Perhaps one of the most enjoyable aspects of doing
this series of columns is ruffling feathers and reflecting - often with humor - on my own life and wife. Since my wife rarely
reads my columns, I can write whatever I want with relative impunity. Of course, I'm ALWAYS writing the exact truth. It's
never slanted or biased from my male point-of-view. I'm the objective journalist with this series.
I also have swampland for sale if you're interested?
My usual caveat to these columns is that my declarations, generalizations,
and stereotypes are simply that...there are always exceptions but they are generalizations for a reason. The reason is that
they are prevalent.
I've gone through my own
journey regarding cleaning, neatness, personal body care, and the like. Why it's changed over the years is a mystery.
A distinct memory of my messier times took place when I went
to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio in the summer of 1971. Wow, those were different times for sure. It was the height
of the hippy movement, Vietnam was still in full gear, and free sex was all the rage though it was that summer that I had
my first experience with any sex. That is another story.
housing I was offered was in the form of sharing a large old home right on campus. I had my own room. I arrived for my summer
session and it was hot. I immediately wanted to change and took off whatever shirt I was wearing and draped it over the chair
by my desk. Over the subsequent weeks, I draped other clothes on that chair. I didn't see THAT shirt again until I packed
up to leave at the end of the summer.
I went through an anal phase of organizing and relative concern for cleanliness. That lasted many years until I became a dad
and, got even worse, when I became a full-time single dad. My priorities shifted to other things that seemed more pressing
to me - and pressing the sheets just wasn't one of those things. Surviving the dark days of divorce was hard enough without
worrying about doing the vacuuming. Just providing the basics for my traumatized young boys was more important than washing
I met my second wife during that
phase. When she moved into our downsized apartment, the garage was packed wall-to-wall with stuff. My car was parked outside.
Walking through the garage was impossible. She almost walked out that day. I wouldn't have blamed her.
Now, years later, I am a bit more cleanly, organized, and put
together. Well, my wife puts together my wardrobe so maybe I'm not so put together. She "takes care of the house,"
and I take care of the money. It's a simple division of labor and works, some of the time.
I'll now share my usual list of how men and women approach things - regarding
cleaning - in this edition of the Men vs. Women series:
Men think cleaning the house is easy. A quick vacuum. A leaf blower for dust. Back to the game!
~~ Women think cleaning the house is NEVER done. Many women clean the house
before the housekeeper arrives AND clean it again after he/she leaves. That is assuming there is a "housekeeper."
~~ Speaking of housekeepers, most men think any housekeeper that
is cheap is perfect.
~~ For women, housekeepers
are like clothes and bling - the more you spend the better you look, the better the job of cleaning the house!
~~ Men don't understand two things: irons and dry-cleaning. Why
do you need either?
~~ Women spend half their
day at the (shoe) store and the other half at the dry-cleaners.
~~ Men know where everything is in their extremely orderly mess. That is, until their woman organizes it all
and puts everything where "it belongs."
Women really like shoeboxes. Men like them too, to put junk in.
~~ Men know that a car is a precious thing and take great pride and care in keeping it in tip-top shape, inside
and out. Hand-washing a car is a sign of true devotion.
Women know the names of every worker at their car wash.
Men believe their kid's rooms are their kid's bat-cave. Let it be. It's their space. Lighten up.
~~ Mom believes their kid's rooms are a reflection on themselves and IF a
friend comes over and see that their kid's bed isn't made, mom will be mortified.
~~ Speaking of "making beds," men don't understand that concept. Why does a
bed need to be "made?" Heck, aren't we just going to get back into it again tonight?
~~ Not only do women believe beds are sacred alters of order, but it is absolutely
necessary to clutter the bed with an endless number of pillows.
I can see that there will have to be a Part Two to this edition of Men vs. Women!