Thursday, October 2, 2014


i have always enjoyed serving Women and look for situations where i can do so, whether at home, at work, in a social setting, at the Boutique where i often help out, at the Women’s Center where i volunteer, or at the Woman-led congregation where i worship.

i absolutely enjoy serving Women! Women understand my feelings and accommodate me both to their – and especially my – satisfaction. And one of the keys to improving one’s service to Women is simply the desire to do a good job. my experience is that Women have always been willing to invest Their time and effort to teach me – or any man – a new domestic skill.

i am convinced that i enjoy housework today because of the good training that i had from both my Wife’s Grandmother, Joan, and Joan’s Mother, Sue. Their training not only taught me valuable domestic skills, essential to happiness in my life with Nancy, but also instilled a level of personal pride and dedication in performing those tasks. They schooled me on the finer points of many domestic tasks, of course, but one stands out and that is ironing.

i love to iron now, but when i was first told that i had to learn, i was inwardly hesitant. Ironing seemed complicated. my real fear wasn’t of doing more work – but, rather, that i would somehow fail at the task and not meet Joan’s expectations.

Confusing my hesitance with disobedience, Joan administered some “motivation” to the backs of my bare legs – Ouch! i explained my reservations to no avail. “Reservations of not,” She promised that not only would i learn to iron but that i’d have fun doing it. It was a promise that She was to keep!

Ironing lessons started immediately. As i stepped up to the ironing board, my trepidations melted! i was suddenly more than a little excited at the prospect of ironing; it was a lot like taking a seat in a sports car – i could hardly wait to start! She was right; ironing was going to be fun!

Joan taught me so many practical things:
  • The workings of the ironing board
  • The workings and settings of the iron
  • Proper ironing motion and the importance of keeping the iron moving at all times; “ironing is flowing,” She’d say, “almost like performing a ballet!”
  • How to read garment labels to ensure they were ironed on the correct setting; too low and there would be wrinkles; too high and a garment might scorch – in either of these undesirable situations there would be painful consequences for me!
  • Organizing garments from lowest to highest iron setting both to be more efficient as well as reduce the possibility of scorching more delicate fabrics
  • The importance of being organized by having enough hangers and of having the hanging rack open and near-by
  • Sprays, starches, what they did, when to use them, and the importance of reading the wearer’s instructions as to whether She wanted starch or not – a protocol for the Women was to properly label their ironing so it was done as they wished.
  • Inspect each garment to see if it needed buttons or other repairs; I was to set aside such items and tend to them; loose buttons on returned garments were not acceptable!
  • Proper hanging and folding techniques
  • Use of fragrances and sachets as a finishing touch
  • The use and importance of a garment steamer in keeping garments like Women’s business suits looking good
Joan started me out on simple things like handkerchiefs and slips and, as i improved, She moved me on to more complex pieces. Before long i was doing lace-trimmed blouses and pleated skirts – i love such challenging pieces! At first She stood over me through every step, but as my skills improved, She’d leave me at the board and come back periodically to check my progress.

She demanded perfection. Things that weren’t up to Her standards had to be done over and likely merit a little of Her painful brand of “motivation.” Do things right though and She just might – just might! – invite me to have a cigarette with Her! 
When Joan felt i was sufficiently skilled, She arranged for me to do ironing for Her Sisters and a few of Her Friends. They would bring over a basket of ironing and often stay and chat over coffee while i worked. They always involved me in their conversations, although i heeded the advice that the Women in Nancy’s family always gave men – “Shut up and listen!” i learned a lot by listening. The Women were indeed wise, and it was obvious why each of them was in charge of Her respective household.

Ironing quickly went from being a chore to being a hobby. Today i love coming home and seeing a basket or two of ironing for me to do. i don’t view it as part of my housekeeping but something to be enjoyed during my personal time.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely wonderful and inspiring. It too had an epiphany when doing the ironing for a girl friend and it was with a real feeling of accomplishment that I did a pleated skirt of hers.

I really love doing it. And it was so good to hear that you think of it as a hobby and that it is a preference for your leisure time.

I would have liked to have been physically corrected at the time of learning to do it correctly but she wisely waited till it was safer before physically correcting me.


tony said...

I am continully impressed by Dennis's teachers and the skills he has acquired. Maybe a better word would be 'inspired'. I, too, iron. My ex taught me initially. My wife now expects me to iron certain items for her, mostly work dress shirts and pants or skirts. Before being allowed to do this, my knowledge and experience was tested. She was not impressed and re-educated me on the iron settings, techniques, dangers and warnings. Then I ironed a couple of shirts in her presence; she critiqued and made some modifications in my technique. Since then I have been on my own. I have burned one shirt by having the iron set too high, but otherwise she has been pleased. Generally, I will iron the regular items that she expects after I have done the laundry without any prompting. However, on occasion she will hand me an item or two and ask me to iron them immediately. I always respectfully thank her whenever she gives me any job to do. I might add that sometimes she does iron an especially difficult piece. This pleases me as it shows she knows my limits and reminds me of them from time to time. Humble pie is good for a man's soul.

Mark Remond said...

dennis responds to tony,

our experiences are similar as far as learning and teaching is concerned. i've been doing the ironing ever since and - as i stated - really enjoy doing it. The Women expect that things will be ironed as needed; they know my skills are up to par, necessitating little oversight on their part. On occasion i will get a close inspection but it's rare that i get any critique or demerits. i suppose this is because i enjoy ironing and take great pleasure in it. My ironing is well known and i frequently do outside ironing, usually for Sue's friends. They'll be coming for a social visit with Sue and will ask Her, "Is the ironing service running today?" When Sue says, "Yes" i'm sure to have a basket to iron. i've also ironed for my Boss, Carol. Just this week we were traveling together on business. She came by my room and dropped off a skirt, jacket, and blouse to have ironed, saying She'd be back for them in an hour. She thanked me but believe me, it was my pleasure.

As for your burning a shirt this would have resulted in some dire consequences for me. Nevertheless, if you start at a low setting and work your way higher you're less likely to burn anything. Start with your delicate fabrics on low temperatures and work your way up. An iron heats more quickly than it cools, another reason to start with low temperatures.

At the Center we're thinking about offering an ironing course. The housekeeping course we periodically run includes ironing but more in depth coverage is needed. There will definitely be testing as a part of this course. Women want to be confident in their man's skills.


tony said...

Thank you, Dennis. Yes, the burned shirt caused sharp criticism as well as reminders of settings, as you mentioned, and closer inspection of my work for several days afterwards. Now I seem to be back on my own. I have not ironed for friends, however her young daughter is visiting next week for a week, so I may be 'pressed' into service. She will be moving here next Spring and I would imagine then I would be doing much more ironing.
The ironing course is a very good idea. Does the Center have cleaning courses, especially for bathrooms and kitchens? I am more criticized for my efforts in these areas, rather than other rooms. I do not think I am unique in this regard. Maybe Mark will comment on his experiences?

Anonymous said...

A blouse I was ironing inexplicably just sizzled up fizzed once. I could not explain it. Never seen anything like it in my life.

I was of course punished and no amount of my trying to explain the in explainable. I could of been trying to explain spontaneous human combustion.

I was a little pouty and recalcitrant after that and deserved the second reddening of thighs and bottom.

I now know that She was right. Even though it was not really my fault how was She to know that. All She saw was a damaged blouse.

Better to have bitten my tongue and just apologised as whether it was an act of Goddess or the wrong material in that part of the blouse I was responsible for it.