Date: Fri, 13 Aug 1999 09:35:16 -0400 (EDT) From: Sheep Steak Subject: BLAGUES-L: Dave Barry's "The domestic side of guys" [ Good day, everyone. This one is long, but, hey, it's Friday! Besides, I think it's worth it. Those of you at work can print it and read it during the weekend. Oh, and speaking about the weekend, have a good one! (/jg) ] Date: Mon, 25 Aug 1997 14:34:53 -0400 From: Patrick Drouin >From: Armstrong, Shannon (S.) The domestic side of guys, or Perfectly legitimate reasons why a person might elect to blow his nose on his laundry by Dave Barry PROBABLY the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy is the sector that conducts surveys asking women what is wrong with men. About every two days you read yet another newspaper article stating that 92.7 percent of American women find men to be pathetically inadequate in some way. The woman and the guy have profoundly different concepts of "clean." When a woman "cleans" a bathroom, she will go in there with numerous specialized products and implements for cleansing, scouring, shining, and deodorizing the glass, porcelain, and tile. She will spend hours just on the "grout." She will eradicate dirt on the molecular level. She will track down and destroy each individual mildew spore. She can actually hear germs, and she can make them scream. She will leave the commode clean enough to be used in a surgical procedure. Whereas the guy, if instructed to clean the bathroom, will go in there with a single paper towel and the first spray bottle he finds. It might be Windex, or it might be Raid. The guy will spend about three minutes in the bathroom, squirting stuff randomly out of his spray bottle and then wiping it up with his towel. He will pay no attention to whether or not he is actually getting the bathroom cleaner. There could be a dead human body lying in the bathtub, and the guy would spray and wipe it. Perhaps you think I am exaggerating the domesticity gap between guys and women. If so, perhaps you will be interested in the following actual letter I received: Dear Dave, I need your opinion. My girlfriend is trying to change me. She doesn't like the way I live, while I see it as practical and efficient. First of all, she doesn't like the way I blow my nose on my dirty clothes. Whenever I have a cold, rather than waste $1.50 on a box of Kleenex, I blow my nose on a pair of dirty pants or a shirt in my laundry hamper. The way I see it, the clothes are already dirty, and they're going to get washed soon anyway. What's the big deal? My girlfriend says it's "gross." Also, I was recently cooking a batch of Sloppy Joes, and while I was draining the grease, some of it dripped on the kitchen floor. Rather than fooling around with the hot grease, I told her I'd let it congeal overnight and scrape it off in the morning with the paint scraper. Of course she went crazy. You would have thought I suggested going out and inhaling asbestos fibers. Lastly, I tend to let my newspapers pile up. I put them in grocery bags and they sit in my apartment. My girlfriend keeps nagging me to take them to the recycling center, but I've discovered that I can arrange the bags to create furniture. Not only have I saved myself some gas money, but I've new brown hard furniture to boot. I don't actually use the couch much, but I've found I can set a hell of a lot of beer bottles on it. So please, help my relationship. Am I out of line, or am I simply logical and practical? Sincerely, Brian Robinson Portland, Ore. Being as objective as is humanly possible without a sex-change operation, I have to side with Brian on this one. I mean, compared with a lot of guys, he is Martha Stewart in the domesticity department. He has garbage bags. He can cook Sloppy Joes. He has a laundry hamper. And yet because of a few minor deviations from The Standards, his entire lifestyle is under attack. And while we're on the topic of women being pretty harsh with guys, let us consider the following excerpt from a letter sent by Alison Schuler of Albuquerque 1 , New Mexico: My husband announced one morning that he had discovered the previous night, on the eve of a two-day business trip, that he was out of underwear. Why he told me, I do not know. I never tell him when I'm out of underwear. Anyway, he decided to remedy the situation in true guy fashion, by washing exactly three sets of underwear, thus disregarding the bulging hamper full of the rest of his underwear, which, presumably, would wash itself during his absence. This is a perfect example of the kind of hurtful stereotypical blanket statement about guys that women, as a group, are always making 2 . Just because Ms. Schuler's husband doesn't do the entire laundry, doesn't mean that there aren't millions upon millions of males who do do the laundry, then hang it out to dry under the three suns of the Planet Xoomar, where they live. I will admit, however, that most guys here on Earth do not do any more laundry than they absolutely have to. A single-sock load would not be out of the question, for a guy. A guy might well choose to wash only the really dirty part of the sock. Why is this? Are guys simply