Tuesday 14 February 2012

Cleanliness is next to Sagacity

I'd appreciate some insights into blokes' minds, if you'd be so kind.  It's a trivial thing, but ... well, it's the thought processes that I don't quite understand.

When I came downstairs this morning, I went to the dishwasher to finish unpacking it, having removed a good deal of its clean contents last night to use straight away in the cooking and serving of dinner.  I hadn't done the whole job because preparing the meal was quite complex, I was doing something all the time and there were no odd minutes to fill with another job.  And after dinner I watched some television, read the paper, wrote some emails and a blog post.  I didn't do housework.

The dishwasher contained, among other things, two dirty dinner plates, so I thought maybe the Sage had done the unpacking.  Then I realised that the cutlery container was full.  I took it out to look and everything there was clean.  On checking, it was evident that he'd simply put in two dirty plates.  So I asked him.  He said he thought everything was dirty, so kept filling it up.

Now, it was less than half full, so it was quite understandable that he might have assumed that, except for that full cutlery rack.  It's right at the front, how could he not notice and not deduce that two plates, a dish or two and a few mugs and glasses do not equate with all that cutlery?  So that's the first puzzle.

The second puzzle is that both sinks were full of dirty crockery, cutlery and pans.  Putting in two plates was really no help at all.  So it was a completely empty gesture, if the machine had indeed contained dirty dishes I'd not even have noticed (so no brownie points there) and if he'd really wanted to help, why not do the whole lot?  Was it just to make himself feel good for the least possible effort?  I wouldn't have thought so, he's a kind man and not lazy.

As it was, of course, I was just a bit irritated at a half-arsed gesture that went awry anyway.  I emptied the dishwasher - he did come and help - and then restacked it and switched it on.  He'll probably not touch the thing for weeks now, on the grounds that he's bound to get it wrong.  Not that it matters a lot, this is really not intended as a complaint.  Just a search for an insight - I'd ask him, but he'd just worry, introspection isn't his thing.

In fact though, the Sage and I rarely irritate each other in daily life.  I was thinking about that as I squeezed the toothpaste to the top of the tube last night.  I squeeze it from the middle, you see, until it has to be put right.  The Sage is rather more likely to go from the bottom, but he isn't in the least bothered what I do.  The point is, I've as much right to squeeze from the middle or top as he has from the bottom.

Similarly, he leaves the toilet seat up.  Well, that seems fine with me.  Mostly, he uses the loo with the seat up.  If I complained about having to put it down (which I never have), he'd be just as justified in asking me to raise it again after use so that he doesn't have to.

But the number of times I've heard and read complaints about members of a family who get one or both of these things *wrong*.  There is no wrong.  Just because it's not what you do doesn't make it wrong.


savannah said...

having been the minority in our own home, (1 husband, 3 sons) my daughter and i learned a long time ago, most of the time, men don't think about why, they just do and for them, that's enough. i know, it still is a mystery to me, sugar! ;~) xoxoxoxox

Rog said...

I am king of the dishwasher in our house and do all the loading and emptying every time. Visiting mother-in-laws have to be warned from approaching it as it it my speciality. Mrs Rine does all the other little things like cooking, washing etc but now she's been away for 3 days on Grandmother duties I'm beginning to find that the dishwasher isn't quite the be-all and end-all of smooth household running that I imagined.

The toothpaste thing is fascinating. Has the Sage always preferred to be squeezed from the bottom?

Bilbo said...

The toilet seat thing bemuses me, but I think you have a sensible attitude Z.
Men do use it both up and down too so as a man the simple rule is to check it before use, which you learn to do automatically. I don't like sitting on cold porcelain any more than a woman would so I make sure it's down first. why do so many women not learn to look first?

With the dishwasher, I have no answer. I suspect that thinking didn't really come into it - we men really can multitask so long as only one task requires brain power and the other ones aren't expected to be performed properly…
Asking him what else he was doing or thinking about at the time and you'll probably find the explanation. He did it on autopilot.

Ms Scarlet said...

I'm forever changing my domestic habits... if I'm feeling sensible I will squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom, if I'm feeling rebellious, I will squeeze it from the top.
I am easy to read.

Tim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim said...

