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The Rise of the Hapless Househusband

Updated on December 15, 2011

Homo Domesticus...

So, the economy is doing some strange things, and many of you gentlemen out there are no longer getting suited up and driving to an office somewhere. This is not by choice, for most of us, and like every change foisted upon mankind, we have to figure out how to survive.

When employed, we would gaze in envy at the men not wearing work clothes, and daydream of days watching Miami Vice or whatever your particular pleasure would be. The thought of peeling yourself out of bed at noon, slipping into your most comfortable clothes, and, basically, loafing around a la ‘best Saturday ever’, is an appealing antidote to the pressures of your working life.

Reality bites...

First of all, if your partner is the one who is working, and thus, carrying your unemployed butt, plan A is out of the window, big time. Staying in bed, when she has to get up, produces stink-eye set to stun. You could try just lying there, but you have to have the hide of a rhinoceros, be a little bit brave, and quite a bit stupid too. If you don't get up with the new boss, you will have no idea what it was that you were supposed to be doing all day. Failure to deal with " the list,” actual or implied, makes the morning stink-eye seem tame.

If you are on the "so what?" team, this hub is not for you. If you are on the "so what is my new role?" team, read on.

Running a home, turns out, is a real job. Actually, a very hard job, indeed. I consider myself domestically unimpaired, having always shared the home-type duties with my loved one. Trash, anything needing fixed, cutting grass, cutting tree limbs, anything heavy, and anything icky, those have always been mine. I also did most of the cooking, being the only bona fide foodie in the house, and thus, by extension, the shopping.

But there's more, much more.

Vacuuming, pardon the pun, totally sucks. Plus, you end up hating people for having the audacity to actually walk on your nice fan patterns on the floor. Toilets, surprisingly, need more than just being flushed, and being on your hands and knees in front of the bowl, while sober, will be a new experience for the majority of us.

Laundry is, probably, one of the easier chores (other than it is a never ending cycle) especially once you realize that you need to sort, whites and colors, first. Getting the stuff out of the dryer can be a time-consuming drag, and in my case, it points out the huge size differential between us. My wife is petite, which means that half her clothes have labels that are as large as the item itself. My stuff is all from the "husky" department. Dry clean only, means exactly that. A seriously trashed rag is an expensive way to find out that particular truth.

For the last, however many, years, I have dealt with laundry by not dealing with it. Sure, I would take the dry cleaning and the laundry to be done, and pick it up, but on the whole, stuff returned to my closet with minimal effort on my part. Now I have ironing. Torture for the most part, though you can glance at the TV while doing it. (Glance only, watching equates to burns and other ironing failures.)

And now I reach the single biggest problem of all...


When you are a ‘real’ working stiff, anytime you were not working, there was something good to watch on TV. Here's a shock, there are very few big sporting events on during the weekday. Sure, there's always golf, but aren't you already hurting? There’s no time (or money) for that in your new role. Baseball has never been my sport, and the occasional international soccer match is not enough to keep you riveted.

Seriously though, daytime TV is really sad. It may be a ploy to make sure you go out and get a job, any job, to get away from it. The advertisements are aimed at high school dropouts, people who can't get insurance, and young people with bad skin. For variety, there are a few commercials aimed at the elderly, with taunts of mobility, and time spent with a loving family.

And cleaning products…

Now, in this department, these are way behind the times, as the cleaning angel, who is both young and beautiful, cleans, without any hint of effort, what appears to be an already clean house. And she is always a woman. The only guy is a cartoon and bald, with a totally fake name. (Can you imagine if he went into politics - vote for Mr. Clean!) Now, I admit I did get a little bit excited when I bought a new Swiffer, (360 degrees, who knows how many degrees I had been missing before…)

Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but I look like hell when I'm cleaning. It is hot and dirty, my shirt and hair are plastered to me, and I always have a shower afterwards, not before. I sure as heck don't get my hair done in case someone pops over. In advertising land, these ladies finish just as their friends come round for coffee, everyone looking perfect, and with magical timing, some home baked goods just coming out of the oven.

This places undue pressure on regular people trying to do a good job. Our kitchens never look like the ones in Ad-land, and though women may be used to this, for men who have lost their sense of self, along with their jobs, this is just one step too far.

So, with the TV screaming "failure" at you, you have to find a way to escape. The mall is a bad idea, as everyone seems to be staring at you with " why aren't you at work?" eyes, plus after four hours in the Apple store, the geniuses start looking at you funny. Thus, you end up in Starbucks, nursing a small cup of something, and playing with your electronic devices. Can't stay there too long though, there's dinner to be prepared, and other stuff that was on the list which you probably forgot about.

So, in this way, a large group of men are evolving into homo domesticus, househusbands. But take heart, you are not alone.

And of course by writing this, I got horribly behind on my chores...

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:



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    • ChrisLincoln profile image

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



      It's one of those "how hard can it be" things that kicked my butt...

      Candle wax - wool sweater...

      Read all the how to's on the internet, went in loaded for bear and totally messed the whole thing up. The sweater was slyly disposed of...

      Thanks for dropping in and leaving a note, great to hear from you.


    • DonDWest profile image

      DonDWest 6 years ago from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

      Hopefully, you'll never have the "pleasant" duty of removing wax stains from clothing.

    • sueroy333 profile image

      Susan Mills 7 years ago from Indiana

      Thank you for hopping on my hub. I had missed this excellent article. I linked it at the bottom of my Women Can't Focus

      Hey, did I just jump your hub right back???

    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California


      I know that now...


    • profile image

      tdennis 7 years ago

      You must never to refer to the list (implied or written in bold capital letters). There is no list - polite reminders or even suggestions, but no list!

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      How come my spaghetti always is a ball of paste..? I learned not to fill a pot full of beans and then add water...

    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California


      We few, we band of brothers...

      I got super stink-eyed for not separating out the darks into the really dark, darks and the red and fall colors. (why can't women say brown?)

      Still learning.


    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Change is constant. Great hub. Thanks for sharing. Got to get the gum out of the carpet... What? Burned the soup? Microwave does not work?

    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      She-who-is-adored got a little miffed when she read this one. What list? I don't give you a list.

      Yeah right!

      That's why today I fixed the washing machine, glued the chimney back on the little model house and (finally) did a load of darks...

      I could have just played around on hubpages for hours.

      Oh yeah, squeezed that one in too!


    • abonavitacola profile image

      abonavitacola 7 years ago from Longport, New Jerey

      Terrific, Chris.

      Love it - especially the implied list. And, you are correct. I think half the time when I worked and he didn't, he'd get up with me just so I wouldn't think he was lazy. And, then there were days he didn't. I'd walk in the door at night, find him on the couch, and ask, innocently, "So, what did you do today, hon?", only to be hit with a glare that left me wanting to bite my tongue.

    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California


      Will do. Thanks for reading.


    • profile image

      Maccrew 7 years ago


      New one is as good as the other blogs. Keep em coming