Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cleaning is fun! (Or how Disney screwed up women)

When I was growing up, and living at home, although we had someone who came in once a week (or every two weeks) to clean, I was expected to make my bed, keep my room clean, do my own laundry, and help out around the house (which, in my case, was an apartment).

Sleep away camp, which was supposed to be "fun" (HA!), was no different. We were expected to make our beds -- every day -- so that a quarter would bounce off the blanket; keep our clothes neatly folded in our trunks; and share in chores, which included sweeping the bunk and cleaning the bathroom. And, unlike Snow White, I didn't have any woodland friends to help me (unless you count my fellow campers, who weren't nearly as cute or as helpful as Snow White's), even though there were plenty up in Maine (where my camp was).

While others shirked their duty, I dutifully cleaned and pitched in because I'm an idiot if I didn't my bunk mates and I would suffer the consequences (ditto back at home, minus the bunk mates). But, even though I was really good at cleaning, I NEVER found it fun, nor did I find myself whistling a happy tune (and not just because I can't whistle).

Fast forward to adulthood -- and to waking up to scenes not so unlike this one from Enchanted (including the pigeons and cockroaches).

Actually watching that scene from Enchanted brings back memories of when I was first dating the spouse, and I would go over to his place and find a stack of dirty dishes lying in as well as next to his sink -- and would immediately start washing them and tidying up (without the help of rats or pigeons or insects!).

Fast forward to yesterday (Saturday) when I found myself, for the second time in about a week, on my hands and knees cleaning the wooden floor in the spouse's new home office, shining the new window, vacuuming the floor, and lint-rolling the carpet, which had just been dropped off from the cleaner, though it still looked like it was covered in cat hair. (Note: To be fair, the spouse did not ask me to do this. My Disney princess training just automatically kicked in.) And don't worry, I only did this after feeding the cats, cleaning the cat boxes, tidying up the kitchen, doing a load of laundry, going to get breakfast, and polishing shoes.

And all the while, as I wiped and polished and tidied, I kept thinking about Cinderella, and that scene (which I couldn't find) where all the cleaning is magically done for her -- and how happy that stupid Snow White seemed when she was cleaning up after those seven slovenly dwarfs, and it suddenly hit me: Disney totally screwed us women! He brainwashed us into thinking that cleaning was FUN and that a way to a man's heart wasn't just by cooking him a nice warm meal (which I also do, though the spouse cooks on the weekends) but washing his clothes and cleaning his house! OMG!!!

Fortunately (or not), my daughter, to whom I never read fairy tales to, nor had any interest in Disney princesses, has no such problem regarding cleaning. In fact, she is against it. Finds it a total waste of time and BORING. Besides, why clean when the cleaning fairy does it for you, while you are at school or asleep?

While I am (somewhat) relieved that she did not inherit my Felix Unger obsession with cleanliness, I do wish she was a little (ahem) less like Oscar Madison. (We have even offered her monetary incentives to regularly clean up, but she has turned them all down, telling us instead to donate the money to those who really need it.) Still, while she may not be cleanliest of children, unlike her mother she is almost always whistling a happy tune.

My mother (who, though in France, still reads my blog posts) reminded me that in addition to Disney, I was also very fond of Free to Be You and Me, which featured Carol Channing singing a little ditty about Housework, the lyrics of which (just click on the hyperlink) are a must read. Wish mom had emailed me this before I spent yesterday morning and this morning cleaning by myself!


Ange said...

No fun at all! Less fun when sharing the house with delinquents who follow as you clean with the sole intention of messing it all up. Maybe I'd have better luck if I bring the chickens in to help me.

Dave S. said...

Don't forget "A Spoonful of Sugar" from Mary Poppins. That the chorus and lyrics of that song have nothing to do with each other is reflective of the overall lack of editing exhibited in that overwrought, overstuffed classic.