I am the woman who would put this on her man’s dash.
I am also the woman who will cook him lemon chicken with rosemary in red high heels, and might I add that they may not come off throughout the night, if you know what I mean. But I am also a woman who needs things to get done. I like reminders.
These are the top five reasons I am an absolute f*&%$#@* nag.
- It’s innate, my Mama did it, sister did it, and my entire childhood was polluted with naggerific tendencies. It’s not an excuse, it’s just why.
- I want the best for you baby, for us, don’t you see it?
- Perhaps because I’ve only ever had experiences with people in which I have to nag or nothing will ever get done.
- I’m a mother and that came as a package deal.
- And finally, because it’s one of the few things I can do that will incite an immediate reaction. I like immediate reactions.
I’m going to generalize here, which I don’t like to do—but for the sake of the topic, I don’t mean everyone, but some and possibly even most.
What’s the worst thing a woman can do you ask? I answer. Nag. Yes, we know it is annoying, and I can even venture to say, until we nag (a repeatedly whiny asking over and over of the same thing)— or get louder, you’re generally going to ignore us until it gets… urgent for you.
It’s like something else large has to be at stake. I like things at stake.
I feel like there’s this misconception, this misconception that a woman’s perfect man needs to be half-naked washing dishes. I’m here to tell you, as desirable as that might be, that isn’t what (and if I can speak for the women that I know) we want.
I, coupled with the few power women spoke on THIS topic all too recently, and it all falls in line with what I’ve always known.
Nagging has more to do with feeling alone with regards to responsibility, while a significant other should share the heaviness of my load. Teamwork, go teamwork. Nagging has more to do with attention span, or lack thereof, and acknowledging when something has been asked, (even in a sensual way) and still no concerted efforts have been made.
I can remember the feeling of utter helplessness, the hindrance. The resentment and frustration, like I’m gonna “crawl up the wallside,” because I’ve asked and been disregarded for things that are (at the top of my list as) less important—ie: workouts, playing basketball, drinking beer, watching Lakers or Raiders, or my own personal favorite—feet kicked up in the lazy chair.
I want my feet kicked up in the lazy chair? But what am I doing instead? Refilling the puppy bowl, helping revamp his personal statement or CV, sorting laundry yet again, matching up his missing socks, replacing the toilet tissue and the paper towels back on the roll—because none of y’all see that sh*t is empty. All I’d like is for a man who notices things, acknowledges what I’ve said, and is present in the relationship he is in.
Since I’m currently single, I stand to warn a potential that, yes, I nag—with the most tender care and in the most yielding and loving way possible. I nag.
Don’t worry, I use positive reinforcement, too. Very positive. I like positive.
What about you?
“I can’t help it??” And he snapped back faster than ever, “Well, what can you help?”
Occupational hazard. Writers plan for the worst and secretly hope for the best. It’s a defense mechanism for publishing rejection. I cannot promise him I can stop doing that. But I wrote something to help him believe in my try:
The Things I Can Help
1. UuHm. [Clears throat] I definitely can help myself to another serving of, spending as much time as I can with you in order to know (enough in advance) what I want to help myself to.
2. I can help appreciating it after you treat me like we’re in a slow-motioned old-fashioned movie and you’re behaving like Noah in The Notebook, give a little, then leave something mysteriously amiss—wouldn’t hurt if your look was sincere and you made an effort to stare longingly into my eyes.
3. Moreover, I would help myself to your psyche and while you seem to believe you would not want to walk with me on the beach; not walking with me on the beach would only lead me to discovering my full potential… which is destined to be an old, lonely, rich writer in Paris. I can help that.
4. I can help the way I write, and I can help myself to a second helping as you are so frikkin good for my writing that I have to ask if it’s selfish, or I have to ask if it’s too soon to beg that you never leave me yet? Or tell me when it’s safe to ask that? And don’t take too long to respond, a bitch got deadlines.
5. And what else can I help? You o you my tough little nookie-crook could help out in loosening-up-with-all-your-mite so I can help bind you to me exponentially and that would somehow reverse your adverse reaction to my cupcake-flavored lip gloss—which at one point your dislike of it made me sad—which was too bad because I envisioned no more a sweeter vision than you and I holding hands [the off-limits gesture] and making love daily, singing kumbiyahhhhhh my looooooord kumbiyuuuuuuow as you propose in a romantically aligned stupor that which results in my instantaneous pregnancy and combustion. Amen.
All of a sudden, I’m clingy. I caught myself. Usually intimacy creates it, this time—I blame the butterflies.