Exactly, Bilbo. We can't be expected to be Masters of the Universe and toilet seat/dishwasher managers at the same time. Don't worry your pretty little head about it, Z.
(Happy Valentine btw!)

allotmentqueen said...

It would never have occurred to him to look. I can tell all sorts of things just by looking (the most recent contents of the dirty washing bin are always a good clue) but men don't look. Well they might look, but they certainly don't see.

As for toilet seats, I gave up bothering a long time ago. There's no point getting worked up over things I can't change, as I'll be the one with the raised blood pressure.

Christopher said...

I'm sorry, I haven't recovered from yesterday's post about puddings to be able to comment in any balanced or measured way.

*burps discreetly*

In the meantime I can only observe that single-sex boarding schools leave their mark for life. Does the Sage still swing from branch to branch, queue noisily at the dining room door and tread the heels of his slippers down - or, when it comes to toothpaste, see how long a strand he can squeeze out of the window before it breaks (the toothpaste, not the window)? You have to squeeze from the end of the tube for this, of course, so you, Z, might not be up there on the leader board for this activity.

Unknown said...

I always squeeze from the bottom. It works in the pub!!

Blue Witch said...

Mr BW does exactly the same with the dishwasher, on occasions. It drives me mad, because it then all needs washing again as he puts all sorts of things in, and he has a habit of not tipping the dregs of mugs down the sink, so they then go all over the bottom tray.

He is trained, however, to put the seat down. And the lid too, if there are people around other than us. And, if I happen to be in the same room for some reason (given that we have three loos and there are only two of us, it's amazing how often that happens), to do a 'girlie wee' rather than a 'boyee' one. TMI? Sorry ;)

Z said...

I've a feeling my sons would not get away with it. I met the Sage too late, even half his lifetime hasn't changed his habits.

That's pretty damn good, Rog. If you also managed the washing machine effectively, I might have designs on you. But I've never met a man who does (or a woman who will let him actually, she has more respect for her smalls). And I can only speak of the Sage from 1973. But yes.

Exactly, Bilbo. How fussy must you be to be afraid to lower a lavatory seat? And re the dishwasher, yes, that too. But he didn't have to have anything else on his mind at the time to be on autopilot.

I'm random, Scarlet. I might do anything at any time. No wonder the Sage is so happy *ahem*

Thank you, Tim. Call my head pretty and I just smile. Happy Valentine's day to you too xxx

I guess I knew the answer as I was writing the question, AQ. I just needed corroboration.

Queue? QUEUE? The Sage resolved, on leaving school, never to queue again in his life. It's terribly embarrassing. Slippers, yes. I don't know about the toothpaste, but I hold the cherry stone spitting record in this house.

I've had my bottom squeezed in our village pub too, John. Must be a feature of the places. I realised afterwards that I should have slapped not laughed. But they don't call me Ado Annie for nothing.

Ditto to the first paragraph, BW. To the second - o...kay. The Sage is way beyond training and always has been - but I'll still say, why should *my* way be more correct than his? On the other hand, I wish he wouldn't leave the loo door open as he leaves, since it's right by the side door (that we always use). I don't honestly want the lavatory pan to be the first thing that guests see. He's totally unaware, of course.

Z said...

Correction. I hold the cherry stone spitting record in the garden. I ping grape pips in the house, but I don't spit.

SuperP. said...

On your Valentine's Day card, you need to write, "I love you no matter how you load the dishwasher. I hope you love me even when it really pisses me off."


Love to you, Z! Happy Valentine's Day! :)

Z said...

Penny, how lovely to hear from you! I hope that you and Ophelia are well. I'll pop over and see what's been going on.

He's just made me coffee, which he doesn't often do. So he's being very nice! I'll leave the computer soon and spend the rest of the evening with him.

Unknown said...

Whenever Ann is away for a few days, I tend to wash up the traditional way as I go along, rather than use the dishwasher overmuch. Most meals are followed by my washing and drying:- one plate, one mug, and one knife (i.e. cheese sandwich, possibly pickle, mug of coffee?tea). All the more serious stuff, saucepans etc. Are swilled, then placed in the dishwasher, which is switched on the morning of the day Ann is due home, so that when the cycle is complete (I think this is the technical term) I can get everything put away, so that she is greeted with a tidy kitchen, and an empty washing up machine. By the way when we first had one of these -some years ago- youngest daughter told me that the term 'washing up machine' was a little dated, the correct term now being in polite circles 'dishwasher'. So to make sure of being up to date and with it, I made the following little jingle to remind me :- Washing up machine - has been.
Dish washer - much posher.

