Make a clean sweep of it, men
NO WOMAN could accuse me of being a slob. That’s not to say I couldn’t be a slob, just that, with no woman around, I could be a slob without anyone confronting me. And in the years when there was a woman around, I could never have been accused of being a slob because she made it her business to see that I wasn’t. In fact, according to a survey by something called Eurobarometer, men in the Nordic countries are reckoned most likely to help with cleaning and ironing, so having been married to a Finn was obviously training from the top. Indeed, such was her example that, whenever I now permit myself domestic visitors, the hours before their arrival are spent in conscientious, not to say desperate, dusting and scrubbing. Believe me, there is nothing like the imminent presence of a female to get you busy with the Toilet Duck. (I once told a woman that when she came to my house. I think she was touched). Imagine my confusion, then, when this research, and more by the manufacturer Bosch, complains that men are still failing to contribute enough to household chores. The usual statistics follow: a British woman will vacuum the equivalent of going to New York and back in her lifetime (provoking bizarre mental images of Mrs Richard Branson setting a record for crossing the Atlantic on a Dyson). While I surely beat their claim that the average man only spends half a day a year on the task (including, I admit, stopping to check the football results), I was chastened to learn that, as sole occupier, I was failing to meet a woman’s target of shoving the Vax around for at least an hour a week. Perhaps Bosch, or Dyson, could invent a gadget which allows the single man to calculate how much Hoovering a house really requires, without a woman in attendance. Make it in Finland, and call it the Slobobarometer. I bet you would clean up.