Domestic gender wars or why men fail to see dirt or any reason to fuss about it


Most men and women I think are familiar with this scenario, albeit somewhat altered by my whimsy and once again in poor imitation of Jack Vance’s style.

Curtains up on cosy domestic scene. Woman, cleaning with great ferocity. Man sitting on chair watching television with beer in hand.

Woman: Why is it that I always do the housework around here?

Man: A question that also springs to my mind seeing as I see no slave master whip in hand commanding this work to be done.

Woman: It was a rhetorical question the proper response to which would have been immediate offers of assistance and a proactive pledge of future aid.

Man: That response is not one which I find amenable. Hence, I see no need to answer and will now resume my leisure activities which I find relaxing and fulfilling in and of themselves.

Woman cleans with greater ferocity for a few minutes more.

Woman: I propose that the housework be shared equitably under a roster system with quality inspections performed by each party until all are satisfied.

Man: I do not agree! Such a system will result in me cleaning invisible layers of dust from spotless surfaces and washing unstained and unspoiled items of clothing superfluous times. My leisure activities will be severely impacted and my quality of life reduced significantly! I propose instead that each party cleans when their natural tolerances for dirt are exceeded and to their own subjective ideas of cleanliness. This is only fair and just!

Woman: That is the current system and results in my performing all tasks and you spending all your time on leisure activities. I fail to see how this is fair or just.

Man: It is not my responsibility that you are so sensitive to dirt. I recommend that you amend your tolerances accordingly so that you too can have free time to enjoy at your leisure.

Woman: If I was to do so, I would soon not only resemble a pig but also smell and live like one.

Man: That is your opinion and one which I respect even as I disagree with it. One’s bodily odours are both natural and pleasant. Also, observe my pleasant demeanour as I sit in my chair being entertained by commercial sporting activities and other such programs! Note your gritted teeth, work-worn hands and tense wrinkled features. They may be clean but are not only unhappy but also unattractive!

Woman: I suggest that we hire cleaners with each of us contributing equal portions to their remuneration.

Man: I fail to see why I should part with my hard-earned cash when you are performing those very activities with such uncommon zeal for nothing. I applaud your dedication even as I urge you to let up. Such commitment can only do you harm!

Woman: In that case, you should pay me for my services! I charge $30 an hour and will tender an invoice this very week.

Man: At such a fee, I prefer to look elsewhere! Your services are no longer required and so you are now liberated from demeaning unrewarding work! To celebrate, I suggest you watch this amusing program on the television with me.

Woman continues cleaning with great ferocity.