the nagging wife

There’s a reason that the Nagging Wife has always been a comedy cliché. It’s basically because MEN NEVER LISTEN AND OMG THEY’RE SO USELESS AND ALSO THEY NEVER ASK FOR DIRECTIONS AND MAN FLU AND HAVE YOU SEEN MY HUSBAND’S TOENAILS AND BLAH BLAH BLARGH DE BLOO.

Only kidding.

Sort of.

In all seriousness, the reason that the Nagging Wife has been a comedic trope since time out of mind is because we all know one. Oh, don’t argue with me – we do. If we haven’t been scolded by one, we’ve seen somebody else get scolded by one, or we’ve (gasp!) (the very thought!) (well I never!) been the ones who did the scolding ourselves.

Now wait a minute. Don’t bust out your torches and set me on Internet fire just yet. There’s more to this train of thought. Bear with me.

Hear me out.

While I can’t speak for everyone, I can certainly speak for myself, and I will attest to the fact that as a wife and mothers, I certainly do nag. I nag a lot. Some days it seems like I nag my husband and son from the moment they crawl out of their beds in the morning until the moment they crawl back into their beds at night. I nag them to hurry up. I nag them to pick up their shit. I nag them to do whatever housework they said they would do but never did. I nag them to stop leaving their dirty socks all over Every. Damn. Where.

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No, it’s cool. It’s just some of my husband’s dirty socks hanging out on the living room carpet. Two pairs of them. In the exact same place. Because that’s where they go, apparently. No big.

I freely admit I nag. But you know what?

So does my husband.

A lot of husbands do, actually. Probably close to all of them. Except their form of nagging isn’t really considered “nagging.” There’s certainly no pervasive Nagging Husband cliché associated with it. Male nagging generally isn’t thought of as bitchy or grating. It’s not satirized to DEATH on sitcoms or in stand-up comedy routines. It doesn’t make us think of a screeching banshee with a voice like sliding down a razor blade naked.

Which, if you ask me? Is completely and totally unfair.

Because (in my opinion) my husband’s nagging is equal to, if not more annoying than, my own brand. Okay, yes. He doesn’t nag me about chores or parenting or social obligations. He doesn’t nag me about lawn care or car maintenance or any of the other tedious things I nag *him* about.

Still. What he does nag me about is SEX.

CONSTANTLY.

And while I’m sure – in fact, I know – that my husband is not the only one guilty of engaging in some prodigious sex-botherin’, I nonetheless can only speak from my own experience. So that’s what I’m going to do.

First I’m going to hit you up with a couple of important facts:

Fact #1: My husband and I have plenty of sex. He’s not hurting. I’ll leave it at that.

Fact #2: I am a woman whom Dan Savage would classify as “Good, Giving, and Game.” Again, I’ll leave it at that.

All right. Now that we’ve established that my husband is not a victim of Bed Death or even Vanilla Sex Life Syndrome, let’s ask ourselves a few questions.

Question #1: Why is my husband’s nagging about sex completely acceptable in our society, when my nagging about other stuff is considered to be irritating, patronizing, and in many situations, downright laughable?

Question #2: Why does he get to complain endlessly and relentlessly about his sexual needs, but when I ask him to do ANYTHING more than once I might as well have transformed into a hysterical griping fishwife?

Question #3: Why does he get to mope around like an unmedicated Eeyore when I say “Not tonight,” but if I dare to get uppity when he leaves 398475394875 used Kleenex all over the house, I’m “treating him like a child” and “he’ll pick them up later.” (He never does.)

I don’t have a good answer to these questions. I wish I did. Because here’s the thing: Sex is not an entitlement. For either partner. In a lot of ways, having sex is just like going out for a nice dinner or watching a movie – it’s something and fun and entertaining that two (or more) people do together. And they decide when to do it, where to do it, and how to do it, together.

Together!

And if it doesn’t work out on one particular day? You move on. You wait until the time is right. You don’t grumble and moan and bitch about it every minute of every day until it happens. You don’t make passive-aggressive comments (“remember when we were dating?”) until the other person gives in just to shut you the hell up. You don’t constantly grope someone and make suggestive gestures and throw around overtly sexual comments until… well, I guess that doesn’t really apply to the dinner/movie analogy.

For most people, anyway.

