Last week I learned something interesting.
When you feel like being sarcastic, just pick a happy person, and you will have nothing to worry about.
Either they think it is funny downright.
Or, even if they don't find it amusing, they still won't be offended because it's such a small thing, which they won't let get between them and their happy vibe.
The way I found this out:
I am friends with this semi-professional event organizer on facebook, mostly because I want to keep up to date on his events.
The guy is newly in love, which is excellent, but the other day, he posted a picture where I just couldn't stop myself from making a cheeky comment.
He had used a digital program to make a picture that looked like someone had carved words into the bark of a tree:
"X Plus Y = Love"
Now perhaps that was supposed to be camp, but with all the horrible kitsch that you see on facebook, I just wasn't sure.
So I commented:
"That's so nice, but I think it would be even better if you engrave it onto a cheese."
Only afterward, I came to second thoughts.
Maybe I DID lay it on a bit thick after all...
He has that event I wanted to go to tomorrow, what if he denies me entry?
Hm... I better go back to the post and write something apologetic.
Like I was drunk, or maybe I am in love, myself, but it's unrequited?
It took me some time to gather up the courage to return to the scene of my crime.
The Facebook post.
To my surprise, I discovered that the guy had given my comment a "laughing" smiley.
On top of that, he had replied with a witty comment.
This meant, I only needed to get dressed, and I would be good to go!
To the event.
Where this guy, as soon as he saw me, broke out into a big grin, came over and gave me a hug.
That was not the only surprise of the week, however.
When I shared my new blog post in a women-only Facebook group, I was shocked to see that my playful and cheery suggestions on how couples or flatmates can share the housework without arguing caused a minor shitstorm.
Apparently, I am naive, a bimbo, and sleeping with the enemy.
Because my story has created the impression that sometimes even men can, at the same time, be human beings too lol.
How the hell could I have made such a mistake :-D
I can explain it.
My argument was, it's not a good idea to ASSUME that the other party knows what needs to be done and then get angry at them when they don't.
Wouldn't it be better to talk about expectations beforehand instead?
And then, my suggestion was, to measure the effort every party has made, time-wise, and at the end of let's say every week, compare the scores and whoever did less in the household will owe that time to the party who did more.
Which means if I were the one who did more, for example, I could choose whether my partner has to make breakfast in bed for me so and so many times (depending on my account balance), or whether I want him to go take a hamster grooming class :-D
But what if my partner caught on to this idea and suddenly developed an ENTHUSIASM for household work?
Then, of course, I would have to bite the bullet and do whatever HE wanted me to do for so and so long in our amazingly tidy and cozy home lol.
And that can never be right, can it?
"Rewarding men for doing what they simply HAVE to do?" one woman asked.
Another reader said to me, she saw this film (In Bruges) where one character obliges the other in some minor way and then the other states:
"So what? Do you want a sweet for that now?"
And that would be precisely what I was proposing to do, rewarding men to doing nothing more than their duty, goddamit!
I find this strange.
Let's say a two-people household probably requires a minimum of 14 hours of work per week. Then that would be roughly one hour per person per day.
How is that little?
Now if a guy suggested that one hour a day of MY unpaid work is not even worth a sweet, I would do exactly three things:
1. finish the remaining alcohol in my fancy crush ice drink
2. refill the glass with tap water
3. Through the resulting concoction in said sad fucker's face :-D
And since I feel that way about MY work, I don' t see why recognizing a man's work cannot be acknowledged without being a traitor to my gender.
My guess is, those readers somehow only took in half of what I was saying. They didn't seem to see the part where I said that if the woman does more work, than she will receive the time credit, to be used as she fancies.
And if you take away that side of the equation, then all that remains is indeed the idea that women have to thank men for doing housework; however, that is NOT what I have been saying.
But why did some of the female readers READ it that way, then?
Here I can only guess:
Could it be that they have already been in relationships where they were doing more than their fair share of the housework for a long time?
And could they feel perhaps that their man already owes them not a couple of hours of work from the last week, but THOUSANDS of hours from over the years?
Then they might just feel that there is no way their partner can pay them back in an amicable, fun way.
They would need to write all the frustrations and disappointments off as a bad debt, and who knows, maybe not only in the field of housework but in other areas as well.
To be able to do some kind of a reset and start from zero again.
But that is easier said than done.
I have been there. I have been in relationships where there was so much broken glass flying around.
I was not gonna let go of my justified claims.
If the other person wanted to make this work again, they would have to crawl.
On their belly!
In the dust. Tearfully begging forgiveness and THEN pay the reparation I would define as adequate.
Which is the very reason why I got thinking, wouldn't it be better to raise issues while they are small?
Sometimes it feels ridiculous, sometimes it feels miserly, and occasionally musing about it can even expose you to the contempt of people who are suffering because they have failed to adopt this strategy early on.
But there is one advantage to raising issues while they are small:
there is always the chance that you can find a satisfying solution.