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Friday, October 14, 2011

Clean Laundry??? - A Guy's Perspective.....

Laundry: Clean or Dirty???

Men and women have different standards about "cleanliness." I'm not sure if it's nurture or nature - but there seems to be a clear difference between where guys and gals fall along the sanitary spectrum.

This fact came to light during a discussion with my seven-year old girl as she was getting ready for bed. At the foot of her bed were three nightgowns from the past three nights - and she was getting a “fresh” nightgown out of her dresser. I asked her why not wear one of the other three that were already out.

She matter-of-factly replied, “Daddy, I’ve already worn each of those once.”

Asserting my paternal wisdom, I proceeded to explain that she could wear a nightgown more than once,  because it was unlikely that she would get very sweaty or dirty while she slept especially since her bedding was changed weekly.

By the expression on her face, I could tell that I was gaining persuasion ground, and that she was starting to see things my way when I may have taken it a step too far by declaring, “In fact sweetie, you COULD wear your PJs for an entire week without changing them.”

The look of shock and awe on her face told me that I had stretched her belief beyond the realm of possibility, which was reinforced by her immediate reply, “Mommy would NEVER let me wear my pajamas for a whole week!”  Hmmm…..probably not.

That got me thinking about the unspoken, unofficial “continuum of cleanliness” that I (and most guys) tend to follow - it's more of an art than a science. However, this continuum develops with experience over the years, like a body of scientific research builds on past findings or how the funk in a gym shower stall tends to incrementally increase scum layer upon scum layer - it’s a refined process.

As a guy, you develop a kind of "sixth sense" about what’s clean, what’s passable and what needs washing – and it usually begins once you leave home or go to college when there’s no maternal enforcer laying down her seemingly Draconian interpretation of what the definition of “clean” actually might be.

Admittedly, my first attempts to develop my own “continuum of cleanliness” at college were (at best) experimental as I pushed the laundry limits beyond what I knew was right. Case in point, I slept on the same pair of sheets for an entire semester, figuring it was easier to wash my body each day than to wash my bedding with any type of regularity. Live and learn.

However, as I matured and graduated from college I realized that if I had any chance of finding a wife, my capricious “continuum of cleanliness” had to be formalized. So, as a newly-employed college grad, I began having my clothes dry cleaned and began weekly trips to the local Laundry-Mat to ensure a constantly-clean supply of my unmentionables.

Therein my “continuum of cleanliness” had finally achieved stasis and balance. Yet these puzzling, subjective imponderables still arise periodically – How many nights in a row should you wear the same pajamas? There’s got to be a government-funded research grant to find the answer to that vexing question.

Question: Is there a continuum of cleanliness in your household?

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