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Don’t get me wrong – I love my husband. More than life itself. He’s smart as a whip, gorgeous as hell, and just amazing in every way. And I really do appreciate the fact that he’s still attracted enough to follow me around the house grabbing my ass and making not-so-veiled allusions to butt stuff. But let’s face it. When it comes to sex? He a nagging bitch. And I just think it’s massively unfair that he can consistently ride my ass about doin’ more nasty, but if I tell him to flush the toilet after he pees, I get an eye roll and a “yeah yeah.”

Long story short? Husband, don’t make me get out my rolling pin.

(Though you did say you wanted to do more butt stuff.)

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An earlier version of this piece was published in April 2014 on humor/parenting blog Foxy Wine Pocket.

If you haven’t already done so, consider following est. 1975 on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest! I add fresh, hilarious material every single day.

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Photo credits:
“Taming the Shrew”: Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk; Taming the shrew. T.L. Busby; ca. 1826.; Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0
“Old woman”: Giorgione (1477–1510); English: Old Woman; Date circa 1508; Source/Photographer Web Gallery of Art: Inkscape.svg; This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. This work is in the public domain in the United States. — Modified

65 Replies to “the nagging wife”

  1. That rolling pin sure looks good, doesn’t it!! Seriously though, I totally get this as you I admit I nag, but like you so does my husband and usually is for sex, too. And also like you mine does get plenty here, as well (enough said!).

  2. I have always said that the sexiest and easiest way for a man to get sex from his partner is to clean, take care of the kids, without a million directions, and pick up their things. If more men knew this there would seldom be a marital spat about sex! Women want help and want to feel listened to, when we do, we have less stress, when we have less stress we tend to want to do fun things, like have sex! Your piece should go on a lot of bedroom mirrors!! Great!

    1. Thanks a lot Kathy! Yes, definitely the sexiest and easiest way to get sex is to help out. And to also not act like a baby. There is nothing less sexy than acting like I’m your mom and I’m responsible for taking care of you.

  3. Number freaking 2!!! YES! I am so totally using that. Excellent point, my sista. And I got into a little spat with the husband yesterday because he doesn’t listen, and when I pointed that out, he had the nerve to be pissed at ME! Apparently, I’m bitchy when I point out that it’s like living with an Alzheimers patient who asks about something I just said 2 seconds ago. Wow. I just picked yesterday’s scab. I must go and regroup now.

  4. lol. First of all, I love the lady who seeks one night without a penis poke. So good! And, as for nagging, my husband is actually a bigger nag than I am. And, if I ask but once, for him to do something, he rolls his eyes and gets huffy like I’ve been riding his ass all day about it!

  5. Nagging last night:
    Me: Why can’t you put the Tupperware away with the lids on so they stack nicely and don’t fall over everywhere in the cabinet?
    Him: Well, you don’t have to get pissy. Just ask nicely and I’ll do.
    Me: I have asked nicely 12,282 times.

  6. Can I comment? No? I . . . uh . . . yeah, well . . .
    Geez, there are no other guys here. Ummmmmmmmm . . . huh.
    . . .
    . . .
    LIFE IS DIFFICULT WITH A PENIS, OKAY? IT’S ALWAYS THERE. BUMPING INTO THINGS. BRUSHING UP AGAINST FABRIC, AIR, AND OUR IMAGINATIONS. SOMETHING IS ALWAYS SETTING IT OFF! LIKE A CROTCH BOMB! BOOM! IT NEEDS TO BE CODDLED AND COMFORTED.
    . . .
    i’m sorry . . .
    i’ll go now
    . . .

    1. It’s not about the fact that you guys want sex… We want it too! It’s about the fact that you guys get to nag day and night about it, but aren’t labeled as bitchy crabasses for doing so. Injustice!

      1. No, I get it. I think anyone who bitches day and night about something should be labelled a bitchy crabass. The funny thing is: if I don’t nag for sex, Jill thinks I’m not attracted to her. She’ll wonder what the Jeff is going on. It dings her self worth. As crazy and unhealthy as that is . . .

        1. I’ll admit there’s a fine line. I try to ask my husband to use common sense. Please, do tell me I’m attractive. Please, do flirt. And by all means, come on to me when there’s a possibility that we can actually, you know, do it. Don’t just shove your boner in my butt crack at 4 AM when we have to get up in two hours to get the kid to school, then sulk when I’m not into it.

