That Time I Almost Became a Gender Statistic

This is post 2/4 of an October Friday uncouth rant series leading up to Halloween. Content notice for gendered slurs. The genesis for this was conceived in a Jezebel comment thread of which I was reminded thanks to a friend’s comment thread. 

The meme of Jimmy McMillan of The Rent Is Too Damn High Party, captioned "The ladies' cleaning standards are too damn high!"
A few years ago, a few places, notably Forbes, posted pieces along the lines of “you crazy bitches are make it all up! It’s not men’s fault that you do more domestic labor, it’s yours!” Or we don’t communicate enough about it. Somehow, it’s women’s fault.

As I was fresh off being broken up with (as is my wont, apparently) by someone with whom I struggled on this very issue, I couldn’t let it slide.

1 month in: “Let’s split the chores equally, alternating unless you have a strong preference for one chore or another. For example, when I cook, you can clean the kitchen.”

3 months in: “You can do the bathroom (sink, toilet, shower) once a week and the dishes when I cook. I’ll handle everything else.”

6 months in: “Just wipe on and around the toilet since that’s your mess. Also, could you put your plates in the sink (I’ll wash them) rather than leave them out? The roommates are getting angry.”

9 months in: “I’ll handle my own as well as our collective messes so that the roommates won’t be mad. I’ll even clean the bathroom. All you have to do is put your own dirty laundry in the hamper, garbage in the trash can, and dishes in the sink.”

a fluffy-as-all-heck cat using a litter box

12 months in: “Could you at least not leave your dirty socks lying around? I can do everything else. And if we get cats like we (and especially you) want, it’s on the condition that we’re going to take turns cleaning the litter box.”

18 months in: “The cats left a turd on the ground last night because their litter box was completely full. You could have at least done the scooping the weekend I was out of town.”

24 months in: I move out.

Statistically speaking, if I’d married, it would have gotten worse. How’s that for a horror story?

That Time I Almost Became a Gender Statistic

6 thoughts on “That Time I Almost Became a Gender Statistic

  1. 3

    Congrats on getting out. As a marker of how significant this is, I put up with my man’s gender essentialism and religious nonsense because he also cooks (well!) and has taken ownership of cat box emptying, floor cleaning and yard work.

  2. 4

    In all the share houses I’ve lived in, mine was the cleanliness standard keeping dirty plates out of the living room and animal turds out of the kitchen, and imploring my housemates/partners made no perceptible improvement.

    This taught me a lot about how difficult it can be to break adults of their bad habits (“really? you’re incapable of learning that a shit left by the cat is only going to get worse and attract flies?”) learned in childhood.

    Working in my favour was that, when expressing the expectation that the adults around me should clean up after themselves before inconveniencing others, I am not a woman making these points. I can only try to imagine how much idiotic regressive bullshit you had to put up with when attempting to reason with such adults.

  3. 5

    I’ve always been messy and hated cleaning, but nowadays we manage with me doing mostly washing up, food shopping, cooking (2/3), her clothes washing, both of us cleaning/vacuuming/cat litter/hanging washing/our own shit.

    It’s one of the most important parts of feminism I learned: women aren’t men’s servants, and the specific gendered roles we grow up with are just bullshit, whatever standard you set. I occasionally get a “cookie” when my SO tells people I cooked something, which ends up as a jokey fun times about how I should just put my feet up and let her bring me beers naked or all those poor husbands who really need a strong intelligent woman to wipe their ass. Bleh. Gender essentialism ruins everything, I may be a better hand with a drill or hammer than my SO, but if I were to measure my manly worth by that standard I’d be crouched in the corner in the fetal position.

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