The Hapless Househusband: Why Iron?

Flat Out Hate Ironing?

Of all the activities I procrastinate over, ironing has got to be the worst. I was raised in a household where everything was ironed to within an inch of its life, then left for University, where wrinkles were not only OK, but expected. If you turned up to a lecture, or tutorial, in ironed anything, it guaranteed that no one would sit next you.

The world of work seems to expect a high level of flatness in one’s clothing, especially if you work in an office or a store, but it also provides you with the pecuniary means to get someone else to do it.

Now, I like the feel of nice crisp white starched shirt, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that I don’t want to be involved in the process. Laundry has enough pitfalls of its own; I don’t need the accident potential of a very small, and heavy, hot object, unless some food is being made.

But, I’m conditioned. I’m sitting at my computer in a shirt that I ironed earlier. I’m not going out anywhere, no one is likely to see me except my wife when she gets home, and I’m pretty sure she has plenty of other things to worry about (such as, what piece of clothing of hers have I destroyed today, for one thing.) So why did I do it?

And, on a side rant, how can they get away with the “wrinkle free” thing? If it truly was wrinkle free, you would be able to take the shirt out of the cellophane wrapper and wear it right then and there. But no, you look like an idiot who didn’t have anything clean to wear, so you bought it on your way to work. Busted by the “I’ve been in cellophane” creases, and the sleeves that were deliberately scrunched up, with care, by worker No. 7.

She-Who-Is-Adored has a lot of clothes, most of them need ironing, but knowing that it is not my favorite thing, she does most of that herself. Being new to the game, I am now learning her tricks. For example, if I leap up like Pavlov’s dog when the dryer buzzes and take the clothes out within ten seconds, they are, normally, pretty wrinkle free.

This can result in burned fingers due to metal buttons on jeans, but anything that saves on ironing has to be good. In this way She never irons, she “touches up”. (I know, that could go in all sorts of directions, but I shall resist…)

Now ironing is absolutely not a multi-task type activity. I have learned this the hard way. Ironing is mono-tasking at its most basic. Unlike laundry, in which you are engaged at the beginning and end of the various cycles, you have to focus to iron. There is no running off doing errands, or checking your emails, during ironing. This level of concentration on one thing, is loved by some (my sister, for example), as I guess it can be a kind of Zen thing. Not me.

Due to the various different departments in my brain not always acting in concert, especially when asked to do so, ironing takes on some additional challenges. I start on a shirtsleeve and I have this great idea that requires me to not be ironing the shirtsleeve. I have several of these ideas in any given minute; so a great deal of discipline is required to complete the task at hand.

However, if you leave a hot metal object on cloth because you suddenly had an idea that just had to acted upon, burning will commence. Burns are bad. They cannot be washed out or unburned. There are several helpful tell-tale signs of burning though. If you have the dial set all the way to, “melt your face off” and start ironing, lets say, velour, the iron will not glide smoothly. This is due to the fact that melting velour is very sticky. It smells pretty bad too.

Even cotton, the bad boy at the top of the dial, will burn if there is insufficient movement of the iron. You may get a slight singe, leaving an imprint on the material of the bottom of the iron on your, formerly, nice shirt. The pretty “holes and triangle” pattern is hard to repeat in any meaningful way all over the rest of the garment, so, my advice is not to try it.

Another handy tip, the water reservoir on the steam iron does not, in fact, put out fires. Keep a spray bottle handy.

I have, however, discovered a solution to the drudgery.

The Jersey Shore.

Many moons ago, in a moment of great foresight, I put a small TV in the laundry room. One day I turned it on and found MTV (is there ever any actual music on?).

I watched in utter amazement. The antics of the sun-bed-tanned club-aholics emptied my mind of every other thought. It was the very definition of vacuous, yet utterly absorbing at the same time. As I watched, I ironed all my shirts and even started looking for other things that might be improved by being flat. OMG…

This is a life? I marveled at the tribal rituals and found myself slipping into amateur cultural anthropologist mode. I noticed that they sometimes ironed things, and wondered what they watched. I’m guessing it’s “The Real Housewives of Somewhere Else.” Also, if and when they get married and have children, will they allow their children to watch? Passing on the rituals (and the antibiotics) to the next generation.

I’m assuming these are the people whose jobs were shipped off to China, as I saw no real work funding the lifestyle. (Well, except the time they “worked” in the ice cream store and the little fat girl couldn’t see over the counter and the guy went outside to attract customers by showing off his abs.)

I’m no expert, obviously, but if they do a marathon, I’m thinking of saving up a month or two of my ironing and learning more…

Dear Hub Reader


If you enjoy this hub, please check out my book,

Homo Domesticus; A Life Interrupted By Housework,

A collection of my best writings woven into a narrative on a very strange year in my life.

Available directly from:

http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/homo-domesticus/12217500

Chris


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Comments 5 comments

quicklysilver profile image

quicklysilver 6 years ago from wexford, ireland

I cannot stand ironing or mopping, so here is a handy male generated way of getting out of ironing if you ever feel that enough is enough. First slighlty burn one of your favourite items of clothing (sacrifice is essential) and can complain about how its not fair. Then the next time slightly burn one of her fav items of clothing, hide it in a place she will find it, and put on your guilty face when asked about it. This should put and end to it all. Your wife will not talk to you for a few days, but hey thats another sacrifice you have to make.

ps - it will give you more time to watch jersey shore


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

I'm a woman, and a stay at home mummy, and I do not iron. There's really no need. I fold the washing when it's dry (either from the line, or from the tumble dryer), and the creases mostly come out in the pile because I fold very neatly. I could never stand at an ironing board for any amount of time, no thank you!

If something really is creased I will iron it when it's needed - don't worry, I don't send any of us out into the world looking neglected. No-one suspects that I don't iron, you can't tell at all - which leads me to believe that people who iron are wasting one hell of a lot of time!!!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

quicklysilver,

Nice plan, but She-Who-Is-Adored is a teacher. She would proceed to teach me the correct way. She teaches teens which means she does not give up easily. Switching the brain off is preferable, and at least I now know what a Snookie is!

Lady Wordsmith,

Your professionalism and housekeeping brilliance is showing. I'm learning the folding thing, but I'm just a guy...

Thank you both for reading and leaving great comments. (I'm waiting to hear from my sister "What do you mean I love ironing!"...)


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California

Hey Chris, you're a man after my own heart, I love ironing. However there is not much need for that at this time in my life. I used to do it for my family, who now has flown the coupe. I used to iron by TV also, it made it an event in which I relished. Great hub Chris, I loved the humorous touch you added.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

fastfreta,

Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. This whole househusband thing is a great motivator for finding a "real" job!!!

Chris

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