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Training some men to clean...
by Ann Ipock

This just in: I recently read of an interesting study dealing with men and chores. I know, “men and chores” in the same article is an oxymoron, wouldn’t you say? How can that be since we rarely see men and chores in the same house, much less the same article?

The story went on to say that 20% of men report they perform housework such as cleaning or laundry, versus a vast majority (read: 98%, I’m guessing) of women who perform housework. This Very Official Poll from the Ohio State University Extension Service says men would need to perform 60% more housework to catch up to the current household workload of women. OK, now we’re talking. Score one for the women.

Not that I’m trying to cause a major world war here — I’m merely agreeing while adding my personal observation, which is far more right-on. Most of the men I know would rather buy Coors Lite than Clorox. Most would prefer to dine out than do dishes. And most would rather disappear than dust.

In our house, however, the 20% rule is about right. Hubby Russell is the Official Vacuumer (that’s about 20% of the chores). I’ve always appreciated his manly-man ability to wield that seemingly 100-pound Eureka Bagless Cyclone in record-breaking time in and out of tight nooks and crannies — unlike me, since I run into walls and furniture, and the job takes me half a day.

But now I read (from this same article) that Russell’s not the only one vacuuming. It seems that when men are confronted with household chores, the greatest majority will indeed pick vacuuming. And again, though I thought Russell was just being nice, I was sort of surprised at this quote from Randy Sandlin, director of industrial design for Eureka, who said: “It’s not like you can vacuum wrong because the vacuum does all the work.”

Do you think? Well, how about this? The same can be said for mopping the kitchen floor, scrubbing the toilet and dusting the furniture. According to those savvy commercials, the products do all the work, anyway, not the person — man or woman — using the product. You merely guide the mop, brush or rag as the deep-penetrating, super-power, built-in action knocks the job out lickety-split.

Further into this article, author Tom McNulty is mentioned. He wrote a book with this enigmatic title, Clean Like a Man: Housekeeping for Men (And the Women Who Love Them).

McNulty says men “have no idea where to start, what tools to use, or how to do it right. Basically, we’re confused, frustrated and intimidated.”

Hogwash! I can’t imagine a woman getting by with this arcane, whiney excuse.

It’s not like we’re asking men to rebuild an engine in a Corvette. It’s housecleaning, guys! If a man — at least, my man — can figure out how to play 18 holes of golf, keeping up with the birdies, pars and bogies; choosing the right clubs consistently and adding up the total score; he can certainly handle household chores.

Here’s a hint: You just do it!

I can name that tune (or chore list) in 10 seconds and here it is — broom, dustpan, mop, cleaner, sponge, brush, bathroom all-purpose cleaner, dusting spray and rag, glass cleaner and paper towels.

There you have it. Don’t be intimidated, guys. For goodness sakes, what would Martha Stewart — the domestic diva — have to say about all of this? Not, “it’s a good thing!” After all, she’s been teaching us for years how to maintain the perfect home. Of course, you notice she doesn’t have a man right now. (At least, if she does, up-to-the-minute People magazine hasn’t said so, and they would know, right?)

Maybe that’s why Martha doesn’t have a man, come to think of it: She couldn’t get one trained to clean


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Ann M. Ipock, author of Life Is Short, But It’s Wide (In The Southern State of Reality) can be reached at amipock@sc.rr.com.

Ann is a biweekly humor columnist with the Georgetown Times, South Carolina’s oldest newspaper.

Whether we are hearing about Ann’s unspeakable accident—the time she got the mayor’s mustache caught up in her dental hygiene polisher, her view on prissy Southern women who actually resort to toothpicks after meals—(those thick fake nails just can’t possibly remove spinach from one’s front teeth), or her frustration with sticking to a budget—the normally-$100 supper club night she hosted which turned into a $2400 remodeling job (blame it on the new carpet), we can only think of one thing to say, “Tell us more!”

Life Is Short, But It’s Wide (In the Southern State of Reality) is Ann’s second book of humor columns. Published by Carolina Avenue Press, the book was released in September, 2003. Her first book was entitled What Was It I Was Saying? She is a regular contributor to Sasee Magazine, and she also writes for Pee Dee Magazine, Strand, and Gateway Publications. She is active in community theatre, where her favorite role to date was that of Truvy Jones in Steel Magnolias. Her day job consists of being a home-based, self-employed medical transcriptionist for twelve years.

Visit Ann’s WEB SITE to read more of her delightful columns.


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