Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

November 13, 2007

Nagging Exposed!

I'm a nag.

There, I said it. Acknowledging that you have a problem is the first step towards recovery. Now what the hell do I do?

I'm a do-er. I make lists (no more than one a week) and take a small amount of joy in checking each To Do item off, one by one. Don't get me wrong, I can procrastinate with the rest of 'em, but when it comes down to shit that just needs to get done, I do it.

I don't know about you, but I've found that this is just not the case with men on the whole. Perhaps it's just the type of men I'm choosing, but I don't think so. I've heard far too many of my female friends bitching about the same thing.

I guess my problem is that I can't keep my mouth shut about it like everyone else probably does. That, my friends, apparently makes me a nag.

After typing those last two sentences, I experienced the sudden, stomach churning realization that this is quite likely the reason I am not married. Sure, I can explain away Only Child's deeply rooted commitment issues , and we all say a daily prayer of thanks to God that I didn't marry that Naval A-hole. But still, I'm sure my well-intentioned reminders to "call the doctor" or "buy a replacement bulb for that burned out front porch light" probably played a part of why these guys couldn't possibly fathom spending the rest of their lives with me.

Maybe I'm just being overly defensive here, but I must take this opportunity to forcefully insist that I do not intend nor consider my reminders to be "nagging." In fact, they are meant to be sincerely helpful.

I am simply unable to come up with any reasonable rationale for not having done these simple things. I mean, seriously, I don't personally care if they go to the doctor or leave their front porch unlit. Why would I? The only reason I bother "reminding" them at all is because I can only assume they forgot. It's no big deal really. I forget things all the time. And when someone reminds me about something I forgot, I am thankful. I certainly don't turn around and say, "Get off my back. You're such a nag." Unfortunately, their rationale for not doing these chores is not as simple as forgetfulness.

Let us address this question. What is it that causes me to bring up these "nagging" requests in the first place?

The answer: I am responding to a complaint from him.

Him: "I tripped over my front step last night and sprained my ankle. It hurts! I really need to get that light fixed."

Uh, excuse me?! Who would not respond with, "Yeah, it's pretty dark out there. You should hit Home Depot on the way home from work tomorrow and get a replacement."

People, please! In that context, that is nothing but helpful and concerned. Not. Nagging.

I suppose if I were his wife, I would just do it myself and that would be that. Drive to Home Depot and while I'm in the car on the way there, call the doctor and make him a damn appointment. But as a girlfriend of only six months, I have no right to fix things around his house or access his medical records.

So, to continue with my completely hypothetical scenario...Two weeks after the sprained ankle he says, "Ah! It hurts to put this shoe on. My ankle's been a mess since I tripped on that damn porch step. Stupid light bulb."

My first thought: Buy a new bulb.

My second thought : Your ankle still hurts after two weeks? You should go to the doctor.

What I actually say: "You should call the doctor about your ankle. It shouldn't be hurting still after two weeks."

Him [dismissively]:"Yeah, yeah...... Ow!"

I sigh and walk away, knowing that his ankle won't be seeing the inside of a doctor's office any time soon.

Two weeks later.

Him [whining, late for a nice dinner with friends]: "Slow down! I can't walk that fast. My ankle's swelling up like a balloon."

Me [trying hard not to roll my eyes]: "Really?! Ouch. You should call the doctor."

"Stop nagging me."

Get it?

The point is, my suggestions are in response to his complaints. If he stops complaining about it, I'll stop nagging (er, uh, reminding) him because there would be nothing to nag about.

But this whole discussion is pointless anyway. All I've really done here is state the obvious:

Men and women are fundamentally different.
Duh. do you think I'm a nag?


P.S. The man featured in this blog entry is a composite of just about every guy I've dated. He is in no way intended to represent Wine Guy exclusively :-)


walt said...

Trooper, you're killing me! (with laughter, I mean). If your examples are a true representation of how you remind your men of the things they need to do, then you are definitely not a nag. A nag is "get off the couch, you don't have time to watch the football game with all the things that need fixing around here!" Gentle, helpful reminders are not nagging. Also, I'm quite certain that it's not "the reason" that you're not married. More than likely, the dominant reason for that is just luck of the draw, in terms of who you've met. AND, you shouldn't be wondering or worrying about that for another 10 years.

BTW, I love lists. Sometimes the women I've been with don't like them so much (they think I'm over-organized, which they somehow equate with being under-emotional).

Sonny Amou said...

Wow, Trooper, I think you're being too hard on yourself. I read this twice just to be sure.

I think it's all in how you make the suggestion. If there's a value judgement detectable in the suggestions you make, then he'll possibly pick up on it, and however fair or unfair, categorize it as nagging. But then again, that's their f'ing problem, sort of a fall-back excuse when they don't want to admit that they've been lazy about picking up after themselves. And it's not rocket science. Light is broken. Fix light. Even when the activity isn't wind-aided, this should take about, oh, 45 seconds.

Good luck. Assertive and suggestive are miles away from bitchy or nagging.

Dating Trooper - Dating is Warfare said...

Phew! So far so good. Two men think I'm not a nag! I'd love to have you guys call a few of my former (and current) boyfriends and let them know!

Michele said...

I'm taking a parenting class and the teacher talked last night about how each of us wants to think we are in control. If we feel like someone is trying to control us, we'll get defensive and rebel. Per her, it's all in the way we say what we need to say. For example, wow, I'm so sorry your ankle is hurting, it must have been really dark on your porch. Something about empathy leading to thinking leading to nice, calm discussions. Don't know if it works on kids but I'm definitely going to start trying it on my hubbie so maybe the nagging accusations will stop : )

Xweing said...

Call me a non-feminist but, I think no self-respecting woman should fix her bf's porch light!!! Even if you are already the wife...


Anyway, good luck to you in hoping ur bf realises one day that u are not a nag...! :)

sexagenarian and the city said...

you're not a nag; he's a procrastinator (but a very nice one).

The City Gal said...

I hear ya sista!

Hold on....are yo telling me this is the reason that I am single, too?

Oh Boy! Another item that I need to add to my list of "things to fix"!

Loverville said...

Doesn't sound naggy to me at all!

And I have to disagree with xweing above... I think it's OK for you to buy a lightbulb for him -- it's a lovely, thoughtful gesture.

Xweing said...

buy yes... fix nono!! hahaha...