A Manly Man’s Guide to the Domestic Arts (Part 2)

In Part One of my Domestic Arts mantra, I identified the tried and true ways to prevent starvation while not coming off as a complete and utter Luddite in front of the girlfriend.  Now, in Part Two, we can begin to focus on the even less pleasant and unnatural labors; namely, housework.

I am going to sub-divide housework into the areas of “cleaning” and “renovation”.  Neither are particularly desirable ways to spend your weekend, I agree, but it will sometimes be necessary when your honey allows you to host poker nights or the fifteen minutes before your girlfriend arrives home from work.  Usually both processes are hurried, disorganized, and thoroughly in vain; much like Sisyphus pushing his rock forever uphill.

Personally, I’d rather be stabbed in the face with a soldering iron than be coerced into cleaning the downstairs bathroom or making any much needed repairs.  In fact, it hasn’t happened yet and I’m still holding out for magical unicorns to show up and magically scour the pee stains from around the bowl.  Now, at times I’m sure, the sanitary conditions of my former apartment might have been on par with that of a Thermopylae field hospital, but I believed that whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.  However, Kelly, being a nurse, definitely has other ideas about being “sanitary”.  Yes, gone are the days of simply sweeping the scattered cat litter under the mat beneath the kitchen sink.

Truth be told, cleaning and home renovations are things that are really best learned on one’s own.  Only through repeated bruising and scarring will you develop and improve your skills in these specific areas.  In fact, your girlfriend will likely be a main source of that bruising and scarring if things are not done to her liking, but learn you will.  I will still, however, try to give you some tips on how to make the whole tribulation less painful.  Understanding that no man would ever want to do housework, these tips will only serve to put you in the proper mindset in order to cope with the task given to you by your loved one should it ever be deemed necessary, and, hopefully, still retain a little something of your proud manly persona.

First, protective gloves are for pussies.  Latex, leather, rawhide, cotton, construction, cut resistant, heat resistant, flame resistant, safety, whatever, save the gloves for the bedroom puppet shows. A true manly man would sooner dip his hands in battery acid than put on a pair of protective gloves to scrub pots and pans.  It’s not smart, but no girl wants to see her man in a pair of latex gloves unless he’s also clothed in a white lab coat and peering at her from between two leg stirrups.  Sure she may wear such protective wear herself, but she’s much more invested in her appearance than you are.  She has to preserve all those dainty manicures while you have no such excuse.  So suck it up, buttercup.

Similar to the point I just made, all cleaning and home repairs MUST be performed with your pants off.  I don’t why, must that’s just the way the universe works.  No matter if you’re changing a light bulb, replacing fuses, or cleaning up chip crumbs with a Shop-Vac, natural science demands that any self-respecting man will remove his pants first for best results.  We dudes just simply think better with their pants off.  I guess, considering how much blood is usually being pumped to our swollen erections throughout the day, wearing pairs of pants might significantly cuts off the circulation of blood back to our brains when we attempt to do housework.  This principle might also explain the loose waistbands of professional repairmen.

Just like having the right tools for the job, you must also have the right soundtrack.  Ambiance is everything when one is engaged in housework.  I find that the Doors are the preferred listening of choice when you’re working on plumbing-related repairs as nothing beats listening to ‘Break On Through’ while you’re snaking a bathroom drain.  Likewise, I would also recommend ZZ Top for vacuuming; Robert Johnson for dusting; some fast beat techno for all electrical repairs; Van Morrison for doing the dishes; Steppenwolf while waxing the car; Bruce Hornsby for folding laundry; and maybe, Nine Inch Nails or equally angry-sounding music when scrubbing the shitter.

One tool you absolutely cannot afford to be without when attempted housework is the milk crate as they are an immensely valuable item around the house, apartment, flat, squat, whatever.  These versatile by-products of the Space Program can easily be procured by raiding the alley behind any local McDonalds.  At times, they are more valuable than gold. If bachelors were allowed to control the world, plastic milk crates would be a tradable commodity on the Stock Market.  Now, I know your girlfriend will likely want you to ditch them all when you move in together, but under no circumstances should you do this.  Hide them and save them as they come in handy for storing your tools, or climbing on to reach things high off the ground.  Likewise, they have a thousand practical uses: bookshelf, laundry hamper, futon base, coffee table, foot rest, or filing cabinet.  Your loved one will see the light eventually, especially when you use one to replace that wobbly step off the back porch.  Oh yeah, there will be sex that night!

