Girl Game: When You’re Too Low Maintenance… Add a Touch of Klingon

Reader: I’m hoping you can share a man’s point of view on low vs high maintenance. A few weeks ago my husband told me I was “astonishingly low maintenance.” My first reaction was to feel proud at the compliment; then I did a double-take and thought, “Ummmm, is that good?”
It’s been bothering me ever since, so I thought I’d write you (because I don’t think a woman’s opinion would be helpful to me on this and I really like your blog and hey! you have a convenient email address, isn’t that nice.) Can a woman be too low maintenance? Am I asking for trouble (husband taking me for granted – finding me boring – seeking out someone more interesting, type of trouble?) Or should I just buff my fingernails and feel smug?
“Reader Name” (who has always regarded low maintenance behaviors as “things that grown-ups do” and high maintenance behaviors as “things that brats do” and isn’t sure she could be higher maintenance, although she would be willing to try if it would keep her husband happy)
(but who is scared to ask him what he meant lest he look at her as if she has suddenly started gibbering in Klingon)
(and who will shut up now)
Athol: Here’s the thing, being low maintenance is a double edged sword. On one hand yes indeed it’s a wonderful thing to be married to a low maintenance woman. Jennifer is very low maintenance too. It’s very relaxing to not worry about having to fight about everything and being married to an adult.
You’re also probably leaning toward introversion rather than extroversion, and submissive rather than dominant. You’re likely very pleasant and sociable and a good follower. Which is absolutely wonderful…
…but perhaps a little understimulating at times.
My suggestion is to add a little more of a hurdle for him to clear once in a while. Purposely throw out a playful little test and instigate something with him. I’m not talking about suddenly demanding a new kitchen when the current one is fine, I’m saying Game him a little. Initiate sex once in a while. Demand another orgasm. Crack open the lingerie vault. Ask for that thing that turns you on that you’ve been not asking for.
It’s highly unlikely that he would ever dump/cheat for a woman that is simply “higher maintenance”, but a more sexually stimulating woman could very well have some pull on him. Seriously, a lower cut top, a giggle and a playful slap on the arm is like kryptonite to most men. That’s what wives lose their husbands to.
Or think of it this way. If you were your husband’s somewhat slutty lover… what would you be doing to him? Then do that. Start small and gauge his reaction. Then take it from there. Have fun!
Also one does not gibber in Klingon. One states demands.
Perhaps you should stop holding back so much and add a touch of Klingon to your personal approach to wifely charm..
Or maybe…
…er no, that’s a little much. My bad.


  1. "Seriously, a lower cut top, a giggle and a playful slap on the arm is like kryptonite to most men. That's what wives lose their husbands to."

    Cue up "I'm not going to tart it up/dumb myself down to please my husband!" in 3…2…1…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Athol, honest question, why all the scifi? Is it personal preference, you think it get the message over more effectively that anything else or that the people you're trying to reach are often geeks and would understand the idiom?

  3. Looking Glass says:

    Two thoughts on the sci-fi:

    1) Athol's a nerd, never forget that.
    2) The point of Sci-Fi is abstraction, allowing for a discussion of the present from a foreign point of view. Which is a lot of what Athol's work is.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Corollary to 1) above: the question assumes that Athol would even be able to come up with examples from non-nerdy pop culture if he wanted to ;-)

    Besides, Riker dealing with the Klingon women was pure gold.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Badger, have faith! For the occasional woman who does show up here and say that, there are plenty of others who actually like to please their husbands… especially if it's by doing something out of character sometimes rather than having to permanently transform into some sort of airhead. Husband probably wouldn't like that, anyway.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Badger, I admit I may be a bit biased, but it appears that there are more women who are afraid they are being submissive or being controlled then that they might be giving their husbands what might keep their husbands happy and loyal to them.

    Athol comes at all of tis from the perspective at having maried a pretty well balanced girl, who did not ride the carousel before she was married. Unfortunately, not all of us were that wise in choosing our brides.

  7. If a woman thinks that wearing a lower cut top and giggling, or a playful slap is dumbing it down for her husband, then it's too late, she is already being dumb. She doesn't have to act like an idiot. Being playful is fun, it's not acting stupid.

  8. 6:43:

    Watch and learn:

    Epic battles in the comments from readers who don't agree with our intrepid blogger.

    Now I do expect that a silent majority of readers agree with Athol and thus don't feel the need to leave comments. But the comments of the contrarians are harsh indeed. It's like looking
    good for the man who pledged his life and fortune to you is putting you out.

