What The Hell Is Taking So Long?

“Most married men I know complain about their wives propensity to find a million things to do right when it is time to head out the door. Maybe it’s the wife who decides she has to do her hair one more time before they leave, or maybe it’s one more outfit change because they are unhappy with how what they are wearing is fitting, who knows?
…So I’m curious. For those guys who are married, were married, or living with a woman. Have you experienced the last minute task, and how did you handle it? Maybe Athol Kay from Married Man Sex Life has some better ideas on how to handle the last minute mundane task delay.”
This is one of those really annoying things that my wife has never been guilty of in terms of going out to social events. We both tend to get enmeshed in work and have trouble leaving for home on time, but we both know the others situation so it doesn’t really bother either of us.
However… oh yeah I’ve seen this issue in many couples. 5-10 minutes late is fashionably late, no problem. 30+ minutes late is just increasingly rude and must be addressed. This really isn’t even a male / female thing, it’s just part of being an adult to show up at an appropriate time to social events. Though I do think it’s an easy way for a woman to test a man, so I’ll answer the question as such.
I guess for girlfriends one option for dealing with it is to simply dump her. Then high five yourself for not taking her shit. This is epic fail. You don’t pass a fitness test by finishing up not in a relationship with the woman, you know when you pass a fitness test by the woman stopping the testing behavior and wanting to have sex with you more than she did before. Yeah I know this was a wierd thing to have to explain, but apparently some guys need to be told.
If you’re getting tearful messages on your answering machine asking what happened and you’re giving yourself a “low five”, you could have probably handled things better. You may in fact be an asshole rather than a PUA.
Another option is to trick the wife into thinking the 730p social event actually starts at 7p to give yourself the extra 30 minutes to allow her to be late. This is just enabling the situation to continue into the future forever. Trust me she will figure this one out and eventually stretch things out to an hour. It’s also telling her that you cannot control her, and that she has the power in this situation.
Option three is just to accept that she owns you and to fume quietly and develop cancer somewhere on your body. This way is death. She will take control of the entire relationship eventually.
Option four is a sudden surprise where you just leave and she discovers that you are gone and so is your car. She’s messing with her hair and finally finishes and walks into the living room 35 minutes behind schedule and the house is empty. There’s a lot of shock value in this technique, but I worry that it’s too harsh. She may well comply in the future, but it’s going to cost attraction points.
My approach for this single issue is similar to my overall approach to increasing your sex life with your wife. You are not trying to control her, you are trying to control you and she will either respond to it, or she won’t.
Firstly ignore the fact that her behavior is “causing the lateness”. The issue should be framed as “I am late and that’s not acceptable to me“. Make no mention of her getting ready routine. If she complains or argues just broken record “I am late and that is not acceptable to me.”
Give her a first warning shot that “I am late and that is not acceptable to me” during an episode of lateness. Firm tone of voice and eye contact.
Give her a second warning shot that “I am late and that is not acceptable to me. If this happens again I will ensure I arrive on time with or without you”.
A third and final warning during an episode of lateness that “I am late and that is not acceptable to me. As I told you before I’m just going to make sure I arrive on time regardless of whether you are ready or not.”
Then in the future give her a reasonable heads up of when you are leaving, i.e. at 5pm say we’re leaving at 7pm. Then just leave at that time with or without her. Try not to make it over something truly dramatic like a family vacation, but out to dinner or a movie or whatever is fine.
Realize that the relationship may end over this. Leaving her behind may turn into the unforgivable sin and she may well scream her nut off at you over this. In that moment you have to realize that her behavior is rude and she is blaming you for not supporting her rudeness. Also she may well arrive 40 minutes late and mad as a snake at you and rip you up verbally in public for leaving her behind. That’s a whole other level of socially inappropriate behavior towards you. Perhaps in those moments, you’ll realize exactly what you married… and want to have a serious think about things and the direction of your life. If this is a wife perhaps you might suggest “taking some space”. I’d just dump a girlfriend chewing me up in public on the spot.
So like I said earlier – the basic issue is that you are allowing her to control you with the lateness. So you control you as the solution. And remember 5-10 minutes isn’t too serious. Not everything is a fitness test.
And of course remember the Golden Rule of Sex Rank. Never force an ultimatum on your wife if she is hotter than you.


  1. Alkibiades says:

    I will try your advice the next time one of my married friends brings it up. See if I can get a field test.

  2. Athol Kay says:

    Well a field test is of only somewhat limited use if the wife is hotter than the husband. If you push a wife hotter than you to an ultimatum she can just dump you for insolence lol.

    In general the plan I laid out is basic behavior modification and I train a variation on this for dealing with medication refusals at work. It's quite effective.

  3. This is an interesting issue. Not sure I'm completely on board with your approach. Although I think it would work, the risk of doing serious harm in the relationship by leaving solo is significant. But, if it's a cronic issue, this approach might be the way to go; if it's a commonly practiced behavior, the nuclear option might be the best way to break the cycle. Obviously, the more important the social engagement is (your family, business networking opportunity, etc.), the more you'd tend to this option.

