Bloke is bathed in the glow of the open fridge.
From my position at the cooker, I can see the blank look on his face.
He has been there for what seems like an age. Staring. Shuffling jars. I had given him a task and he’s about to fail.
“Nope,” he says, slamming shut the door. “No tomato puree. We must have run out.”
I do that sigh. The weary, ‘right, I’ll get it myself’ one so familiar to womankind. I stomp to the fridge and to his astonishment, it takes me all of two seconds to retrieve what he could have sworn was not there.
A few seconds more and I’m back at the frying pan, stirring a dollop into the spag bog (or slag bog, as my phone’s predictive text decided to inform Boy we were about to have for tea) and biting back the ascerbic words I want to say to my big dollop of a husband. Something about not being able to look beyond the end of his nose whatever he’s searching for, be it a paintbrush in the paint cupboard or an aspirin in the medicine box.
But. No point. It’s just one of those irritating little things you just have to shrug about because it seriously isn’t worth a row. Not when he does so many other kind, thoughtful and hugely capable things (no patronising tone intended, dear).
Millions of women toe-curl in my shoes, according to dating website eHarmony.co.uk. It asked over 2,000 married Brits for the worst bits about living with their other half and ‘Men can never find anything’ was right up here with ‘and are too messy and always hog the TV remote’.
Mine does have a fondness for the telly controls, it’s true. Mainly because he can work it and I can’t. But he whizzes through the options so quickly I can’t keep up and turns the volume down a few notches when he sees fit.
But when it comes to tidiness, he must be most women’s dream. I’ve had to untidy him. When I met him my house-unkeeping freaked him out. He has learned to accept the ‘Life’s too short to worry about dust on a shelf and fluff under a table and if you don’t like it, don’t go looking for it’ ethos (do you think I could copyright it, make kitsch faux vintage signs and earn a fortune?). It was either that or his sanity and the ruination of his nails.
Though what does drive me mad is the halfway house he has adopted instead. He creates ‘secret’ stashes of things he thinks he needs to save in corners where he thinks I won’t look and squirrels away petrol receipts, mini shampoos from hotels, golf balls found while walking the dog (32 at the last count). And a kleptomaniac’s little corners soon become big, messy corners.
While we’re on irritating habits (I feel a divorce coming on), there’s his obsession with boxes. He has boxes of them. I get vexed and say: ‘Why do you need to keep the containers your sat-nav, your phone and sunglasses came in? We don’t keep empty Weetabix boxes, do we?’
Top male complaints about women? Predictive text could have written it. We take too long to get ready, are back seat drivers and worry about money. Guilty on all three counts, m’lord. But all of them are for his benefit.
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