What Drives You Mad About Your Partner?

Posted on June 7, 2013

I was sat having a glass of wine with my girlfriend the other day, when out of the blue, she asked me the following question.

“What is it about me that annoys you the most?”

This question took me somewhat by surprise and I didn’t really know what to say, so like a trained politician, I turned the question on its head.

“I don’t know really, what is it about me that annoys you?” 

I could almost hear her brain turning over as she expressed the look of someone who had been asked to find two items in an Argos catalogue without using the index. Like any egotistical male, I braced myself for the worst, praying that it was not going to be a condemnation of the size of my penis or my general ineptitude in the bedroom department.

Fortunately it was neither of those (perhaps they were number 3 & 4?) though had it been, you can safely assume that this blog post would not exist.

No, the two things that grate with her the most are;

1 Being far too loud in the morning

2 My clumsiness

I didn’t find this too upsetting, because if you get upset and deny simple facts, you are creating all sorts of issues for yourself. What this did offer was the opportunity for me to mentally examine my personality over following few days to see why I carry these disorders.

Is it possible to cure yourself of these personality traits, or are they so deeply ingrained in you that your partner will have no choice but to learn to accept them? In fairness, she has not indicated that they are make or break afflictions that will decide the fate of our relationship; in fact my clumsiness often causes her great merriment. However, it also causes her concern when I drive home late at night.

Being Too Loud

When studying my apparent morning loudness, I soon came to the conclusion that Justine was quite right. Without really knowing it, when I get up in the morning, the first thing I head for is my iPod or the radio. I do this before I wash, have breakfast or wake up the kids (who are soon awoken anyway). To add to this I will sing along (badly) with my iPod or have a one way argument with a politician who is pontificating on the radio.

The only conclusion I can draw is that during my childhood I was in a house with six other people and in the mornings chaos reigned supreme, with radios and stereos blaring out from all over the house to mask the often violent battles taking place to get to the bathroom, the ironing board or the remaining flakes of breakfast cereal.

Just to spice things up my mother would put on the twin tub washing machine that would send thundering shock waves from one end of the street to the other whilst offering a 500 volt blow through the body of anyone who went within a foot of it as it bounced around the kitchen like a space hopper. This in turn meant that being the mental case she was (God rest her soul) she would ramp up the volume on Radio 4 long wave to hear the shipping forecast that had no apparent relevance to her life as a part-time teacher, cleaner, barmaid or village Councillor. I may be wrong, but I have no recollection of her working in the Forties Cromarty region of the North Sea.

Therein, I believe, lies the answer to affliction number one and remarkably, writing that little piece above filled me with so much nostalgia that tomorrow morning I am going to re-enact it by turning off the hot water and listening to the Shipping Forecast on Radio 4 whilst one of my children punches me repeatedly in the face and the other one finishes off the last of the milk.


Clumsiness is a harder affliction to ascertain because unlike the issue with loudness it has never bothered me personally (Just other people). My penchant for being clumsy and perpetually teetering on the brink of disaster, is something that does not only annoy and indeed worry other people, but me as well. To an extent, I can see that it is quite endearing to some and offers Frank Spencer like entertainment, however, when it is almost a mental illness, it starts, just like my hair, wearing a bit thin.

When studying clumsiness through Google it was hard to arrive at any real conclusion as to why I am a sufferer. One such theory is a condition called Dyspraxia, however, people with this condition have problems with things like riding a bike and sport that involves co-ordination (that’s all sports isn’t it?). I never had a problem riding a bike though I guess I did fall off them a lot and I am (or at least was) decent at most ball and racquet sports. A Jack of all sports and Master of none if you like.

Okay, I accept I am not good at cricket, my favourite sport, but that has nothing to do with coordination and everything to do with not holding a bat with the correct technique until I had lessons at 43 (I have improved a lot since). If I had been taught properly at a young age, I would be a good cricketer now and though that sounds a bit presumptuous, I have always been above average at sports such as football, tennis, golf and badminton so cricket, I imagine, wouldn’t have been much different. With great irony I am playing against the teacher who failed teach me how to hold a bat properly, this Sunday coming. For me, it is a must win game.

Anyway moving on, it would seem that people who suffer from Dyspraxia are not only unfortunate enough to be clumsy, they are also apparently beset with the tragic sporting ability that left them as last man standing next to the fat kid when kids picked their favourite players from a line in the school playground. Thankfully, I was lucky enough not to be one of those individuals who walked around the 800 metres circuit in Y Fronts as a punishment for “forgetting” his kit.

So where does my clumsiness stem from?

Well I think I have sussed it. One of the biggest issues I have in my complex brain, is that I am forever thinking about my next task before I have completed the one in hand. As an example, to the great hilarity of my girlfriend, a couple of weeks ago I walked into a pillar outside Sainsburys. It was an act of comedic timing that was brought about by my premature search for a trolley without concentrating on the immediate task of getting through the door.

I followed this up the next day by assuming that a fire pit was a table, the middle of it promptly fell out, spilling ash and water all over me before crunching into my big toe, resulting in the liberal use of the word fuck. Had I taken another two seconds of my valuable time, I would have realised that it was indeed a fire pit and not a table, meaning that yet another disaster would have been avoided.

So I am now trying my best now to complete one task before taking a couple of seconds to do a mental risk assessment of the next. By doing this, I am hoping that I can slowly eradicate my reputation as Norman Wisdom, Frank Spencer or Mr Bean. I appreciate this is going to be a tough gig for me, but try I will and if nothing else, it will be an interesting experiment.

I was explaining this to my girlfriend the other day when we went out for a drink for Harry’s birthday and as I did so, I lifted my hand and tapped my finger on my temple to indicate that it is my aim is to think more.

Sadly, as I did so, I knocked a full pint of lager on to her lap.

The irony was so delicious you could almost taste it.


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