Thursday, August 11, 2005

A woman's work is never done (until she consigns it to the 50s)

Another fight, another day in the dogbox. I came back late from seeing a movie with mates, she washed the dishes, she got stroppy. This isn't uncommon, though I've changed my domestic habits drastically since we moved in.

If Janet Albrechtson has a redeeming feature, it's as an advocate for confused men. Like all right-wing rottweilers she sometime says that which needs saying, and while I generally agree with Mark Latham's take on her, when I'm in the dogbox over domestic chores I wish I had a framed copy of one of her articles on the subject to look at.

I can't find a link, sorry. But the argument goes a little like this...

Modern women may well be carrying the bulk of the housework while also pursuing careers. They may well see this as an obstacle to feminism, one perpetuated specifically by the men in their lives who don't pick up a half share of everything. They may take this out on the men in their lives, and become bitter.

They may in some cases be right.

But what they have done is move into a new paradigm, where women and men both pursue careers and individual dreams, and brought an out-of-date notion of household with them.

Cleanliness, tidyness, and household efficiency are all relative. I'm messy compared with my beloved. She's not hyper-neat though, and would soon get up the nose of a hardcore anal retentive. I'm very neat and clean compared to the house full of arts students I lived with in 2003.

When one person is devoted full-time to housework, it is feasible to clean the floors, bathroom, sheets, clothes, once a week, plus cook dinner at home and wash up several times a week. But here's the nub:
one person doing housework and one person working long hours and pursuing an interesting life does not add up to the same amount of time for chores as two people both working long hours and pursuing interesting lives.
Women shouldn't return to domestic slavery, that's awful in my opinion. But they need to learn what the much-derided bachelor has long worked out - that if you have a career and a life, then you find ways to be efficient and don't spend a second more than you have to on household work.

I apologise for generalising and acknowledge there are many exceptions.


Crystal said...

This issue is universal. For the female of a pair, the domestic arena is The Nest which is symbolic of and represents THE RELATIONSHIP.
It has to look perfect and be a style statement. The female of the pair, forgets that when she first when to the males nest, it was a complete mess and she didn't care, or she immediately washed the dishes.
Joan Rivers is fond of screaming "no man has ever come home and said God that floor is so clean it fills me with lust for you" (I cleaned that up. no pun)

Armagnac Esq. said...

RIght on the mark, both counts =)

Anonymous said...

You are a good find. Welcome. Here's a bit of advice might save your life or your marriage.

Get a cleaner. Honest.

There's only one small problem, and I speak from bitter experience. Out beloved partners will race around cleaning the house to make it neat for the cleaner.

- barista

Mallrat said...

too right, Barista. but that's something you have to just change about yourself! my last housemate and i shared a cleraner and it was great- it worked out at $25 each once a fortnight. Bargain.

Crytsal, why did you clean up the rivers quote? that would've been a beauty. i demand you republish right here, right now, in full!

Armagnac Esq. said...

Have cleaner, but you're right, the pressure becomes to clean up the house before the cleaner comes!

A few more !!!!s, just for effect!