February 11, 2010

The Chores We Abhor

I just shaved under my arms.

I know, I know, your finger is on the button, ready to switch to another, more scintillating blog. But hear me out. There is a point to this story.I hate shaving under my arms. Passionately. And yet I quite enjoy shaving my legs. Why is this? Same tool, same task, just different areas of the body. So why would I detest one and not the other?

It's strange the way some chores make me crazed with murderous loathing, whilst others don't bother me at all. For example, why do I despise putting makeup on my face? Of course, I do put makeup on it - when you're 174 years old, as I am, it's virtually compulsory. But the supreme monotony of donning of eyeliner and concealer and lipgloss, day after day after endless day, makes me want to stick a mascara up my nose, just to break the painful routine. And, occasionally, I do.

Still, other aspects of my personal grooming don't bother me at all. Attending to my pores, for example, is a source of radiant delight. Nose pore are one of my most satisfying treats; in fact, any form of blackhead removal rates up there in the pleasure stakes alongside sleeping and watching The Mentalist. I believe I could spend a whole weekend in a well-lit bathroom, with nothing but a packet of pore strips and a jar of Nutella to sustain me. (In fact, the Nutella no doubt contributes to the clogging of pores, in a favourable, symbiotic relationship.)

In housework, I am equally inconsistent. I like to clean, but hate to tidy. Put a bottle of Windex in my hand and I'll contentedly polish windows for hours. But show me a messy room, and I will slam the door behind it and go rushing to squeeze my pores.

Loading the washing machine is excellent fun, but sorting the clothes afterwards is hell. And washing plates is pleasant enough, but washing glasses is so hideously nightmarish I often use disposable glasses when entertaining.

Still, easily the most repugnant chore for me is the loading of my pill container, which I am supposed to do weekly, placing each vitamin and supplement into its daily slot. And yet - though my friend Leah says she loves nothing more than to pop all of her little pills into their little homes - I will studiously avoid this job for days at a time. As a result, I inevitably forget whether I've taken my pills or not, putting myself at risk of being hugely deficient, or overdosing on various substances.

So clearly there are no universally bad tasks. One woman will adore the chore another abhors. But why do some jobs aggravate us so much?

And does anyone like cleaning the toilet???

44 comments:

  1. Oh, my goodness...I hear you on SO much of this!

    For me, it's most definitely the ironing. I hate it. I put it off at every given opportunity. I'd take a photo and show you my current ironing pile, but it's far too embarrassing. Put it this way, there is stuff in there that we wore to our holiday in Vanuatu, that I didn't bother to iron, because it was COLD here when we returned, and it went in to the "low priority" section of the pile: being the bottom of the basket.

    It is still there. And we went to Vanuatu in April 2009.

    No wonder I'm having an issue finding t-shirts at the moment.

    Point made.

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  2. Well, since I'm the black, American version of you, I can relate to this post in its entirety!!

    For example: My bedroom is trashed. But the bed ALWAYS has to be made. And nothing can exist on the floor around the bed. EVER. But there's probably a homeless man living in our bedroom closet, and I wouldn't know it.

    Toilet cleaning...3 men and only 2 girls in the house means the toilet is cleaned every day. By me (grr...)And I will wash clothes all day long like a mofo, but we have an infinite number of baskets accumulating in the laundry room full of clean clothes because no one feels like folding and placing on hangers. My 4 year old goes to the basket to get her school uniform in the mornings.

    I can go on for the next couple of days...

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  3. Geez you look good for 174!!
    And the image of you with the mascara wand up your nose will make me giggle every time I put mine on now!

    I quite like to tidy but hate to clean. I'll do yours if you do mine.

    No! Of course no one likes cleaning the toilet!!!

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  4. Clearly, you need to get your under arms waxed. Problem solved...next!

    But seriously, I completely understand this strange ambivalence to seemingly related tasks. Actually, I was thinking that together we could be a powerhouse of mothering - I'll tidy, you clean, you load the laundry, I'll fold, you chop the food, I will cook it. But then I realized that I, too, have an obsession with pinching my pores (thereby making them larger which really defeats the purpose, but whatever). So my idea about us being some strange Wonder Twin superheroes of mothering, etc wouldn't work out afterall. Oh well.

