Understanding Female Crabbiness – a survival guide for men

In the interest of fostering harmony between the sexes, (and because Wreggie asked me to help him understand,) I have decided to attempt to shed light on the issue of female crabbiness.

The first thing I want you men to understand, is that it is not your fault. Except, really? It’s gonna be your fault no matter what.

Now, you men, I know that you just roll your eyes and try to stay out of the line of fire when your woman’s emotions take a turn towards the ugly. When her mood has reached this point, there’s not much you can do but ride out the storm. As the great Pat Benatar once said, “Love is a battlefield.” My advice to you? RETREAT! It’s probably best to leave the house for a while. If there are young children or small pets in the home, you’d best grab them on your way out the door in order to minimize the trauma they might suffer due to prolonged exposure to excessive female mood swings. When you are brave enough to return to the home, come bearing chocolate. Or wine. Or, if you’ve got yourself a simple girl like me, a pack of light beer. Play it safe. Go with all of the above. Gifts are a quick and easy way to melt a cold heart.

(Honey, if you’re reading… you know how I love my gadgets. I’ll take an iPhone, please.)

While evacuating the premises during episodes of female crabbiness may help you avoid various battle wounds, you may find that prevention is a much more effective tactic. Knowledge is power, people. Knowledge is power.

And so, I’m going to bestow upon you men, the secrets of the female psyche; secrets that may help you head off ugly mood swings at the pass or simply know when to turn tail and run.

First and most importantly, you need to be able to recognize the signs of impending crabiness.  There doesn’t have to be any logical explanation or cause for these symptoms. Do not question them. Just know that they are indicative of a major personality change and your patience, not to mention, your sanity are about to be severely tried. Indications that a female mood storm is about to overtake your woman include, but are not limited to the following:

  • She begins to emit deep, mournful sighs for no apparent reason.
  • She utilizes the “tsk-sigh” in response to all household and/or family situations or any and all words spoken by you, the man. (I don’t believe the “tsk-sigh” requires any explanation, but I do have to give credit to the man who created its self-explanatory name.)
  • Pursed lips
  • A major crease between the eyebrows
  • Responding, “nuh-thing” when asked what is wrong. May be uttered either in a sorrowful or forcefully angry tone. May or may not be accompanied by either of the aforementioned sighs. Warning: You may be tempted to keep asking what is wrong in an attempt to secure a real answer. Do not; I repeat, do not fall prey to this line of thinking. It will only cause you further trouble.
  • Meeting any attempts at communication by you, the man with an icy stare.
  • Proclamations that begin with the words, “Am I the only one who a) cares… b) knows how to… c) gives a _____.

Now that you’re familiar with the signs of female crabbiness, let’s delve into the causes. These causes fall into two categories.  The first category includes things that are the fault of you, the man. Don’t be too disheartened by the fact that you have fault in this matter though. It goes back to Adam and Eve. Adam was an idiot and he passed on that gene to all future generations. And let’s be honest here. The causes in this group are simply too many to list. We’ll just touch on the basics.

Things men do and/or do not do that make women crabby:

  • Help your buddies with home improvement projects while neglecting the “honey-do” list.
  • Think it is romantic to grab her butt or other body parts while she is cooking at the stove, washing dishes, ironing or participating in other domestic chores. Trust me. She is not having fun. Your grabby-hands will not lighten the mood.
  • Use her bath towels and then neglect to replace them with fresh, dry towels afterwards.
  • When it’s her day to sleep in, you take forever to shut off the alarm clock, make a big ruckus opening drawers while searching for socks and underwear, and then plop down heavily on the bed to put your socks on so that she has no further hope of falling back to sleep.
  • Leave your empty soda cans sitting in various locations around the house.
  • Shave and then leave your whiskers in the bathroom sink. Who do you think is going to clean that up? The whisker fairy???
  • Drape your jacket over the railing rather than hanging it in the closet. (It’s okay when we do it, but not okay when you do it.)
  • Don’t put drinking glasses, dishes, pots and pans or Tupperware back in their proper locations. This is an especially heinous error when upon opening a cupboard, items contained within fall all over the floor.
  • Insist on keeping leftovers, then neglecting to eat them, leaving them in the refrigerator until they are overtaken by mold and/or until the female member of the household finally disposes of them.
  • Crossing the line from your side of the bed to hers, hogging the blankets, rubbing the bottom of her foot with your toenail, or any other bedtime annoyances.
  • You have yet to master the art of reading her mind.
  • After years in the same house, you have no idea where to find the Windex.
  • Thinking the road to romance is paved with the words, “Do you wanna have sex tonight, or what?”

Again, this is not an all-inclusive list, but hopefully will give you some idea of the habits and behaviors you’ll want to avoid in order to maximize the level of contentment in the home.

Now let’s talk about the second group of crabbiness causes. This group includes causes that are beyond your control. These symptoms include:

  • Her inability to avoid having to deal with stupid people… at the grocery store, at work or any multitude of other places one might encounter stupid people. Her patience is shot now. There is none left for you.
  • Telemarketers
  • Having to deal with family. (May be of the immediate type or the in-law type.)
  • The children pushed her limits and sent her over the edge, making her feel that she is a complete and total failure as a mother.
  • Aunt Flo showed up early, late, stayed two weeks, or came twice in the same month.
  • Cramps!
  • Bad hair days
  • When she’s feeling fat and decides she hates all of her clothing

The important thing to remember here, men, is that, although these causes are not your fault, they are all your fault. The sooner you can get used to that fact, the less painful it will all be for you.

Let’s recap:

  • Some causes of crabbiness are your fault.
  • Some causes of crabbiness are beyond your control, but are still your fault.