I like to call it smothersome. And boy have I had some of this medicine before. I don’t mean the gentlemenly “You look beautiful tonight,” I mean the “I’m going to attempt to kiss you four times in five minutes, come back to check on you, peek-a-boo around the corner-honey is that you, hi, I’m still here… just looking at you, watching you go about your business, studying your eyebrows and then guess what I’m going to do, honey-honey! honey! I’m going to kiss you. Yes, again. Mmmmuah” Seriously, I want to give up on people. [Shake-my-head.]
So what happened you ask? O, besides subtleties? O besides someone that knows how to play the push me once on the swing and let me flap my legs for a bit on my own, then come back and push me slightly—then run when I say “again!” He slips off, then pops up behind me when I’m least expecting it-game. See, it’s the same but quite different. Did I know about it until it hit me? Maybe once or twice before, but it’s very very different. Butterflies are more like dragonflies when you’re an adult. Like the bigger the elephant the harder it falls, maybe?
Case in point: The other day I was conveniently gossiping about the new cutie patoot. The conversation was getting so interesting, but I had somewhere to go, and I’d already started out too late. I decided it’d be a bright idea to bring my bestie (on the phone) into the shower with me via the cordless phone. I sat the cordless phone alongside the tub and decided to shower with her on speakerphone blasting and bursting with laughter— it went something like:
“Grrrrrrrrl, I know, I know! I know right?! Right!” I continued on explaining to her that I know it’s early, we just met, I know like only a few weeks but I feel (giggles) clingy. Like. I’m human. My emotions are carbonated lava and he likes to kiss five different places on my forehead and then doze off across the bed and pretend I’m not there.
Subtlety, S-O-L-D. Like rose gold. Like a garage sale, everything must go.
I’m smack dab in the middle of confession 101 when my son runs full speed into the bathroom and vehemently bangs and shakes the shower sliding door. I freak the hell out, slip the soap, slop the towel and the cordless phone slides jollily down into the shower water as I fancy a jump-hop-scream AaAAah of terror I’d be electrocuted back into my good sense anyway. I did all of this magicianship stark naked, mind you.
Today I spent $20 replacing the cordless phone battery after having dried it out inside of a plastic bag with a hair dryer like my good ole google-friends told me to.
And yes, and yet, I’m still fighting this, example #2: The other night, I swore North, South, East, West, and upside down that I didn’t like holding hands. It’s funny as soon as you draw a line how much you yearn to blur it. Now all I want is for him to grab for my hand. I want him to take off work and play in the sandbox, pink sand of course. I want him to hold my hand and hold it while he tells me the biggest storybook story with the most enormous imagination. Queue artful silence I like.
And yet, I would very much like him to keep holding my hand. And I guess that makes me clingy. Or irksome. Or what I’d coin as smothersome from some folks in my past in which I shall not name. Ah, the other foot is so hard to wear. I suppose I’d rather be slightly ornamental—sniffing him in like the tip of a permanent marker. Because what does it say about someone who doesn’t have an ounce of overdose in their blood? Someone without that race in their genetic make-up? That she sticks to no one? Or that she sticks to everyone? Or that she’s unemployable? I sorta dig long-term. Sigh SMH again.
He got really quiet the other night, and I pouted, well, because, well, you see actually … I just wanted his undivided attention.
How absolutely OUT of character of me.
I guess it’s just the butterflies, they’re eating me alive.
I tend to read out loud. Now, whether or not you’ve heard me or not is a different story.
I’ll say a “subconscious-unconsciousness of” — too damn much. For instance if the person in front of me says he doesn’t like women who shop… all of a sudden I’m a thriftily shopping mo-fo. He doesn’t like tea? O, I only dabble in tea sipping, pinky finger flailing, honey sticks, and lattés, just dabble, lol. Similar to Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride when it was all she could do to match her counterparts, she forgot herself.
I read, a lot. I read people. I speed read. I read attachments. I read magazines, marketing material, interviews, the internet, but mostly, I read out loud. I tell a person what’s wrong, generally, like most of us do — before telling them what’s right. I’m proud to recognize this, and acknowledge myself as a work in progress.
I write my toot off. I stay up wee hours of the night reading. Studying. I put it first when at times it should come second to some things like taking a few minutes to make the people I love happy. Ma calls me up the other day, exhibit #1:
“Where da hell you beeennnnnnnn?” Her southern accent, a cheerily bit ghetto. She asks of why I haven’t called her.
I go on explaining and rambling off about deadlines, genre workshops, reading group, and submissions and halfway through my summary of absence, this broad is not listening. At all. I’m talking about not only not listening, but in full conversation with my niece in the background.
“Maaaaam, did you hear me???? You not listening! You never listen, how you gon’ ask me a question then go all off talkin’ to someone else?!” I shriek.
“Awhl, shiiiiiiiit, leme call ya later honey, these children are on my nerves.” She hangs up. I laugh and shake my head. Like I said, I read out loud, no one listens.
