Sunday, October 07, 2007
Males Everywhere Need Help
However, perhaps the biggest difference between the two is the rather prominent reddish spot on the blue towel. Though this towel is more expensive, and made of a fabric that appears more luxurious, the white one has no odd-shaped spots of any color marring it. The light blue towel is not without company in this regard, however: there's an older pair of white socks that I, somewhat fortuitously, never use for anything but exercise, as they have little black blotches on them.
Rounding out this tarnished trilogy (or befouled foursome, should you count the socks as two objects), is one of my three pairs of khaki shorts, which also bears evidence of the dark spots. I know the origin of each of these defacements: each one I discovered after pulling them out of the washing machine. Each time, I have found the offending source in the pocket of my pants or one of my shirts.
My reaction to such events used to be one of anger, or of self-loathing. Now, I simply shake my head and say: "Well, guess I need a new pen."
Before you make judgments, consider this: At the end of a day's work, clothes are regularly tossed into laundry hampers, perhaps directly into washing machines. Not all of us have the same concerns; not all of us have the same work schedules. Also, not all of us are male.
Some people are in more of a hurry when they toss their clothes into objects of clothing containment, and some are more distracted. Furthermore, some are afflicted by the unhelpful genetic shortcomings known in the world of biological science as Y-chromosomes. There was a time when I would excoriate myself when I stuck an uncapped pen in a shirt pocket and added an unsophisticated splotch of ink to its pattern.
These days, for all of the reasons I just mentioned, I've simply come to accept it. Like flat tires, blizzards, and Britney Spears, there are some things in this world that aren't going away no matter how we might wish. Likewise, as one of today's mobile professionals who needs to diversify his interests in order to stay competitive in the global marketplace, I have a lot of things on my plate.
Having a lot of tasks on one's plate often leads to having a lot of thoughts on one's mind, and if that mind happens to be male, accidents will happen, especially in the realm of decorum. Since I began my teaching career in Korea a little more than two years ago, I have had my share of incidents where I came to school and was approached by someone, possibly a student, maybe another teacher, who felt compelled to cup their hand to my ear and whisper the following declaration: "Uh ... (clears throat) ... zipper."
The best reaction to this situation, I believe, is to simply look down, pause thoughtfully and say, "Indeed," before taking corrective measures. One may lament their state of thoughtlessness, but this is pointless and only adds to life's difficulties.
By contrast, fewer things in life are more liberating than the knowledge that, yes, I am a male, and there's nothing I can do about it. Nothing, that is, except live with one's mother forever, or get married, thus outsourcing the task to someone more capable.
The first option is probably the easiest, and I certainly know males who've tried it. The inherent shortcoming of this strategy is that mothers are, generally speaking, older that the males they sire. Therefore, unless your diet consists of little more than Skittles, Seven Up and cigarettes, your mother won't always be there to do your laundry and to dress you appropriately.
The second of the two options is one I've given a lot of thought to and plan to explore later. I've long harbored a theory, but never stated it out loud, mainly because I wasn't sure which gender would hate me more for espousing it.
The theory states that males aren't usually given charge of household tasks, not because of any longstanding prejudices, but because they aren't the best ones for the job. We're all gender roles reversed over the course of a generation, nearly all business/governmental functions would operate at the same plateau of competence (I mean, how much worse could they get?).
However, all manner of table wear across the globe would be covered with little spots of moisture and dish soap, and nearly everyone would have to wear black to work everyday to conceal the ink stains on their dress shirts.
Women of the world, is this what you want? Of course, there are some unsavory males out there who consider doing the laundry beneath them, but most of us have had our own apartments, and had our share of experiences washing the dishes ourselves.
No one would like to shake off these stereotypes more than me, but I need your help.
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