I’m a pretty awesome husband. That’s not bragging; it’s a direct quote from a number of my wife’s friends and colleagues. I’m a househusband who does the cooking, the laundry, runs a dad blog, makes cool (read: geeky) dad-crafts, spends time with the in-laws, and is pretty darn tidy.
But I hate house cleaning.
So it just doesn’t happen. And it drives my wife nutty. I sort and organize, put things away, wash the dishes (multiple times a day) but when I catch a glimpse of the vacuum cleaner, as it sits there making snarky comments about me to the other cleaning products, I always get the sudden urge to grunt and scratch my testicles.
Cleaning the bathroom? I’m pretty sure it gets cleaner every time I shower. And the toilet? That’s why they invented the flushable loo (as long as you shoot on target…)
I don’t think I’m alone though. Hearsay suggests that most husbands and male partners have this phobia. We clean our cars, our tools, our dogs, our work shed, but we find any excuse to avoid domestic cleaning.
[I should probably point out that I don’t like cars, know how to use tools or have a work shed, and we’ve got self-cleaning cats. But these seem to be things that ‘real’ men do. Us nerds take great pride in dusting our comic book collections).
Is it because we’ve been raised in a patriarchal society where house cleaning is “woman’s’ work”? Is it due to sitting through too many reruns of Married With Children? (Ah, Al Bundy. My childhood role model). Why do I have a pathological loathing of pulling on those rubber gloves?
The answer, as I see it, isn’t all that insidious: Men don’t clean because we don’t have to. If our women-folk let us get away with it, then who are we to argue? Now, don’t run off and put your foot down with your man just yet! There are three very good reasons why us blokes have managed to avoid the cleaning for so long.
When I drop food on the ground, no matter where I am, I pick it up and eat it. That’s the ten second rule in motion: “Still good, still good”! When the bin bag splits open in the kitchen, I wipe up the mess and move on. You see, to us fellas, germs are just some crazy myth made up by Pine O Cleen to sell disinfectant.
If you can’t see it, it’s not there.
We don’t use hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes. A rub on our jeans’ll do just fine. Steam mops and bleach? Overkill. And men take this mindset into our housecleaning
To do a good job requires commitment and focus. When it comes to house cleaning, most blokes equate it with any other form of torture – in line with being stretched on the rack, or pulled apart by wild horses. So any attempt at housecleaning has to be as brief as possible, to increase our chances of survival.
Expect a quick wipe, a cursory scrub or vacuuming around whatever is laying on the floor.
We may not have any patience when the ads come on during a Grand Final, or for the moron driving 5km slower than the speed limit, but for cleaning we can wait. A long time. Forever.
Ever noticed that your man tends to answer any request to clean with, “Yep, I’ll just be a minute!”. And that you’ll hear this answer again and again, but no cleaning eventuates? That’s because men are the masters of postponing cleaning.
The rule is simple – the longer it takes us to get around to cleaning, the greater the chance that you’ll get fed up and do it instead.
I hope that this post has been informative, and helped you understand the sheer pain that cleaning the house causes males. Or, if you’re like my amazing wife, you’ll just tell me to stop talking and get the vacuuming done!