Example 2: an ex of mine came over about nine maybe ten one night o clock a few weeks back to listen as I read a few pages to him for proofing. After all, I can credit him for catching a lot of my run-on sentences, verb tense issues, and grammar ridiculousness. He also fully believes in my work and I love that. This particular time no sooner than shortly after his arrival did I read into about the fourth page, and I found that he had apparently took the drug opposite of No-Doze. He was full-on asleep, light snore and all. Naturally, I’m human, I was hurt.
He exclaimed that he was tired, which I believe he was, and that if he’d only had the pages in front of him (like his own copy) he would have stayed up. The issue is, when someone gives an über quick reason for falling short, the explanation loses its weight. A simple “I’m sorry, it won’t happen again” would have sufficed. Practice with me: “I’m sorry it, won’t happen again,“ the most important words in language, since “I love you” is overrated and everyone loves everybody. I’m really sorry, I won’t read a damn thing to you, ever again. HAhahaha!
Him actually using those words might have gotten us on the same page. Simple acknowledgement and reassurance that it (hopefully) won’t happen again. Although Ma still hasn’t said a word about her tangents of rudeness, and my ex and I no longer talk, I still feel I’m learning how to better express myself, and I continue reading out loud. I just wish the right people would listen.
Picture taken by moi from “be happy: a little book to help you live a happy life” by Monica Sheehan.
I stopped dating for a while.
I think that starts mentally first. Sure there are the plentiful “in-betweens” I’ve met over the years, exes, or wanderers that have affected me and would rightfully say that him and I were “dating,” but such is a lie. I met him. Once or twice. I hung out with him; he called whenever he was bored. Once or three times, through a friend or he bought me a drink and I sipped and sped off.
Anyway, dating to me is the person (for the hopeful romantic upchuck/serial monogamistical/ and manic idiosyncratic like myself) that you wanna talk to before bed and stay up late talking to risking priorities not being met. The person you start dating and don’t mind a phone conversation while you’re sitting in the bubble bath with your teacup, tub-side. The person that after you’ve been dating a while, you don’t mind taking to the toilet with you for a pee or shit (over the phone of course! Don’t judge!) Anyway—that comfortable person for you. I’ll revisit the shit part later.
Needless to say… no one like that in my life. [Like I said ignore any coughing here] Lately, I tire early, request alone time, writing time, studying, reading, whatever—my life. From my perspective, “for now” and “wait list” are gravely different from “VIP guest list.” The man this story is about is “VIP guest list.” Yes, that hot. He is.
So I met him shortly (very shortly rather) after an aforementioned “in between” forced me to exclaim after dinner that yes— it’s time, I’ve been mentally “checked-out” for over a year and no we never go out like we used to, hell, chat like we used to, laugh at all— for that matter ((yawn)) and carry on for another hour of oil not mixing with water—like I said I stopped dating long ago. Lol.
I’ve called myself “in love” before or I’ve said that I have loved a person, although all of this is questionable at this point albeit my two family members and one close friend are all simultaneously in the process of divorce right now. Sort of changes the game when the people whose marriages you’ve always looked up to have come to an end. I’ve come to the conclusion that instead of being “in love with the idea of love,” I’ve just been “in love with what I wanted love to give me” and more importantly—with where I thought love would get me.
I’ll repeat more simply: If I wanted a happy marriage and a baby girl–I’d fall in love with that illusion instead of the person that could give that to me. So it wasn’t the holding hands in the park, secret-special, life is wonderful when you’re in love that I wanted—but the partner who helped me create the best creative reality using his imagination. I’m a sucker.
Here’s where it all comes together. I started (about 3 months ago) going out to happy hours/business mixers, attempting too-long bike rides, and posing men I’d meet on said adventures in the nonfiction stories I’d write. Truth is stranger than fiction—type of gig. I’d never imagine beyond the day I met the person. I’d never think that beyond a few drinks or lunch that I’d meet anyone I’d care to seriously see again. After some random guy would compliment me and walk my groceries to the car, I’d never bother thinking of him again after the 500-word story about how my dress ended up being tucked in my panties, and so on. That type of thing.
So I go out one night to a dancy dive-type bar. Raunchily, the ill-appropriated folk are humping and cooing and the ceiling is sweating down on me. I simply had to drink to stand it as otherwise my OCD wouldn’t have let me continue on. Since I was there at this place of business this would insinuate that because I wouldn’t take anyone seriously here, that I am not a girl to be taken seriously, seriously.
Then I met [redacted]. Sorry I haven’t gotten his permission to post his name and I love his name so it’s much better not to make him up yet.
But I met [redacted] twice. Let’s call him “Red” for short. I went to the bar to “take the edge off” as the Alchy’s call it. Relax, have a laugh, and most importantly, write another damn story. Or live it well enough to write it the next morning.
