Anal, Analer, Analest

Meridian, Idaho

Rich and I are both perfectionists. We have specific ways we want things done, and we both have a hard time giving an inch if something’s not quite our way…

Neat freaks. Precisionists. Fussbudgets. Micromanagers. OCD. Whatever you want to call it, it all boils down to us both being anal retentive — aka anal.

Anal — A term used to refer to a person who feels a need to be in control of all aspects of his or her surroundings. Or, in other words, an anal retentive person “can’t let go of shit.” (Urban Dictionary)


While both of us being anal isn’t necessarily a bad thing, occasionally we’ll look at each other with bewilderment and just think, “Are you CRAZY!” Am I’m sure others around us think the same thing. 🙂

For a long time, I didn’t think I was anal. But then my wise niece Theresa told me that I was after I complained about a particular incident while I was going to college about 15 years ago.


Since then I embrace it. And being anal has helped me get at least five job offers when I tell the story about my niece explaining to me that I’m anal.

When I am asked, “Do you pay attention to detail?”, here’s the story I tell:

I was a non-traditional student in my mid forties when I went back to school.

We had a lot of group work in my classes which could be very difficult to organize given that most of my group were also non-traditional students–we had families, we had jobs, we couldn’t just run down the hall in the dorm to meet.

I was always tasked with putting everything together for the final paper or presentation. I was tired of doing that and said, “I want to do something else. Someone else can do that part.”

Several of my cohorts looked at me and said, at the same time, “Kathy, you have to do it. You’re so anal you make it all perfect!”

I was appalled. I had no idea that they thought I was anal let alone that I was anal.

I complained to Theresa, my niece who was studying psychology among other things, about it trying to convince her that I was in fact not anal.

I ended by saying, “If I was anal, I would have done something about the six dead flies that have been laying in my bedroom windowsill for the last three weeks because I’ve been too busy to clean.”

Theresa smiled at me knowingly and said softly, “Kathy, the fact that you have counted the flies and that you know how long they’ve been there shows that you ARE anal.”

Since then, I’ve embraced my analness because there’s a place in the world for anal retentives.

I am a bit worried, though, because I am becoming more anal, analer if you will, as I get older.

My goal is to stop myself before I become the most anal, analest if you will, and thoroughly drive myself and everyone else nuts.


6 thoughts on “Anal, Analer, Analest”

  1. Ha ha ha! Like you ever had six dead flies anywhere!

    We still giggle about when you so graciously hired Patricia to help clean and asked her to go to your home and get “Rich’s” toothbrush and told her she would immediately know which one was Rich’s. Is he anal about brushing his teeth hard? Here we are using soft feathers to brush our sensitive teeth and Mike and Rich are splaying their bristles out with one use!

    1. Carol, there really were six dead flies. Giggles about the toothbrush story. I had forgotten that. 🙂

  2. Hilarious. I had not heard that story. I could readily imagine that your classmates would want you for that role.

    Personally, I think everyone has at least some anal tendencies. Dan is a mess, but he is meticulous about his dress shoes, clothes, and car. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t files, papers, and other items strewn about his car. For me, it is the toilet paper roll. It must hang the proper way with the end coming over the top…

    Carol, I will have to remember the toothbrush story, because I know that my dentist does not believe me as she tuts over my receding gums.

    1. Joanne, I went ballistic at one dentist who berated me about brushing my teeth too hard. I said there has to be a hereditary tendency towards soft gums. He said, “No, it’s your fault because you’re brushing your teeth too hard.”

      I said, “Then answer this for me: Why do ALL three of my sisters have the same issue with receding gums? I don’t think our parents sat us all down and said, ‘Whatever you do in life, make sure that you brush your teeth as HARD as you can. It’s a matter of life or death!'”

      I had been using the soft “pencil” hold for over ten years at that time.

      He wasn’t amused, but I’d made my point and he didn’t give me any more grief about the way I brush. 🙂

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