Saturday, September 22, 2007

Men, if you want more action, do more housework!


This is the text of my That's Men for You column in The Irish Times on Tuesday, 18th September, 2007:

Back when people lived in flats, a journalist colleague shared accommodation in Dublin with several other guys. Their procedure for dealing with the washing up was as follows.

They bought the cheapest cups and plates they could get. At the end of each meal, all used articles went into the sink. There they stayed. The question of washing them did not arise.

When everything had been used up, a couple of the lads went off to the environs of Moore Street and bought a new supply of chipped plates, saucers and cups for next to nothing. The old, unwashed items went into the bin and the cycle began again with the new set.

This is the sort of thing which men are capable of doing. It is also the sort of thing which women are incapable of understanding, let alone doing. Women are in the unfortunate position that their brains are wired up in a way which makes them better than men at noticing details. That’s why they are better at remembering the routes of car journeys, for instance. It is also why they will notice that a friend has altered her hair colouring by 0.001 per cent whereas men wouldn’t notice if she dyed it green.But this has its disadvantages too, for both genders. The man has no problem watching television, reading his paper or playing with his laptop until “later” even though the carpet needs hoovering and the dishes need putting into the dishwasher. These environmental details do not impinge on him.

The woman cannot do this. The fluff on the carpet and the dishes in the sink stand out in stark relief. They squeak and gibber at her. They disturb her peace. She either has to deal with it or she has to harass her male partner into dealing with it – and that’s why the female eye for detail is a nuisance to both genders.

Mind you, if men realised their partners were more likely to have sex with them when they shared in the housework, they might be sticking on the apron and getting out the vacuum cleaner more often. I’ll come back to that later.

Housework is, I think, among the least favourite occupations of both men and women. And when it comes to the men, I think we have to admit that we’re a disgrace. Earlier this year, the Equal Opportunities Commission in Britain forecast that men will never do their fair share of housework. By contrast, it will only take 65 years for the number of women running FTSE 100 companies to equal the number of men at the top.

And this all seems to have something to do with marriage. Back in 1994, a researcher in the US found that married women did more housework than women who co-habit. Since then, nothing has changed. A new study of more than 17,000 people in 28 countries has found that co-habiting men do more housework than men who are married. So those 90,000+ Irish households in which people are co-habiting are probably a lot cleaner than the households of married couples.

There’s probably less tension in them too – fewer rows about housework -and more sex. Alright, here’s the sex thing:

When US author Neil Chethik interviewed more than 300 men for his book VoiceMale he found that wives who were happier with the amount of housework their husbands were doing had sex with them more often. Other experts on gender differences and marriage have reported the same thing.

The great thing is, Chethik found, the man doesn’t even have to do fifty per cent of the housework. So long as the woman feels the man is doing his fair share, she is more likely to turn up the romance.

Nobody is suggesting that there is a deliberate calculation going on in the woman’s head – it’s just further proof that we humans are unaware of our motivations at least half the time.

So, guys, if you want more action in the bedroom, forget the flowers and chocolates – get out the duster instead.

1 comment:

bren said...

That’s the most ridiculous load of sexist crap I’ve read in ages. The fact of the matter is that we are not all the same. No two men are identical nor are any two women exactly alike. I, as a man, couldn’t live in the pigsty you described yet I also know loads of women who aren’t exactly spick and span.
In relation to sex, isn’t it possible that the girls who aren’t too concerned about tidiness and are chilled might like to shag their mate more often than the uptight members of their gender who are constantly worried about how their curtains drape in the tie-backs?