August 07, 2004

No, YOU Tell ME

I continue to have nothing of consequence to say, making this as fine a time as any to punt to a commenter.

Seems one Daniel in Medford--a commenter of whom I'm most fond, I should add, because while I can't remember what post it was on or, indeed, what in fact he said about it, I have this lingering impression that the guy once said something fairly intelligent and thought-provoking in the comments so hey, go Daniel--anyway, Daniel wants to know, what's one thing women should "have to" do in a relationship. Because, you know, I said men should have to kill bugs, all the bugs, always, period end.

So I want the men to tell me, what's the nonnegotiable? What's one thing that by God a woman should always, always do in a relationship? Is this as foolish as asking y'all to define centrists? Whatever, I need an update opportunity, this one fell in my lap (after a reminder by this gal), and I'm taking it.

Tell me what a woman's gotta do. Come on, be a sport, I don't ask this sort of thing every day, you know I don't. And I'll probably be fairly sorry I asked this time, too.

Posted by Ilyka at August 7, 2004 06:42 AM in i don't know you tell me

That's a tough one...

Laundry? That's the only thing I can think of that Lovely Wife does exclusively. But that's not really because laundry is a she "must do". It's more like if I mess up her laundry system she'll put starch in my shorts in revenge.

Oh, wait! I've got it:

The woman should always be the one who screams like she just saw an axe murdered climbing through the window whenever she notices a daddy longlegs in the house.

Posted by: Jim at August 7, 2004 02:02 PM

women need to do the things that they care about and their men folk don't. these include washing coloreds separate from the whites, cleaning the bathrooms and buying the *right* brand and version of feminine hygiene products. don't get me wrong, men could do these things, it's just that if we did you would not be happy.

Posted by: rammer at August 7, 2004 05:27 PM

oh and then there's having babies and breast feeding. by God, i'm not doing either of those.

Posted by: rammer at August 7, 2004 05:33 PM

At the risk of raising the ire of everyone -- and at making myself look foolish (which, is not difficult as I do it on a daily basis) and also causing a ruckus I shall add only one word:


Thank you. Good night.

Posted by: Emma at August 8, 2004 12:12 AM


God willin', she'll be here all week folks.

Posted by: ilyka at August 8, 2004 03:47 AM

Oh, c'mon, you know every single man reading this post is thinking that. Just not all of 'em are saying it.

Okay, guys, we know. Now, what, excluding head, is the non-negotiable duty of a woman in a relationship?

My guess is cleaning bathrooms.

Posted by: Meryl Yourish at August 8, 2004 04:54 PM

After Emma's post, anything I could add would be an anti-climax...

Posted by: DaninVan at August 8, 2004 08:24 PM

Well really Emma, like DaninVan said;

but I agree with Meryl. Bathrooms. Specifically the toilet.
My dh has swept the floors, and mopped the floors, and done laundry. And washed dishes. And cleaned the bathtub. But for the life of me, in the 25+ years we have been married, I don't think he has ever cleaned John.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at August 8, 2004 10:11 PM

My husband cleans the toilet. (I'm quite aware that he is a very rare, special and wonderful specimen of his breed.)

OF COURSE the two have nothing to do with each other.


Posted by: Emma at August 9, 2004 12:04 AM

Emma is on to something... As for me, not only would I gleefully clean the toilet, I would never ever ever forget to put the seat down. Never ever ever.

Posted by: Zeb Trout at August 9, 2004 01:59 AM

That one is easy for me to answer.
Wash the dishes. Always.

Posted by: Joatmoaf at August 9, 2004 02:41 AM

Since I take out the trash, cook my own breakfast, make my own lunch, put the dishes in the dishwasher (hand-washing the big pans), clean the bathrooms, kill the bugs, earn all the money (working 80 hrs a week!).... Damned if I know what her job is.

Posted by: GPWilliams at August 9, 2004 03:12 PM

Gee, Greg. Maybe you need to grow a set of balls there. Or see if you can sneak yours out of her purse.

