There Might Be A Reason Mr. Clean is a Cartoon


There will come a day, about 20 years from now, when you will read in the paper of a horrible woman who goes  totally postal and shoots off her husbands face.  That woman will be me.  I can see it coming already.  I have warned my husband repeatedly, but he just doesn’t listen.  Mostly because I threaten violence on all minor offenses to my husband, my cats, my puppy, my remote and my computer with no follow through whatsoever, and absolutely no fear from any of the aforementioned threatened.  But I sound badass.

Okay, so I highly doubt I will ever hold a gun, let alone shoot one at my studmuffin. Back to the point.  Sorta.

Here’s the thing: men don’t understand how to clean.  I mean this in a general way and not in sexist way.  But yes, I mean you.  And my husband.  And almost every man I know, with the exception of…Mr. Belvedere, and Tony Micelli.  My only references are  1980’s sitcom characters.  I’m sure there are many others, but I haven’t ever lived with any of them.  Sigh……

Not all girls know how to clean.  I admit that.  But I do.  It means that every once in a while, you need to wipe down the baseboards and windowsills.  You need to not just take the bad food out of the fridge, you need to scrub and sanitize the shelves, too.

For me, it all comes down to the kitchen counters.  You see, after years of snarky comments my husband has learned to wipe down the counters after he works on something.  But what he doesn’t do is wipe down the backsplash, move the cookie jar and clean around that, too, or look up at the oven exhaust.  So I’ll shuffle in and see the splatters on the cabinets, the sprinkles of salt or oil around the cookie jar, the burned drippings on the stovetop and clean.  Again.

My mom worked for a cleaning company for a few years.  My sister owns one.  It’s in my blood.  Now, I’m not compulsive or anything. (My insane hand sanitizer at school doesn’t count) I’ll leave dirty dishes in the sink for an afternoon, or leave the vacuuming til the weekend or something.  But I have to clean up after my husband’s cleaning every fricking day.  “You didn’t clean the counters!”  is met with “Yes I did!”

But that is boy cleaning.  I had many roomates, mostly male.  They all boy-cleaned.  Clean the surface, not the depths.  Once my man said he cleaned the bathroom, I went in and saw a slick of windex all over everything.  Soaking wet.  In his mind, it was sanitized and therefore clean.  But that doesn’t clean off soapscum!  Or calcium deposits! Or hair!

Please don’t cut corners, I’ve asked a million times in a million ways, and have cleaned up after him a million times.  One of these days it will be one extra clean up too many and I will go beserker on his ass. And you will read it in the paper, sagely nod your head in understanding, and go scrub the toilet.


4 thoughts on “There Might Be A Reason Mr. Clean is a Cartoon

  1. I totally and completely sympathize. I have the same problem at home.

    I took a Men and Masculinities class at my university as part of a women’s studies cluster of courses (we had to pick a cluster of 12 credits of some sort of humanity type thing to graduate) and I picked that. Anyway, in this class, we got to the topic of housework and the unequal division of labor and how many women are unsatisfied with their relationships as a result. Many of the men didn’t understand what the problem was.

    I explained it like this: Guys, pretend you have a sweet dream car. For argument’s sake, we’ll call it a ’65 cherry red mustang convertible that you lovingly restored and spent countless hours on making it the beautiful beast that it is. You have a policy that no food should be eaten in the car. No drinks in the car. You clean it regularly. You vacuum it regularly to make sure any dirt that was on your shoes doesn’t get ground into the carpet. You polish the exterior. The car is sweet. Beautiful. Then imagine your wife/girlfriend/X has her car in the shop and she needs to borrow your car. When you get your dream car back, you discovered that she had a drink and some fast food. She spilled the beverage on the seat. Salty, fast food fingerprints are on the steering wheel and dash. The smell of greasy McDonald’s is in the air. You find a couple of stray french fries between the seat cushion and the back of the seat and under the seat on the floor. The Hi-C punch drink, which she attempted to clean up, stained the upholstery. Yes, most of it was removed, but the light pink residue left behind is like fingers on a chalkboard. She doesn’t understand when you freak out. “I don’t understand what the big deal is. I cleaned it up. I even used stain remover to get out the pink stuff. I mean, c’mon, it’s JUST a car.”

    After I said that, I literally saw dozens of lightbulbs go off over many a man’s head. A few of the guys went, “Ohh!” One actually thanked me and said nobody had ever explained it that way to him before.

    In essence, we take pride in our own little domains. The home, is typically the woman’s domain and a place she wants to keep clean because it is a reflection of herself. A clean home tells people she’s competent, a good housekeeper, organized, a good woman. For a guy, his domain might be his car. A beautiful car says a lot about a man, too. He’s competent, pays attention to detail, takes care of his shit, among other things.

    I don’t know if the guys in that class went home and changed their ways after that, but at least there was a momentary understanding and they Got It. I wish my husband would get it. I told him that story and he still gives a rip. Sigh. But maybe it might help others? I’m holding out on that hope…

    • Great description. Too bad my hubby is the slob in the car too. Siiiiigh. You know, I play martyr, but he’s an awesome guy. And at least he cleans the dishes without me even asking anymore, so I give em props. When I’m not cleaning up his crumbs, that is. 😀

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