Now, let’s get one thing straight: manly men don’t “decorate”.  We “accumulate”.  There’s a huge difference that your girlfriend will not immediately understand.  Don’t spend too much time beyond strategically placing milk crates around the room because you’ll only overload her circuits.  Decorating, to manly men, might entail the making of a beer can pyramid in the corner of the room or hanging a nude picture of Cameron Diaz on the bathroom door.  Apart from that, we just fill in blank space with our quickly accumulating wealth of doodads and gewgaws.  Bachelors are like blue jays in this manner.  If our acquired collection of amassed stuff happens to lend itself together well, in something resembling a mildly aesthetically pleasing structured order, it was completely unintended and coincidental.  To your girlfriend, it’s a nightmare and you will not win this battle.  Instead, use your secret cache of milk crates to store up all your beloved bachelor shit and hide it under the basement stairs where you can visit it every now and again when she goes out.  Accept it and move on.

When it comes to pest control – move.  It’s that easy.  If reading recipe directions were difficult, then mixing chemical compounds for any regular run-of-the-mill Ant Trap is bound to result in the global outbreak of something that would make the Ebola virus look like a heat rash.  So I suggest either calling the professionals or your local realtor.  Your loved one will thank you.

Now, I have also chosen to include yard work as a form of housework.  Suffice to say; yard work blows chunks.  Anyone who’s sharper than a cue ball would instantly realize that yard work is an impossible on-going battle.  In my opinion, clear cut the whole yard, pave it, and make it a basketball court, or horseshoe pit, or something requiring less maintenance instead.  Joni Mitchell said it best:

Pave paradise to put up a parking lot.

It’s so elegant in its simplicity but, still, your girlfriend will probably disapprove anyway.  I think they view it as one of the Herculean tasks necessary for us to perform in order to prove our worth. Some men will even rise to the occasion but, personally, I’d rather sip lemonade while looking over my newly paved asphalt jungle.  I just don’t understand how some men get excited about working in their yards.  I can’t recall any historical records indicating that the Vikings, the Mongol hordes, Romans legionnaires, Zulu warriors, or any other significant ancient marauding civilization for that matter, ever gave two shits about their front yards.  To think that our lawns are a pathetic suburban imitation of the pasture land or park surrounding an eighteen-century manor house is completely laughable.  And since we don’t graze sheep in our flowerbeds or course deer down the driveway with a pack of greyhounds, what the hell is the point?

Think of it this way: manly men have only been on this planet for four million years.  Who took care of the yard before we got here?  I think the real beauty of nature is that it doesn’t require dusting, vacuuming, polishing, or dry-cleaning.  So leave it alone.  However, as I’ve already stated, your loved one will more than likely expect you to not only keep up with the Joneses, but be one step ahead as well.  Deal with it.  Therefore, yard work will become a regular chore regardless of how you may feel about it.

Similar to cooking, yard work comes with its own unique and difficult challenges like lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, weed wackers, snow blowers, and so forth.  Whether it runs on battery, electricity or gas, it’s all equally monotonous.  Usually, from the time the sun comes up, your neighborhood will be alive with the sound of small gas-powered engines.  Personally, it all makes me want to sit inside feeling like the Grinch on Christmas morning.  I don’t know what kind of a kick these people get from wandering their lawns all day long keeping them in order like some kind of supernatural drill sergeant.  One might argue that they’ve tapped into some kind of hidden pleasure that completely eludes the rest of us, or maybe my heart is two-sizes too small.  I just don’t know.  Either way, I think it all sucks.

But, alas, perhaps there is an answer.  Recently, new research being conducted by Japan’s Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN), conducted over a 60-day period, taught 6 rodents to use tools – namely, a rake.  Hmmm.  That’s not a bad idea.  Lord knows the cats have been getting a pretty ride for, like, they’re entire lives.  How cool would it be to teach them the intricate art of landscape design?  How hard could that be?  The Japanese needed 60 days and the average domestic cat just has to be smarter than your average rat, right?  They’re higher up on the food chain after all.  It’s ingenious; not to mention a good way to pass the time with beer in hand once the BBQ has been fired up and you’re preparing the evening’s meal.  With your poking stick, you can first poke at the meat, then poke at the cat as they figure out how to tend to your girlfriends new Zen garden.

God help you.

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