Emma nailed it, of course but the other ladies make some good points too. Bathrooms, except for washing stubble down the sink and toothpaste off of the mirror, is for the gals. Dishes are no biggie - with a dishwasher, who really cares? Laundry definitely. Floors too.

Okay, the cleaning as a whole is generally the woman's job. The guy may help on occasion but it's "owned" by the lady.

Posted by: Alpha Male at August 9, 2004 04:57 PM

Emma, while this is a good point, I would think that that is a bilateral (if slightly antisymmetric) obligation.

Posted by: Laura at August 9, 2004 05:14 PM

As a general rule, the woman should do periodic "quality control" checks on the man's outfits, to make sure he's not doing himself serious harm. This is unless his sense of style exceeds hers.

The woman should also have final say on furniture purchases--again, unless the man's style is equal or superior.

Posted by: Attila Girl at August 9, 2004 07:33 PM

You know what we have to do? Apologize first. Without fail, it's always been that way, always will be.


Posted by: Helen at August 9, 2004 08:31 PM

Helen's full of shit. Men always have to apologize first. It's the law of the universe. Indeed, in any relationship, in all arguments, the man is always wrong. It's in the Torah, I swear.

But to be less obnoxious about it, I'll answer your honest question:

The woman should always cook something for the man when he's sick.

I know, it's horribly old-fashioned and totally not fair. But seriously: he's sick. He's feeling like garbage. Make him a sandwich or something, and he'll love you.

It makes no sense. Just do it. %-)

Posted by: Dean Esmay at August 9, 2004 09:04 PM

Okay, second round: Joy's right. Fashion check him. It's your job. It just is. ;-)

Posted by: Dean Esmay at August 9, 2004 09:05 PM

Okay, wait a minute. I realize I just came across like an ass. Which I shouldn't have.

Helen: I apologize. I was too rude. Seriously, I was.

But: honestly, do you really believe that stuff about "apologize first?" Seriously dude, every man I know, and I mean every man I know, knows that rule #1 in every relationship is, "apologize. For what? Well you have the penis, so just apologize for that right off the bat."

I'm not even kidding.

Posted by: Dean Esmay at August 9, 2004 09:10 PM

The dishes in exchange for bug killing? Not unless I live in a horror movie where there are as many bugs as dirty dishes, and they recur every single day!

Cooking for a sick partner should also be bilateral.

Cleaning the toilet should, by all rights, be a man's job. I never miss. Ever.

Sewing on buttons maybe? That seems a fair exchange.

But I suspect the correct answer would have something to do with children. Since we're placing men and women in archetypal roles.

Posted by: shell at August 9, 2004 09:20 PM

The woman should always cook something for the man when he's sick.

Now that's one with which I heartily agree. You have to play mama to a sick man, it's the very least he deserves if he's a keeper. You do it even knowing that when it's your turn to be sick, you will have to write him out explicit instructions, complete with flow chart, on how to heat up a can of chicken soup for your poor sick self. Or is that just how it is with the one I've got? :)

Posted by: ilyka at August 9, 2004 10:43 PM

I was honestly being facetious with the "head" comment.

I suppose that everyone here has commented based upon their current (and maybe a little bit of the past) relationship.

Reading every comment has made me realize (once again) just how lucky I really am. My husband can hunt, fish, clean, cook, sew and keep me very happy. I'll share a little bit of our "courting" IM from my husband(yeah IM -- if you can imagine it, I have shiny CDs wrapped in ribbon for they ARE our love letters):

Love me, respect me, don't ever hit me, listen to me, argue with me with the goal of actually solving something vs. just lashing out to hurt, and I will love you, respect you, listen to you. I will never hit you. And will argue with you without intentionally hurting you.

And nothing in there stipulated who cleaned the toilet. If it needs to be done, one of us does it. Simple as that.

Besides, The Boy™ is my Bugsmasher. :)

Posted by: Emma at August 10, 2004 04:14 AM

Well, that was a bitch-slapping there, Dean.

