Here’s the story of gender, incompetence, and a sandwich.
The dance of the bed-sheet is one that has befallen the heartiest of fellows. You know what it’s like. You’re sleeping surrounded by fabric that hasn’t been washed in a while. You do the logical thing and decide you must wash your sheets. Except it becomes apparent pretty damn quickly that such a move was far from logical. You end up standing up, trapped inside your duvet struggling to breath, wondering how such a death will look in your obituary.
It’s an endeavour that has been the bane of many men. For centuries, we’ve struggled with this. In the old days of inequality and ridiculous sexism, we didn’t do it. And that’s wrong for the obvious reasons. But there’s something else. It’s left us incapable of doing such activities. We’ve just about mastered ironing, changing the baby, using a washing machine, but we remain inept at bed-sheeting. And de-sheeting. And we’re too frightened to ask for help because we don’t want to upset women because it’ll sound like they have all the answers and may think we’re being sexist in presuming they know how to change a sheet. And it’ll damage our fabled ‘manliness’. I don’t think that should be an issue. Since when has changing a sheet been ‘manly’?
Should we change the definition of ‘manly’? Absolutely not. Because a feminine equivalent is sexist. For example, let’s define ‘manly’ as ‘chopping wood, hunting, drilling for oil’ (admittedly, it’s not my forte). Feminine? Pink stuff. Clothes. Babies. I don’t know the clichés, they’re not my forte either. Nothing is really my forte, to be brutally honest. There shouldn’t be barriers. We should be free to ask how to change a sheet without fear of our masculinity coming under threat, without the fear women will be upset. It proves their point, if anything. We’re useless.
I think we need help. Ironing is really hard. I remember the first time I ironed. I was 19. Honestly. Never even held iron until that point. I was in college. Textiles class. I had to ask the teacher what to do. I was staring at the iron as if it was the console of the TARDIS. I really feared I was going to press a button, releasing steam into my face. I heard a rumour that actually happened to a man. Steamy Joe. Poor guy. Well, at least he doesn’t have to iron in heaven.
I think I was a bit rough with the iron. I was pressing it really hard and furiously swerving left to right. The teacher told me, after she’d stopped laughing at the notion that I couldn’t use an iron, to be gentle. Soft. Caress the cloth. To work with it, not against it. Treat it with respect and honour. I stared at her for quite some time. I think she was insane.
And now? Still can’t iron. I just bung some clothes into the washer and hang them on the line afterwards. If you do it right, you don’t need to iron. That’s how men get around problems. Instead of asking for help, we just find a shortcut instead. Ah, thank you washing line, wherever would I be without your beautiful tattered plastic covered wiriness?
Washing is something I’ve mastered. Washing machines aren’t that hard to master, anyway. It’s just a sequence of buttons one must press. Liquid’s to pour. We can cock that up, though. Wrong liquids. Wrong compartments. Wrong tablets. Wrong buttons. In that scenario, we make the best of a bad situation. “Oh damn! My expensive t-shirt is massive! What happened! Ooh! I know! I’ll do a bit of light sewing and give it to my girlfriend and I’ll say it’s a frock!” Works nearly every time. Unfortunately, the first time it happened to me I didn’t have a girlfriend. Instead, I fell to my knees, held my ruined shirt in my hands, cradled it like a little girl holding her very recently run-over puppy and broke down in tears as I screamed toward the sky.
Sewing is something I’ve mastered. Well, I like it. It’s rather fun. I mean, you prick yourself every five minutes and scream, making you look like an incompetent ninny. But crucially, I can manage it. And if I can manage to sew, then by God I’ll manage with my bed-sheets. It may take some time. But at least there’s hope for us lowly men. That we can evolve.
As with all evolution, there’ll be casualties. Useless sods, inept at everything. I think I’m one. I mean, as I’m writing this, I’m sitting on a bed, that’s more of a bare sheet, with a crumpled mass of bed-sheets surrounding me, waiting to fulfil their purpose. Unlikely though that is to happen. I may be fed up. And tired. And fed up. But at least I’m still trying to make my bed. And that’s what matters.
However, now it’s time for a break and a sandwich.
What? It’s hungry work…
American comedian, film and television star, Julius Henry ‘Groucho’ Marx (1890-1977), once said: “Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him”.
Peace Out :|:
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