  9. Athol Kay says:

    For the record I am a geek and not a nerd.

    Honestly I just like sci-fi and that's about as far as it goes. If something fits a post I use it.

    In this particular post, the reader in question used "Klingon" in her question, so ran with it in my answer. She quite liked it too.

    I'm going to write on this in a post a little more tonight I think.

  10. Athol Kay says:

    There are also women who have been told endlessly to be "good girls" and limit their sexuality. You probably just don't notice them because they are near completely invisible to men.

    It's the female verion of nice guy.

  11. Anonymous says:

    "It's like looking good for the man who pledged his life and fortune to you is putting you out. "

    Badger, I admit I only re-skimmed the Wii girl comments, but I really don't see that. Let's ignore the life and fortune comment (because that certainly goes both ways) and just consider that ideally, husbands and wives should want to make each other happy. I'm with you on that. Now, those contrarian females were basically saying, "I'm not hot enough to act like that." Fake it til you make it sounds good, but it's painfully embarassing to have people look down on you for daring to act hot when you're not some HB10 – see the comment that Wii girl is only a 7.5 or an 8 anyhow, for example, or the other about how she's skinny and ugly. That's a pretty high standard! Personally, I know I'd look a lot hotter with sexy clothes and makeup, but at least if it's obvious I'm not trying, I'll be ignored rather than ridiculed. I prefer to be ignored.

  12. Thanks for this post – it is definitely something to think about. Like your Reader, I have always thought that being low maintenance = being an adult. I am very low maintenance, and my husband likes it that way. But, I can see the appeal of an occasional high-maintenance moment (or evening!). I just have to figure out how to do it, because it does not come naturally.

  13. GC,

    I tell you this from the standpoint of a very low maintenance wife, trying to dress it up a bit from time to time for my husband. I'm a jeans a t-shirt type girl. Dressing up is not easy for me and it can be very uncomfortable. Start small. Get a pair of somewhat sexy but somewhat comfy cotton panties. Here's a pretty good site:

    Also, get some lower cut cotton t-shirts. Get to the gym as being toned will always make you fell sexier and it is always easier to dress the part when you feel the part. Then step it up and get some pretty night gowns, some skirts, and just slowly keep going with it. Eventually you may get to the really dressy and really pretty lingerie type things and you won't feel so self conscious about it. This is what I did and it worked well for me. Also, Hubby LOVES it.

  14. Anonymous says:

    If we're swapping undies sites, Victoria's Secret is actually surprisingly great. They don't just have daring lingerie for supermodels! You can also get comfy cotton panties in a bewildering array of cute and/or sexy patterns for $5 each.

  15. Anonymous says:

    For the record, there is quite a difference between a geek and a nerd. Geeks like watch/read stuff (sci-fi, comics)- nerds like to learn stuff (history, gaming, etc).

    My husband was attracted to the combination of geek and nerdiness I brought to the table.

  16. Thank you, Stingray – good points. I may have to break out some of the less-comfortable lingerie tonight! I agree that being in shape is key – I really cannot get any sexy going unless I maintain a pretty high level of fitness and keep my weight under control.

  17. Athol Kay says:

    Forget the people dumping on the Wii girl for not being a HB10. That level of standard is only for the most hardened of porn addicts.

  18. Mmm I always though that geek was someone that obsessed about one thing usually sci-fi but you could also be other things "movie geek" and nerd was someone who obsessed about everything!…
    Any comments on the difference between geek and nerd?
    Also Dork was supposed to be someone with low social skills.

  19. Geek is a technical term. It originally meant someone who worked in a carnival sideshow biting the heads off live chickens.

  20. I think women are exceedingly likely to confuse "exciting" or "interesting" with "high-maintenance" (difficult or drama-whoring).

    Reader seems to have her head on straight – yes, adulthood means not being bratty – but she wonders, "Am I asking for trouble (husband taking me for granted – finding me boring – seeking out someone more interesting, type of trouble?)"

    It's a projection. Women find mysterious, peripatetic men exciting and reliable men boring, but it does not follow that men will look elsewhere if their woman doesn't make enough trouble for them. When a man is relaxed without worry, he…relaxes and appreciates his state! He doesn't go looking for trouble or EPL his wife.

  21. Anonymous says:

    One, or both!!! Oh yeah, my first insight into what I now know to be alpha behavior. And that may answer your question, Anonymous, sci-fi is about human nature.

    Athol, I think I would have told low maintenance girl that her hamster is just running a little too fast, her husband probably loves her that way.


