Kind of a Bummer, that Science

 

“Studies” are modern gospel. Science! Hot peer-on-peer reviewing action! But If a study says something counter-intuitive – which, in the modern world, means “utterly intuitive to anyone who doesn’t flush their critical faculties upon encountering the phrase ‘studies say’”  – then, well, hmmm. 

The Frisky reports on a Study that says women are more likely to positively judge the fitness and desirability of a mate if they’re performing Manly Chores. Not light dusting or spice-rack rearrangement.  Dirty, sweaty, meaty, manly stuff. 

The study, “Egalitarianism, Housework and Sexual Frequency in Marriage,” found men who do so-called “traditionally female labor” like washing dishes and doing laundry got less nookie than those who do more allegedly masculine chores. Personally, I think there is nothing sexier than coming home to my man doing the dishes (AKA choreplay), and I’d venture that lots of ladies would feel the same way. Clean houses are sexy! 

That explains the popularity of “Fifty Shades of Grey” – it’s really about getting rid of dingy whites on laundry day. 

I read this with interest, because I do domestic chores. Not laundry, since I live with two females and hence contribute about 17% of the load, and besides, I fold things WRONG. Just – WRONG. But I cook 95% of the meals and keep the house squared away, because a clean house without tottering piles on the counter and accreted food-crust on the counter gives me a sense of control and accomplishment, minor as it is. Could be genetic: a guy who worked for my dad said that if there were three people in line at the bathroom at the gas station, he was the second one, cleaning it up before the next customer. To this day he’ll get out the mop and swab the deck of the station when people track in mud. Lest anyone question his manly cred, we’re talking about an 88-year old who drives a Harley and still drives his semis loaded with explosive petrochemical products. For fun. 

When it comes to Manly Fixing Time, I can do rudimentary plumbing. I leave electricity to the people who are trained to poke around without getting electrocuted. Mostly my domestic role consists of relieving my hard-working wife from any burden I can possibly lift, because I have the time, and I love her, and I am not an idiot: the easier her overloaded life is the moment she walks in the door, the happier everyone will be. 

Many couples figure this out without STUDIES to back them up. But that’s not my point. It’s this:

The study theorizes that while women may love seeing their guy vacuuming or making dinner, something may shift in their subconscious. When they see men doing “feminine” chores, the primitive part of their brains might be telling them that something isn’t quite right, and they’re less turned on. I hope that’s not the case, because the idea of us being programmed on such an primal level is kind of a bummer.

Kind of a bummer! Almost as if untold generations of experience have left an accumulate in the hard-wired human RAM. Almost as if we’ve been shaped by a process that hones lessons and judges what has worked best for survival. Almost as if the natural selection of stronger Wooly-Mammoth-Killers and most capable cave-managers hasn’t left an impression on the human animal.

Isn’t that . . . evolution? 

Isn’t denying that there’s something “programmed on such a primal level” science-denying? 

Now, I believe in evolution, so let’s not get into that. Whether it’s an amazing mindless process without any purpose other than refinement of survivability and genetic preservation, or a process sparked and tweaked by an intelligent force – another thread. Point is, we have people who are looking at STUDIES that confirm the most obvious lesson of evolution, and it’s kind of a bummer to think, like, women prefer men who can do Men Stuff.

Anyway! Never mind. Let’s get back to talking about how gender is totally a social construct. Lots of new studies on that one. 

There are 45 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Contributor
    @GaryMcVey

    Rachel Lu

    Obviously, the solution is to train your man to do the girly chores when you’re not watching, and the manly ones when you are.

    Have I mentioned that one of the joys of this site is the opportunity to pick up a little bit of crafty shrewdness from born dispensers of wisdom? 

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DavidClark
    James Lileks

    Oh, it goes back a long ways, David – in the 70s and 80s one had to be Sensitive like a SoCal soft-rock singer, or a bitter-sarcastic Sensitive anti-war healer with a Groucho complex, like Alan Alda in M*A*S*H.  · 1 hour ago

    You’re saying I can’t blame it all on David Schwimmer?

    Foxfier

    Given how much the screwed up everything else, would their definition of “men” have helped you much? · 1 hour ago

    Considering Leonardo DiCaprio’s Romeo was the gold standard at the time, it should have been  a Golden Age for prepubescent, chicken-chested lads.

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Inactive
    @profdlp

    I’m going to buy a motorcycle just so some lucky gal can see me changing the oil, then fall head over heels for me.  Soon as my cake is out of the oven, that is.  Hand me that oven mitt…err…oil filter wrench…uhh…

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @ChrisCampion
    David Clark

    James Lileks

    Oh, it goes back a long ways, David – in the 70s and 80s one had to be Sensitive like a SoCal soft-rock singer, or a bitter-sarcastic Sensitive anti-war healer with a Groucho complex, like Alan Alda in M*A*S*H.  · 1 hour ago

    You’re saying I can’t blame it all on David Schwimmer?