worthless, irresponsible scum? Yes, but that is not the cause of laundry impairment. The cause of their impairment is that guys, even when they have learned that they should do laundry, are afraid to do it, especially laundry belonging to people of other genders, because they know they will probably get into, once more, Big Trouble . The problem is that women usually own a lot of sensitive garments with laundering-instruction tags full of strict instructions like: DO NOT MACHINE-WASH. DO NOT USE BLEACH. DO NOT USE HOT WATER. DO NOT USE WARM WATER. DO NOT USE ANY WATER. DO NOT EVEN TOUCH THIS GARMENT UNLESS YOU ARE WEARING STERILIZED SURGICAL GLOVES. PUT THIS GARMENT DOWN IMMEDIATELY, YOU CLUMSY OAF. I'm deeply intimidated by such instructions. I developed my laundering skills in college, where I used what laundry scientists call the Pile System, wherein you put your dirty undershorts on the floor until they form a waist-high pile, thus subjecting the bottom shorts to intense heat and pressure that causes them to become, over several months, clean enough to wear if you're desperate and spray them with Right Guard brand deodorant. When I lived with Randall, we fed our laundry to large carnivorous coin-operated machines in the basement, and threw away whatever clothes didn't fit when we were done. This is why most married guys use the Hamper System, which is similar to the Pile System except that the clothes really do get clean, thanks to magical hamper rays. I'm jesting, of course. I realize that hamperized clothes are in fact cleaned by a person such as Alison Schuler of Albuquerque, New Mexico. But I also know that women follow a complex procedure involving sorting and presoaking and twenty-seven different combinations of water temperatures and chemical compounds such a fabric softener, stain remover, fabric hardener, cream rinse, ointments, suppositories, enriched plutonium, etc. A woman wouldn't let a guy do her laundry unless he underwent years of training, because she assumes he'd screw it up and cause her garments to shrink down to cute little Tinkerbell clothes, or transmaterialize in the dryer, similar to what happened to that unfortunate man in the movie The Fly, so she'd wind up with, for example, a brassiere that had pants legs. This is why women are reluctant to let men near the laundry, as was shown by a nationwide survey of several women I know. A typical reaction came from my research department, Judi Smith, who gave the following statement regarding her husband, Tim, a Ph.D. college professor: "I don't trust him to do my laundry at all, unless I've sorted it first and given him strict instructions before each and every load, because otherwise everything we own would be mauve or gray. ... He puts his clothes away damp. He can't put away anyone else's clothes, because he can't fold. I mean, the man can't fold a towel for God's sake. Somehow, he can't get the corners to match up. A hand towel, even." I'm not defending guys here. I'm just saying that a lot of us have developed a powerful laundry phobia, and we will continue to suffer from it as long as women roll their eyes and shove us away from the washing machine when we're about to, for example, wash our delicate silks in the same load as our boat cover. This is also true of the other major domestic areas such as cleaning and cooking and remembering where, exactly, we left the children. Yes, we guys have problems in these areas, but this is not our fault. We are talking about nature here. It's a lot like tapeworms. Tapeworms tend to not have a positive public image, because they are repulsive organisms that get inside people's intestines and eat people's food and grow to lengths of sixty feet and have millions of repulsive little babies. But is this their "fault"? No! It is their nature! And guys are no different! Guys are exactly like tapeworms, except for being slightly less likely to help with the dishes. That is why I am asking you women to please try to be more understanding. When you look at the guy in your life, lying on the sofa and burping sporadically in the direction of a football game even though you have asked him fourteen times to please take out the garbage, do not think critical and contemptuous thoughts. Instead, think of two words that will remind you of the deep-rooted problems that he is struggling, deep inside, to overcome; two words that will help you, in some small way, to feel his pain. Those words are of course "intestinal parasite." Women, with your help and understanding, we guys can do better. And we will do better. We will, inch by painful inch, overcome our natural handicaps, and we will rise to meet your standards for personal behavior. It will not happen tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that, or even necessarily before the Earth crashes back into the sun. But it will happen, because we guys are sick and tired of not living up to your expectations, and we are by gosh really going to start trying to change. But not until after the playoffs. FOOTNOTES 1.Motto: "The City That Is Probably Spelled Wrong." 2.Another one is: "Guys always hog the blanket."