Monday, November 11, 2019

Scenes from a Modern Relationship

This will lighten up your day. It’s a scene from an egalitarian relationship. You know the kind. The male member of the relationship is so “woke” that he naturally does more than his fair share of the housework. You might wonder how his extensive experience with chopping vegetables impacts his career, but the letter writer, who dubs herself “Bothered” does not seem to register the point.

In the past, before the great cultural revolution, a home was a woman’s domain. Now that chores are divided, it is no longer a woman’s domain. This has discommoded more than a few women. They cannot admit it because they are living the situation that they imperiously imposed on their men. So, they suffer and they complain. Alas and is not a good sign.

Anyway, Bothered sent this missive to Carolyn Hax:

I've recently moved in with my boyfriend, and a habit of his is really starting to bother me. He can't seem to understand that when I make a request, it's not a demand that he drop everything and do that thing immediately.

Let's say he's slicing vegetables. If I ask him to pass me a spoon, he'll get annoyed because I'm asking him to do two things at once. I'm not, I just want the spoon when he's done. I've even taken to tacking "when you're done" onto every request, but he still immediately responds, "Can't you see I'm busy?" It also happens if I mention something that needs to be done at some point (and not necessarily by him!). For example, I said I thought the front walk would need to be salted before we left for work. Cue snippy comment about how he'll rush right out and do it in the dark.

When I explain, he seems to understand, but the next day he'll go right back to doing this. What really worries me is that his dad is like this, only much worse. He's a hothead, always angrily accusing his wife of nagging him, asking the impossible, etc. and he'll ignore everything because "I can't do 50 things at once." Is this the way my boyfriend is going to end up? Is there anything I can do?

I will spare you Hax’s commentary, which is echoed in most of the anonymous addenda. They all tell Bothered that she should ditch the boyfriend and find a more compliant male partner… or some such.

As for what Bothered can do… she can stop trying to tell her boyfriend how to run a home. She wanted him to do it. She abrogated her own responsibilities for homemaking. So, she should leave well enough alone. Or she should start chopping the vegetables herself. And she should tell him that she no longer wants him to be a house husband. 

She should know what many other women have discovered, to their considerable chagrin.You can force a man to do housework and you can force him to care for an infant, but his heart will not be in it. He will not know how to do it. He will lack the sufficient skills to do the job properly… that is, the way she wants him to do it. It is so common that you would think that intelligent women would have figured it out. They have not. 

Naturally, the ever demure Bothered offers a picture of herself as making requests. And she offers some totally anodyne requests, the kinds that no sensible soul would refuse. A woke male would in fact stop everything he is doing in order to pass the salt.

We suspect that she is lying. Or better, that she is presenting the most banal requests in order to disguise her know-it-all hectoring, her barking of orders, her generalized dissatisfaction with his household performance.

So, we are reluctantly inclined to agree with all the commentators… namely that she should end the relationship. She would be doing her boyfriend a very large favor. In truth, his behavior suggests that he wants her to pull the plug and put an end to their misery.


David Foster said...

It's not just housework: if you delegate a task to someone, they are not going to do it exactly the way you would do it. The programmer won't write the same code you would have for the problem. The salesman won't approach the customer the same way you would have. And so on. Lots of managers fail, or are limited in their achievements, because they can't accept this.

Same in personal life.

Deana said...

The boyfriend’s behavior is bizarre. There could be many reasons he doesn’t want to be in the relationship. Perhaps she is lying. Perhaps she barks orders but it is also possible that he is lazy, resentful or just odd. When my husband asks me to help him do work outside it would never occur to me to speak to him like that. He doesn’t speak to me like that when he helps around the house.

Regardless this does not seem like a relationship that is going to end well. Perhaps they both need to reconsider.

Sam L. said...

A Question: When chopping vegetables, or slicing meat, is he blocking the drawer with the spoons? Is there another place to chop? And, does SHE need the spoon "right now", which it seems she doesn't, so why not wait until the chopping is done to ask for a spoon?

It sounds like this guy is channeling his dad's behavior, in which case they should split.

Anonymous said...

Another modern relationship ends with feelings hurt.

n.n said...

The progressive value of a mother, a homemaker, of a feminine female as feminine and female and misaligned, disoriented priorities. And depraved diversity (i.e. color) allegations of men's character and motives. What could possible go wrong.