The sexual politics of household chores

One writer reenacts a day in the life of a 1950s housewife. Meanwhile, will doing the dishes get men laid?

By Sarah Hepola
Published March 10, 2008 3:10PM (EDT)

Recently, a Sunday Times writer transformed herself into the perfect little wifey for an evening -- making gin and tonics, taking off her husband's shoes, tarting herself up in garters. The experiment was to test a recent (encouraging!) report that men apparently prefer today's independent women to the doting housewives of yore. The study "asked 2,309 men what kind of woman they preferred. The majority seemed to prefer living with feisty modern babes rather than glorified butlers who change for dinner." Whew. That's good news for someone who wears sweatpants while eating delivery. The story is really just a goof, proving what a pain in the ass '50s wifedom was, with its demands for coq au vin and a plastic veneer of tranquillity. Putting on an apron and some garters may be fun for an evening (or two!) but don't believe the hype on subservient women. Parity is the real sexiness.

Which brings us to a recent story that men who do household chores are more likely to get sex. "Wives report greater feelings of sexual interest and affection for husbands who participate in housework." And why not? These days, I'd feel incredible affection for anyone who cleaned my apartment. Bottom line? No one wants to do the dishes.

Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget."

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