Woman Mean

Most men marry a sweetheart. Why would any guy in his right mind want to spend his life with a hateful, mean woman.

Observer of life that I am, I’ve noticed that an inordinate number of men suffer regular verbal abuse and downright hateful behavior from the women they’ve married or have chosen as a life partner.

I’ve been a mean woman, myself, although not to my current gem of a husband. Looking back, (as I seem to do all the time now) I understand how I became a nasty, hateful, and spiteful woman in some of my relationships, and if men want to be happy and live with an amicable woman, they need to understand it, too.

A woman who is mistreated by a selfish or seemingly uncaring man will become one of two things; a weepy, depressed mess or a shrew. Strong women won’t resort to self-pity. Enter the shrew. She will become just as mean as she feels she is being treated by her partner. Nastiness does not beget niceness — not in life and not in love.

I’ve seen the sweetest and most gentle women become raging monsters when they are consistently ignored, patronized, and treated with disdain. I’ll never forget finding out that one of my mother’s “church friends,” an older woman who seemed so reserved and gently, had thrown a glass through at her husband’s television hard enough to shatter it. At the time I was young and couldn’t imagine Mrs. B doing such a thing. Now, I’m not in the least surprised and I understand exactly why Mrs. B threw that glass. He’s lucky it wasnt him she hit.

He was the kind of man who wanted his dinner on time when he got home from work. So she only worked until four p.m. so she could rush home before he got home at five or five-thirty and get his supper prepared and on the table. After dinner, he retired to his recliner with the newspaper and, in those days, his pipe, while she cleaned the kitchen, washed the dishes and madthe lunch he would take to work the next day. On weekends, Mrs. B cleaned house, prepared the message for the Sunday School class she taught, practiced her piano (since she played piano for church services), ran errands, tried to work a little in her flower garden, and cleaned their house. I saw her sometimes sweeping the sidewalk after her husband’s riding mower had thrown grass onto it.

One day, she paused in her housecleaning to go ask her reclining, television-watching husband a question, like she had done hundreds of times before. And also like hundreds of other times, he was engrossed in the TV program he was watching, and didn’t answer her. In fact, he didn’t seem to notice she had come into the room. He had a large tea glass on the end table beside him. The tea she had brought him earlier had dried in the glass.

She asked him again. He glanced her way, but seemed unaware she had said anything. He also seemed mildly irritated she was interferring with his concentration on the show he was watching.

That’s when quiet, sweet, and humble Mrs. B hauled off and threw a tea glass at the television so hard it shattered the thing.

I never heard what happened after that. But everyone knew, somehow, that Mrs. B had thrown a glass and broken her husband’s television. Even as a youngster, I was surprised Mrs. B would do such a thing, but I also thought I knew why she might. Her husband was an unrepentent ass and proud of it.

I heard another story, from a close friend, about how she got mean. Her husband drank all the time. He was a great guy; except when he drank. He then became loud, abusive and yes, mean. One day after one of his drinking buddies dropped him off at their door and he laid on the front porch all night, first worrying her to death about where he was, and then embarrassing her because people in their small town who had driving by their stately home had seen Josh* laying on their porch. Not too long after that incident, he came home drunk again. This time he made it in the front door and promptly threw up on their beautiful carpet before passing out. She had long since quit trying to get him undressed, cleaned up and to bed.

She waited the next day to talk with him. Calmly she told him that the next time he came home drunk, she was going to “beat the shit” out of him. He laughed and told his buddies about his spunky little wife saying such a thing. He knew she couldn’t even give their kids a hard spanking, so adverse was she to violence in any manner. Josh had a job as a cop, and everyone knew he was a tough man who had no fear of anyone.

Even that next night at the bar with his buddies, he continued to laugh about his wife threatening to “whup his ass”. They all had a big laugh and found it funnier the more they drank. Never knowing when to stop, as usual, Josh drank himself in a drunken stupor. He knew not to drive, so he had a friend drop him off at his house. His old lady would take him to go get the car tomorrow, like she always did.

His wife was waiting. She had his old blackjack, which he was now prohibited from carrying on duty, and the last thing he remembered hearing was a sickening “whack” as she hit him upside the head with it. She must have hit him a lot more after that, because the next day both his eyes were black and his face was a testament to the awesome bruising and skin splitting power of the black jacks, or “slappers” the police once carried. His butt and other parts of his body were bruised, too, judging from how he walked when he came back to work. As to the questions about his face, he said he’d gotten in a fight with a very big and mean man who resisted arrest. His friends knew it wasn’t true. And his wife made sure to tell her friends what had happened to Josh. He threatened to have her arrested. But she wasn’t worried. He’d lose his job if the brass became aware of what a drunk he was. “

Funny thing, after that, he never went home drunk again. Oh, he still got drunk, but he didn’t go home. His wife was much too mean for him to ever n again walk in his house drunk. He knew that “crazy hateful bitch” might kill him.

The last woman I know about who got mean “all the sudden” some said, was an active, outdoor-loving woman who had been the star of her college basketball team.

No one knows exactly what set her off the night she shot her husband. But everyone had freqently heard him yell and curse at her when he was in a bad mood, or things didn’t go exactly his way, or she tried to talk to him about why he treated her so poorly. Many mutual friends say it was when she came home and caught him with a young girl in their bed. But at some point a struggle ensued and they began to fight physically. She held her own for a long time, being a strong lady, but he finally pinned her to their bed and began choking her. The gun was kept right beside the bed in case of intruders. She managed to reach it just as she felt herself floating into unconsciousness and shot her husband.

He didnt die, but he stopped choking her. He never could figure out how the nice girl he married became a woman who would shoot her own husband. Sure, he had a bad temper, but she should have known that and not provoked him so much.

I’ve noticed some women just leave. But not before a core change in her behavior. It seems that women almost always get mean as hell and seem not to give a damn about their husbands before they leave or do anything extreme. Wonder why that happens?

If any husband would prefer a meaner woman, all he has to do is withhold affection, ignore her, expect her to be his slave, refuse to participate in life with her, show disinterest in her or her interests, or abuse her in some way.

It works the opposite way, too, I suppose, if a woman mistreats her husband, he will, too, become unloving and mean. But I’ve observed women tend to usually — not always — treat the men in their lives a little better. I guess it was the way they were raised or maybe behavior codes written into their DNAs over many generations. After all, it was once imperative to have a husband if one was to live a comfortable life. And men could be as mean as they wanted back before divorces were common and women usually had no outside income.

Unless a man wants a mean woman for a wife, maybe he’d be wise to consider treating her better. Even a dog will become unpredictable and potentially mean if it is mistreated. Am I right?

Former print journalist, former mayor, retired law enforcement officer. Writing about politics and government along with random personal essays.

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