My father, who kept industrial-grade acetone in the house to perfect the kitchen counters, was constantly after me about cleaning the "pig sty" that was my bedroom floor. "Man, I can't wait to get out of here and get a girlfriend," I thought. "I'll never have to put up with nagging again!"
When I finally got my first girlfriend in college, I soon longed for Dad's nagging—at least he was badgering me to do something that seemed possible. Melinda, by contrast, harassed me about not giving her enough attention and complained that I was smothering her, both in the course of 12 hours. Additionally, though I had successfully attracted her, I now "wore my clothes wrong," "ate my food weird," and "shouldn't tell people that I'm studying poetry." By the time my two-week relationship with her had ended, she alleged that my bad habits had caused her damage from which she'd never recover (though she seemed to do just fine when she landed her next boyfriend two days later).
Melinda was a sign of things to come: women would be into me, and then into changing me.
This isn't to say I have been unwilling or unable to make changes. Yes, I am awesome; but frankly, if someone liked every little thing I did, I'd find it creepy and boring. What makes a relationship interesting is the challenge and the discovery. Confronting me on my crap is exciting and even intimate. Doing it repetitively, loudly, and not noticing when I make adjustments? That's when it's nagging.
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