STEVE CANAVAN: After a year off relaxing, apparently my better half needs a bit more attention
I'm coming to the conclusion that I'm not a very good husband.Â The more I speak to other people, the more I discover how considerate they are and that they actually do nice things for their other halves.
For example, Mrs Canavan returns to work next week afterÂ a year's holiday '“ technically it's known as maternity leave, but given she has spent every day of the last 12 months eating smoked salmon and drinking cappuccinos in cafes with her new mum friends, holiday seems more appropriate.
One of my pals told me that to mark her return to work, I must buy Mrs C a gift.Â I adopted an expression of genuine puzzlement and asked why.
He told me that after a year of spending every waking hour raising her beloved offspring, it is upsetting for a woman to have to return to work and leave her precious child at nursery.
'You've got to buy her some chocolates at the very least, maybe some flowers,'Â he told me. 'I bought my wife a watch.'
I stared at him as if he were mad.
If I bought Mrs Canavan a watch she would immediately assume I was having a torrid affair with someone at the badminton club (which, coincidentally, I'm really hoping to do: a girl called Marjorie with a fantastic backhand and superb bosoms has recently joined. I'm trying to woo her '“Â I even wore a new pair of tight-fitting shorts last week '“Â though for the moment she is resisting my charms).
Needless to say, I didn't buy Mrs Canavan a going-back-to-work present - it's present enough that I have been paying for everything for the last 12 months.
Something else happened the other day that made me question my husband credentials.
I was talking to a female friend who told me that every single night of the week her husband collects her from the train station after she's finished work.
He drives specially out of his way to do this.
This made me think of the occasion I drove past Mrs Canavan during a terrible storm when the rain was tipping down and it was blowing a gale. As I approached, I slowed, peeped my horn and waved, then accelerated and carried on home, leaving her to walk the final half mile. She was furious when she got in, even after I'd tried to explain that if I'd stopped and opened the car door, a lot of rain might have swept in and my leather upholstery would have got all damp, thus it was best for me to carry on.
It was shortly afterwards that she left home for four weeks and briefly joined a dating website...
Social media makes blokes like me look worse too.
I have acquaintances, otherwise normal and well-rounded people, who go on Facebook and leave their partners gushing messages.
A close friend of mine posted this the other day: 'Just want to say how fantastic my wife is. You are an amazing, life changing, exhilarating, wonderful woman and I'm in total awe of you. Love you babe #yourockmyworld'.
After I had finished violently vomiting into a plastic bag, I continued reading and saw that his wife had commented back: '˜I love you too darling so so much #youretheone'.
These people live together. Here's an idea: why not tell each other how you feel in the privacy of your own lounge and save the rest of us from having to read such drippy nonsense?