The dust gatherers

Clever or lazy: Men are hopeless are housework – or do they choose to be seen as such?

Clever or lazy: Men are hopeless are housework – or do they choose to be seen as such?

First published in Echo Woman

IT’S official – men are not all that masterful with a mop. In fact, men are five times less likely than women to do any household cleaning, according to a new survey, by Housekeep.com. It’s depressing, but it’s hardly a surprise.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the stereotype. But, generally, blokes don’t come off squeaky clean in housework surveys – in 2013, for example, a survey revealed that the average weekly housework time for women was 17 hours, compared to under six hours for men.

And, perhaps more to the point, anyone who’s ever met a man doesn’t really need a survey to point out they are inevitably, unrelentingly, unbearably hopeless at housework.

But why is that?

Nature

SADLY, it’s engrained in the DNA.

Consider our cave-dwelling days, when men went out with clubs to beat mammoths and women lurked about cleaning said cave and deadmammoth rug with a twig. Nowadays we might have Tesco and robotic vacuum cleaners, but the basics remain the same. Men hunt, women clean.

Nurture

LOOK at any toy store and it’s there in all its sexist-marketing glory: pink cooking sets for little girls, big blue muddy diggers for boys. We’re peddling gender divisions before most children even know what gender is, but when their subconscious learning is at its most sponge-like.

We only have ourselves to blame.

The magic of multitasking

WOMEN do more housework than men because we are infinitely more efficient, it’s as simple as that. A scientific paper in the BMC Psychology journal at the end of last year showed men were slower and less organised than women when switching rapidly between tasks in tests.

So in the time a man has, say, thought about emptying the laundry basket, a woman has not only emptied it, she’s carried it down to the machine, dragging a broom behind her.

See no evil

IT’S only one small, personal example, but I think it speaks for most; a friend’s husband recently announced, after 11 years of marriage, “Oh, your eyes aren’t blue, they’re brown”. If a man can’t make note of his own wife’s eye colour, what hope have they got of making note of that bit of dust on the banisters.

A cunning plan

IN the past, women have admitted they spend three hours a week redoing chores they consider their partner hasn’t done properly. Perhaps it’s because we’re a bit obsessive, or perhaps it’s because they’re a bit clever. Any idiot can work out that if you do a job badly, someone will roll their eyes, mutter, “If you want a job done properly, do it yourself ”, and then you can sit back down on the sofa.

Bedroom ban

COUPLES who split the housework fairly allegedly have the most sex, are the most satisfied with their sex lives, and express the highest level of sexual intimacy. Maybe some men think this is a bad thing.

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