you lost weight?"


Two small things... never say yes unless there is a MASSIVE diamond ring involved, because that's just plain stupid isn't it? A man who can't provide a decent ring is unlikely to be able to provide a decent life, is he? Secondly, if the proposal isn't up to par, then you'll be getting a general preview of how much effort he's likely to put into anything else important. For example, the man on the train pushed the boat out a bit, although he was top-trumped by the fat bloke in America who got his whole family involved.


The Husband's eternal bachelor friend, Hairball, has panicked and decided to get married because he's realised, at 50, that the chances of him dying old and alone are increasing by the hour. Me? I wouldn't mind dying old and alone. Better that than be cooped up with some old bloke who can't find his teeth and thinks the postman is Adolph Hitler.

Three's going to be a stag weekend of course, in Las Vegas, where a whole bunch of them intend to wear matching lurid outfits and pretend they're not really gay, which they are. They'll be sharing hotel rooms too, on the pretence that it's more economical. We all know there's going to be inappropriate touching.

THE HUSBAND: General Update

Amazingly, I am still married to The Husband, which means we have now been together for six billion years. I considered getting rid of him a couple of times, but then I thought to myself, why bother? It'll only lead to more misery and a whole lot of additional aggro (like who's going to put the bins out now), so I ditched the idea and reverted to Plan B. Or was it Plan F? I can't remember. The last decade has sort of merged into one great homogonised mess of boring domestic banality. On the upside, since the kids have grown up I don't bother cooking any more, unless I want something of course. The Husband now lives on baked potatoes.


Living proof that the male mid-life crisis is alive - a friend of mine is promoting his new band while posing with socks stuffed down his trousers. If you're after some live music for a special event, you can hire them for a tenner (each), including petrol. For an extra fiver they'll keep their clothes on. Click here for an exclusive track download.

"It's sad.... so sad... it's a sad, sad, situation..."


The husband has started behaving oddly in the wee small hours of the morning. I expect you're familiar with the concept of sleepwalking, but this is different. This would be more accurately described as sleepfridgeraiding. He's been getting up, obviously while fast asleep, and ransacking the kitchen in search of food, which he then brings back to bed with him and munches. We're talking things like leftover spaghetti bolognaise slung between a couple of slices of bread - not exactly the kind of thing you might want to see being dragged under the covers and devoured. Weird, huh? I understand that sleep activity like this is often attributable to stress. Well, what do you expect? Had he wanted a quiet life, he should never have married me in the first place. I'm going to leave some really hideous things in the fridge, like fried sheep's testicles, and see if he tries to eat them.


As we hurtle towards the New Year, the husband has taken two weeks off work and is now hanging around the house waiting for me to pay him some attention. His presence, you understand, has to be treated like some kind of major, international event. I, on the other hand, am here all day every day anyway, so what's new? I'll tell you what's new - bloody nothing, except that my daily routine has been rudely interrupted with the addition of yet another emotional dependant. Looking after the freeloading teenagers is bad enough. To add a full-grown adult to the mix is merely taking the piss. God forbid I should suggest that he take over the incessant drudgery of keeping this house running. "I'm on holiday" he insists. What I want to know, is when is my holiday? Actually, before I get too vitriolic, I should admit that I'm outta here for a week shortly, as I already know full well that the only way I can get a break is to run screaming to the airport and leap on the nearest plane. Try it some time. I think you'll be impressed.


I have excelled myself recently with a finely honed new approach to torturing the husband. Several evenings a week, I go to great effort to cook a really fabulous dinner for myself, then I clear up every scrap of it and wipe down the kitchen surfaces about 15 minutes before he gets home from work. Naturally, the delicious aromas hit him like an oncoming restaurant the moment he steps in through the door, but, to his astonishment, there is nothing to eat. It's bloody brilliant. He'll usually buckle after about ten minutes, with hints like asking me if I'm hungry. (Bear in mind that this is a prehistoric example of mankind that doesn't know what a cooker is.) 'Nope,' (I don't even bother looking up from my Heat magazine), 'I'm stuffed.' (satisfied yawn), 'Couldn't manage another thing.'


Today is Father's Day, that one Sunday each year when we are supposed to heap the nation's sperm donors with praise, shower them with gifts, and fawn around telling them how fantastic they are. Well, I'm sorry, but that like rubbing salt into your own wounds, isn't it? The best I can offer today is for me to keep my mouth shut and stay firmly locked in my coffin.


This is The Husband's pond. I have tried to drown myself in it several times to no avail. The Husband likes to spend time looking at the fish, quietly contemplating his hideous marriage. I like to introduce predators when he's out at work, you know the kind of thing - sneak in the odd pirahnah here and there and watch the feeding frenzy.