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  5. I will happily clean the toilet because it puts off having to vacuum. I hate vacuuming with a passion.
    And putting things away. Clothes, dishes etc. I would wash them again rather than put them away.

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  6. I'm a weird mish-mosh of contradictions myself...I love loading the dishwasher, but I REFUSE (just ask my husband) to unload the dishwasher. I'd rather scratch out my own eyeballs than do that one task. Thankfully, my husband completely understands and is totally supportive of my disdain, even if it means he has to do it when he gets home from work. :o

    Laundry...love it...every aspect of it. The washing, folding, putting away. I have no idea why, either! :)

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  7. Unpacking the shopping - YUCK
    Cleaning the toilet - VOMIT
    Cleansing my face - TIME-WASTING
    Shaving anywhere - BORING
    Brushing my hair - NOPE
    Folding the washing - STUPID
    Picking up the prunings - CAN'T
    Removing used toilet rolls tubes - YAWN
    Vacuuming - SHUDDER
    Showering - MEH
    Cleaning the fridge - FAINT

    I COULD go on and on and on being the slothful, lazy cow that I am!

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  8. Verily, I love bringing order unto chaos. I love to clean the toilet, I love to vaccuum until I can see those nice symmetrical lines in the carpet, I have my husband's dinner plate in the dishwasher lo, the minute he is finished with it. (Actually, often before, but don't listen to him- that's just being efficient.)
    Unfortunately, all this means that I can't actually stand letting my children and husband into the house, in case they accidentally sully it- but they're fine with the porch. Really.

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  9. Chores? Household chores? Do what we do. We don't invite people in, so no one will know how grotty our house is. Problem fixed. If we even notice dust, we just ignore it, or pretend it's just a natural result of never actually doing stuff.......

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  10. You have a pill container? With little holes for the days of the week?

    Geez, I thought only people who were 174 years old did that!

    Oh.

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  11. Oh and P.S. for those of us that detest the time wasting exercise that is cleaning/dusting/vacuuming, here is one of my ALL TIME FAVOURITE quotes from that delectable human being, Quentin Crisp
    "A house is not a home until you can write I love you in the dust"
    Indeed!

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  12. I hated housework when I did it. Then I met my other half and he gets hungry an hour before I do, he gets bothered by dust and mess before I do and thanks to the Royal Australian Navy he irons like a champion. I have been sacked from grocery shopping (after the "we spent $250 and have nothing to eat" incident). Now housework doesn't bother me at all :)

    (but work ... well that's another story)

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  13. Maybe this calls for some kind of skills sharing/swapping exchange system? I can see it working when it comes to household tasks, like, I'll clean your toilet, you do my laundry, that kind of thing. But it starts getting icky when we move onto personal grooming....

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  14. Oh yes, can relate to all of this SO much - in particular the pill thing...scintilating commentor I am at the moment - sorry - was great read.

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  15. I used to actually enjoy cleaning. Until I had a toddler running around messing everything up again straight away. Now it doesn't get done nearly as often as it should.

    Ah well.

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  16. Okay I may be strange but the only thing i focused on in that blog was that you use disposable glasses when entertaining ??? WTH?
    :-)

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  17. hmmmm this is why i tried that laser thing... unforunately i have very fair hair, so there are still strays i must epilady away.... but i hate it so much that sometimes they get quite long.

    but being so fair, i imagine i am getting away with it until i lift my arms over my head and am backlit and realise all those stares are not cool.

    sigh. reminds me i need to go shave now. it's been a while.

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  18. Dear Kerri. I'd much rather tidy than clean. However, I don't mind cleaning the toilet - that's usually my one concession to my non house cleaning stance (that's what I call it to disguise the fact that I am, in fact, just very lazy).

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  19. I love cleaning

    I love creating order from chaos. I like to wash dishes and clean mess. If there are ever buttons to sort I am in my element(although I must admit this little chore does not come up very often)

    My husband has stopped me going for therapy for this OCD, he is very happy with this clean home.