First time I saw Red I said to myself —is the room shaking? —Is it Christmas? — Can I touch him? —Is he real? Or something non-short of such rah rah. He had sunlight skin, a tiny mustache, twinkling eyes, baby’s-toot-soft-skin, and a navy baseball cap if memory serves me. Nothing shiny or belligerent. No “ghetto bunkin” jersey when he’s not at a basketball game, no non-tailored blazer. Basic tee-and-jeans cutie.
He comes on strong, but asks for my number. I say no. He looks 12. My son is almost 12, I refuse to raise more children before I’m ready, unless of course you’re a rich publisher—please do inquire as none of this male bashing applies to you. Sorry I’m back. But I say to Red as he watches drinks swish down my sinkhole.
“No, you’re too young, besides, you asked for my number you should have politely demanded it.”
This was my way of deterring him, my weeding out process, my “if you’re too drunk you can’t jump through this hoop.” I tend to come up with many of those… aka… excuses. After all he was “12-looking” (or early twenties) and he did ask instead of tell me nicely and I was busy trying to graduate and not fall in love with anyone who fails to perfectly exist at this moment. Again, I shrugged my shoulders and bopped off. I was there to laugh with my friends and create stories. Not meet anyone, really.
The second time I met Red my friend and I were at the same ceiling-sweaty-place and he passed me with a sly smile. When I got up closer, I was about to say something along the lines of “don’t I know you?” when he confidently demanded my number, later reminding me that we’d met before and I’d said no because he “was hardly making the double digits in age, and that my son was nearly 12, I was almost 30, sorry but I’m not looking for anything.”
Wow, I say a drunken mouthful.
He decided to let me know that “I didn’t need to be looking, necessarily” and he bought me a diet coke and vanilla vodka and escorted me to the dance floor—this time without asking. Somebody learned. Fast forward to less than a week later our second date (our first date being a whole different story I’m writing) and I chose to cook for him at my home (which I’ve done for one handful of people because I’m afraid they’ll all realize that I have perfected 3 meals total and everything else I’m wingin’ it.)
He shows up. On time. Nicely dressed—and immediately my puppy loves him. Good signs. We eat our food, which I will not tell you in case I end up making it for you one day. Auh F it: we ate lemon peppered salmon, sautéed green and yellow green beans, langostino tails in garlic, and a red rice medley with flax seeds and barley. Showin’ OUT. The appetizer was a Toscana cheese topped with cinnamon and what should have been crackers but when I tried to serve them they ended up being stale, so I quickly shoved them in the trash before Red could see. So yah, appetizer was jus’ plain cheese and Rosé. Yea, I did that. Lol.
Damn he was fine. Mighta tied me up and chopped my kneecaps off for breakfast and I woulda smiled type-a’fine. Mighta forced his baton up my ellipsis type-a’ fine. I ain’t got no good sense nor proper sentence structure for this type-a’ fine.
Most men don’t (I repeat if this were a regular date I’d have scared him off already) keep me intrigued enough for a second date or I say too much all at once and there’s awkward silence and then no more. And here I am crazily offering to cook for a pretty stranger.
My puppy twirls at Red’s feet and jumps his lap hoping for a French kiss worse than I was.
I have not hoped for a French kiss since I was 15. I don’t really enjoy kissing much, when a relationship requires too much of it, especially when folks aren’t very good at it. I’m turned off. Slobber baths give me the creeps.
But this man. This Red guy. I wanted to kiss kisssssssss kiss. Put my OCD about saliva in a tight-lipped jar and kiss him until I saw stars. Possibly even make my prose rhyme a bit. Yes, that’s it.
We never got to the kiss. We never did because two romantic comedies later my puppy bless her soul—trots in, all 3 ½ pounds of her maltese wannabee pit bull comes from down the hallway— stares both of us down as we sit on my white couch surrounded by my off-white living room encompassed by my unusually oversized fluffy white rug fresh from the dryer early morning— yes my baby maltese “Notebook,” the girl pup I peacefully trained this spring by asking her please and praise—my little universe in the size of a shoe—shimmers into the living room and takes a long sarcastic “This is my mommy’s house who the fuck are you” staring dead at Red and shits in unbelievably juicy spurtles—similar to that of oversized bird droppings, in a sickly circular way all over my fluff rug.
And then I am sitting there with my mouth wide, fake-laughing it off with jokes and a high-larious voice of “I hope you still call me anyway, this was a nice and shitterific evening,” or this dating shit ain’t easy because it really is shitty, in fact, I couldn’t have shit it better myself. My maltese looks at me as if self-satisfied.
She walks off.Picture from Savage Chickens