But in my experience, in my relationships, you betcha' I've always been the one that has to apologize first. I have to climb down from being angry and make half-hearted stupid jokes until the guy lightens up. It's honestly that way, and I just showered, so I can verify that I don't have a penis.

But whatever, people say that men always have to do that, so guess what-I'm sorry. Shouldn't have said it.

Just checked again-still no penis there. Maybe it fell off or will grow in. That'll be interesting.

Posted by: Helen at August 10, 2004 08:56 AM

The one who has to apologize first depends on the two people involved. Generally it's whoever is more rational or at least in the more rational state. Like Helen and presumably Dean, I've always tended to recover to a state approaching mental normalcy before my partners. I don't have to apologize first but why wouldn't I start the ball rolling towards reconciliation when I'm able? That's got nothing to do with male/female, it's all about rational/irrational.

No, the true answer to Ilyka's question is "make the guy feel special". Making us your heroic bug smashers is a good start there. In these modern days we don't get many opportunities to show our martial skills and bravery. Bug slaughtering is critical to our manly self-image.

Posted by: Jim at August 10, 2004 06:43 PM

I agree that the apologizing thing depends on the relationship. I *always* have to apologize first after a fight. My husband is, for the most part, a wonderful man and I love him, but he's also the most stubborn person on the planet and he can't ever admit that he's wrong. Even when we both know that he is. In 6 years of marriage, I could count on one hand, with fingers left over, the number of times he's apologized to me for anything.

Posted by: kathy at August 11, 2004 04:17 PM

Whoo-eee, what have I started?!?

Maybe we should put this on a more general level. Time was, men were the hardheaded, practical problem-solvers, and women were the soft, kind nurturers. This made a division of labor easy (no pun intended) -- men fix the cars and deal with the plumber and pay the bills, while women deal with the kids and go to PTA meetings and so forth.

(Yes, I *know* that's a terrible oversimplification. Please bear with me, folks.)

Today, most people -- of either gender -- are expected to do it all. If you're a single parent, you're expected to darn the socks and find a babysitter and fix the stopped-up toilet and sing the lullabies and yell at the phone company, and nobody cares what gender you are. It needs to be done, and you do it. If you live alone, ditto.

So what it comes down to, in my opinion, is this: where are your red lines? Where do you say "Okay, I'm willing to assume The Other Gender's role this far, but I sure as hell won't touch THAT"?

Naturally that red line will be in different places for different people. I wasn't expecting any kind of consensus here; I just wanted to see if we could get a conversation started.

Personally, I think that men AND women need to "feel special", albeit in different ways. We BOTH need to take care of one another during illness, although we do it in very different ways.

Me, I've made it clear to my fiancee -- many times, in a variety of different ways -- that her safety means more to me than my own, and that her childrens' safety means even more than that. I doubt she NEEDS that from me, but she sure does appreciate knowing it!

In terms of household chores, I do the laundry, and she stays on top of the bills. Why? Because I'm no good at keeping track of overdue bills, and she is; while she hates doing laundry, and I like it. That's the way we've negotiated it, and it works fine. On the other hand, we BOTH kill bugs as necessary. (She does have me go after the ones on the ceiling; I'm taller than she is. So maybe THAT is the man's job around here after all.)

Daniel in Medford

Posted by: Daniel in Medford at August 11, 2004 04:30 PM

in re Meryl's comment:

Oh, come ON! If you want to think of BJs as the woman's job, fine... but do you really expect us to do it ourselves??

(Some men are equipped for that, I'm told. My own attempts at autofellatio have been reasonably successful, but less than satisfying.)

Sure, I expect some head from my fiancee now and again. But she expects it from me, too. Both of us tend to supply it frequently enough that neither of us needs to ask for it. Where's the problem here?

Daniel in Medford

Posted by: Daniel in Medford at August 11, 2004 04:35 PM

My own attempts at autofellatio have been reasonably successful, but less than satisfying.

Dude, the TMI you save for your own blog, okay? I can't decide whether I'm awed or horrified. Probably both. :)

Posted by: ilyka at August 11, 2004 10:42 PM