  22. Athol Kay says:

    Athol, I think I would have told low maintenance girl that her hamster is just running a little too fast, her husband probably loves her that way.

    But the blog is about getting men laid like tile. Her husband is going to get several nice sexy surprises… mission accomplished. :-D

    More seriously, I'm married to a low maintenance woman, I've been as open as I can be how other women have pulled my attention off Jennifer at times. My advice is quite serious for her.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, whether or not they're really the ones guys will be happiest dating and married to, the high maintenance girls (by which I mean attention-demanding + can't go to the grocery store without lipstick) I've known are the ones all the guys go for, every time. Something about it must work for guys.

  24. In a way, it's like the high maintenance girls are the alphas and the low the betas. The low maintenance are good at comfort building but not so good at being sexy for the sake of sexy. Sexy draws attention. Comfort, not as much. When your husband is comfortable by your side, but perks up immediately when super sexy walks by, it is natural to want him to look at me that way. But feel completely awkward trying to look super sexy.

    I imagine it is much the same when wife is comfortable by betas side, but perks way up when alpha walks by. When beta tries to act that way, it's utterly awkward.

  25. "Athol, I think I would have told low maintenance girl that her hamster is just running a little too fast, her husband probably loves her that way."

    And again, there's a difference between being high-maintenance (drama) and interesting.

    A low-maintenance woman is great in that there's no drama, no panic moments about what she's wearing, no flipouts about what her sister in law brought for dessert, no short-tempered demands that she has to go shopping right now or else.

    But if she is also not interesting, doesn't provide him with positive stimulation, then the relationship has a budding problem, because men get married for sex and positive companionship. I'm very sensitive to this because I want/need a lot of intellectual stimulation but I am sharply intolerant of drama.

    The female mind seems predisposed to seeing drama and interesting as the same thing (or put another way, to subscribe to the philosophy "there's no such thing as bad publicity.") The male mind certainly does not.

  26. Anonymous says:

    There seem to be two different definitions of high-maintenance being used in this conversation. Now, I've always thought of low-maintenance as being independent, competent, able to get things done without falling to pieces or begging for your man to come and rescue you, whereas a high-maintenance woman would be temperamental, whiny, bitchy, and demanding attention constantly.

    High maintenance – the woman who used to call her boyfriend several times a day, when I was a secretary at a construction site, always demanding to talk with him RIGHT NOW and screaming at me when I told her I couldn't get him. (What was I supposed to do – climb up on the roof girders looking for him?) Our boss wound up telling him that if he didn't make her stop, they'd have to let him go.

    Low maintenance – Ma Ingalls, helping her husband fight a prairie fire with wet gunnysacks and being cheerful afterward, because the damage wasn't any worse. And then, when her husband asks her, "What would you have done if I was in Independence when the fire came?" she says that she would have just taken the kids and animals to the creek and waited the fire out.

    But, there also seems to be the definition which means being sexy vs not sexy, wearing dresses and lingerie vs wearing jeans and flannel nightgowns. So, if my definition incorrect, or is there some interaction between the two definitions I'm not seeing?

    I am interested in this, since I am the one who wrote the letter to Athol in the first place, and the idea that low-maintenance = not sexy/boring is exactly what was worrying me in the first place.

    Athol – thanks again for your advice.


  27. Gwen,

    I think what Athol is saying, and what I know I am saying is to take the stuff that men like about high maintenance women and incorporate that into your marriage. That would be the dressing nice, being sexy and playful (not dumb) and making him feel needed. However, stay low maintenance in the fact that you are otherwise easy going and comfortable and fun to be around. Not a pain in the ass, which high maintenance women tend to be. Basically, take the best of both worlds and use them in your marriage. As a low maintenance wife, that can be difficult and even exhausting. But it can also be lots of fun. For me, dressing the part is the most difficult.

  28. Stingray,
    Well said. As for dressing the part, remember your husband already finds you attractive. A sexier version of you need not be self-conscious with him; he will only find you more attractive.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Stingray nailed it, when combined with the original writer's clarification just above. I think this should become canon in MMSL!

  30. "The female mind seems predisposed to seeing drama and interesting as the same thing (or put another way, to subscribe to the philosophy "there's no such thing as bad publicity.") The male mind certainly does not."

    That's a pretty sweeping generalization. Some women subscribe to that philosophy, but many do not. The comments about staying low maintenance but adding some fun and sexy stuff seem spot on.

  31. Anonymous says:

    GC +1.

  32. Anonymous says:

    OK – that makes more sense. Thanks for the clarification.


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