Since moving to Brazil and still being on a tourist visa, it is illegal for me to work just yet. And since I am a good law-abiding citizen, I comply with the state’s demand and remain a good foreigner. And so my downtime (read: most of my time) falls into the realm of house-husbandry. But I am such a bad house husband that I oftentimes wonder how I would have fared in the face of domestic servitude in eras bygone (or eras not-so-bygone in many countries). At any rate, here are my shortcomings and I invite you to laugh at my pain — or pity me. It’s all the same, really.
1. I can’t clean my own place for the life of me.
I’m not exaggerating; it’s an objective fact. I can clean my best friend’s place and I can clean a public venue for an event, but I cannot clean my own home without help. There’s something about my devil-may-care attitude and ability to perfectly index where all my belongings are at any given moment that finds the “necessity” of cleaning and organizing over the top. (I should probably note that I’m referring to mild to medium disorganization and not Hoarders-level messed up. Also, foodstuff is never left in the open. Mama didn’t play that and neither did I.)
Also, when I finally do get around to cleaning everything nice and spotless, I expect a gold medal and international acclaim. I feel like I just discovered the cure for West Nile Cancer-AIDS and anybody who doesn’t worship the ground I walk on (and just mopped) is a treasonous traitor who should be banished from the realm! I think that, yes, thank you for asking.
And I get mad and vow never to clean again when people leave dishes in my immaculate-ass sink, or come in from outside without taking off their shoes at the door and switching to the house flip-flops I advised them to get under penalty of I-narrow-my-eyes-at-you-passive-aggressively-and-don’t-explain-why-because-you-should-just-know.
2. I go stir-crazy.
Have you ever locked an energetic cat in a room all day? You got a cat because you thought they were less likely to damage your house than a dog, come to find that everything you owned and loved is now in shreds more precise and intentional than a dog would ever be capable of producing. I am that cat. There are more dishes on the counter than in the dishrack? Meow. There is dust on the just-mopped floor because I forgot to sweep under the couches? Meow. There is enough anti-ant spray to kill a large bovine because I not only sprayed the trail of ants along the floor border, but I sprayed every exposed surface ants could possibly cling to as a means of dissuading any possible colonization of the area—essentially an act of homeland defense that makes it worse for the people in the homeland? Meow motherfucker.
3. My ego is informed by patriarchal and homonormitive hegemonic forces beyond my control.
I am a man. My dominion over nature is absolute. My domination of the weaker sex is undisputed. Therefore, I disdain and devalue the work that falls into the realm of “woman.” I am a homosexual. I am of a lesser order than the heterosexual, but if I can emulate the tastes and behaviors of the stronger class well enough, I can integrate my way into the good graces of the majority. Performing the acts in the realm of “woman” is counterproductive to my goals of assimilation, respectability, and upward mobility—unless I am a successful female impersonator, in which case, I should be on stage, not in the home.
Ergo, I should not have to clean my own house because women should. Preferably darker ones, so as to place a premium on European phenotypes. That awkward moment when race comes into it and you just kind of intake air through your teeth and hold your breath and look away until the next person changes the subject because no matter what it is, you will immediately cosign in an effort to brush the last bit under a rug.
4. There isn’t enough booze.
There just isn’t. Don’t judge me.