Seven acts of everyday rudeness by homeworking couples

TREATING your partner with consideration on evenings and weekends is hard enough, so during the nine to five they’re just like any other twat colleague:

Monopolising office space

Just because there’s only one home office doesn’t mean you should have to share it. Decide your job is most important and let your partner prop herself up on the bed fighting lumbar pain and the urge to sleep. Breeze in and open curtains if she’s not got light on her screen.

Make lunch for one

You didn’t have to fanny around feeding a hungry boyfriend during the office years, so why now? If he appears in the kitchen just as you’re settling down to enjoy a lovely procrastination-inspired salad using everything tasty in the fridge, enjoy without guilt. There’s Weetabix in the cupboard if he’s hungry.

Leave the kitchen a shit tip

You’re far too busy to run around cleaning up for him, so leave the kitchen in the state an 80s power-dressing executive would: f**ked up. Chopping boards, knives, a half-loaf of bread, dirty dishes, the lot. He won’t mind popping it all away if you’re getting emails.

Blame each other for the internet

When the connection drops in the middle of your big Zoom presentation, don’t hesitate. Stomp downstairs and accuse your wife of streaming or downloading or whatever and order her to stay off the internet until you’ve finished. Stomp back up shaking your head muttering ‘useless’ just like in a real office.

Be loud

No matter how thin the plasterboard walls, make no allowances for your booming voice as you discuss sales figures, ROI and what everyone’s getting Sandra for her 50th. Put the laptop’s volume on maximum to give your partner context. Watch out for an aggressive counter-attack like loud Radio 2 or the washing machine on full spin.

Steal water

Kettle just boiled and he’s in the bathroom? Don’t think twice about stealing it for your tea. Make a hurried cup and head upstairs fast, teabag still in, and let him deal with the consequences. Ignore the muttered swearing outside your firmly closed door.


Need to know how to add links to a PDF, or to proofread an email? Why Google when there’s a helping hand just a room away? Just burst in and demand she drops everything to help you, that’s not unreasonable. If told no, file it away as one more grievance to list that evening when discussing the arsehole you work with.

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Smoking in offices, and other things you tell your kids happened but they don't believe

AS children grow, they are told stories of the recent past that sound like made-up bollocks. These former commonplaces seem scarcely credible now: 

Smoking in offices

Forget a surreptitious puff on a strawberry vape. Pubs, buses, cinemas and offices used to be thick with blue smoke. It used to billow out of the school staffroom like Kiss had just come on stage. You reminisce about it as if your kid missed out on something by never having to cough their way off a train.

Books full of phone numbers

Phone numbers weren’t where they should be, on your phone, but in a huge Soviet index of numbers for everyone in your area. You had to pay not to be in it. You memorised important numbers, eg boys you fancied, and can still remember them today. Your child is looking at you as if you said ‘and we wrote them in hieroglyphics on papyrus’.

Lonely hearts ads

Single? Simply take out an advertisement in the newspaper, alongside second-hand fridges for sale and notices of lost parrots. Advertise your desperate loneliness to the 160,000 readers of the Stoke Sentinel using abbreviations like WLTM and GSOH and the now-disused term ‘foxy’. Your child is locked in a full-body cringe.

Half-day closing

Depending on your area, shops would close at noon on a weekday. The town centre was deserted. They just went home even though you had money to spend and needed stuff, you rant, even though the money you had was your bus fare and the stuff you needed was a Caramac. Your child looks slightly afraid.

Getting paid in cash

On a Friday you’d line up, get a brown envelope containing your week’s wages, and go to the pub with it. This was as unwise as it sounds but the universal policy and possibly enforced by law. You would then take cash and pay it into the bank, which even describing to your child sounds like ‘and gravity used to go up’.

There wasn’t telly in the day

As this point you realise you’ve parted company with reality. Nothing on but a girl and a doll, for hours? If that? And you’d watch it regardless? Your child nods knowingly, then pronounces you to have taken your lies too far and leaves the room. You agree she must be right.