    Foxfier

    Given how much the screwed up everything else, would their definition of “men” have helped you much? · 1 hour ago

    Considering Leonardo DiCaprio’s Romeo was the gold standard at the time, it should have been  a Golden Age for prepubescent, chicken-chested lads. · 1 hour ago

    Classic.

    The title of my new (soon-to-be) Revelatory Gender Study will be:  Get Your Own Damn Coffee Then, Damn It.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @dash
    James Lileks

    David Clark: You know, all this “ladies actually want men who are men” stuff would have been a lot more helpful when I was navigating junior high and high school.

    Thanks for nothing, Everything About The Nineties. · 18 minutes ago

    Oh, it goes back a long ways, David – in the 70s and 80s one had to be Sensitive like a SoCal soft-rock singer, or a bitter-sarcastic Sensitive anti-war healer with a Groucho complex, like Alan Alda in M*A*S*H.  · 5 hours ago

    Or you could be both, as demonstrated in this HS yearbook photo and it’s defacement.

    HS001.jpg

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @BryanGStephens
    David Clark: You know, all this “ladies actually want men who are men” stuff would have been a lot more helpful when I was navigating junior high and high school.

    Thanks for nothing, Everything About The Nineties. · 6 hours ago

    Where was the Red Pill when I was in High School?

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Member
    @VonSnrub

    You know many of man’s contributions are intangible per se. For example, my girlfriend can’t walk the streets of brooklyn past 9 with out cat call from some jerk. However, when I accompany her there’s no one in sight.

    She likes that.

    Men’s value’s for what constitutes an appropriate living space is much different for wemon. Vaccuuming for men is once a month, maybe.

    My friend who’s big on cleaning around the house oddly enough has no girlfriend.

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Inactive
    @TheMugwump

    Gender is a social construct?  This from the same people who tell us that “gays are born that way.”  So which is it?  Or is this just an example of the cognitive dissonance so prevalent in liberal circles?    

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MerinaSmith

    Call it the Masculine Mystique.  

    What about men?  Do they prefer to see ladies doing girly chores, or do they like the juxtaposition of seeing them dressed in jeans and a guy’s old shirt doing manly stuff?  Or maybe all of the above?

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @FightinInPhilly
    James Lileks

    David Clark:  Thanks for nothing, Everything About The Nineties. · 18 minutes ago

    Oh, it goes back a long ways, David – in the 70s and 80s one had to be Sensitive like a SoCal soft-rock singer, or a bitter-sarcastic Sensitive anti-war healer with a Groucho complex, like Alan Alda in M*A*S*H.  · 7 hours ago

    Dennis Leary’s 1992 “No Cure for Cancer” handled this nicely. In a bit about the insanity of parents suing heavy metal bands for getting their kids into devil worship he stated “Well that’s great. That sets a legal precedent. Does that mean I can sue Dan Fogelberg for making me into a [sissy] in the mid ’70s, is that possible, HUH? 

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @Patrickb63
    Merina Smith: Call it the Masculine Mystique.  

    What about men?  Do they prefer to see ladies doing girly chores, or do they like the juxtaposition of seeing them dressed in jeans and a guy’s old shirt doing manly stuff?  Or maybe all of the above? · 8 minutes ago

    Is there another choice like women doing girly chores while wearing nothing? Or maybe girly chores while wearing a French Maid uniform?  I’d vote for either one of those.  Or really I’d just vote for looking at women.  In whatever.  Doing whatever.  Naked. 

    Wow, it’s getting warm in here.

    Scarily enough, my wife never seemed more, um, interested than when I put a drill bit through my thumb nail while fixing the stairs in our house.

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DCMcAllister

    James—You are a jewel, and your wisdom earned a place on my refrigerator. I’ll keep you updated if it leads to marriage counseling. 

    photo.jpg

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DCMcAllister

    Social evolutionary theorists like to believe we are evolving beyond our primal instincts. The thing is, nature keeps raising its head to bite them. Humanity hasn’t changed that much, and in some ways—while we have more technological advances—we’re not as refined or “evolved” as our forebears. A Greek philosopher among us today would probably equate many of us with animals.

    Anyway, so many of our drives, needs, and desires are natural. The more we accept this about ourselves and each other and learn to work with nature instead of against it, we’ll be happier people.

    I love when my husband does manly chores around the house. Definitely gets the hormones flowing, and he’s usually richly rewarded for his efforts. It’s just natural. 

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Member
    @cdor

    I do trash…very manly. But it’s the kitchen cleanup that really gets me points of appreciation. And then there’s the lawn. I really don’t do much but water. It is amazing how much work can be faked by watering the lawn. Geez, I have to go take a rest now folks. Thinking of all that work has worn me to the bone. Did someone say there is a football game on?

