In A Relationship, Whose Chore is Whose?by Whitney Collins on July 10, 2012
If you’re married or living together, it’s probably already apparent who excels at which chores. In this household, I only had to hang a few pictures using my clog to hammer a lugnut into the wall before my husband took over that task. And my husband only had to decorate one shelf with an old biology textbook and a peeling Rubik’s Cube before I became the accessorizer. When it comes to claiming a domestic duty, the key is not so much discovering what you’re good at, but discovering what you CAN’T STAND watching someone else do.
Watching my husband load the dishwasher is a retina-burning cataclysm that no human should witness. In fact, a video of him loading tumblers sideways in the top rack is the only movie they feature on Hell Airways besides “From Justin to Kelly” and old-people porn. There’s unrinsed, oily Tupperware; pans nesting inside pans like Russian dolls; and butcher knives crammed inside baby bottles. Five plates stuck together with refried beans? Load them as a single unit topped with a collander. Out of dishwashing gel? Squeeze in a bottle of Log Cabin. Because surely after a 20-minute cycle of tepid water, all this shit will come out looking like the holy grail. How could it not? We spent a whopping $250 on a dishwasher made by Frigidaire. Never mind that Mr. Frigidaire got his start making appliances to keep ICE CREAM FROM MELTING, I’m sure this modern miracle can handle a saucepan of bacon grease and a couple of Halloween wigs that need sterilizing.
Anyway, I’m getting carried away, but long story short: my husband is not allowed near the dishwasher. EVER. (Except to empty it like twice a day.)
PACKING THE CAR
You’d think with my mad dishwasher skills I’d be able to load a minivan, but when I pack for two kids and myself, the wheels quickly fall off the wagon. What starts as a noble intention to have all things relegated to separate Ziplocs and totes, soon devolves into the sort of yard sale insane people have. Halfway through, I start treating the car like a plate of nachos. I throw videos and diapers and blankets and sticker books and bottles of Tylenol and phone chargers and People magazines into the minivan like it’s doused in kerosene and set to explode. Then after I press the children inside, padded by snorkels, I top everything off with a couple of handfuls of M&Ms and string cheese. Because a sprinkling of food that is now between the seats will certainly tide them over until we get to Miami.
But back to my point: only my husband can do this packing-of-the-vehicle thing. And he does it pretty awesomely. I know they’d invite him to be a Navy Seal if he just showed them our trunk. I mean, that’s how you get to be a Navy Seal, right?
MAKING THE BED
I couldn’t make a bed any better had I been raised and beaten by a British schoolmarm. Every week, I wash the sheets in bleach and scalding water as if they’d last been used by a maternity ward. Next, I tuck everything in, blankets included, using hospital corners. See that bedspread? It’s tighter than Joan Rivers’s face. And the throw pillows? Well, they have designated spots. It’s like a well-choreographed episode of Glee.
Were this bed-making task left to my husband? We’d sleep on a mattress covered in beach towels and remote controls.
THE GROCERY SHOPPING
Oh, I’m good at this. Really good. The problem is, I shop like I’m some sort of f*cking celebrity. My husband will give me the weekly grocery budget, and I’ll return 10 minutes later with two, Frisbee-sized filet mignons, one roll of Viva (do you hear the angels singing?) paper towels, and a couple of lawn chairs. You think they don’t sell patio furniture at the grocery store? I’ll prove you wrong by turning my yard into a living room.
Anyway, I can’t budget this sort of crap called “feeding the family.” My husband is excellent at this. He’ll take the same amount of money, clip a bunch of coupons, and return with cereals and milk and beans and vegetables. He’ll also probably have 15 to 20 pounds of “manager’s special” tilapia that is loaded with contaminants, but with all these chores, I’m willing to consume something that might cause me to grow an extra hand or two. Or maybe even a tail.
So, anyway, dear lovers. Take it from me. Make one of those totally sexy job charts for you and your mate. It’s excellent for your relationship. You may think I’m kidding, but nothing’s a bigger turn-on than never having to watch someone misuse a dustpan.
Whitney Collins is the creator and editor of two humor sites: errant parent and The Yellow Ham. Her humor appears on The Big Jewel, McSweeney’s, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and Fathermucker’s blog; you can visit her website at whitneycollins.com. She lives with her husband and two sons in Kentucky, where she’s been known to do mediocre local stand-up.