Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cleanliness Is Not a Sign of Superiority

In the never-ending battle of the sexes you will hear cries and tears that men never do their "fair share" of the house work.  Normally at this point the easily-predicted retort that men do the majority of the work outside of the household OR fixes "manly" things at the household (cars, oil change, lawn mowing, etc) is delivered. However, I'm going to ignore these arguments and instead focus on a different angle altogether.  I'm going to question the premise what constitutes "fair share."

Understand in saying "fair share" we are implying there is a certain tangible, measurable amount of house work that needs to be done in the first place.  Therefore when a man (or woman) completes "their fair share" of the work they have met their obligations and get a reprieve from nagging and lecturing (until the house is in need again of some cleaning).  But what is that "tangible, measurable" amount?  What are the standards?  And who gets to decide what those standards are?

Of course it's women.

And of course, they're wrong.

The reason I say so factually "they're wrong" is because there is no "right" or "wrong" way as to determining what is the appropriate level of cleanliness in a house.  Bachelors for millions of years have been living in veritable man caves with no major medical or health complications.  A shoe turned upside down, a shirt hanging on the chair, an open bottle of beer from the night before has never killed, injured, maimed or slightly peeve one man.  But women will claim it not only is the end of the world, but it is "wrong."  That that shoe CAN'T be turned upside down.  That that shirt CAN'T be hanging on the chair.

When men have decades of experience that proves, "actually, yes, yes it can."

Regardless, the empirical evidence that the world does not end because an apartment has a minimal bachelor level of cleanliness proves that there is no "standard" or "measurement" for what is ultimately going to be "their fair share."  And what it further proves is that women are the ones who have a PREFERENCE for a much cleaner place than men.


(anybody see where I'm going with this?)

(I'll give you a couple seconds)

(make your guesses)

(OK, here we go)

men's "fair share" should be the amount of housework needed to get it up to their standards.  Anything beyond that is a PREFERENCE of the women AND (dare I say) up to them to do it.

Ladies, we have cleaned our places in the past and survived this long.  We maintained our bachelor pads so we could go out and do things in life.  If you want to scrub behind toilets, vacuum underneath couches, scrub the floors and on a weekly basis, by all means go ahead.  We're not doing it because it's not only unnecessary, it takes away from more important things in life, namely life itself.  Additionally, our dumpy bachelor pads or CHOOSING (not our incapability to) not to achieve the same level of cleanliness does not mean we are somehow "inferior" or "less hygienic" than you are.  We aren't "helpless, sad, pathetic boys whose mothers didn't bring up right" we just prefer to knock out some more work (or in the case of Enjoying the Decliners) we prefer to go out and play and live life.

So, by all means ladies, clean the place up till your heart's content.  And men, if you're one of those anally retentive clean freaks, YOU get to do the majority of the housework while she sits outside and joins the rest of us guys enjoying the decline.  In the meantime I strongly suggest people start asking what's really important in life - a perfectly, spotlessly clean house OR 3 additional years saved not wasting your time cleaning to an anal retentive level and instead spent living life.

I'm glad I have resolved the "fair share of housework" issue forever for everybody.  You may make a donation to the Rumpleminze fund as a show of your appreciation.


Lib Arts Major Making $27k/yr At An Office Job said...

Polishing brass on the Titanic my friend.

Men take care of the things they know will take care of them (equipment / cars / machines) and are thus worthy of our care.

The blankets on a bed are there to keep you warm, not to be a "decorative bedspread". Lamps are for providing adequate light, not for looking exotic and being expensive. Living rooms are for living in, not for being "that one room with all the nice furniture that no one ever sits on or touches."

Men equate value with usefulness foremost in almost any situation.

Women equate value with a long series of inscrutable qualities. Usefulness may or may not make the list.

Just1X said...

I invented the term 'man-tidy' for this. Everyone that I tried it on, understood immediately what I meant

Ibtisaam said...

feminist economists (yes!) get paid thousands to research:

Jane the Grad Student said...

In our house, it's a bit the opposite: my hubby's an engineer and likes things put away, though he's OK with jackets on chairs, shoes under the table, etc. I'm the chaos monster who has to be prompted to put things away. Even when he had a bachelor pad, it was usually pretty tidy. But what I do remember is the lack of superfluous "stuff". Almost everything he had was being used, was an important document, or had some legitimate sentimental value (late Grandpa's favorite fishing hat, etc).

James Wolfe said...

For years I was nagged at and resented for "not doing my fair share" of the housework. And even though I can and did prove to her statistically I was doing an equal number of tasks on a daily / weekly basis as her it made no difference. And if you take into account the level of difficulty (building things), skill required (fixing cars and computers), and weight (physical) of the tasks I did you would find the scales tilt significantly in my favor.

