THINGS MY GIRLFRIEND AND I HAVE ARGUED ABOUT

Mil Millington started a web site a few years ago, Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About. It’s absolutely hilarious. If it doesn’t grab you right away, scroll down about halfway and start again – it gets better.

He’s just released a novel with the same title, which promises to be a very funny piece of work.

Here’s a random sample from the web site:

If I’m sitting on the sofa reading a book and Margret enters the room she will say this: ‘What are you doing?’ If I’m peeling potatoes in the kitchen when she happens upon me, or pushing batteries into one of the children’s extensive range of screeching toys, or writing on the side of a video cassette I’ve just pulled out of the recorder, the same thing: ‘What are you doing?’ I mean, a fellow likes to feel he’s a bit enigmatic now and then, a tad mysterious and deep, but how can a person see me, for example, screwing a new bulb into a light fitting and not be able to see immediately and with huge, reverberating, chill clarity precisely what it is that I’m doing? It’s like living with Mork. It’s not even as if I can use these moments to exercise my impressively sardonic (yet, at the same time, profoundly attractive and alluring in a deeply sexual way) wit either. Because, as previously mentioned, Margret regards large sections of what we on Earth call humour as nothing but shameless mendacity.

Margret [spotting Mil picking with his fingernail at the goo left on a CD case by the price label]: ‘What are you doing?’

Mil: ‘I’m talking to Mark using Morse code – he’s at home right now holding one of his CD cases, picking up the vibrations I’m making.’

Margret: ‘No you’re not, you liar. You’re lying. Why do you always lie? You liar.’

Mil: ‘It works by resonance. You just have to practise for a bit to be able feel the plastic quivering – go over and get that Black Grape case, press it on to your nose, and we’ll see if you can pick up anything.’

(There’s the briefest flicker of indecision in her eyes; offering me, for one tantalising moment, the possibility that I’m going to spend the next ten minutes – ‘What about this, then? Press it on your face harder.’ – having quite simply the best of times… but then she grunts.)

Margret: ‘Liar. You’re just a liar.’

Mostly, however, we’ve got it smooth and efficient now. We don’t have to think. She says, ‘What are you doing?’, I peer at her with irritation and expel air, we go on about our business. This morning, though, she came upstairs to the attic here while I was sitting in front of the computer doing some work on the net.

‘What are you doing?’ she asks.

Trying to concentrate on something, distracted and harassed, I reply with some degree of acerbic aggravation.

‘What does it look like I’m doing?’

There’s a beat, during which we hold each others eyes, unblinking.

It’s immediately after this beat has passed that I realise I’m wearing no trousers.

There is, it’s opulently redundant of me to add, a perfectly reasonable and innocuous explanation for why I’m browsing the web alone in my attic with no trousers on, but you’re all busy people and I know you have neither the inclination nor the time to waste hearing it. As an image, however, it did rather undercut my sarcasm. Margret – in a brutally savage reversal of tactics – didn’t speak. She merely raised her eyebrows and there, revealed, was a face that read, ‘I have been waiting thirteen years for this moment.’