Saturday, 10 May 2014

Ever been nagged?

How odd that it's always a woman who nags and never a man. A woman is always an unreasonable, over-persistent, pain in the arse while a man is merely mentioning something that needs attention.

A woman who has to keep pestering her man to get off his butt and do some necessary domestic chores is seen as a nag, while a man who pesters a woman to look sexier or be stricter with the kids is just the voice of common sense.

Well, that's the popular stereotype anyway. But have you ever heard of a nagging husband? A husband who's demanding maybe, or fussy or pedantic. But not one who's a "nag", with all the insulting overtones that implies.

It struck me that one reason Jenny and I still get along so well is that neither of us nags. If there's something about the other person that bugs us, we'll mention it but we won't bang on about it. Either the other person responds or they don't, and that's that. Or we don't mention it at all because it's not that important, or it's purely a question of personal taste.

Nagging is usually counter-productive anyway. The more you nag someone about something, the more you get their back up and the less likely you are to achieve anything.

To my mind, if a woman "nags", there's often a very good reason for it. Like a man who always "forgets" to do the food shopping, or is forever "running late" for everything, or "doesn't have the time" to get the leaky tap fixed. But he has plenty of time to update Facebook or read the sports news. She's not "nagging", she just wants him to pull his weight and not keep taking the piss.

Not so much nagging as getting a grip.

22 comments:

Wisewebwoman said...

You're right. I've never ever heard the word applied to a man. And I know some dreadful male nags. Always after their partner for something because, you know, they're perfect themselves.
Xo
WWW

Nick said...

www: Yes, that's another thing, so many men think they're perfect, whereas so many women criticise themselves constantly.

susie said...

Do you have "honey do lists" where you live?

I have never created a "honey do list" for any honey.

Nick said...

Susie: No we don't have those, we just ask our partner to do things and they may or may not get done. An actual to-do list for your partner sounds very pushy!

Keith said...

When we got married she said that I was just perfect for her, her ideal man, and I felt the same about her (ideal wife, that is!).

Then she changed, and became a nagger; do this, do that and I began to feel like the chauffeur, odd job man, gardener, cook etc.

She spent the next 36 years trying to change me saying "You're not the man I married". Well, I wouldn't be would I with the constant ear-bending?

In the end, when the kids were old enough to fly the nest, I walked out. I loved her, but couldn't cope with the nagging.

Bijoux said...

No nagging in this household, either. I'm rather picky though, so I prefer to do things myself!

Helen Devries said...

My husband is a nag when he is unwell....it is a sort of insecurity and comes out that way thanks to factors of his childhood.

Doesn't mean that I appreciate it.

CheerfulMonk said...

Neither Andy nor I nag. It would be a waste of time and energy. Not to mention creating hard feelings.

Nick said...

Keith: That's a sad story. But as you say, you can only take so much. Can't people see the effect all that nagging has on the other person?

Bijoux: That's one way of making sure the job gets done - and gets done properly!

Nick said...

Helen: If he only nags when he's unwell, that's quite manageable. As long as he gets well again quickly....

Jean: Yes, all those things. A waste of time and energy and sure to create a lot of ill-will.

Ursula said...

This your post made me laugh.

Like Bijoux I am not a nagger. I might mention something. Once. Other than that I just do everything myself. Always have, always will. Which is NOT the right way to go about it. In fact, it's the totally WRONG way to go about it. I can hear it ten years down the line from now: "MAMA, you never told me ...". Whatever. Life is a boomerang, Nick. Keep ducking.

U

Nick said...

Ursula: Doing it yourself isn't the ideal answer, true, but often it's the only realistic course when you know it won't get done otherwise. And at least you know it'll be done the way you want it.

Bijoux said...

I agree with Ursula that it can come back and bite you in the ass, but I've found that my kids have eventually learned how to do things themselves once they've needed to.

And I realize I'm extreme about certain things.....like treating my kitchen like a hazmat zone after cutting up raw poultry.

Nick said...

Bijoux: Necessity is the mother of invention - or in this case just working out how to do it. And I guess it's sensible to take a few precautions around raw meat (in my case, just don't eat it, ha ha).

Rummuser said...

No woman has ever nagged me including my late wife. Nor have I nagged anyone including her. I however had a man, my father who just about nagged the life out of me for four years towards the end of his life when I had made the mistake of taking him in when he was left destitute, I would not wish that kind of life on any one.

Nick said...

Ramana: Good to hear your life has in general been so free of nagging. But it sounds like your elderly father was quite impossible. I remember your post about his endless fussing over chairs.

Friko said...

I couldn’t agree more.

It’s been ever thus and ever more shall be so.

Nick said...

Friko: What's been ever thus? Women being seen as nags? Men wriggling out of household chores? Nagging being counter-productive? Or all three?

Suburbia said...

It's such a horrible word! Is it acceptable to nag your teenage kids though?!

Nick said...

Suburbia: It is a horrible word, isn't it? As for teenage kids, I have no experience in that area except my own childhood. I know mums who used to nag their kids about their squalid bedrooms but eventually just gave up.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I've known men (in therapy) who nagged their wives about cleaning the house and such. Not sure if they'd have used that word, but that's what it amounted to. But what I do know is that virtually everyone who claims the other person is a nag isn't pulling their weight at home.

Nick said...

Agent: Exactly, men can be just as persistent about something, but it's not described as "nagging" even though that's what it is. And I think you're right about someone who's not pulling their weight.