    • #14
  15. Profile Photo Inactive
    @KCMulville

    How pathetic do you have to be to think that doing a couple of chores will get you chicks? 

    I suppose the answer is … the kind of pathetic where you read studies to figure out how to pick up chicks.

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @iWe

    Nobody wants to feel superfluous. So here is a contrarian trial balloon:

    Men who do wimmins’ work are not just less manly. They make the woman less womanly. And a woman who does not feel she is important  is less feminine and less randy.

    • #16
  17. Profile Photo Member
    @LaTapada

    Sheesh! Isn’t wanting “nookie” a primal level thing?

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DCMcAllister
    La Tapada: Sheesh! Isn’t wanting “nookie” a primal level thing? · 14 minutes ago

    Absolutely. Controlling the desire is a higher level. But the wanting is positively primeval.  

    • #18
  19. Profile Photo Member
    @JimChase

    My general take on “studies” can be summarized as such:  “Studies” have shown us many things, not the least of which is the importance of scrutinizing the methods before accepting the results. 

    Applies to pretty much all of them.

    That said, with regard to division of labor in the household, I long ago adopted the philosophy that simply says, “if it needs doing, then do it.”  Doesn’t matter what the chore is.  Sure, my wife and I have some of the big things divided up (I get the yard, she gets daily finance stuff), but as far as everything else, it is whoever gets to it first.

    Of course these days, I “encourage” my kids to get to it first.  That’s what they are for, after all.

    • #19
  20. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MateDe

    Come on, there is nothing sexier then seeing a fit guy in a white T-shirt working on his car, Why do we need a study to determine this?

    Remember in the 90’s there was that Diet Coke commericial with the construction worker, all sweaty from working outside on a hot day and sauntered over to the Coke vending machine and gulp down half a Diet Coke can, in slow- mo, while the ladies in the office lunch room across the way watched with their mouth watering.

    The advertisors didn’t need a study to know that commercial would be memorable.

    • #20
  21. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @Patrickb63
    Jim Chase: Of course these days, I “encourage” my kids to get to it first.  That’s what they are for, after all. · 5 minutes ago

    Yes indeed.  Children doing work to help the family didn’t die w/ the advent of child labor laws.  It just moved home.  I am not looking forward to the day when I will once again have to cut my own lawn and take out my own trash.

    • #21
  22. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @Percival

    If whatever you are doing draws this reaction:

    the-bride-of-frankenstein-1.jpg

    knock it off.

    • #22
  23. Profile Photo Listener
    @FricosisGuy

    I just rearranged part of the basement and dug up a bush this AM…all before going to work.

    #GetYourMotorRunning

    • #23
  24. Profile Photo Member
    @KayofMT

    Whoever wrote that study is a total idiot.

    • #24
  25. Profile Photo Contributor
    @RachelLu

    Obviously, the solution is to train your man to do the girly chores when you’re not watching, and the manly ones when you are.

    • #25
  26. Profile Photo Member
    @ScottR
    Kay of MT: Whoever wrote that study is a total idiot. · 7 minutes ago

    …but a man’s man.

    • #26
  27. Profile Photo Member
    @KellyB
    iWc: Nobody wants to feel superfluous. So here is a contrarian trial balloon:

    Men who do wimmins’ work are not just less manly. They make the woman less womanly. And a woman who does not feel she is important  is less feminine and less randy. · 3 hours ago

    I think you’re onto something here.  On paper, I would love it if my husband did domestic chores, and I think it shouldn’t matter that I take out the trash or run the power tools occasionally.  On paper.

    In real life, something in me really needs to be the homemaker, despite a full-time job with a nasty commute, and really needs him to run the power tools outdoors and take out the trash and kill bears and stuff (that last bit is figurative – we don’t have bears very often).

    And I’m a product of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, so I don’t think this stuff can be trained out of us.

    • #27
  28. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DavidClark

    You know, all this “ladies actually want men who are men” stuff would have been a lot more helpful when I was navigating junior high and high school.

    Thanks for nothing, Everything About The Nineties.

    • #28
  29. Profile Photo Contributor
    @jameslileks

    Dc: printed off AND placed on the fridge! I’m honored.

    • #29
  30. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Foxfier
    James Lileks

    I read this with interest, because I do domestic chores. 

    Ah, but you also do things like construction (gazebos), landscaping (the water thingie that’s always broken, lights), getting those huge heavy bags of stuff for gardening, even if they’re soaked and thus weigh as much as a car, and given that I think you mentioned the UPS guy getting sherpas to get to your front door, the grocery shopping is pretty manly just for getting it to the house…..

    Seriously, though– duh!

    I like when my husband does stuff to help, but if I can’t do anything, then I don’t feel very good, and thus…reduced “lucky.”  Also possible that guys who have time to do all the girl-chores aren’t feeling too hot about themselves, too.

    • #30

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