LET’S see, so we’ve had the post-Christmas comedown, the financially ruinous raft of February bills – now we just need one more ingredient to complete the New Year misery.
That’s right. We’re approaching the dreaded Spring Clean. It’s at times like this that I envy my dad. The biggest contribution he ever had to make on this front was lifting his feet while my mum vacuumed the lounge.
But that’s not how it is for us. We modern men are expected to play a full part in the big house detox. And quite frankly, it’s not on.
The trouble is there’s no real getting out of it for the simple reason that the alternative is putting up with weeks, and possibly months, of earache about how you left your other half to do all the work.
But there are ways and means to make this whole experience just a little bit more bearable.
Allow me to give you the benefit of my years of experience conjuring up new ways to do as little cleaning as possible.
Firstly – and this might sound a bit leftfield – try to do your ‘share’ of the cleaning while your other half is out.
This has a number of advantages, one of them being that you can claim brownie points by taking the initiative and making a start.
This will both surprise her and impress her.
But the main reason why this is so important is that it means she’s not there to see what you’re actually doing.
That gives you the freedom to go about your cleaning in a very scientific way.
We’re talking broad brushstrokes here – the three inches of dust on top of the telly, for instance – combined (and this is the key bit) with attention to the tiniest hand-picked detail.
It could be the top of the cooker, or maybe the inside of the bathroom cabinet – something that will make her think that everything in the house has been done to this same impeccable standard.
It hasn’t of course. But she’s not to know that.
The next bit is making sure that evidence of your hard work is there for her to see when she arrives home.
My personal favourite on this front is to fetch the vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard and make it look as though I was just about to start using it.
Then I quickly sweep the floor in the bathroom, making sure to pick off some of the fluff already on the broom and add it to my pile.
Then, when she arrives home, I can say, “Darn it! I was hoping to get all this done before you got back. Have you seen all this fluff? It had got pretty bad in here.”
She will feel so grateful and, crucially, guilty that the house is such a tip (the housewife gene is still in there somewhere) that she’ll immediately promise to take over and finish it all off.
The next bit is crucial. LEAVE THE HOUSE, ideally to meet a mate at the pub, otherwise you’ll get roped in again. And all that ‘hard’ work will have been wasted.