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Exercise 25

Problem points.

Read the passages below and say what you think of men sharing house chores with women. Give your reasons. Ask your groupmates 1) if they find it necessary to distinguish between men's and women's domestic chores;

2) if men can manage domestic chores properly; 3) if they have ever met an ideal househusband; 4) what they think of feminists.


Waiting for my wash in one of Virginia Tech's laundries, I watched a young man doing what was obviously his first load of laundry.

After finding a free sorting table, he carefully separated his clothes into three piles — lights, darks and whites. As he did so he smiled to himself, perhaps proud of remembering his mother's instructions. Then, after starting a machine and ad­ding detergent, he confidently loaded the wash tub — with all three piles.

(from «Readers Digest»)


Claudia thinks of herself as a feminist. She is sure that women should have the same rights, power and opportunities as men. A housewife, to her mind, is an unwaged worker and she just cannot put up with it. So she is trying to change her husband's daily routine making him share the house chores with her. Un­fortunately, he is not much of a househusband, unlike my hus­band who is strikingly different and is really handy.

Claudia regards my husband as the perfect model and thinks I am lucky to have such a partner. And it is true. John helps a fair amount with the household work. He is quite help­ful when we do a thorough cleaning. Taking down and putting up the curtains, tidying up, vacuuming the rooms — all this is his part, to say nothing of the man's work which he has to do from time to time. If something goes wrong — the plumbing may get clogged or start leaking or the tap may start dripping — I never call a plumber. John can mend it himself. If an electri­cal appliance — be it a mixer or a washing machine — gets out of order we never call a maintenance worker as my husband can fix anything. If our flat needs decorating it is John who pa­pers the rooms, plasters the walls and the ceiling. Once Bobby broke the window and my husband glazed it in no time. We do not need a TV repairman — John can even fix televisions. All my friends say he has a wonderful pair of hands. Last year he finished building our country house and we have quite a large lot — so my husband's spare time is used in gardening and we can always enjoy fresh vegetables. Isn't it nice? Well, my dear, dear husband — he never keeps track of what he does. We re­ally share everything with him. My son and I, we usually break things while my poor husband sets them right.

And how about Claudia's husband — a victim of feminism? Just fancy! She made a list of the house chores he is supposed to do this week. She wants him to nail the picture. Frankly speaking, I doubt he could pound a nail in let alone hang a pic­ture. Mind you, he can tell a hammer from a spoon, but Claudia wants him to paint the floor in the kitchen, and I am sure if he did the paint would peel in a week. She hopes he will cover the bathroom wall with tiles but he can't stick a thing.

You may think he is not a man. But he is. I think him very, very intelligent and generous and well-mannered. The problem is he is no match for a feminist wife. She may do her best to change him but the most he can do is take their dog for a walk. Even then, watching them it's hard to tell who's ta­king who.


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