Thursday, December 10, 2009
Men at Work
Q: I get the “perpetual courtship” thing—treating the wife like a queen, flowers, chocolates, love notes, etc. And getting down on my knees to give her footrubs, even pedicures, can be a real turn-on. But I don’t buy into the courtship angle of doing more and more of the housework, even including dusting and ironing according to some of photos I’ve seen here. You can call it “domestic dragon-slaying” if you like, but that doesn’t make it manly.
A: Well, you certainly sound more macho than I am. And in my much younger, studlier days, the only apron I wore was a leather nail apron and as a rough-framing carpenter (or carpenter’s helper). But these days, yes, in my daily romantic service to my wife, I make the bed, fold her nightgown, iron her blouses (along with my shirts), and, yes, even dust knickknacks. I’ve even surrendered the remote (though I sometimes do my domestic chores listening to baseball, football and basketball on a headset radio).
The challenge remains, can a guy follow all the steps of wife worship, including “doing more and more the housework,” without sacrificing his masculinity and self-respect?
My answer is yes, unless he wants to be emasculated, or his wife wants him to be emasculated. Instances of this apparently abound—where men dress, or are dressed, in French maid costumes and go teetering about in high heels and makeup, feather duster in manicured hand.
But, judging by all the FLR accounts I’ve seen from husbands and wives over many years, this aspect of role reversal is definitely in a decided minority
I suggest that most wife-trained husbands perform their domestic duties in a no-frills, masculine fashion. As one of my favorite oracles, Au876, once wrote in Lady Misato's original Wife Worship Forum:
“Over the years my wife has pointed out that men are better suited for housework in a lot of different ways. Men are stronger (generally) and thus more able to move furniture so you can vacuum or sweep. Men have more upper body strength and thus are more suited to scrubbing, mopping and etc. Men are taller and can more easily reach up to clean high places… Men don't have to worry about breaking a nail or messing up nail polish while they are cleaning and are not nearly as concerned about how their hands look. She makes good points and I totally agree with her.”
Of course, Au adds that “the main reason I do all the housework is because she wants me to.”
Get the image of the hunky helpmate? One of the gurus of housework online, Jeff Campbell, seems to fit the manly matrix (oops, wrong term there!). On his website, Jeff sells a very manly looking apron, even if it doesn’t have belt loops for power equipment and a 20 oz. waffle-patterned framing hammer. “Professional cleaners dress for the job in comfortable, washable clothing designed for work,” Campbell writes. “Check out their supportive shoes and kneepads. Goggles and gloves protect against chemicals.”
And, yes, some of these henpecked, pussywhipped husbands “hoovering” the carpets and “swiffering” the linoleum are imposing dudes, well equipped for domestic dragon-slaying. Here’s a trio:
“My husband is a strong-willed man who enjoys much control and leadership in his field,” a wife brags on Lady Misato’s website. “He is 6'3" while I am barely 5'5", yet, I even dominate him physically as he does not resist my pushing and pulling on him… He is much happier and is often humming or singing around the house now.”
No. 2 sounds even more macho: “I am six feet four inches tall, I played college football, I can still bench press over 300 pounds, and I have a black belt in karate. I could kick most guys’ asses, if I were not such a loving and peaceful guy. My wife is a petite woman who weighs about one third of what I do and who is eight years younger than I. Yet, she rules my life to the maximum. She is the bossiest and most dominant female I have ever met and I am madly in love with her.”
Here’s our third tough guy: “In terms of my own manliness, I am a few months away from being a black belt in karate, I am the father of two almost grown children, own a successful business, and am in a romantic blissful relationship with a fantastic woman. I have given my Mistress Wife the reins to our relationship, not because I am a wimp, but out of a choice.”
Macho or even semi-macho, however, what about a fair division of household chores? As I wrote in Chapter 5, Pampering and Pitching In, of my book, “In today's two-income marriages, ought the woman be expected to tie on an apron the minute she parks her briefcase at the front door?... Shouldn’t the husband voluntarily turn off the Big Game du Jour and lend a hand? Of course he should. He should, in fact, let his work-weary wife log a few hours of her own in the La-Z-Boy with a magazine and a Merlot.”
There is knightly satisfaction in keeping Milady’s castle spotless, as this husband relates on Lady Misato’s site: “I do most of the housework now. I don't consider this a chore but a pleasure. I owe her so much and love her so much that I enjoy doing everything I can. I listen, respond, obey, and love every minute of it.”
He is also likely to be romantically rewarded for all his domestic drudgery, as this leading wife makes plain: “If you want to pamper a woman, do the housework for her. Do you think a woman likes to come home in the evening and do housework while her husband is watching tv and drinking beer? Having a husband who willingly does all the housework, laundry, etc., is a daily pampering. A woman loves to be pampered. Don't ever forget that.”
A CNN online article last June highlighted this issue, a familiar one in Wife-Led Marriags, in an article titled “Housework and sex: What's the connection?”
It begins: “Jen Simmons loves to watch her husband Danny tend to their two little boys, mop the floor or hang a picture. She also finds it sexy. Men do more housework than they used to, a study says, although they create more of it.” And goes on: “I am very turned on when he's doing housework," says the 36-year-old Camden, Delaware resident, a middle school teacher.”
Here are some supporting testimonials from houseworking hubbies:
“Before our FLR, we fought about housework constantly. Now I truly have learned to enjoy it. I enjoy pleasing Her. She especially loves it when I clean the toilets. It makes Her frisky. And I like a frisky Wife!”
Cautionary Note: Husbands shouldn’t expect a romantic payoff for substandard housework. As one Loving Female Authoritarian puts it, “I don't want to find panties or socks inside out or folded sloppy. Watch out if I do. I have become much more demanding as the relationship has grown.”
“It is a proven fact that most men cannot or will not clean as well as a woman,” another female head-of-house states, “but a little known fact is they can be taught!”