Now for the not so polite lavatorial habits :- as Ann and I bought up four daughters and one son, we blokes were heavily outnumbered, and we both found that it required far less nervous energy (and was easier on the earholes) to get into the habit of lowering the loo seat after use. Generally speaking we both still do.

Z said...

Mike, you're pretty well perfect!

Unknown said...

Oh, just long practice, Z (shrugs modestly).

kippy said...

My fella always puts the toilet seat and lid down after flushing/use. The dishes here are handwashed and he never volunteers to wash them. Now, one of my girlfriends leaves the toilet lid up and sees nothing wrong with this. Even though I've pointed out the canines look upon an open toilet as a possible raised water source. EWWWWW!

Sir Bruin said...

I might as well add my thoughts to this:
Dishwasher - Generally a blue job, but the pink person does empty it. I have put dirty stuff into a half emptied dishwasher. It is, as was pointed out earlier, an autopilot thing.
Toothpaste - We have seperate toothpaste, so it is not an issue.
Toilets - Pink people don't leave the seat up for blue people, so why do blue people need to leave it down?
Washing machine - The one we have is the one that I had in my flat before the Smaller Bear dramatically improved her quality of life by becoming Mrs Bear. When I used it, it would wash everything on one programme. Now, apparently, colours and whites need to be seperated. It also appears that the other programmes are to be used for different items of clothing. I now have nothing to do with it - it is a pink job.

Anonymous said...

Our first dishwasher had a convenient light, which stayed lit at the end of the cycle even after you opened the door. So you could always tell if what was inside was clean or not. Newer dishwashers don't seem to have this function, so we devised a system of magnets. The children each had a magnet of their first initial, which they changed once they had taken their turn at emptying the machine and a second magnet (in our case a Canadian flag) is put onto the dishwasher should it ever be only partially unloaded. This means nothing dirty is ever added if there is still clean stuff inside.
As for the loo seat thing - I'm with Sir Bruin - I don't leave it up for my other half, so why should he leave it down for me?
What it all boils down to though, is 'don't sweat the small stuff'. Be glad of your other halves, niggles and all - the alternative is lonely...

Z said...

That reminds me of a cartoon I saw the other day, LZM - a man was sitting on the toilet and his dog walked in, looked horrified and said "What are you DOING? I drink out of that!"

I think you have it pretty well sorted, Sir B. Anon's method is impressive, but it'd never work with us, we're not that organised. I certainly agree with 'don't sweat the small stuff."

luckyzmom said...

There is much of the looking but not seeeing going on here. I really must stop asking because in the past few days I realized that he doesn't pay any attention at all. And the new realization is that it doesn't matter. His mind is going a million miles a minute thinking about MAN things. So, if he thinks I'm wearing something new when it is something I've worn often for a decade, really doesn't matter that much. You can't have it all!

And it was probably a decade ago that he put anything in the dishwasher. He has, on rare occasions emptied it though, and then I have to hunt to find where he's put things as it doesn't occur to him to ask where it should go. I have stopped saying how, after so many years in the same place, he should know where it goes or complaining outloud.

Our toothpaste squeezing methods are also different. I am a finicky bottom up person. His method is indescribable. Luckily we have different toothpaste preferences, so each have our own tubes.

The toilet seat issue was resolved early in our marriage after I sat on the cold hard china in the dark in the middle of the night, so as not to wake him with a light. Then, more recently he began to put the lid down as well when I told him that according to Feng Shui you could be flushing your fortune down the toilet if you leave the lid up. That, so to speak, bit me in the butt when I first came home from the hospital, where there were no lids on the toilets, after my hip surgery and trying to remember which leg to sit out and such........

When I'm sick he is amazing and when there is grief he is and when and when and when.......they all over shadow the negatives and I wish I had realized it a whole lot sooner.

Lady Louise said...

I am the only person in this house (contents 2) who fills or empties the dishwasher and was beginning to feel a bit aggrieved about it but having read all the above I won't even think another word ....