Life With Men Series – He Can’t See Dirt

Why won’t the man in your life pick up the vacuum?  I have a beautiful Dyson, the Cadillac of vacuums, with superior maneuverability and suck power – and Fiancé has only ever used it about 3 times, and twice only to spot-clean a small area.

OK, from now on we’ll call my soon-to-be-hubby Mr. Sports.  Seems a bit nicer.

One day Mr. Sports announced he was going to clean the bathroom.  I was ecstatic as I’d been busy and hadn’t had the chance.  After he was done I swear I couldn’t see the difference.  Ok, the toilet was a little cleaner but the floor still had hair on it, the tub still had scum, and the counter still had bits of beard stuck on it.  It looked to me like he’d just used something to wipe the surfaces without doing any cleaning – you know, getting gunk and hair off of stuff.  I was puzzled, though I thanked him excitedly for his cleaning….then quietly cleaned the bathroom myself the next evening while he went out after work with a friend.

I’ve also noticed that stuff can sit in the kitchen almost indefinitely.  Container from lunch, glass from drink, wrapper from candy, package from frozen pizza, half-peeled carrot that was supposed to in dinner but was abandoned and forgotten, unless I help it get to the proper receptacle.

How does Mr. Sports do this?

Now I know there are neurological conditions in which people have mistaken one think for another, or family for strangers, or their wife for a hat, but I don’t feel that’s the case here.  Yes, really, a hat.  Well, really he just thought her head was a hat.  Read:

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales, 1985 by neurologist Oliver Sacks.

What I do think applies to this case is the excerpt below:

“A friend of mine once…wouldn’t empty the kitchen bin for a while, to see how long it would take for her other half to do it.
Not surprisingly, the kitchen bin was brimming full by the end of the week.
Still, her husband didn’t notice the overloaded bin. He happily stuffed tea bags and empty cartons in there, until one day, he realised it was full, emptied it and carried on as normal.
…It’s not at all the case that this man was sexist or expecting his wife to do the chore; simply that he didn’t think it needed to be done until it really needed to be done.”
In a study about Female Breadwinners still doing the housework “one man in the study…just didn’t see the dirt – “I just don’t see that it needs to be done,” he said.

Read more here:


So, Mr. Sports just doesn’t feel that some of what he sees around home needs to be taken care of?  Ok, but what about the shoddy bathroom cleaning job?  I think that’s a topic for a whole other post.  Mr. Sports seems as confused about cleaning as I am about the people who live upstairs.

Seriously, I occasionally hear a dog, and occasionally a child, running around up there, but never at the same time.  Odd, as dogs and kids love to chase each other around, so why not at the same time?  They either have a sporadically visiting dog, sporadically visiting child, child that occasionally runs on all fours, or a dog that sometimes runs on 2 legs.  I like the last one.

I digress.

How can you get a guy to notice what needs to be mopped, dusted, emptied, and vacuumed?

I’m not particularly bothered about it now, though it can be annoying, but Mr. Sports has always dreamed of having kids (I’m on the fence but openminded).  This wouldn’t fly if we had kids.  You want them crawling around dirt and hair, finding old lunch containers filled with green fuzzy stuff, in one of dad’s work bags?  What if they find and eat the half-peeled, dry, forgotten and forlorn little carrot?  What if Mini Me discovered dad’s dirty, sweaty, dusty gym socks left under the couch – while your back was turned for a second – and stuffed them in their mouth?  Little kids stuff everything in their mouths.

Women don’t just stay home anymore.  We work, we commute, we’re tired and we’d just like to come home and sit on our ass too.  But somehow that never works out for us, or if it does it means some stuff didn’t get done today.  It means we’ll have even more stuff to do tomorrow, or on the weekend, while you’re out with your buddies having fun.

Help me out people, how do you get a guy to notice what needs to get done and pitch in to take care of housework?


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