I was at a mixed nationaliy tea party this weekend when my Singaporean friend said she would be heading off and had a lot of ironing to do. The French lady there sympathized. I couldn't resist. I said, ladies, get thee a dryer. Actually, my Singaporean friend does have one. But apparently she still ends up ironing a lot.
Maybe I'm not a highly demanding person in terms of wrinkle-free clothes. But since I've had my dryer (that golden moment in 2010) I have really done very little ironing. I do as little as possible in fact. Only when something is really wrinkly or I have a job interview do I haul out the board and iron. Otherwise I make sure I take the most sensitive stuff out of the dryer right away and fold it in the basket and that's it. End of story.
I first realized I was not crazy (er, jury's still out on that one...) when I read an American expat's article on ironing back in 2005. I literally laughed out loud and was so comforted to know that it was normal that I didn't list ironing as a hobby.
I checked it out with my American family when I was back there in July. My sister, mom and aunt all confirmed that they very rarely iron. They just take stuff out of the dryer, air it out a bit and voilà! My aunt, I should point out, even lives in West Palm Beach where appearance matters and has eaten at Donald Trump's restaurant, so she obviously cares about dressing well. And still, not a big ironer (aside from her sheets, but that's another story).
I even noticed a US tv show while there where the dad used going home to get the stuff out of the dryer as an excuse to get out of something. Otherwise the clothes will be all wrinkly, he said. You see!
That's the difference between the US and France, my friends. Whereas the dryer phenomenon is so well known in the US that it is mentioned on sitcoms, in France we get ads like this one:
This woman is so desperate to get the limescale out of her iron!
Or this one, where the woman feels compelled to get the wrinkles out of her man's shirt. The ad is for a system for quick ironing (not a bad idea, really).
So I'm wondering if maybe it's a cultural thing. Do French women feel the need to iron? If you like ironing and it relaxes you to do it front of the telly on a cold and grey winter's day, go for it. But if you're doing it cause your husband refuses to (my case in the past), then rise up, my sisters! You don't need to spend all that time with the steam in your face. There are other more fulfilling hobbies awaiting you. So my advice to you, if you can, get a dryer and take those clothes out right away. It is to our generation what burning their bras was to the women in the 60s!