Why men are messy

It’s a truth uni­ver­sally ac­knowl­edged that men don’t do house­work. Eilis O’Han­lon doesn’t blame them one bit

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - NEWS -

Be­ing a woman, I’m sup­posed to en­joy nag­ging men about how lit­tle house­work they do. You know the sort of thing. Mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers are al­ways bang­ing on about it. Some fem­i­nist spends a thou­sand words com­plain­ing that her fella doesn’t pick up his socks, or clean the sink, or run a hoover over the car­pet on the stairs, and ev­ery­one’s sup­posed to agree that it’s the most aw­ful in­jus­tice since that mad woman was forced to fling her­self un­der the king’s horse to protest about the lack of fe­male vol­ley­ball on Sky Sports. Or some­thing. It’s one of the fiercest front lines in the age-old bat­tle of the sexes. One woman in Ro­ma­nia got so an­noyed with her hus­band, when he re­fused to help around the house on In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day this year, that she ripped off his tes­ti­cles with her bare hands. As you do. If you’re men­tal. The thing is, though, that I don’t blame men for not want­ing to do any house­work. Why would they? It’s bor­ing. It’s thank­less. Worst of all, it’s never-end­ing. Your only re­ward for tidy­ing up the house is that, a few days later, you have to do it again. Yippee. Not.

If hair is pur­ported to clean it­self af­ter not wash­ing it for a few months, why shouldn’t houses do the same? Men are sim­ply wait­ing to test if that the­ory is true, but they never get a chance to find out, be­cause some overly fas­tid­i­ous fe­male al­ways comes along, in­sist­ing that they put their dirty un­der­things in the wash­ing ma­chine.

It’s not that I like dirt. I hate it. But then, I’m not a man, and men just don’t seem to feel the same way about it that women do. As a gen­eral rule, I mean, be­cause, ob­vi­ously, there are ex­cep­tions. Such as men who are try­ing to get a bit more ac­tion be­tween the sheets, by pre­tend­ing to be all pro­gres­sive and gen­der-friendly. I’m not knock­ing it. What­ever works, right? To most men, dirt sim­ply seems to be a nat­u­ral phe­nom­e­non, like grav­ity, and no one ex­pects them to do any­thing about that, do they?

If they were con­stantly de­mand­ing that we cleaned the house from top to bot­tom ev­ery night when we come in from work, then, fair enough, they’d be the misog­y­nist pigs that fem­i­nists al­ways claim they are. But very few of them do. They only want to collapse onto a sofa and watch TV, and they’d be per­fectly happy for their other halves to do like­wise. In fact, they can’t for the life of them un­der­stand why we don’t.

Of course the house would quickly look like a tip, with mush­rooms grow­ing on the in­side of the shower, but that’s the point. Men still wouldn’t care, as their feet started stick­ing to the car­pet, and even the mice moved out in protest at the fall­ing stan­dards.

The real ques­tion, then, is: why do we ex­pect men to be more like us, when an equally work­able al­ter­na­tive, as Pro­fes­sor Hig­gins points out in My Fair Lady, is for us to be more like them?

Women could learn not to care about the sight of a pair of pants ly­ing on the stairs for six weeks, or spaghetti Bolog­nese con­geal­ing on the plate, to the stage where it takes an in­dus­trial drill to get it off again. We could train our­selves up so that the sight of mould on the in­side of cof­fee cups no longer re­volted us to the core. Then we’d be as happy, smelly and down­right dis­gust­ing as they are.

It’s not as if the great cam­paign­ers for women’s rights in the past gave a mon­key’s about the iron­ing, af­ter all. They had bet­ter things to do. So do we, if only we’d wise up and ad­mit it.

But would we be happy be­ing happy? There’s the rub. That would mean ad­mit­ting that we might have been wrong all along in ex­pect­ing men to see the world in the same way as women — and, if we were wrong about that, then who knows what else we might have been mis­taken about as well?

What­ever equal­ity was sup­posed to mean, it can’t be about let­ting men just be them­selves, oth­er­wise what was the point of try­ing to im­prove them? If we’re not happy with the way we are, why the hell should they be?

‘Why do we ex­pect men to be more like us, when we could just be more like them?’

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