Why Men Don’t Clean
It would appear from the title that I actually have the answer, but I don’t.
This is not a husband/boyfriend/significant other bashing post, but merely a curious look into why? As Es walks out the door to work, with a hefty slam behind him, following a snarky remark from me, I am pondering.
I, (aside from being narked that I am the only one to be cleaning the oven AGAIN), have a genuine curiosity as to why that is. It has been a discussion in our relationship over the time we have been together that I (like most women) would appreciate it if he ran the vacuum cleaner around the house now and again. Picked up his dirty clothes. Washed the dirty pots. I feel it only fair as I am working full time and he part-time, that he pull his weight around the house. I too would like to have some free time for my enjoyment. We both live here, we both enjoy the space, we both should be equally capable as mature adults of looking after that space.
When polling my girlfriends, I am no where near on my own. In fact it appears to be one of the most bickered about issues in a relationship. It seems to be a well documented and almost resigned to fact, men just don’t clean anywhere near the amount that women do. They will, when badgered/coerced/nagged probably to appease said wife and get her off their back. But as for cleaning the microwave, oven, fridge, dusting the rooms including picture rails, skirtings and architraves, washing kitchen floors and all those other bits that are not day to day type tasks? Nope. Nope. Nope. And Es is not alone. Unless I have been particularly unlucky in my choice of men, none of my past relationships were really any different.
I know I am OCD in my cleaning, and therefore have, in recent years, learned to be a little more relaxed about the fact that Es might not clean the kitchen sink taps with a toothbrush and then buff to a mirror like shine with paper towels. So for all my nagging about other things, I think I also deserve some credit that I reign my nagging in.
So my question is, does it simply not occur to them that the spatter from the heated soup that is encrusting the microwave roof needs to be cleaned off? or do they suffer from a male patent blindness? is it out of sight out of mind? I honestly don’t know the answer.
I have also, for fairness, polled my male friends and received a number of responses, from ‘I do clean!’ to ‘actually I clean the microwave, fridge and oven because she doesn’t notice it’, but I think that last guy friend is an exception to the rule.
I did find a very humorous post from Mark Miller written from a mans perspective that seemed to address the issue. And picking up on his observations it appears that there are some chores which are universally acceptable and some which aren’t. Male favoured chores include:
- Taking the rubbish (garbage) out to the wheely bin
- Putting the bins (trash cans) out for collection (not always remembering to bring them back in again though)
- Making the fire
- Mowing the lawn
- Putting dirty laundry into the machine (all colours at once)
- Cooking (especially if it includes BBQ equipment)
- Making a brew (sometimes for your wife/girlfriend also)
- Feeding the pets
- walking the dog
Anything outside of this list comes with a caveat. Wife must eulogise profusely over husband as husband behaves much like a puppy expecting congratulations for asking to go outside to pee for the first time rather than depositing it on the kitchen floor. Or is that just me being particularly harsh?
Maybe the answer is to just have our own assigned jobs. As I read that list I have to be fair and say that I have rarely ever put the bins out and have never mowed the lawn. However, and this is a big however, he ENJOYS mowing the lawns which is the only reason he does it. He does not like weeding, so that becomes my job. I think to be fair those agreed lists should include a percentage of those chores neither of us like to do. Therefore if I have to clean the oven, then he should be cleaning the fridge, regularly, not just when you can’t get the carton of milk out because it’s welded to the shelf by some unseen sticky force.
Es is a lot better than he was, he does try, until such time as it wears thin for him then we go over the whole ‘discussion’ again. Cyclical bickering is a real thing guys. His mom used to moan that his ex-wife was lazy and didn’t clean at all. I wonder if the poor woman was just defeated by having three children to clean up after instead of the two she gave birth to, and simply gave up.
I love him though, that’s undeniable, for all his irritating habits he does have lots of wonderful qualities. And who knows, maybe after 10 years worth of coercing, praise and clicker training, Es may one day look into the oven and think “Oh my gosh that’s dirty, I will get the Mr Muscle out forthwith and clean it”. Here’s hoping.