Saturday, June 5, 2010

The eternal question

My English friend had just warned me the other day that French men (or is it all men?) have a way of asking “Where’s my belt?” that can be loaded with accusation. As in, “Where did you put my belt, you belt-hiding wench?” So I reacted with my firm voice when my own French man said he couldn’t find any clean jeans the other Sunday. I promptly showed him the pants that were clean and ironed by yours truly in the cabinet. But those were too heavy for Monsieur. Jeans were the texture he wanted/needed. Well, that’s all there is, so deal with it, was my approximate response. And something else like, it’s not my job (or fondest aspiration) to clean my husband’s jeans. Just something I do out of kindness as he works seven days a week at the moment and sometimes doesn’t come home till nine p.m.

In talking with my French girlfriend at work, we realized this is a very common sticking point between husbands and wives. The French guys (again, I wonder, is it all guys?) have this way of thinking clothes magically migrate to the washing machine from no matter where they drop them. E.g. corners, couches, tables. One day soon I’m gonna take Remi by the ear and get him to round up everything he wants washed and show him how to put it in the machine himself. And maybe even turn it on, too! I know, I’m being tough on the guy. He has done laundry a few times in our marriage. And for the most part I don’t mind doing it. I like getting clothes clean and smelling their fresh flowery sweetness when I take them out of the machine. But have I mentioned that we don’t have a dryer? So drying takes at least a day or more on the rack. Then the majority of the clothes is wrinkled and must be ironed. And Remi did warn me before we got married that ironing is not one of his “things”. Why didn’t we get that put in a pre-nup?

I recently saw a report on the TV news here about whether women really were more liberated now compared to the past. They actually asked French couples who did what in terms of chores. Some men did participate more, some even did laundry (can we clone them?). But they made the point that women often just have to work twice as hard. They have a day job, and they do most everything at home, too. And they take care of the kiddies, too. Sure, it’s nothing compared to the women in some parts of the world who must walk four miles to get water. But the “ideal” of totally shared chores is still quite far off for most couples. And until we get a bigger place, I don’t think my dream of having a dryer will become a reality either. One day, one day…

Meanwhile, please participate in my highly scientific survey to prove once and for all who’s doing the laundry. Respond for your household, and if there’s no man or you’re a man who lives alone, just respond, do it myself cause live alone. I can’t get blogger to do the survey in English, but I think you can figure out that “voter” is vote. Afficher les resultants means show results.

5 comments:

Crystal said...

Max rarely does laundry, and if he does, it's his work uniform or the heavy blankets that he lugs to the 10kg machine in town because our little one at home can't handle the weight.

He also shoves all his laundry in bags whenever we go to his Mom's house for the weekend for her to do. As much I enjoy getting out of cleaning his clothes, it bothers me that he wants HER to do it and not me. He says he's trying to save me some work, but I just think his Mom is thinking I'm a bad wife who is piling all my "wifey duties" on her.

And like you guys, I don't have a dryer, so I hang dry everything and it takes forever - especially in winter. Hang drying is great to avoid shrinkage and fading, but now I gotta iron everything before I can put it on!

(P.S. You should add an option on your poll that says "man and woman of the household plus man's mother" lol)

ashleyenfrance said...

My husband never does the laundry either. Although he does iron his work shirts sometimes. But it drives me crazy because he irons them one at a time, ie in the morning before he goes to work! So I usually break down and iron them for him since it drives me crazy to have to fold the ironing table every morning once he leaves...

I am kind of embarrassed to admit that we rarely get to the 'put awau stage', we just dress from the piles of clothes... One of my projects before I go back to work is to attack my closet and clean it out. That should help a LOT with putting the clothes away. Maybe I will actually have some space once I clear it out!

I still haven't gone back to work since my daughters birth and I cringe to think what that will be like!

Lindle said...

Although I know there are some guys out there who have no problem with domestic tasks, (let's clone them ASAP), it is unfortunately true that many guys automatically assume that's women's work. Traditions from the past die hard. You have to set some expectations up front from the first. They have to learn that if you work outside of the home too, it should be a50/50 plan. If you work inside of the home--chasing a baby around, etc., you still NEED help.

Jenenz said...

There are 3 females and one male in this household. Sadly, it's the females who do most of the laundry and initiates. The male will only do the laundry if alpha female tells him to.

Can you do this survey about taking out the garbage? Males takes out the garbage very Sunday night for the last 20 years, but every Sunday we still remind him to do this. He does a fabulous job, but only if reminded. After 20 years you think some habits would form in the male's brain. What's with that?

Lindle said...

That's funny, Jenenz, that you all have to remind him even after 20 years! And why do guys think that "taking out the garbage" is considered enough housework?