You've probably read all about the carnage visited upon the husband's pond by that marauding heron. After the initial entertainment factor had worn off, even my cold dead heart couldn't help but feel a bit sorry for him, standing out there at the end of a long day's work, with nothing to look at except a couple of fishy carcasses and a stickleback. So I went out at the weekend and bought him some new fish. Or at least, that was my intention. Have you any idea how much those bloody things cost? You could have knocked me down with a feather. Two hundred sodding quid for something about the size you'd expect to get with chips.  I had to offer to sleep with the manager in exchange for a discount. Amazingly, he gave me the discount anyway and suggested I keep my clothes firmly on.


Why is it that if you start a job that you've been hinting at your husband to do for several years, he'll get all huffy that you've decided to do it yourself? (Well, almost.) A van turned up early this morning and delivered 60 plants for the bombsite that is currently our driveway. Honestly, our local municipal tip has better landscaping. I've dotted the plants around, still in the pots (I don't touch mud - blurgh), and dumped six sacks of mulch chippings in front of the gates so that the husband can't get his car on the drive. I'm going to double-lock all the doors and hang out of the bathroom with a megaphone telling him he's not coming in 'til they're all planted. By the way - if you don't have a megaphone, I suggest you invest in one immediately. Scares the shit out of small children.


A friend of mine who has travelled a great deal of the world told me a story with me recently which I would like to share with you. Sally was driving home from one of her business trips in Northern Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road.  As the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked the Navajo woman if she would like a ride.  With a silent nod of thanks, the woman got into the car. Resuming the journey, Sally tried in vain to make a bit of small talk with the Navajo woman.  The old woman just sat silently, looking intently at everything she saw, studying every little detail, until she noticed a brown bag on the seat next to Sally.
'What in bag?' ... asked the old woman.
Sally looked down at the brown bag and said,   ... 'It's a bottle of wine.  I got it for my husband.'
The Navajo woman was silent for another moment or two. Then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder, she said:  'Good  trade.'

LEFT: Snoring bastards tossing salad while drunk at a posh picnic event
in Cowdray. We all turned up with plenty of food and wine, but nobody
thought to bring any water.

Things got pretty messy that night.


So, the husband's bought himself a new car. Arrived with it, smiling like a Cheshire cat, and insisted that I go for a ride in it with him. He then tried to impress me with its acceleration, cornering, etc, etc, while I sat there and thought of all the things I'd rather be doing. Is it just me? I totally don't understand this car stuff, particularly from the captive audience point of view. It's horrible anyway. Really uncomfortable, oddly shaped, and worst of all, blue. My car, on the other hand, is brilliant. Goes like shit off a shovel, got dents all over it so people think twice about getting in my way, and is filled with rubbish, gin bottles and sweet wrappers.


I think there may be something seriously wrong with me. I seem to have lost interest in tormenting my husband. The mother of my Godawful sons is very concerned and thinks it's a sure indication of clinical depression. Hopefully this is just a temporary condition and will soon pass. If not I'll ring Bupa and book myself in for some electro-convulsive shock therapy.


I have had to spend nearly a thousand quid just in order to leave the house, never mind the cost of taking a trip. Ruth The Housekeeper has come up trumps and agreed to do my general slavery - school runs, hanging around the meat counter in Asda waiting for the chops to be marked down, tearing your hair out over homework, blah, blah, blah - until I get back. This means that I have had to hire her a car for a fortnight, give her a load of housekeeping money, and pay her a vast bribe to make the prospect palatable. Funny how my husband can make any old arrangements he wants without so much as a whisper. It bugs me to the point of eruption, so I musn't think about it otherwise I may well have to cut his head off and put it on a stake beside the front gates.


Unbelievably, I actually got something resembling a decent present from the husband this Christmas. I am still in shock. To put this all into perspective, it has been many years since I've not had to mask a face of furious disappointment. Like the maribou-trimmed mules that were a size too small and were never taken back and changed for me. Same story on various other garments and accessories, none of which were right - my husband doesn't 'do' refunds or exchanges. If it's not right, tough, and don't moan about it or he'll go into an enormous strop for three months. So, anyway, I got this bracelet from him and I have to say that there's nothing wrong with it at all. Looks nice. Fits. Mmm. Maybe he's got another woman on the side who chose it for him.


A big round of applause for House Mover from Cambridge who emailed to say that she scrapes her husband's toothbrush over the carpet in the living room then puts it back on his wash stand. I hope she has a dog.


