There was an e-mail circulating awhile back that went like this: Mom and Dad were watching TV when Mom said, ?I?m tired, and it?s getting late. I think I?ll go to bed.? She went to the kitchen to make sandwiches for the next day?s lunches, rinsed out the popcorn bowls, took meat out of the freezer for supper the following evening, checked the cereal box levels, filled the sugar container, put spoons and bowls on the table and started the coffee pot for brewing the next morning. She then put some wet clothes into the dryer, put a load of clothes into the wash, ironed a shirt and secured a loose button. She picked up the newspapers strewn on the floor, picked up the game pieces left on the table and put the telephone book back into the drawer. She watered the plants, emptied a wastebasket and hung up a towel to dry. She yawned and stretched and headed for the bedroom. She stopped by the desk and wrote a note to the teacher, counted out some cash for the field trip, and pulled a textbook out from hiding under the chair. She signed a birthday card for a friend, addressed and stamped the envelope and wrote a quick list for the grocery store. She put both near her purse. Hubby called out, ?I thought you were going to bed.?
?I am,? she said. She put some water into the dog?s dish and put the cat outside, then made sure the doors were locked. She looked in on each of the kids and turned out a bedside lamp, hung up a shirt, threw some dirty socks in the hamper, and had a brief conversation with the one up still doing homework. In her own room, she set the alarm, laid out clothing for the next day and straightened up the shoe rack. She added three things to her list of things to do for tomorrow. Mom then washed her face, put on moisturizer, brushed and flossed her teeth and trimmed her nails. About that time, Dad turned off the TV and announced to no one in particular ?I?m going to bed.? And he did.
If you didn?t experience so much as a drop of recognition while reading that, then women truly have come a long way in the last 50 years. Dishes and laundry are no longer considered ?women?s work? and men are now expected to pitch in around the house in ways that go far beyond mowing the lawn or shoveling the walk. Women are no more expected to be the keepers of the kitchen than men are expected to be the one?s making all the money. All things equal, all things shared. Keep the bras, but burn those aprons! Domestic drudgery is a thing of the past!
Yeah right. Nice theory if you can buy into it. The problem is that men and women are wired differently. A woman will enter a room and see dirty socks on the floor, a glass tipped on its side and a sticky hand print on the window. A man will enter the same room and see a comfortable couch, a nice TV and the remote control. The woman will say, ?This place is a mess!? and the man will say, ?What are you talking about? It looks great. Hey look, the game?s just starting!?
She will be infuriated that he can?t see the mess and he will be annoyed that she can?t just relax, join him on the couch and enjoy the game.
Maybe he has a point. Maybe I?m being unfair. Maybe women just need to learn how to relax. Maybe if I just sit on the couch and focus hard enough on the game, I won?t even see the socks or the cup or the dirty window. Maybe I won?t even notice that one sock is blue and the other black, or the cup had chocolate milk in it and I bet if I lined everyone up in front of the window it wouldn?t take long to figure out who made the hand print. You know what? I?m tired. And it?s getting late. I think I?ll go to bed.
Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace River country.