Thursday, September 20, 2012
NANCY & DENNIS: SOME THOUGHTS ON HOUSEWORK, Pt. 2
I have been asked how I learned how to sew on buttons—and became skilled in other domestic arts. I thought I’d share the answer as a separate post for the possible benefit of many husbands.
My initial instruction in the domestic arts came from Mom and my aunt. Raised in an all-female household, I was required to cook, clean, wash, iron and sew a bit; everyone had to carry their weight, and we all took turns doing the various chores that needed done to keep a household running.
Later, the women of Nancy's family took my skills to new heights. Anytime I visited I was put to work on some domestic chore. I was told what to do, how to do it, and my performance was critiqued afterward. A great way to learn!
I not only learned how to do various chores but found that I enjoyed doing them; this is especially true of ironing, but that's another story.
For those husbands or single men who are still untutored in domestic chores, let me point out that there are any number of places where one can learn sewing, knitting, crocheting, etc. Many fabric shops offer lessons on either a group- or private-lesson basis. Many community colleges have non-credit classes in “bachelor living,” which is a home economics class for men and well worth taking. Otherwise guys can look to their wives, girlfriends or mother-in-law for instruction. These women will be only too happy to provide lessons as they realize that a man’s having domestic skills ultimately benefits women.
A final comment for now: Doing household tasks crosses traditional gender lines and is a power way of reinforcing the relative roles of Women and man in a female-led relationship. Performing traditionally female leisure crafts such as knitting, needlepoint, floral displays, calligraphy, etc., are stronger statements still. What Nancy and I find interesting is that most men are reluctant to undertake such traditionally female leisure crafts early in an FLR, but, after some time in a relationship, are much more receptive as they have immersed themselves in their domestic roles.