The Old Nag on the Roof

September 27, 2010

Halfway through the Bible, nearing the New Testament, and women FINALLY get some respect. Well, sort of.

At the end of the proverbs there’s a little shout out to the “Capable Wife.” Capable is a far cry from wonderful, perfect or fantastic, but Biblically, it’s progressive. Five hundred pages before the capable wife, women accused of cheating were cursed with swollen stomachs and shrinking genitals. Now they’re “capable” but only if they adhere to 19 criteria, some of which are grossly outdated.

What 21st Century wife gets up before daylight to feed her husband? Makes bedspreads? Wears clothes of fine purple linen? Spins her own thread and weaves her own cloth? I started ironing my husband’s shirts about a month ago (I do this while watching soaps on Univision) and I already feel dirty and oppressed.

I’m glad things have changed but like it or not, some of the most irksome components of being a “capable wife” have carried over into the 21st Century. For example, we’re still expected to “speak with gentle wisdom” and if we don’t, men automatically revert back to another “female” quality addressed in the Bible — Nagging.

The Bible says it’s:

“Better to live on a roof than share the house with a nagging wife.”

“Better to live in the desert than with a nagging, complaining wife.”

And, that “a nagging wife is like water going drip-drip-drip on a rainy day. How can you keep her quiet? Have you ever tried to stop the wind or ever tried to hold a handful of oil?”

I think men have kicked the sleeping on the roof option, but many men use a particularly well-known desert spot — Las Vegas — to escape nagging wives. They also can’t figure out how to make the nagging stop. I was shocked by the sheer volume of nagging wife self help sites on web. My favorite is “The Best Ways To Deal With These Nag Nag Nag Wife Creatures,” which suggests men avoid the nagging by finding a “hobby,” going “out to the pub,” laughing “at her nagging face” or, my personal favorite, slapping her “in the face with a piece of candy floss.”

The teensy crumb of credit given to women in the proverbs is paltry, but that’s not what bothers me. I’m bothered by the fact that modern women have dropped silly “capable wife” requirements such as weaving cloth, spinning thread and wearing fine purple linen, but men still adhere to the idea of women as nags.

Nagging is saying something over and over again. Correct? That’s interesting because nagging is addressed over and over again in the proverbs. Capable women are not.

Stopping Point: Ecclesiastes (whole thing)

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One Response to “The Old Nag on the Roof”

  1. Agus said

    “Better to live on a roof than share the house with a nagging wife.”
    I guess that also explains the origin of man-caves (at least for those who cannot afford Las Vegas).

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