    As I commented over at Alkibiades' place, a good approach is letter her make you late to something like a dinner reservation (that is cancelled for tardiness) or the first act of a play/symphony (where you have to stand around until intermission to get to your seats). That usually sends a message.

    I like the recommendation to wait to get ready until she starts to panic that you will be late. There is a change in frame here, which is important.

    The chronically late women are incredible. My wife has friends that regularly show up 1.5 to 2 hours late to social engagements. Interesting would be a discussion of how to deal with someone else's woman on this issue.

  4. Athol Kay says:

    Oh I do agree that leaving her behind somewhere is going to be a critical event. But frankly being endlessly late for everything together is just terribly rude and I do't understand why that should be tolerated. I think three good warnings is enough.

    Turning up 1.5-2 hours late for something is just outrageously insulting.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Of course, this is all assuming that the amazing male is pulling his weight around the house and with the kids, and isn't arising like a king from whatever occupied him, preparing himself in 2 minutes, and wondering why his dumb cluck wife is running about completing "mundane chores".

  6. Athol Kay says:

    I think I've made my point that the husband should be helping out around the house and with the kids in enough places on the blog.

    Don't you?

  7. Anonymous says:

    My mother made our whole family late all of my growing up years. I was trained to act that way from birth. My husband told me one week into our marriage, "The car is leaving the drive way at 9:30, with or with out you." I believed him implicitly. He also explained to me that it is rude to show up somewhere late. I had never been taught that and I just didn't realize.

  8. GuitarPlayer says:

    Ah yes, they can take a while. I have the opposite problem. My wife is always so early that no one is there yet. I wish she'd take longer. She used to!

  9. 'And of course remember the Golden Rule of Sex Rank. Never force an ultimatum on your wife if she is hotter than you'

    A lot of your blog I have found contains fairly sound advice. Not the above though. If you take a stand on something (i.e. something big that is worth taking a stand on) then ,as a man, you must be prepared for the possibility that things will end, regardless of whether the woman is 'hotter' than you. To the casual reader it might even seem that you're suggesting we compromise ourselves for 'hot' women in situations where we would retain our integrity for ones who were not so 'hot'. Where I'm from that's called 'being a pussy'. And it doesn't seem from the rest of your posts that you would advocate that at all.So I must be misunderstanding you. Right?

    Further, the whole idea of sex rank is somewhat artificial to my mind. I agree that the 'inner work' and pursuit of life enhancing interests and physical conditioning that many of us do as men in order to lead more fulfilling lives can, as a welcome side effect, increase our attractiveness level. However I am of the firm belief that doing that work with the primary intention of becoming 'hotter' completely undermines the value of it.

  10. I've said in a few places that Sex Rank is best understood as a metaphor. It's an inexact science for sure.

    By forcing a serious ultimatium on a wife you are risking divorce, which is an insanely costly outcome. I'm saying you better make damn sure you have a winning hand before you try and force an ultimatium.

    Say a husband is a 6 married to a 7 wife and getting minimal sex. If he demands "sex or else" as a 6 she might just take the "or else option". If he works on himself and turns into an 8 and demands "sex or else", she will likely take the "sex" option.

    The general context I'm writing about is marriage. In general I advise against ultimatiums other than as a last resort for the most serious issues.

  11. exford legs says:

    Substitue 'wife' for 'drummer'

    Fucker turns up to band practice an hour late.

    'You're out. Don't argue.'

  12. SnappyEel says:

    could I use this for anyone? I'm a girl, but I don't wear makeup or do anything to my hair so it's rare that I take more than 20 minutes to get ready. (I've discovered that if you put on a nice dress and heels, people think you're dressed up nice and it doesn't matter how busted your face looks or that you forgot to brush your hair. This is doubly true if you live in the southeastern united states.)

    Anyway, my friends take forever to get ready. In fact, I've found myself waiting on boyfriends who take too long doing their hair and locating clean socks. I understand that I am blessed with awesome hair that requires no maintenance beyond washing and combing, so I grant my friends more time than I allot for myself….but they still take way too long. Can I use these techniques too? Or will all my friends call me a bitch and stop hanging out with me?

  13. Athol Kay says:

    Should work Snappy Eel

  14. Oh, I think very often the men could stand to accept some of the blame. When we were first married, my husband would have the bad habit of not telling me when he planned to leave the house. Then all of a sudden it was "Hey, let's go" and I'd be running all over the place trying to find my shoes and change my shirt. While he, of course, would stand around jingling the keys and sighing. Men don't realize it takes us time to get ready — so a simple 30-minute warning, or telling me in the morning that we plan to leave at six tonight, would go a long way.

    Once the baby had arrived, I really had to put my foot down. After one time of him jumping up and saying, "Hey, let's go" while the baby was not fed, not changed, etc., we both realized he was going to have to clue me on what the plans were before randomly jumping out the door.

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