It sounds hopeless, I know. But there must be something about us women that is redeeming, because you guys have a habit of sticking around and putting up with this crap.

Or are you just gluttons for punishment?

Whatever the reason you are able to persevere through life with a female, I hope this little guide will make that life just a bit easier.

You are welcome.

Disclaimer aimed at my husband: Please do not take this personally. It is meant to be humorous and is written almost completely tongue-in-cheek. …ALMOST… And remember honey, when I’m crabby, it’s not always your fault. Just most of the time.

30 thoughts on “Understanding Female Crabbiness – a survival guide for men

  1. Now that I’m done reading this post, I could swear that you were actually writing about my wife. She exhibits a lot of those signs, and everything is my fault, whether it is or not. You sure did hit the nail right on the head. Great article that really hits home, in more ways than one. Well done!


  2. Ah. the good old “Whisker Fairy!” I loved that one and prayed daily for that entity to appear in our bathroom -back when the sort-of ex-son-in-law was still living here!. Every freaking day there would be this humungous black trim all around the sink and the spigots and it would just drive me nuts! That, and not putting things back where I keep them and putting dishes away by “nesting” them -smaller dishes into larger dishes and do this by size with all of ’em! That principal totally escaped two former members of this household and was also one of those things that totally ticked me off! Surely any fool can see that if a bowl won’t fit into another bowl, then something is wrong with the stacking of said items involved but those two could never grasp that principle -not. at. all!
    Good post Terri – a lot of humor there but also much truth to every word of it!


  3. Haha Mike leaves his face hairs in the sink sometime. So far it hasn’t bothered me, and usually a day or two later he’ll rinse it out. I’ve already heard the “where is____?” statement, even though we’ve been in this apt. for over a year. It hasn’t bothered me yet, mostly because I organize stuff and we’re newly married. I think it’s cute.
    So far I’ve been pretty lucky with Mike. He is very attentive and is pretty good at reading my mind and my grunts when I don’t feel like talking.


  4. Hmmmm….that is a lot of rules and causes. I can discern crabbiness days out now having been hitched to the same woman for more than 30 years but alas it does me no good.

    One word I will say to the ladies….please temper your words. You can’t take them back.

    Basically were are screwed. Thanks for the open attempt at splaining.

    You are the best Terri.


  5. Haha that was a good post. I may or may not admit to being guilty of some of those heinous crimes against marital harmony. Although I get away with rather a lot these days.


  6. What a classic post! It should be compulsory reading for all guys!

    I think I must lead a charmed life, though – I mean, I tend to end up laying diagonally across the bed…

    I am tempted to write a reply to this – a woman’s guide to the man, but it would be very short…


  7. I am CRACKING UP! Terri, this was so HILARIOUS, I’m actually chocking on my coffee! Ahahahhah. AHhahahahahah.

    I think your best advice was telling the Men to “Get Out” of the house [take other innocent bystanders with them] and when they DO return they need to bring back gifts and liquor!


  8. Oh I can see it now: I leave as you suggest and then there’s the “where did you go? why were you gone for so long?” Ugh.

    I actually avoided this one the other day:
    When it’s her day to sleep in, you take forever to shut off the alarm clock, make a big ruckus opening drawers while searching for socks and underwear, and then plop down heavily on the bed to put your socks on so that she has no further hope of falling back to sleep.

    I set out stuff the night before in the other room. Ha!

    You’re not selling me on the usefulness of women though!!


  9. Oh, how this resonantes.
    The whiskers, the leftovers, the grabass in the kitchen….
    I honestly think you’ve covered it all. Maybe I’ll have the husband read this. I may get an iPod!


  10. Good Lord. Been a bachelor since second divorce 1984. Thank you for helping me to NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT MARRIAGE again. I already know it’s my fault, i.e. Afghanistan, economy, Christian bashing, Christians bashing Christians, crime rate, inflation, deflation, the weather, junk on TV and pizza deliveries that take forever. Also there was a roach in the closet and I freely admit that is my fault too. But you have given me an insight: If I don’t marry a crab, perhaps there will be no crabbiness. Do you think that is the answer? Perhaps a butterfly, a daffodil, a waterfall or a sunrise would make a great wife. What do you think?


  11. Yes ma’am.
    Message received and understood.
    Situation will be taken care of immediately.

    And let me just type this as softly as I can, I appologize for everything. It’s my fault. I shoulda listened to you in the first place. And can I add that I love what you’ve done to your hair?

    Methinks Mark is in the doghouse and is doing some serious pennance.


  12. Can’t let this rest just yet. Why is crabby the default behavior? Why not obnoxious joy? Is being crabby an attempt for behavior modification to the offending male? Or does crabby come natural to women? In absence of males does crabbyness still occur? In the presence of only females does this behavior occur since they know the inside scoop on being female?


  13. Pingback: Understanding Female Crabbiness – a survival guide for men (via Into The Mystic) « Look Who Fell Off Her Broomstick…

  14. Haha… this was awesome.

    Jules is actually very easy to be around. When she gets upset about something (which isn’t often), she usually just gets really quiet. I’ll generally ask what’s wrong. If the answer is, “nothing,” (and it usually is), I will happily go about my business and act like nothing is wrong. I know she’s lying, but, as you stated above, prying generally isn’t worth the effort. She always cheers up later anyway.

    I’d have to say I lucked out big time in the female department. Hopefully she’ll still be as good about putting up with me years down the road. :)


  15. Are you married to my husband? I can shorten that list for you in one sentence: The woman is always right. As long as you know this, you will have a happy, lasting marriage.


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