Guests usually take the train from London, and before we pick them up at the station, I remind Hugh that for the duration of their visit, he and I will be playing the role of a perfect couple. This means no bickering and no contradicting each other. If I am seated at the kitchen table and he is standing behind me, he is to place a hand on my shoulder right on the spot where a parrot would perch if I were a pirate instead of the ideal boyfriend. When I tell a story he has heard so often he could lip sync it, he is to pretend to be hearing it for the first time and to be appreciating it as much or more than our guests are. I’m to do the same and to feign delight when he serves something I hate, like fish with little bones in it. I really blew this a few years back when his friend Sue (ph) came for the night, and he poached what might as well have been a hairbrush.
It is humiliating when a couple bickers around other people. It just shows how bad a relationship is. I guess at some point we don’t need to hide anymore. Just start yelling and throwing things around. No relationship is perfect.