MEN'S CLEAN
AND
WOMEN'S CLEAN
By: Christina J. Johns

"She claims I don't do my half of the housework."

This was said to me by a male colleagues one morning over the xerox machine. The "she" was his wife, of course.

"She's probably right." I replied. "I've certainly never seen a man do even close to half the housework."

He stared at me, blinking. This was obviously not the response he was seeking.

"And another thing," he continued, trying a different tact "when I try to do my share, she says I don't do a good enough job."

"She's probably right about that too." I replied. "Men just don't see dirt."

Now this was not exactly a wise line of argument to begin with me especially at eight-o-clock in the morning. It was a subject dear to my heart.

My husband and I had just ended a two year, failed experiment in which he stayed home and took full responsibility for cleaning the house while I worked. It was a disaster from the beginning and it led to two years of bickering about what we came to call "men's clean" and "women's clean."

I'll give you an example.

"I cleaned the bathroom today." He might say when I walked in the house.

"Yes," I would think standing in the bathroom looking at the hard water stains on the porcelain behind the faucets, dirt behind the toilet, spots on the mirror, and the debris in the corners "you cleaned it men's clean. You certainly did not clean it women's clean."

"Well, how would I have cleaned it women's clean?" He would ask, in the beginning before we had established these definitions in stone.

When I pointed out the hard water stains behind the faucets he said: "Oh, I didn't know you wanted that cleaned up."

"What did you think I wanted done with it?" I thought but didn't say. "Have it bronzed and put in the livingroom?"

In the beginning of this experiment, I thought it was just a problem of a learning curve. I mean, after all, I wouldn't exactly be a whiz at taking care of the lawn and maintaining the lawnmover at first. But, after a few months when I took the nth dirty dish out of the cabinet, I began to question the learning curve theory.

"Didn't he see that he was taking dirty dishes out of the diswasher and putting them in the cabinet without washing them?" I would ask myself. Then I thought, ah, maybe that's it. He can't see.

So, I diplomatically (or as diplomatically as I ever do anything) suggested he needed to get his glasses changed. He did. I still found dirty dishes put neatly away in the cabinet.

Finally, I came to what I firmly believe is the right conclusion. Men just don't see dirt. It's like some kind of testosterone driven blindless.

"That's why God gave you women." I finally said to my husband after two years of arguing over this.

"Why?" He asked.

"It keep you from living your life in utter and complete filth." I answered.

When I told this story to my colleague (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) his response was to again stare blankly at me.

"You don't even know what hard water stains are do you?" I asked.

He shook his head.

"Concede the point?" I asked.

"Concede the point.." He replied.

By the way, my husband's gone back to work and everybody's soooooooo much happier.


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