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  20. I hate cleaning the toilet, but luckily, my husband doesn't mind doing it. :) I like organizing, and don't mind cleaning too much, but I absolutely hate yard work. Of course, having an allergy to grass may have something to do with that. Soin our house there is a compromise, I do all of the laundry and the hubby does all of the yard work!

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  21. You totaly rock !
    Your life makes mine look ,
    well let's not get into that

    Kay Kelly.

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  22. I hate shaving. End of story. Ahaha... I especially hate shaving my legs. My armpits however, I can't stand having unshaved (even though I hate it!)

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  23. I loathe vacuuming - I drag the vacuum around the house, swearing at it whilst stomping my feet and putting dents in the walls and furniture and invariably sucking the blind cords up into the nozzle and then having to spend at least half an hour getting them out which of course means more swearing and maybe a bit of throwing. I honestly can not believe how furious it makes me.

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  24. Kerri, you need to get IPL. It was the best $400 I even spent since I don't have armpit hairs anymore!

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  25. Ask Leah to put your pills in the box every week! As for the rest...meh! It will all just get dirty again, why sweat it!

    Michelle

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  26. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would spend such a large portion of time cleaning the toilet. But being the only female in a house of 4 boys, I have no choice. Despite being equipped with anatomy that allows one to direct the flow, this seemingly simple task is apparently not so simple. And so I do it every day, at least once. Now I am obsessed. There is a sense of pride - it sparkles and shines, and smells pure, clean, fresh...so try as they might, they cannot beat me, they cannot take me down. My toilet will always look like a million dollars.

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  27. Oh my goodness, I feel you. I hate to shave, period, it is SO boring, and there's not even anything else interesting in the shower to amuse me while I do it. But I have to, because I don't want to be hairy.

    This is one of life's greatest unspoken struggles, I feel.

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  28. Little Girl From East St KildaFebruary 13, 2010 at 11:59 PM

    I love to tidy a clean house and I love to clean a tidy house. And the best of all is to tidy and clean a tidy and clean house. Problem is with the process of getting a dirty house clean or an untidy house tidy. So I'm in nowhere land! Also I don't mind making a mess but I hate seeing my mess. What to do!!

    Hate taking off my make-up and washing my face at the end of the day but don't mind washing my face and putting on make up at the beginning of the day.

    And can only get chores done if I have a dead-line.

    And if I am asked to help someone in my family then I do it in a flash and it bothers me not at all!!!

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  29. Little Girl From East St KIldaFebruary 14, 2010 at 12:07 AM

    Oh and also I believe there is a 'chore gene.' I swear I know prople who have it. They just love, love, love doing chores and are really good at them and they still manage to have a life and are busy and organised!!!

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  30. Oh thank crap I am not alone. I have an inexplicable hatred of floors. Vacuuming them, mopping them, sweeping them, whatever. Can't stand it. Make husband do it. And the dishes - the monotony - the more I clean and put away - the more there are there, just staring at me, like a sullen ungrateful child. And to add insult to injury it hardly seems an apt reward for cooking a meal that all I end up with is MORE dishes.

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  31. What is this "cleaning the toilet" about which you speak?

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  32. And if only we had a partner that loved doing all the things we hate.

    Ironing is never done in this house.

    I will happily scrub an oven, but hate putting laundry away.

    I think we need a cleaner. x

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  33. The Mentalist and pore strips - you are totally my kinda girl.

    My official hate is tidying the office. I'd even rather clean a toilet!!
    :-)
    BB

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  34. Dusting!, please poke me in the eyes instead! love ooxx

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  35. Cleaning a toilet? No worries - it's quick and easy. Cooking or grocery shopping? Love it.

    On the other hand...Washing up? Boring. Ironing? Heard of it, but can't remember what it is. Tidying a house? Just gets messy again in two seconds. My grandmother used to say "a properly tidy house is the sign of a wasted life". Wise woman!

