…Which is basically a poncy way of saying I’m sick to the back teeth of doing the fucking washing up. And the laundry, and the hoovering, polishing, bathroom cleaning and all the other jobs my forbearers would have laughed at seeing another man do. In their day they would have strode out amongst the wild plains, hunted down a stag for dinner, drank large quantities of ale, ravished a fair maiden and returned to their perfectly maintained dwelling for a large feast around the fire, prepared lovingly by their wives. Even in my parent’s day the boundaries seemed much clearer. Dads across the land would go out to work at nine, and come home to dinner at half past five. They might then pop out to the Red Lion for a quick eight pints of Whitbread’s best bitter before returning home to fall asleep in front of Angela Rippon.
Now clearly I accept that times change and life moves on. It’s not as if I have a great hankering to spend my spare time bear baiting or bare knuckle fighting. I don’t really wish to rebuild a Triumph Dolomite from spare parts or join a tug of war team. I just think that to come home from work and spend all my time as some kind of Mr Mop indicates that something, somewhere has gone terribly wrong. I generally return of an evening to find a house full of people that I have either married or sired wandering around littering, eating and generally creating work for me like it’s some kind of family duty. My wife leading the children on their merry-mess-making way like a latter day Pied Piper, leaving discarded banana skins, dirty clothes and unwashed plates in their wake. I’m sure I heard my daughter say the other day ‘Please Mummy, I don’t want to make any more mess today.’ To which my wife fierily replied ‘Dammit, it’s not about what you want. It’s about what’s right. If we don’t create a never-ending mess for your father to clear up then he could be tempted to start juggling chain saws or pursue a career on the oil rigs, now drop that Goddamn crisp packet on the floor.’
The problem is that years of housework and domesticity have rendered me useless in the ways of men from a bygone era. Any kind of building work is out. My attempt at fitting a humble cat flap has taught me my shortcomings there. Anything more complicated than filling the car up with petrol is generally beyond me, so engineering is looking doubtful. I guess I could chop down a tree and start a fire, but the local council are sticklers for that kind of thing.
It would appear that I am rather stuck with my lot. Whilst I would rather be building a fully self-sufficient outhouse from reclaimed wood, or fine tuning the engine of my six cylinder two-seater sports car, it seems that I’m stuck marvelling at the benefits of washing clothes at 30 degrees or the new five, yes five in one thunderball, sparkle guarantee, performance enhanced, lemon zest dishwasher tablet. Lucky me.