Occasionally during a relationship you find yourself gazing lovingly at your other half as they are doing something menial, like pottering in the kitchen or reading a book on the train, and you muse over what it is that initially attracted you to them. Why them? Why this particular person, instead of one of the other two people you were also sleeping with at the time? What it is that separates a single person from the thousands of other people you weed out as potential partners during your lifetime?
After many years together with my boyfriend the answer arrived as so many life altering experiences do: via television.
Early one evening I was perched before the TV with the object of my affections, our nightly ritual in full swing. We had inhaled a banquet sized Chinese takeaway, Oprah had just finished bleating on about some rubbish and Dr Phil was about to begin. I was jittery with anticipation; Dr Phil was followed by Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, Millionaire Matchmaker and, finally, Bad Girls Club. I had a feeling that the girls were going to be particularly bad that evening so I had to remind myself to stop looking at the clock to see if it was Bad Girls o’clock yet. I’m sure you understand.
To distract myself I decided to pick a fight about which one of us was going to go to the fridge to refill the drinks. This is pretty much the only thing we regularly argue about and by regularly, I mean about four times per hour. He always wins. His greatest skill being incredibly annoying at the highest possible volume and I, unfortunately, always inevitably end up starting a battle I am doomed to lose. I read recently that some whales can hear each other across whole oceans- just like him, except that whales tend not to respond to every intelligent argument over possessions with “it’s MINE!”.
Anyhoo, as Dr Phil began (to great fanfare, I might add) it was revealed to us that Phil’s choice of people on whom to pass judgement in this episode was a group of of anorexic teens. We sat, transfixed, as earnest staff at an eating disorder clinic tried in vain to get their patients to eat their scanty meals. My beloved sat quiet for a few minutes until he looked in my direction and blurted out, as serious as if he had just stumbled upon an idea that could change life as we know it, “God, just give them cookies. I mean, who doesn’t like cookies?”.