Having spent a little while on my own recently, I did a bit of soul searching. Maybe my husband's right. Maybe I am a complete nightmare to live with and he would indeed have a far happier life breaking big rocks into little rocks for the rest of his days. I decided to correct the error of my ways and try to be a bit more pleasant. Upon my return, I forced a smile, said a few nice things and delivered a couple of the well-rehearsed compliments I'd thought up on the train home. Needless to say, my plan has gone tits-up. He thinks I like him again now. Bugger.


Why so many of us insist on perpetuating the myth that marriage is a normal way to live is quite beyond me. Don't get me wrong. I'm a fine one to talk. My husband pisses me off so much that I'd like to smash his face in most days. And he's not even done anything except continued to breathe. One of my friends screamed at her husband so hard once that she burst a blood vessel in her eye. It wasn't a small one either. She looked like Dracula for about a month. Worked a treat with the kids, mind you. They were scared shitless. I was very impressed.


I have found a very effective way of angering the husband is to interfere with his car. Do try and learn how to pop the bonnet open discreetly. It's the gateway to hours of fun. One of my favourites is to fling a few anchovy fillets into the engine bay, close the bonnet, then wait and see how it affects his mood over the next couple of days. The result is more subtle than you might think, and the anchovies quickly disintegrate leaving not a trace of evidence.


Another lady I know, (and she's a real lady, as in Lady So-and-so of Somewhere), feeds her husband rancid meat. She disguises it a bit, obviously, with lashings of coriander and the such like, then serves it to him. She gives the good stuff to the dogs.

My first husband was a very unpleasant man. I used to feed him horrible things too. Like the time he came home drunk (as usual) and demanded food. I stuck a pizza in the oven and left the polystyrene disc on the bottom and the plastic on the top covered with a bit of extra cheese. The whole thing welded itself together. Then I cut it into wedges and gave it to him with a bit of ketchup. Yes. That was a satisfactory evening.

Something else, which beggars belief but I swear is true. That same husband was driving along in the car, with me, long suffering muggins sitting next to him. I handed him a sandwich, bought from the previous petrol station, and told him that it was in a new type of cellophane specifically developed to aid drivers eating on the move. You could eat the wrapper, see. At first he thought I was having him on, but I assured him not, poker-faced, and he went for it. Ate the whole bloody thing. Said it tasted pretty awful and they needed to work on the formula. Asked me why I took my wrapper off. 'I'm not driving,' I said.


I am suffering sleep deprivation as a result of having to share my space with the snoring bastardo over the recent holiday period. Being a resourceful sort, I rang my local GP and told him that I had to go to China (don't ask me why I said that - I was ad-libbing madly) and needed some serious sleeping pills for my perilous journey. Hey presto, waddya know? So I've got these monstrous mickey finn tablets now. Swallowed one last night with a nice cup of tea without telling anyone and was dead to the world by 10.30. Apparently one of the kids tried to wake me up by shaking me violently then wondered if they should call an ambulance. Her elder sister calmly demonstrated how to check whether or not one's mother was still alive by holding a mirror under my nose.


It's December 20th and my teeth are permanently gritted. The husband can see me tearing around like a blue-arsed fly and says things like 'well, if you want me to help, I've got one day off before Christmas, but I'll be hungover from the office do'. Eh? Well excuse me. That's no bloody help at all, is it? Tell you what. Here's a tip for all you men out there: Why not try just going out and buying a load of presents for the people you usually exchange gifts with, wrap them up, label, and cross them of your wife's list? Sorry? Is that too complicated for your pickled walnut of a brain? Then there's the food shopping. The husband goes out and asks if we need anything (except beer presumably which is the only thing he buys). Again, it occurs to me that he could actually go and look in the fridge/freezer/bread bin/fruit bowl. Give me strength. Or a large vodka martini straight up with a twist.


As if I don't have enough to contend with, my husband had the bare-faced cheek to be born a couple of days shy of Christmas. Have you any idea what a major pain it is to be dealing with birthday shennanigans just three days before the hell of the 25th? In order to try and drum up some sympathy from me, he rolls out the usual tales of woe about having only got one present from everybody as a kid with the old chestnut about it being for birthday-and-Christmas. Tough luck and, frankly, he'll be lucky if he gets anything from me at all. It's his funeral, and that's what he gets for having a birthday right at the summit of my annual stress levels.


The husband is due back tomorrow after a week away. I have to admit that I have been slightly bored without him here, what with having no-one to scowl at. Over the course of the last week I have been scouting around the house looking for things to nag him about. My list is quite comprehensive which means that I'll have plenty of ammo to keep me entertained for at least a fortnight. Update: The flight was 24 hours late, which meant I had to drive all the way to disgusting, hideous Gatwick to pick him up because Sunday trains aren't worth the paper their timetables are written on. Two and a half hours each way. Still, it meant I was in a fabulously bad mood when he emerged from the arrivals hall. I think he would rather have walked home then found me there tapping my foot and pointing at my watch.


