I recently met Tracey for lunch, and we got talking about quirky habits. Tracey’s son has a specific way of eating breakfast: A stack of small, perfect squares of toast (with butter spread right to the edges) in the middle of the plate, and baked beans poured over the top. On the side are two eggs, previously mixed together in a cup (without breaking the yolks) so that when fried in a small pan, they are perfectly circular. He will not countenance a fry up under any other conditions.
Wondering if food quirks were common, I asked my Facebook friends. Turns out his methods are controversial – an overwhelming number of respondents pointed out that the toast would be unacceptably soggy. Everyone felt the need to ensure food stuffs did not become inappropriately squelchy, with many suggesting the cunning “sausage barrier” method for keeping beans in their place. (Most of you also think that combining tomato based sauce with anything eggy is very wrong).
Much the same attitude pervades towards chips. One contributor was deeply concerned at being forced to pour gravy on hers by some drunken Yorkshire women, and was unable to convince them that this was due to her dislike of squelchy fried potatoes, rather than Southern snobbery. Meantime my mate Jeni swears that the highest quality ingredients and some light toasting stops her favourite sandwich of egg and jam from becoming unattractively moist, but I’m afraid I don’t believe her (and in any event that combo sounds appalling).
So did you have any other odd habits not related to food, I wondered? Well of course you did. One friend told me: “I hate getting up in the morning. Doesn’t matter what time I go to bed or at what time I have to get up. So for quite some time I used to set my alarm at 3am only to enjoy that feeling of not having to get up and happily going back to sleep. This is the same friend who has to put her left foot on the floor first when she gets out of bed, and has to be on the left hand side of whoever she’s walking next to – so much so that when she ended up walking down the street with someone who also has to be on the left, they were forced to travel to their destination in single file…
Bathrooms are also a place for quirks. Jeni (her of the abominable sandwich) cannot abide seeing toothbrushes laid down with bristles uncovered, be they on a shelf or the basin edge. She imagines a germ laden ground assault, accompanied by an aerial bombardment of water droplets from toilet flushes and simply has to cover them up. I imagine her stalking, ninja-like, around other people’s houses, pouncing on exposed bristles with a roll of cling film. Unsurprisingly she’s good friends with someone who refuses to use the first squirt of toothpaste in a tube in case it has been poisoned. It’s just as well they don’t know another contributor, who asked to remain anonymous before confessing: “Sometimes if I’m wearing jeans and pee on the seat, I’ll rub the pee off the seat, hands free, with my knee. Only sometimes mind, and I’ve not done it for a while, and I barely ever wear jeans nowadays…”
It turns out, in fact, that you lot can be odd anywhere. From only be able to eat chocolate in bed, to turning the lights on in order to check that you turned them off, to keeping life sized Ronan Keating cardboard figures in the bedroom and mannequins dressed in 70’s disco gear in the hallways. You are a satisfyingly peculiar readership.