An interloper has moved into our apartment. The teens annual Christmas wish of a cleaning fairy has finally come true, and albeit a welcome addition to the family, this new situation is making me feel strangely uneasy.
Obviously, I’m grateful that the old man has taken over the major share of the domestic chores, but it takes some getting used to, seeing your partner in SUCH a different, less conventional role.
And frankly, I’m still a bit unsure about the pink rubber gloves.
For most of our relationship he has been my predictable caveman, a man who feigned not to know how to use the oven, and consistently used the ‘but you do it so much better’ excuse whenever I asked him to do anything domestic.
I thought he’d carry on the cleaning strategy I had cultivated – on a needs-must basis, or in other words, when people are coming around. I thought he’d pick up on my specialty of the ‘superficial’ clean, perhaps tweak it in places, but still run with it.
None of the family are super house-proud. We’re not pigs, but we put ‘living’ over cleanliness and lifestyle over the tedium of cleaning the grime from the microwave and the brown ring around the bath.
Not the old man, it seems.
He interrupts me when I’m Facebooking working to discuss the benefits of the cordless vacuum and eco-friendly cleaning products. He has moved everything around in the kitchen cupboards, so no-one can find anything. One minute you can be having a conversation with him about the benefits of vinegar over bleach down the toilet, and the next moment he’s lost concentration as his sensors pick up a spot on the carpet. Quick as a flash he’s back with the Vanish.
He tries to discuss meal plans for the week with me and looks hurt when I make no contribution. I’ve never created a meal plan in my life, and surely he must know that I don’t give a shit what he cooks, as long as he cooks.
It would be sexist to say that he is no longer the man I married, but something has changed…
Which is strange because I always yearned for a ‘new’, domesticated man, yet the nightmares I keep having of him in a pinny are perplexing. I’m a feminist, I believe in equality, so why does my man going against the traditional stereotype unsettle me so much?
He has become best buddies with the concierge in our building and I catch them giggling in the lift like schoolgirls as they discuss the latest glass-cleaning products and recycling ideas. Next thing I know, they’ll be opening the wine at five o’clock.
Where once my husband would begin conversations with ‘In this meeting today…’, most of his conversation these days start with ‘when I was in Aldi…’, and he bores the pants off me about the price of milk.
Was I really this insular and dull when I was the doing the housework?