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The Best and Worst of Times with a Hard Headed Woman

by Tom Johnson on Mar 31, 2008
categories: blogging technical-writing

Jane's Makes Me Smile Mondays CarnivalJane is hosting a blog carnival with the theme "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times." This is a quote from a Dickens novel that I should have read sometime in my life but haven't. The way the carnival works, everyone writes a post related to this announced theme, publishes it on their blog, and then adds a link to it on her original post.

Given that Jane, who also doubles as my wife in a fictional blog world in which my name is Dick, is somewhat of an outspoken, call-it-what-it-is, take-no-prisoners wife, my topic to apply the Dickens best/worst lens is Cat Stevens' "Hard Headed Woman." For those unfamiliar with the song, be sure to play it below.

Fortunately Cat Stevens outlines the benefits of having a hard-headed woman in his song (for the best of times):

  • Best - She'll take me for myself.
  • Best - I won't need nobody else.
  • Best - She'll make me do my best.
  • Best - The rest of my life will be blessed.
  • Best - She'll have answers.
  • Best - She'll not be looking for one who pays.
  • Best - She'll make me feel so good.
  • Best - My life will be as it should.

Best of Times

Although Cat Stevens never specifically defines it in his song, a hard-headed woman in my mind is someone who doesn't stand down or hold back when she knows she's right. She speaks the honest truth and puts you in your place when you're acting stupid.

A hard-headed woman doesn't present any false pretenses. She is herself. And she doesn't need all your answers -- she has her own. She expects you to be you, and she's not interested in how much money you make, or how you smooth-talking you are. She's stubborn in her values but rightly so, and helps you keep true to yourself, as she does herself. By keeping true to yourself and your ideals, she inspires you to be your best.

As Cat implies, a hard-headed woman is hard to find. She's not timid and passive. She openly expresses a realistic, practical view, and this forthcoming spirit increases communication between you and her, which makes you feel good (at times). As a result of the good feelings, your life is blessed.

Worst of Times

Of course there is a tradeoff to her hard-headedness, which is why I chose Stevens' song for my post. In between the brief moments of blessed joy, you may also experience a worst-of-times feeling. In fact, part of the intrigue of Cat Stevens' song is to hear his desire for hard-headedness. Not too many songs about that.

In the worst of times, a hard-headed woman can be tough to handle. She may have an aggressive voice in public settings, correcting and challenging you. When you leave dirty socks on the floor, or forget to carry your dishes to the sink, she doesn't let you quietly get away. A hard-headed woman won't silently endure what she feels to be wrongdoing. She calls you on your slovenliness and expects you to be your best.

When you come home with that 3% annual salary raise, she says go back and argue for more. She drives you forward in your career. She tells you the truth about a presentation you gave when you really want lies. She can never be censored, especially not on her blog.

She's not easily fooled, and demands full disclosure at any suspicion. You'll see less passive aggressive retaliation, thank goodness, but get ready to duck at flying objects coming your way every once in a while.


Yes, with a hard-headed woman (by the way, Jane's nickname is "Scrappy," which means "full of fighting spirit"), life is sometimes a roller-coaster with a best and worst of times. But Cat was right about hard headedness -- it's what every man needs.

I'm looking for a hard headed woman,
One who will make me feel so good,
And if I find my hard headed woman,
I know my life will be as it should -- yes, yes, yes.

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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