Why can’t men do washing?

  • By Alison
  • 24 February, 2007
  • Comments Off on Why can’t men do washing?

I now have a huge pile of grey clothing. Grey. Very very grey. Don’t think that it is a choice thing. Grey being the new black and all – bollocks. Black is the new black and always will be. Grey is what happens when you let your boyfriend do the washing.

To be more specific, grey is what you get when your boyfriend puts more clothing than would fit in the hold of the titanic in your washing machine and blows it up. Of course, that in itself is not enough to ruin the clothing, so add to the mix a washing machine man who fails to turn up 3 times, and a week later forgets to bring his tools along. And I am not even going out with this guy, so who does he think he is to screw me around this much??

So the point of this story, is that men cannot handle washing. Although it could just as well be about the fact that you cannot trust B&B appliances on Garratt Lane to turn up when they say they will, but that’s a story for another time.

My problem with men began a long time ago – again a story for another time – when I was away on holiday. To give him his due, Paul was only trying to do something good. In other words, he thought that a quick bout of washing would gain him enough boyfriend points to cancel out the drunken parties and broken stereo that I was bound to notice within 24 hours of stepping off the plane. It might have worked if he’d been successful… But due to a genetic deficiancy, men are unable to wash white clothing without casually stuffing a red sock or blue sweater in there with your newest, whitest Victoria’s secrets. I didn’t even know that I owned that many pieces of white clothing, but nevertheless, he managed to load the washing machine with a mysterious blue sock – that has not been seen since, and effect a colour change that even dylon cannot match.. I have never actually seen a colour run that turned the entire load of washing deepest indigo.

Several days later, when I was up to my elbows in a caustic bucket of colour saver (effectively, bleaching the hell out of everythng that i own, which is not so bad for the first week, but once the crotch falls out of your undies you begin to think that perhaps blue was better than crotchless. Well, some of us think that) he walks in bearing jewelry. Either I have him well trained, or someone else thought of it, but the way to a woman’s heart is definately through small and expensive gifts.

So, for the cost of a ring, and a few days of temper, Paul managed to excuse himself from ever doing the washing again. A cunning plan, when you look back on it. Life in our household retruned to normal, I did the washing, the housework, the dishes, while he eked out his existance on the couch, and warming up the occasional pasta sauce in a jar. Eventually, the horror faded, and I began to ask Paul to wash now and then. (Wash clothes, that is.)

Imagine my horror, when he calls me at work to tell me this… “When I closed the door, I noticed some string hanging out, with water dripping down it. So I put a towel on the floor.”

I spent the entire day in agony, wondering how much of that dripping water became a torrent. I didn’t have to wait long to find out, in fact I didn’t even make it into our house to find out – as soon as she heard my key in the door, the downstairs neighbour popped out of her door like a snake in a can. She had arrived home to find a small lake in her kitchen, with a picturesque, although miniature Niagra falls down her bathroom wall. Walking into my kitchen was like walking on a giant cleaning sponge. Our floor was squelching, and the boards underneath had wasted no time in warping and creaking.

I didn’t get any jewelry out of that one – that’s what a long term relationship does to you! But I did get to have a pleasant chat with my landlady, and make her pay for the ruined rubber seal fom the washing machine. My utter shock and surprise that such a thing could happen would have earned an oscar if anyone had filmed it. She paid up. As did the insurance company. No mention of trailing string, of course.

Instead of getting excused from the washing duty this time (after all, no gifts were forthcoming this time) Paul got instead a long lecture about what colours go with what. It’s a shame I forgot to mention the topic of handwashing. Not that I expected him to do it, but throwing a chenille knitted top into the jumbo power wash certainly produced some unexpected results. I don’t think that i was expecting to retrieve a knitted string top and a separate pile of fluff (most of which was resolutely stuck to every other piece of clothing apart from the one it had come from).

Then there was the time when our boiler was broken, and Paul put a wash in at 40 degrees. The washing machine took it upon itself to heat the water. Seven hours later, the washing was done. And two weeks later, we got the power bill.

But what gene controls this inability to wash? Is it the same one that prevents perfectly intelligent men from cleaning a toilet, or shower? Related to the gene that limits the ability to use the dishmop? Is it something that can be treated by a course of drugs, or perhaps shock treatment? Personally, i suspect that it dates back to cro magnum times, when man only owned one skin toga, and to take it off and wash it was to leave one’s neanderthal tackle to the mercy of the elements. That must have scarred the population for life… and beyond!

And now, finally, I have the washing machine fixed again, and after 20 washes, the smell of rotten clothing is still lingering. Gift WILL be forthcoming this time, because most of the clothing that was in the washing machine for this past week, is totally ruined. Any pale details are blothched with blue, and I have one particular pair of trousers that have one pink leg and one brown leg. Perhaps the fact that two of his favourite shirts were also ruined might make him be a little bit more careful next ime.

But I doubt it!

(This article was written in 1998, and said boyfriend is now husband… and still no good at washing!)

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