A long time ago on the internet, a guy called Mil Millington catalogued the arguments he’d had with his girlfriend. I have no idea how old this website is, but it’s old enough that it’s one of the first things I remember reading on the internet for ‘fun’ – before Twitter, before Facebook… even before I had a Livejournal. It’s mostly arguments about silly things like the rules of Robot Wars or how to correctly slice a kiwi fruit. And although it’s been a long time since I read it, I think it’s still percolating in my head somewhere because over Christmas I wrote the following post: ridiculous arguments I’ve had with my boyfriend.
Dyson versus Henry
Listen, one of these is just demonstrably a better hoover. I will not countenance dissent, as I will not countenance anyone pointing out that ‘hoover’ is a brand name and the more accurate term is ‘vacuum cleaner.’ You knew what I meant when I said ‘hoover.’
When you move in with someone and you merge your possessions, usually it’s pretty clear whose is the best in which category. The stained/ripped/worn old towels get ditched in favour of the towels owned by whichever of you knew how to launder theirs properly. The cheap, plastic-handled cutlery and battered pans go on Freecycle, and whoever kept their pots shiny gets to put them in your jointly-owned cupboards.
But when it comes to hoovers, my partner and I are engaged in what I can only describe as all-out war. His shitty cordless Dyson versus my objectively superior Henry. Yes, it means that we end up hoovering the living room four times a week on average, as each of us passive-aggressively goes over the carpet ten minutes after the other one’s just finished it, but it’s little things like this that keep the spark alive, right?
Brita water filters versus Just let me make coffee with normal water for fuck’s sake
Water comes out of the taps for free. It does all the things you’d expect water to do: boil in the kettle, dilute Ribena, soak up the dregs of a hangover on Saturday morning… and yet for some reason my dude insists on buying a jug with special filters because where he comes from water is not as limescaley as it is in London.
Where the tools should go
I’ve probably mentioned before that we like to build things. He is currently focused on building useful things for the house, and I have been focused on building a custom mount for a Fleshlight Launch so I can secure it to a table and have it wank him off while I watch from a distance. We all have our hobbies.
Still, the argument here isn’t so much about what we build as how we build it. He is of the opinion that the sensible thing to do when one is finished with the tools is to place them neatly back into the drawers they came from, so the next person to use them knows exactly where they are. I, on the other hand, am a lazy shit. I would rather leave them all over my workspace so that next time I want to do something I can begin with a nice sweary rant because I can’t find the screwdriver.
Laundry baskets with lids versus laundry baskets without lids
This is an actual conversation that happened in my house:
Me: Why is it, darling heart, that when you take your pants off before we go to bed you just fling them in the general direction of the laundry basket rather than lifting the lid and placing them inside the laundry basket?
Him: It’s just weird, isn’t it? Having to lift a lid in order to put pants away?
Me: Is it?
Me: But if people come round our house and our laundry bin was lidless, what if they saw our dirty pants?
Him: I… don’t care if they see our dirty pants? That’s just one of those hazards of coming round our house.
Him: I’m sorry but lifting a lid just for dirty pants is a hard line for me.
Me: Are you safewording out of putting your pants away?
Where cheese graters should be kept
This is one of the most fun fights because right now I don’t actually know if he is aware that we’re having it. When he puts a cheese grater away, he places it in a really awkward, annoying cupboard that I have to bend down and over in order to reach. When I put it away, I place it (logically and rationally) in one of the high cupboards so it is easy to grab in a cheese emergency. In our house there are many cheese emergencies, and so frankly a cheese grater (we have three) needs to be near to hand at all times.
Yet every single time he puts it in the ‘wrong’ place, and I have to move it to the ‘right’ place, then cross my fingers and hope he learns. I am secretly thrilled by the idea that he is doing the same thing, crossing his fingers and hoping I will eventually learn that the ‘right’ place is the cupboard where the pans are. It’s like Schroedinger’s fight: I will not know if we are actually having it until one or other of us snaps and actually SAYS something, and then we will have to solve it via some sort of competitive cheesegrating competition.
Fun arguments versus Serious arguments
I love these arguments. They’re always playful, often weird, and sometimes you can escalate them in really fun ways. Like, for instance, I could add a sentence to this blog post that said ‘dearest one, if you actually read this blog post and tell me you’ve read it I will capitulate and declare you the ‘winner’ of one argument of your choosing. I will never again fight you on hoovers/water filters/cheese graters or where we keep the tools. All you have to do is read this post. But I know you probably won’t because you hate reading things, and so I will secretly and smugly remember this every time we have one of these silly fights.’
I’ll let him in on the secret in 2019 and he’ll kick himself, and it will be truly delicious. Then he’ll find a way to get payback, and I’ll be wriggling with anticipation to see what he does to retaliate.
And perhaps ‘arguments’ is a misnomer, because these aren’t really arguments of the troubling kind: they’re essentially a form of flirting. They’re fun because they’re playful. Because they’re not real. Because neither of us really cares that much where the cheese grater should live.
There are many more arguments I’ve had with my boyfriend that couldn’t be included in a funny list – the ones that leave us sitting in cold silence or crying in separate rooms, desperately missing each other and trying to work out how to make friends again. The arguments that start with a spark of frustration and end with a cloud of doubt: will this ever actually work?
I treasure the ridiculous arguments, and I know that he does too – because we only start the silly fights when we’re happy with everything else.