    1. My first marriage was crappy from not enough sex, so I try my best to be thankful for my husband’s continued interest. But I just don’t think it’s fair that they get to nag about stuff and we don’t! The injustice. Thanks for reading! Xoxo

  7. Hey, at least yours is nagging for sex. I wasn’t a nagger except about sex. Begging until the time came when I was tempted to borrow or steal. Not a nagger and not a cheater, so I left. Be thankful for what you’ve got, my darlings but do try to nag a little less and appreciate more. 😉

    1. I definitely understand where you’re coming from, Amy — my first marriage was much like that, and I had to leave as well. So I definitely do appreciate the fact that my husband still finds me attractive and wants some lovins. That’s not so much the issue as it is why it’s acceptable for men to bug us up and down for sex but if we ask them to do ANYTHING more than once it’s “nagging” and we’re suddenly the rolling-pin-wielding house-coat-wearing fishwives in curlers. That’s my problem.

      1. Oh, I totally agree about it being unjust but face it, men aren’t going to change and we’re always going to be annoyed by their inconsiderate behavior but if all they nag about is when they’re going to get some nookie, that’s not too bad.
        Yeah, it would be nice if we didn’t have to ask a hundred times to not do something or to pick up after themselves, but since they can only really concentrate on one thing at at time and like Jeff says, something is ALWAYS sending their thought patterns south, we have to cut them a little slack. Just be thankful you’ve got a guy who still thinks south. Of course, you can always use the reward system…pick up his dirty socks and he gets to take something off you and so on. xoxo

  8. I, too, aspire to one night of sleep without a penis poking me in the butthole. Thanks for saying out loud, (sort of), what I’m thinking EVERY SECOND OF MY LIFE, (when my husband is home).

    YOU. ARE. AWESOME.

  9. Yeah, what’s up with that? And I never thought about my nagging vs. his nagging like that before. Thanks for the new perspective. 🙂

  10. Lol I just love this post. Reminds me of the man sleeping next to me right now. I have to say it never changes even with age.

  11. I can’t relate to this story at all. After all, I never nag about anything. And Mr. Foxy never nags about sex. Or butt stuff. Or shower stuff. Or bjs. Or…

    Nope. I can’t relate at all.

  12. From the internets… Ladies, if a man says he will fix it, he will. There is no need to remind him every 6 months about it.

  13. There is a law that says it is ok to nag wives/girlfriends for sex but it is not ok to nag us about cleaning or chores.

    Really, it is on the books, you can look it up.

  14. You need to do couples’ therapy. Or have your own show on the Oprah network! Oh, and love the way you tied it up with a bow at the end there.

  15. OMG, I’m fucking crying over here!! You are not the only sister! All three of them leave shit everywhere and I have to pick it up! If I nag too much about anything he just won’t do it anymore. As in completely shuts down. If I did that about sex he would go into hysterics! Long story short…I’m ready to be single!

  16. OMG I’m fucking crying over here! You not the only one sister! All three of them leave shit everywhere. If I even start to nag at my husband, he just won’t do what I asked. As in completely shuts down. If I did that with sex he would go into hysterics. Long story short….I’m ready to be single!

  17. The post is beautifully put and thinking back to when I was married, I remember doing some nagging about sex, which she pointed out so I stopped. Then she complained that I didn’t want to have sex anymore. Honestly, I couldn’t win.

    But better even than the post, was your exchange with Jeff up there in the comments. Awesome!

    1. It’s a fine line, like I said. Wanting sex is a-ok. But nagging, bitching, whining, and getting ALL UP IN YO FACE about it is not. Unless you want to be characterized as a Nagging Jerk that everyone looks down on and makes fun of. Because that’s what happens to women when they crab about something. Equal nagging rights for all!

  18. This is so freaking, amazingly, full of truth and hilarity, I’m practically standing on my chair cheering. Except, if I did that, I’d be able to see all the dirty socks from here. My darling husband is a nagging bitch too. And I love that meme. I want the damn shirt. WORD. One. Freaking. Night. Of. Sleep. Seriously, you need to drop the mic after this post. WELL. DONE.

  19. When I asked my husband one day (very kindly, in a non-nagging way) to please separate the white tee shirts and underwear from the black socks, I found – the following day – black socks knotted through each leg hole of his white underwear. It made me laugh. Just like it does when he nags me for sex.

    Just kidding. I found you in a roundabout way – through my friend who won That’s Paris on my blog and is now a new fan of yours. 😉 And now I’m discovering how many blog friends we have in common.

    1. Wow! That’s great that you found me in such a crazy way! But you’re published in That’s Paris too (congratulations) so that’s a more straightforward connection. Who is your friend?

      Also, that story about your husband is hilarious.

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