As it turns out her resentment had nothing to do with an inequality in our work load and entirely to do with the differences between men and women that she refused to accept or take into account. At the end of the day when we were both done with our respective chores, she would be on the couch in front of the TV and asleep in 20 minutes, while I would still be full of energy and creativity and would want to build things or make things or fix things. She was jealous of me for not being exhausted. She was jealous of me for being a man. It wasn't fair to her.

But now that we live in separate homes its amazing. The trash gets taken out, the kitchen gets cleaned, the laundry gets done, the floors swept, mopped, and vacuumed, and the yard still gets mowed and stuff gets fixed, without a woman being there to nag about it getting done. It gets done when I say it needs done and when I feel like getting it done.

If it's a Tuesday and I feel like sitting on my ass and reading a book or messing with one of my gadgets and don't feel like washing dishes, I don't wash the dishes. If I come home and the kids have already fixed themselves something to eat I don't cook dinner. I enjoy life every day. I try to find some reason every day to be happy.

Both of my parents worked hard every day, never bought anything on credit, scrimped and saved for their retirement, and died without ever getting a chance to relax and enjoy life. I'm not making that same mistake. And I will not live with a woman who nags me to do things she thinks I should be doing when she thinks I should be doing them, or do more work in a day than is absolutely necessary, or tries to shame me or belittle me for living the way I want to live. Life is way to short and precious for that.

Stay thirsty my friends and enjoy the decline.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is a little bit overanalyzed. It might just be that pride and self-respect are tied up in how neat the place looks, and Wifey figures that keeping the place picked up is one of the things he signed up for, in a similar way that he figures that there are now no barriers to her behaving like a Vivid star from time to time.

Of course, I have never had my pride or self-respect tied up in how neat the place looks, so this is all guesswork on my part.

Mike James

Anonymous said...

Would be interested in your take on the cleanliness level of women living together.

Based on my experiences in the U.S. Navy, berthing areas where women live in large numbers are routinely filthier and more of a health hazard than those where men live in large numbers.

In addition, men appear to go to greater lengths to keep their berthing areas "up to standard" than those of the fairer sex.

That preference may exist, but apparently only when a man is there to do the work for them (whether willingly or unwillingly).

Rumbear said...

Cleanliness has some virtue. Matter of fact, I was cleaning the olde Glock and debating whether to order a GHOST RANGER 4.5 lb. trigger connector. Excessive trigger pull can be exhausting. Yannow, I wanted to help with the dishes, but......

Stay frosty.

Craig from Belvidere said...

This also applies to timing of tasks.

I like to fix dinner then eat it while relaxing with a couple of glasses of wine. I put the dishes in the sink rather than washing them immediately so I keep the calm, relaxed mood of the dinner through the evening.

The next morning I do the dishes along with my other frenetic morning clean up.

My wife can't stand this. those dishes have to be washed immediately upon finishing the meal. This really messes up the laid back feeling I like for evenings.

She is gone for a few days so I am having a wonderful staycation. It has the ambience of eating out at a fine restaurant every night.

vandiver49 said...

@ Anon 6:10,

While I absolutely concur with your assessment of female berthing areas in the Navy (I would refuse to inspect them) I don't think that situation is an apt comparison to what Cappy is referring to. (see frat houses for an example of a group of guys living in junky conditions)

Most women's standards are more time intensive, in everything they do. Just yesterday my 6 month son had a crying fit in the middle of the night. Having exhausted all soothing methods, I was content to let him cry it out, but she decided to wake up and take him from me.

When I asked why, she stated they she felt she had to 'do something.' Which I'd have no problem with save for the fact they she'd want to complain to me about her lack of sleep.

William Hughes said...

A place is in order when every necessary thing is in its proper place, and there are no un-necessary things present. I like order.

Small children may complicate your thesis. Everyday objects can become a bitter hazard for little people.

I speculate that women in general are more focussed on cleanliness and tidyness due to the child care association. Women without children may seem needlessly obsessed about it. With children, a relentless tidyness is helpful.

Badger said...

Housework seems to be one of those things where women invent whatever scorekeeping system allows them to complain. Either men don't do their fair share, or they don't do it the right way, or - my favorite - it "doesn't count" because he LIKES mowing the lawn and pruning the bushes (probably so he can get away from you) while she hates cleaning the counter so her overall burden is higher.

There's a real martyrdom aspect to it. She has to "do something," then complain that she's doing something.

Obsessing about tidiness is such a stupid way to WASTE your valuable time on this earth in which you could be doing something rewarding and productive.