I got an email forward last week from a college buddy who hardly ever forwards anything; I knew this one was going to be good. I found 10 jpeg files. The first file showed a photo of a sexy man holding a bag of garbage, with the caption, “As long as I have legs to walk on, you’ll never have to take out the garbage.” The next one showed the same man behind the wheel of a car. The caption read, “Hold that thought a second. I want to pull over and ask for directions.” I didn’t stop clicking. The next file was a photo of a man vacuuming. The caption said, “Porn for women.” I had a spit-on-my-computer-screen laughing fit. I clicked through the rest, then started over and opened each one all over again. Wanting to know where these hilarious photos had come from, I went to Google. After much sleuthing, I found the Cambridge Women’s Pornography Cooperative’s website, and there I found books, wall calendars, postcards, and fantasy coupons for sale with titles such as Porn for Women and Porn for New Moms.
OH, BABY, TURN ME ON
The Cambridge Women’s Pornography Cooperative surveyed women about their biggest turn-ons. As a result, they coined this term: Choreplay: when a woman gets turned on by the sight of her husband doing household chores that she would normally be doing. I couldn’t resist. I printed the vacuuming photo. Later when Mr. Strong and Silent got home, I showed it to him. He looked at it for a bit. He didn’t laugh. He didn’t even smile. Instead, he looked up at me with an “I’m supposed to have a comment about this?” reaction on his face. He looked down again at the photo for a while longer, assuming that he must have missed an important detail. “You don’t get it, do you?” I asked. “Isn’t it sexist? It’s assuming that women do all the vacuuming.” “Uh, yeah,” I said. “Exactly.” Now, truth be told, I’ve always been able to count on Mr. Strong and Silent doing the vacuuming. However, the vacuum is the only indoor home cleaning device he uses.
Case in point: for kicks one day, I wrote my name in the dust on the TV screen. Did it inspire him to pick up a dust rag? Not a chance. He didn’t even notice. Interestingly, my husband has, since the day I moved in with him, lived in complete denial of this one ever present fact of our couple hood: I do more than twice as much around the house as he does. I’m not alone when it comes to an unequal division of the household labor. My female friends, working mothers, women who are putting just as many hours in at the office as their husbands, completely agree. My husband is still quite convinced that he pulls his weight. It’s as if we’re seeing the house through two different sets of eyes. When I look at our house, I can immediately compile a mental list of things that need to be done. My husband, on the other hand, probably just sees a television in need of turning on, cycling magazines in need of being thumbed through, and beers in need of drinking.
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