Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Adventures in Nesting: Husband Training

This post is not about the wedding, but rather the part that happens when you aren’t planning the wedding: the nesting. Were having quite a few guests at the end of the month, and I want the apartment to be ready. As a result, I’ve been spending a lot of my spare time nesting – more so nesting than wedding planning (gasp!). Before we begin, I need to introduce a term that you may or may not be familiar with.

Shaping: the reinforcement of successive approximations to train a type of behavior. Not to be confused with what Pavlov achieved with dogs. A guaranteed-to-be-covered concept in every introductory psychology course.

And as you may have guessed from that definition, one of my adventures in nesting has been “training” my (soon to be) husband. The behavior I’m trying to modify? Wet bath towel placement.

You didn’t think it was anything serious, did you? Shame on you if you did!

But anyway, in the 2 years that the PHI and I have been together, I’ve been working on him and what he does with his wet towel. As someone who’s lectured about learning theory a gazillion times, I decided to use the shaping technique. Small modifications to already occurring behavior to achieve a more desirable response. It was slow going before we started living together, but now he’s doing extremely well! Here’s how it played out:
- When we first met, the PHI would leave the towel balled up or just thrown down wherever he left it. It got funky fast and left wet spots in its wake. Gross.

- I suggest stretching the towel out over the edge of the bed, since the wet towel is already in the bedroom. The PHI starts stretching the towel out over the bed, but I think that over time the bed will suffer from the daily additional moisture.

- I move the wet towel stretched over the footboard to the bathroom and hang it over the bathroom door. This is a case of not having a good place for it in the bathroom. At the time we only had one bar (where my towel usually lives), so the next best place (still in the bathroom) was the door. PHI has recently started hanging his own towel over the door (yay!), but it makes the door hard to close.
Which brings us up to today – I think we’ve made excellent progress. As many of you know, it’s hard to change a habit, even for someone you love. I recently installed a hook on the back of the bathroom door for our towels, so that’s my next move getting him to hang his towel there. And I promise, after he does that I will leave his towel alone.

I realize that what the PHI does with his wet towel is not a terribly big deal in the grand scheme of things. But considering the relationship I have with our towels, it makes me happier to know that they’re being treated a little better while in use. And if nothing else, the smell (or lack thereof) alone is worth it.


  1. lol @ leaving his towel alone. how are you gonna shape and change the location 8xs? lololol

  2. OMG!!!! I need to "shape" Dreezy in towel location!!!! it irks the HELL out of me when the towel is all balled up and smelly!!! EWWWWW!!!!!! What is it about guys and towels!?!? Are they used to the locker room where they just throw them around!?!?

    My next hurdle: using the laundry basket. throw the dirty clothes in there!!

  3. @Jameil: Lol! You're supposed to change it. A little each time. And then you stop changing and reinforce that desired behavior :)

    @Adei: Idunno what it is about those towels! You might be right, it does seem to be a locker room mentatility. If you figure out that whole laundry basket thing, let me know too. I was just telling Dani that it doesnt count when you put the clothes in the hamper to move them to the washer - lol.


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