I had the most extraordinary email from a man who wanted to tell me all about his cars, blonde women and various other things of no interest to me at all. From the content of the message, it seemed that he was one of those inadequate types who relies on dubious male status symbols and much self-delusional puffery. The second email included a photograph of various very ugly tarts-handbag type cars. He was particularly keen to point out that one of them featured his unclad girlfriend. What is it with men? I have no idea why he should have thought that such unsolicited material would be anything other than an embarrassment (to him). Most strange. His girlfriend must be out of her mind, which I suspect is rather small.


My husband's away next week. I did ask that he make sure we have sufficient gubbins to make fires with as I am not the kind of woman who humps sacks of coal and logs around. As usual, he hasn't done it. I'm going to go around the house with a saw and burn lumps of furniture while he's away.


I have to share this email with you: I'm a mother of four under fives. Not twins or quads. Singlets. I must be insane as I am only 21. I have to split myself in two as my 2 eldest have to be at different playgroups at the same time. I breastfeed my youngest (5 weeks old) and found myself wandering around the house with a breast hanging out. The delivery man was happy to point this out. My husband has the brain of a 5 year old and thinks it's acceptable to watch children's television all day.


It's my thousandth wedding anniversary coming up soon. Halloween to be exact. My husband's suggestion, seeing as he was marrying a witch. So I suppose that means we'll have to go out to dinner and hurl indiscriminate insults at each other to mark the occasion. I heard it said on the radio, marriage isn't a word, it's a sentence.


I got up before everyone else just to get some peace and quiet, made myself a coffee and sat with the newspaper in the conservatory. When my husband emerged, he peered his head around the door. 'Morning, darling. Isn't it a bit early for you to be out of your coffin?' Bloody cheek. Of course it wasn't.


My friend told her kids - all boys - that they were not allowed to touch her laptop. She opened it the other day to find, when she logged on, a hair-curling selection of porno sites flash across the screen. She went mad at the kids, who denied all knowledge, then got her husband to try and remove the offending sites. He got very blustery, saying things like 'How did you manage to do this? I don't know anyone who gets sites like that coming up when they log on.' He fell into the trap of protesting too much: she checked on her history and yes, you've guessed it, micro-brain husband was using his wife's laptop to surf stripping housewives. How thick can you get?


Do you think it would be fun to create a Rogue's Gallery of husband photographs with captions of why they should be executed? Contributions being accepted now and if I get enough of them I'll put them all up on the site.


This is roughly how the snoring issue used to go in my house. Husband wakes up. (I've already been awake since four in the bloody morning.)  He then has the temerity to say something like, 'Morning, darling. Did you sleep well?' I then try to disguise a seething ball of resentment and stop myself from saying something like, 'No, I fucking well didn't, you snoring, hideous rhinoceros bastard.'


Am I the only one who thinks that to be made to sleep in the same bed with a man for the rest of your days is unreasonable? Particularly given that it's the same man? As men get older, not only do they snore, but they smell. Like those goats you get in the childrens' corner of the zoo.  
    It's true. I have carried out my own scientific experiments, with the aid of my housekeeper. Without said man, my bedroom has wafts of rosewater and nice lady things. Even in the morning, it is a pleasant room to enter. The experimental lab where the man was made to sleep (spare bedroom), required airing. Ruth The Housekeeper and I are in no doubt. Men are stinky. Make them sleep somewhere else.
    Update: following a party on Sunday and a skinful of beer, husband stank so badly that even the teenagers noticed. Dropping him off to collect his abandoned car the next day, elder teenager piped up, 'Christ, it stinks in here'. I told her, 'It's Dad.' In order to prove the point, we dropped him off, opened the windows of the car and, hey presto, we have clean air again. Well, they've got to learn sometime.
    Another update: either my sense of smell is working overtime, or I really do need to take the carpet up and replace it with hospital lino. I keep walking around looking under things just to check nothing's died.


I was sympathising (or should that be emphathising) with a good friend who is married to a good man who she can't stand. I went to great lengths to point out all the benefits of being married to someone who's basically loaded. She listened and nodded her agreement on everything until we came to the crunch and she spat 'Would you want to sleep with him?' I have to admit, the girl's got a point. And I'm not even that fussy.


At what point is it polite to say, 'Look, mate. I know we've been together for a long time and all that, but I'm just not into having sex with you any more, okay?' I keep looking for a window of opportunity.


'I've got aids.'