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Opening Arguments

Nag, nag, busted

If you think the government interferes too much in our private lives here, just be thankful you don't live in France. A bill being pushed by Nicolas Sarkozy's government would make "psychological violence" between married and cohabiting couples "a matter for state intervention." And just what is that, exactly?

 For starters, there's the question of defining an act of psychological violence: as it stands, the legislation would appear to cover everything from nagging, to false accusations of infidelity, to sustained campaigns of verbal abuse, to a failure to supply the correct answer to the question: "Does my bum look big in this?"

As a libertarian, I'm naturally appalled that something as ordinary as nagging might be considered a crime. But as a man, I'm secretly a little pleased. I'm not saying men never nag, but women are so good at it. I have a rule, by the way, that gives the women in my life a little more leeway in their to improve me. You get a pass the first two times you tell me to do something I have no inclination to do -- it isn't nagging until the third time.

Of course, if they go for a fourth time, I'm likely to give in and do it just so I don't have to hear the nagging again. But I don't tell them that.