|engraving of Scold's bridle (John Dorman Steele and Esther Baker Steele)|
Jung famously said the "craving for alcohol was the equivalent, on a low level, of the spiritual thirst of our our being for wholeness...." The same can be said for nagging. Whether it’s a thirst is up for grabs, but it’s definitely lower level. A lot of people don’t have the stomach for full-blown S&M and it also requires not only the ability to maintain an erection (an increasingly dubious proposition in these perilous times) but also the ability to sustain a role—something which is incidentally one of the most important aspects of the actor’s art. Nagging is to S&M what improvisation is to what Stanislavski called Building A Character. You're not going to blindfold, handcuff, tie to the bedposts, flog, Greek, smother or gag. Rather you’re apt to criticize, humiliate (a cross over technique employed by both naggers and sado-masochists), demean, deride and generally push your love object to the point where they will scream at you (something produced in S&M sessions by both submissives and dominants but by other means). In the midst of bickering you might think to yourself, why can’t this misery be turned into something more glamorous and dramatic? Anyone can participate in endless anal arguments and most people would rather be right than happy. But how many couples practice anal sex with dildos and restraints? How many couples live like the larger than life characters of Fifty Shades of Grey? Compare and despair. This is precisely the kind of thinking that loses sight of the subtle joys that go into nagging or being nagged to death. Familiarity breeds contempt is the mantra of the nagger who is not only tired of the person he or she is with, but with life in general. Sure you can and should probably move on, but you can’t and that's what makes the pleasure of hocking away at your loved one so sublime.