Tuesday, January 17, 2006

flight from dishes--a domestic sketch

My boyfriend never does dishes, except for two occasions: when someone outside of his immediate family is visiting him during my absence and when he has no clean dish or cup to use (and he has a large collection of dishes and cups, I don’t know why). There is no exception to this rule. When I’m sick, he just waits for me to get well enough to do the dishes. On such unfortunate occasions, though, when he absolutely has to perform the daunting task, you’ll find him standing in front of his kitchen sink, at a loss where to start. He’ll eventually pick up a cup with a coffee ring on the bottom or a knife covered with congealed butter and start washing them reluctantly (with liberal dose of annoyed sighs), but apparently it takes an enormous will power to even touch them.

I don’t like doing dishes, but I prefer that to having a pot of fermenting water (in which some pasta was boiled a week ago, maybe) sitting on top of the stove, so I usually give in and wash the dishes, cursing myself silently for letting him have his ways yet again. He would be surfing on the Internet in the adjoining room. In a few minutes, he would sneak over to the kitchen and fondle me from behind, making noises that he believes to be guilt-ridden. “You’re too nice,” he would say. I’ve learned better than that. After all, we’ve been together for close to two years now.

One night, when his sister and I were doing dishes (surprise!) after a Thanksgiving dinner, his dish-escapism became the subject of our conversation. "Does he ever do the dishes?" she asked.

"Hmm, I'd say very rarely," I said.

She grinned knowingly. "Yeah, he tries very hard not to do it at all. Once he told me that he didn't know how to."

"That's a great excuse."

"Yeah, and I showed him, right there, how to do it. Oh, was he unhappy!"

We laughed, a laughter of kinship, consisting of a part annoyance, a part affection, and a part forgiveness.

His sister continued. “You know, Patrick is not sexist or anything. He escapes from dishes not because he believes that women are solely responsible for them. It doesn’t matter if it’s a woman or a man who does dishes for him. He’s not a sexist. He’s…” She posed for the right word.

“Just lazy,” I filled in the blank.

keywords: boyfriend, girlfriend, relationship, power, politics, domestic power politics, dish, dish washing, lazy, funny, feminism, gender


At 10:19 AM, Blogger ophelianot said...

poor boy, with such a heavy ass.


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