Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Nag

Throughout my life I've seen depictions of the nagging wife. 

And I have to say I didn't really get it.

As a single person, it was beyond my comprehension why anyone would ever scream at a person they were supposed to love over needless minutiae. 

Then I got married...

...and I started to understand.

There's a picture that has been going around Facebook for the last couple of weeks that sums up the epidemic of nagging so perfectly:

What I didn't understand as a single person is that of course I didn't need to nag my boyfriends. Because they were BOYFRIENDS. Their role in my life was quite simple:
  • Take me out for fun dates
  • Listen to my tearful and lengthy thoughts about my feelings
  • Make out with me
Before getting married I kind of assumed that my relationship with my husband would just be a lifelong version of the above.

This was wrong.

Having a husband is not like having a boyfriend. It is more like trying to run a major corporation of which the two of you are the sole employees toiling under a team of unrelenting maniacs who are all under three feet tall.

The reality for me is that maintaing a home with three small children takes an enormous amount of work. And doing that work takes two people. And sometimes I think of the entire proposition as involving:

Employee Number One: ME
Employee Number Two: That guy who needs to be constantly REMINDED TO FIX THE #(*$& TOILET FOR THE FOUR HUNDREDTH TIME!!!

I'm sorry, what was I saying?

The nagging, it kind of sneaks up on you. I am generally a fairly reasonable lady, but now and then I suddenly find myself overtaken by an overwhelming certainty that my husband cannot function without my constant and highly detailed direction. 

Even in my more rational moments it seems that getting things accomplished in the house can involve a choice between:

a. Nagging


b. Setting traps

Let's say you ask your husband to, I don't know, say FIX THE #(*$&; TOILET SEAT, to pick a completely random example.

The next step is, with 100% certainty, that your husband will forget this request approximately ten seconds later.

You accept this.

Which means you now you have two choices:

a. Gently remind husband of the task you wish him to complete


b. Wait and then become enraged when he does nothing

There is no happiness down path number B! We've already established that he's not going to do it! He hasn't thought about it once since you first mentioned it! He may well remember the number of his favorite NFL player's high school jersey, but he DOES NOT remember the thing you asked him to do. I promise.

So you remind him.

And then nothing happens.

At which point you have two choices:

a. Gently remind him


b. Wait and then become slightly more enraged when he does nothing

Except for it is almost impossible to gently remind someone of something the second time. So your tone tends to change a little bit. It gets just a little, you know, EDGY.

So you remind him a bit less gently. He smacks himself in the head. He completely forgot. He'll get on it right away. THIS IS NOT TRUE. He will not, in fact, get on it right away. Instead he will attempt to remember where the current center for the L.A. Clippers went to school, thus forever wiping any remnant of your request from his brain.

At which point you have two choices.

a. Remind him with great aggravation 


b. Wait and then become enraged when he doesn't do it

You'll choose option number A and you'll officially be welcomed into the wonderful world of NAGGING.

It's like an insane inter-sexes trap that it is almost impossible to avoid. I'm telling you people, it's hard not to nag. So for now, I'm merely trying to limit the number of items I choose to bother my beloved about.

Yes, I need him to fix the toilet, but I probably don't need to remind him every 65 seconds to bring the leftovers to the office tomorrow. I can just hand them to him on his way out the door, or I could even imagine the possibility that even if he forgets, my almost 40-year-old husband will be able to figure out a way to feed himself as men have been doing for thousands of years.

This food will eventually, I can only hope, give him enough energy to remember to fix the toilet.