Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

First Person

When He Does Laundry, He's Mr. Clean Enough

March 02, 2000|JIM SHEA | HARTFORD COURANT

I do my own laundry.

For two reasons:

Because it's cheaper than buying new clothes all the time.

Because my laundry is very complex.

My wife, if she were so inclined, which she so isn't, could never do my laundry.

This is because to do a man's laundry one must understand a man's laundry.

And women can no more comprehend this aspect of the male experience than men can figure out why flowers make a better gift than cash.

Consider, for starters, the question of what even constitutes laundry.

Women tend to view laundry in only two colors: black and white. Either something is clean, or it isn't.

Men, however, deal in shades of soil, in degrees of dirty, in fila of filth.

You have your clean.

You have your kind-of-clean.

You have your clean enough.

It should come as no surprise that men do not see a strong connection between having worn and having to wash.

To the average male, before any attire is labeled unfit for human habitation, certain strict criteria must be met.

Socks, for example, must be able to stand on their own before being pulled from circulation, while underwear must attain the color, if not the consistency, of slate.

A dress shirt is not normally considered garment non grata until it has been worn, reworn and pressed into collar-only duty under a sweater.

And as for jeans, anything short of a Hells Angels initiation exempts them from soap and water for life.

Granted, there are those situations in which questions arise over the viability of a previously occupied item of clothing. At these times, men usually resort to the Whiff Test.

Essentially, the Whiff Test involves holding the questionable item up to the nose and taking two whiffs: one short, one long.

If this can be accomplished without the head jerking back violently, the eyes watering or consciousness being lost, the article still has legs.

Another thing women don't understand about male laundry is the relationships, the emotional attachments, the bonds, the special needs.

A woman could never appreciate:

The socks with the holes in the toes that were worn during that beer softball league championship season.

The frayed Bermuda shorts that go so perfectly with black shoes.

The precise pecking order of lucky jockey shorts.

And then, of course, there is Old Yeller, the pride and joy, the crown jewel, the prodigal son, the vestment of the T-shirt collection.

To the male, clothes such as these are old friends, companions that have stuck around--often literally--through good times and bad.

Women view things a bit differently. When they gaze into a pile of male-owned laundry (usually from a safe distance), they generally see only one thing:

Dust rags.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|