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 Texas : Features : Humor : Column - "Stumbling Forward"
A Man's Guide to Housework
by John Gosselink

"We here at the Unsolicited and Possibly Dangerous Center of Advice have come up with some helpful hints for homemaking for men. But before we start, let's review the male philosophy to housekeeping. Remember, you are a guy, so you don't sweat the details."

Alfred. E. Newmanlink
As the social and family structure of America changes, household responsibilities have also evolved. With so many women entering the workforce, men have had to take on more chores around the house. While this change isn't good or bad, but just is, it is scary to men. Why? Because men don't have enough sense to be scared of dangerous things like death, guns, power tools, or Amway salesmen. But they run up against a soiled diaper or iron and they become a quivering pile of goo.

With this in mind, we here at the Unsolicited and Possibly Dangerous Center of Advice have come up with some helpful hints for homemaking for men. But before we start, let's review the male philosophy to housekeeping. Remember, you are a guy, so you don't sweat the details. The wife may accuse you of purposely doing a poor job so as to get out of doing chores, but that's just not the case. It's just the house; it's not like your truck or chainsaw, so how clean does it have to be? The ladies don't get this for some reason.

While women like the white glove test for cleanliness, men use more of the casual glance approach. It's dusk, the lights are off, you are walking through the room while reading a fishing magazine, and you don't trip over anything. That meets the requirements of a clean room for a man. See, it's not so scary.

One more thing. Please don't share these hints with your wife. She'll just get all frowny at you and then call my wife. You know how the ladies are with all their fussing about sanitation, respectability, and rising above the animals stuff. Shoot, you'd think they'd never blown their nose on the curtains the way they go on. But let's let them have their little charade of cleaner-than-thou. This can be our little secret.

Kitchen hints:
  • When preparing food and something falls on the floor, you can still serve and/or eat it depending on how long it's been on the floor and what type of food it was. You can still serve dairy if you get it up in 3 seconds; breads, 5 seconds; meats, if the dog hasn't licked it, 8 seconds, if the dog has, 6 seconds; cookies, up to two weeks; vegetables, yeah right, like you're going to serve some vegetables. Get some more meat
  • When doing the dishes, if it is a glass you drank water out of, just wipe the mouth off with your shirt and put it back in the cabinet. The dishwasher uses WATER to clean it anyway, so why not cut out the middle man
  • Though those sissy cleaning bottles warn you not to mix ammonia and bleach together, it really does make mopping the floor much more fun. All of the noxious fumes practically fumigate the kitchen for you, and when you start getting light headed and hallucinating evil gnomes coming out of the pantry, it sucks the boredom right out of the job.

Clothing hints:

  • When doing the laundry, don't worry about sorting by color. After a few washes, all the clothes will be the same bland color. With everyone dressed the same, it will make it easier to tell folks your family is actually a cult, then you can get busy cloning yourself.
  • When trying to mate your socks and one is missing, the dryer didn't eat it nor did sock elves steal it. You just dropped it somewhere. That lame "dryer ate my sock" bit ceased to be funny after Erma Bombeck used it in 1972.
  • Your truck makes an excellent iron.

Childcare hints:

  • Early on, teach your children the letters "b," "e," and "r." That way, when you send them to the fridge for a beer, they won't come back with one of the wife's diet sodas, causing you to cuss like a sailor and send them back to try again, thus cutting into your valuable beer drinking time as you wait.
  • If the wife is gone, the neighbors won't answer the door, and your female friends are screening their calls and you are forced to change a soiled diaper, we recommend a welder's mask, rubber gloves, tongs, a fire hose and a raging bon fire. Though it's hard to see and takes longer, in the long run, you'll be glad you did.
  • When your kids have questions you don't know the answers to, just make something up. Sure, their heads will be full of misinformation, but at least you don't lose face. Let their high-paid, know-it-all teachers tell them that all trees aren't called 'giant bonsais', a dog's barking isn't a corruption of Portuguese, and that babies don't come from Idaho.

General Cleaning hints:

  • After doing a quick, male-like vacuuming, tell the wife you heard on the news that dust bunnies have been declared an endangered species, cutting off her inevitable complaints about your poor job.
  • Cut your dusting time in half by using your leaf blower.
  • Make picking up a game. Tell the kids you're going to time them to see who is the fastest at picking up all their toys. Tell them the loser will be banished from the family and forced to live under the Ben White / I-35 overpass, sharing a box with Leslie. Watch those little tykes clean!
  • Finally, if it gets to be too big a chore, just give up, get 127 cats, and wait for the health department to come condemn the place and then start over. Good times.
©John Gosselink

February 17, 2004
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