I've been thinking about this a lot lately. About the invisible extra work that women do in their relationships with men. This is on top of all the invisible work we do to keep men from harming us. It's the little everyday things that baffle us, and some of us will brush it off as "oh that's just how men are haha," but it's not. It's socialization, my friends, and it doesn't have to be this way. And you can brush it off all you like but I know every single one of you fucking hates it.
The Invisible Workload That Drags Women Down
“I am the person,” wrote Ellen Seidman, a wife and mother of three, “who notices we are running out of toilet paper.”
It was the beginning of a poem she wrote for her blog, Love That Max, about a role she plays in her household – that of worrier, organizer, rememberer, and attention-payer. The poem was about the work she does involving thinking, a kind of mental labor that, she says, “enables our family to basically exist.”
“I am the person who notices,” she writes.
Apparently this poem wasn't written to be a complaint, which baffles me even more. Why can't men keep track of the fucking toilet paper? Why do they seem to have the exact amount of situational awareness as little children? It continues to floor me, even though I know the answer. It's because women are taught to be the people who notice, and men are taught that women will take care of it so they don't have to ever pay attention to such things.
It's so bad that men literally can't even take care of themselves properly. "Bachelor pads," living spaces without women, are known to be horrid swamps of unwashed clothes and moldy food and a smell that can get so bad, it has to be a health and safety issue. And yes, some men are actually quite clean. But if they're clean, they lack some other basic skill. They can't cook, like, at all. They can't even figure out how to throw a chicken breast from the deli counter into an oven with some seasoning on it and fry up some rice. Even in the age of the Internet, where every recipe for every possible food dish in the known universe is online, they still can't and don't cook.
Or they don't know how to iron. Or they don't know how to do the laundry, despite it having become the world's simplest chore.
I have a messy male partner, and we live together. And it's amazing how he can just go through his life oblivious to things becoming gross. He'll clean the bathroom when asked, but he doesn't notice when the sink turns from the normal white to a nasty yellow. And when he does clean, he misses things that are so obviously dirty, and generally does a half-assed job. I'm also a pretty messy person, but interestingly, when I clean, shit gets cleaned thoroughly.
I know this just sounds like I'm complaining about my boyfriend, but I'm actually complaining about the way men are socialized to be terrible at cleaning and other basic-level maintenance. And yes, I am always the one to notice when we're running out of toilet paper. We switch off on buying it, but I have to tell him to buy it when it's his turn. He never has to tell me.
And it's the same with the laundry detergent. And the dishwasher soap. And the regular dish soap. And sponges. And so on and so forth until I wonder how it is that more men living without women aren't just found dead in their apartments.
It is intensely annoying and more annoying that we always have to be the ones to bring this up to men, who almost never fail to not get it. So if you're a man, and you're reading this, and you don't suck, please pay attention to this. If you're living with a woman, please start keeping track of the toilet paper and other household items that run out. Start buying that shit ahead of time without being asked. But first ask the woman which kind you should buy because you probably don't know.
Stop being little babies that rely on women for a basic functioning household. It's creepy. You don't want to be fucking your mom, do you? Then become adults. Please.