Reader, I met him. We went on hot dates, he moved in, we cooked dinner, sipped wine, took baths together… and then reality intruded.
Who was going to do the laundry?
I was a go-getting journalist, he was a busy lawyer and this was the 21st century, so there was no assumption of gender roles on wash day.
Well, I think he had it planned from the start. It was a defining moment in our relationship when he offered to do some washing. I thought: “Ooh, New Man, sexy.” I should have said: “For God’s sake, don’t touch my LBD.”
It was a go-anywhere dress, stylish, timeless, black and clingy, but in a nice way; short but not too short.
So, one lazy Saturday BK (Before Kids) I went out shopping with some girlfriends– proving I was still “independent” – and he chucked my best dress on a hot wash. Yes. He murdered it. He might as well have taken scissors to it and cut it to shreds. That would have been easier to bear than the teensy Exhibit A he shamefacedly laid out on the table before me on my return. It had shrunk to Barbie-sized proportions.
I may have cried. I certainly remember choking back tears. I had saved up to buy that dress– well almost, I’d actually stuck it on my credit card, but that is not the point. Our relationship was in the early stages and but I knew he was THE ONE. So I couldn’t yell or scream at him. Instead, I bit my tongue and muttered the immortal line,
“Please don’t ever do my laundry again”, as he looked at the floor and shuffled his feet in shame.
Now, 15 years and two kids later, I realise it was a clever move on his part. He has been true to his word. Did he plan it all along? Was the LBD selected for sacrifice to lay down the boundaries of our relationship on his terms in the one area which can make or break a union? And before you scoff, have you ever been in my house on a Monday morning when the school uniforms are not ready and he hasn’t got a clean, let alone ironed, shirt?
He NEVER touches the laundry, for fear of incurring my wrath. But with two growing boys, one bloke and me ( 30 degrees only, like colours only, short spin cycle and absolutely no tumble drying), it means life has become very complicated.
I live by the mantra that you can drink too much, but you can never love too much and the laundry is never done.
Some days, when the pile of washing threatens to overwhelm me– and I haven’t even begun to tell you about the ironing yet– I fantasise about my epitaph and the books that will be written about my heroic efforts with Fairy non-bio, Vanish and that funny liquid for woollens which always seems to run out when I need to wash my cashmere jumpers.
Yes, I shall be remembered as The Constant Launderer.