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  36. Little Girl From East St KildaFebruary 17, 2010 at 2:37 AM

    Can't leave this cleaning thing alone .......... My sister and I nearly stopped being sisters when we rented a house for a couple of weeks one summer many years ago, when our children were young ............She let the kids walk through the door with sandy sandals and sandy feet and sandy towels. I wanted said children to de-sand at the door. In the kitchen she slopped water from one end of the kitchen to the other. I (on the other hand) wiped my hands before I moved around the kitchen. She let the kids play with the toys belonging to the owners of the house, even though owners had specifically asked that they not be touched and had been put away. She said she didn't care, because owners of the house were not nice people and she didn't like them and they wouldn't know anyway. I (on the other hand) refused to let the kids play with said toys (even though I didn't like owners of the house either). But here's the thing ........ I'm not that tidy and I don't really like doing chores, but next to my sister, as the holiday progressed, I became positively obsessive, as I watched her slop water, sand-up the house, scatter clothes and toy-up every room. I swear I wanted to slap her. (I didn't because I love my sister.) And I swear she took delight in all the sanding and slopping and toying!! So is tidiness relative? Relative to your relatives? Relative to who you live with? By the way our children had a great time on their holiday, even though they thought their respective mothers were quite insane.

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  37. No I hate cleaning the toilet but I have to do it, it's my job!

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  38. It is easier to do the chore that doesn't need to be done, than the chore that needs to be done.

    It is easier to clean, or do a chore, when you are meant to be studying for exams.

    Procrastination is the very bossy friend of the needy chore.

    Doing chores ahead of time is like finding gold in the street. Wonderful but doesn't happen.

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  39. Little Girl From East St KildaApril 21, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    Can't leave this cleaning thing alone .......... My sister and I nearly stopped being sisters when we rented a house for a couple of weeks one summer many years ago, when our children were young ............She let the kids walk through the door with sandy sandals and sandy feet and sandy towels. I wanted said children to de-sand at the door. In the kitchen she slopped water from one end of the kitchen to the other. I (on the other hand) wiped my hands before I moved around the kitchen. She let the kids play with the toys belonging to the owners of the house, even though owners had specifically asked that they not be touched and had been put away. She said she didn't care, because owners of the house were not nice people and she didn't like them and they wouldn't know anyway. I (on the other hand) refused to let the kids play with said toys (even though I didn't like owners of the house either). But here's the thing ........ I'm not that tidy and I don't really like doing chores, but next to my sister, as the holiday progressed, I became positively obsessive, as I watched her slop water, sand-up the house, scatter clothes and toy-up every room. I swear I wanted to slap her. (I didn't because I love my sister.) And I swear she took delight in all the sanding and slopping and toying!! So is tidiness relative? Relative to your relatives? Relative to who you live with? By the way our children had a great time on their holiday, even though they thought their respective mothers were quite insane.

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  40. No I hate cleaning the toilet but I have to do it, it's my job!

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  41. Oh my goodness, I feel you. I hate to shave, period, it is SO boring, and there's not even anything else interesting in the shower to amuse me while I do it. But I have to, because I don't want to be hairy.

    This is one of life's greatest unspoken struggles, I feel.

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  42. hmmmm this is why i tried that laser thing... unforunately i have very fair hair, so there are still strays i must epilady away.... but i hate it so much that sometimes they get quite long.

    but being so fair, i imagine i am getting away with it until i lift my arms over my head and am backlit and realise all those stares are not cool.

    sigh. reminds me i need to go shave now. it's been a while.

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  43. Maybe this calls for some kind of skills sharing/swapping exchange system? I can see it working when it comes to household tasks, like, I'll clean your toilet, you do my laundry, that kind of thing. But it starts getting icky when we move onto personal grooming....

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  44. I'm a weird mish-mosh of contradictions myself...I love loading the dishwasher, but I REFUSE (just ask my husband) to unload the dishwasher. I'd rather scratch out my own eyeballs than do that one task. Thankfully, my husband completely understands and is totally supportive of my disdain, even if it means he has to do it when he gets home from work. :o

    Laundry...love it...every aspect of it. The washing, folding, putting away. I have no idea why, either! :)

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