Why Wives Shouldn't Nag Their Husbands About Doing More Housework

messy houseYou know how on average women do most of the housework? More than their male partners, even when we do professional work full time, even when we make more than our male partners do. For whatever reason, we're still the ones spending the most quality time with the toilet brush. Why is this? And more importantly, WHEN WILL IT END? Well, one brilliant man has an revolutionary solution: This housekeeping gender imbalance will end when we women learn to love filth.

In an Op Ed for the New York Times, housework-averse man Stephen Marche makes his case like it's the most obvious, simple solution ever. Just do less housework! Let you home go to shit, ladies. You care too much.


Caring less is the hope of the future. Housework is perhaps the only political problem in which doing less and not caring are the solution, where apathy is the most progressive and sensible attitude...

... The solution to the gender divide in housework generally is just that simple: don’t bother. Leave the stairs untidy. Don’t fix the garden gate. Fail to repaint the peeling ceiling. Never make the bed.

A clean house is the sign of a wasted life, truly. Hope is messy: Eventually we’ll all be living in perfect egalitarian squalor.

SIGH. Okay, to be fair, this is kind of what my therapist once told me when I got lost in a post-separation cleaning binge. "Is housework really the most interesting thing someone like you could be doing with her time?" she asked in her Swiss accent. And for a moment I felt my life spinning sickeningly out of control as dust and dirt took over my life. Doesn't she understand?!? Clean = my life is in control! Except that she was right, cleaning was not the most interesting thing I could be doing with my time.

But you know what? That was just a temporary obsession of mine. The truth is, most women aren't doing all that cleaning because we're neurotic obsessives. We're cleaning because we're trying to maintain a base level of decency in our homes.

We just think you should eat your food with clean utensils. Clothes should not emit a foul odor of armpit sweat or sour milk. Spilled food should be cleaned up from the floor within the same day it falls. Know what I mean?

So how about this, guys like Stephen Marche who are all, "you chicks need to just relax about all this housework." Let's make a deal. We'll relax about all that housework when you guys start caring a little bit more. I do not want to live inside a Judd Apatow movie. Pick up your goddamn bong and put it away on a shelf, you know?

Let's meet halfway here. And by halfway, keep in mind this is coming from a woman who frequently keeps a laundry basket of unfolded yet clean clothes in her son's bedroom all week. My standards really aren't that high, which is why I'm not too keen on lowering them much further.

And you know what? Name-dropping Simone de Beauvoir, Hilary Clinton, and Martha Stewart does not help your case at all. Those women could/can all afford hired help.

Marche says, "The future probably does not involve men doing more housework." To which I say: It better fucking involve more men doing more housework. In fact, men already do more than they have ever done before. Most of the grown-ass men I know tidy up fairly often without nagging. This is a thing that is happening, progress-denier, so STFU and empty the dishwasher already.

Do you think women should lower their standards for cleanliness or do men need to pitch in more?


Image via Serene Vannoy/Flickr

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