I am a married, college-degreed male. I do the bulk of the dishes in our household. I was on the brink of despair in regards to this chore when I discovered that the soap dispensers my wife had glued above the sink were the perfect distance apart to accommodate our tablet. As dishes are a mostly mindless task, with little chance of losing a fingertip (unlike with meal prep), I discovered that visual, streaming media was the perfect accompaniment to the previously odious burden. Now, I have no problem washing piles of dishes if it can help me catch up on Oscar nominees and some of the best HBO dramas ever produced.
Mount Prospect, Ill.
Nice article about dishwashing and having couples share the work. However, you fail to mention that there might be one party so obsessed with the process and procedure of doing the dishes that such sharing becomes, itself, a source of stress.
For example, does the cutlery have to all be oriented in the same direction? Or does it really matter since the water is cleaning everything anyway? How about bowls: Can they go in the top drawer with the dishes, where they actually fit nicely? Or do bowls need to go on the bottom drawer with the other larger plates? What about pre-washing? If the pre-washing is so thorough that the item is essentially already clean, then why bother using a dishwasher? Instead, just “pre-wash” the item, dry it, and put it away!
I like the concept of sharing the duties, but I am not completely sold on sharing the duties, “together”!
I have washed dishes, dried them, and occasionally been allowed to put them away. I am now 80. I grew up in Chicago, lived in New York and Toronto, and after my divorce lived in the UK. There I learned to iron, and I love to do that. My wife loves when I do it also.
I now find that washing “toughies” is what I enjoy. For example, big glass pitchers, ordinary frying pans, and sharp knives. These are items that I believe don’t belong in a dishwasher.
Walla Walla, Wash.
Women have been working outside the home in droves for over 25 years, yet they’ve been expected to handle the majority of household chores in addition to their regular jobs. Of course there’s resentment; it’s not about the dishes, it’s about keeping the patriarchy intact by devaluing women’s work inside and outside the home. It’s about exhausting and overwhelming women with responsibilities to drive home the notion patriarchy is still alive … and strong.
My guess is divorce rates are highly correlated to couples where women are expected to do it all—not just dishes!
The old patriarchy is dying but not “going gently into that good night,”—it’s raging against the end of male dominance.
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Your article on doing dishes has me shaking my head. Who waits till mold has time to form on the dish before washing it?