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Jul 16

Is Godliness really necessary?

Posted on Monday, July 16, 2007 in Jobs, Rantings, Something to think about

I had a bonding conversation with my friend the other day.  We discovered that we both have an obsession for not cleaning.  She had started the conversation with embarrassed tones, apologising for the state of her house on my last visit.  I burst out laughing and told her that I couldn’t give less of a sh&te about it, that a cluttered house feels more like a home to me.

It’s like this… you enter a house as a guest and are offered tea while you’re removing your shoes lest you drag dog poo onto the axminster carpet.  You’re given a hot cuppa, but have nowhere to put it, as the tables are meant to hold prissy statues and fake flowers instead of the usual paraphernalia involved with living.  Everything in the room has been shined to a high gloss, so you daren’t move lest you crease something, or shed unwanted skin flakes. So, you sit there politely and try to convey your niceties, counting the seconds before you can leave this haven of perfection and go back to the real world.

Then you have your alternative homeowner.  You’re welcomed into their house as a friend and are offered tea while children’s toys are kicked off the couch and apologies are made about the state of the house.  You flop onto the couch and put your feet up.  You’re given a mug of tea and are offered a biscuit from a packet which has had a home under a cushion for an indefinate amount of time.  There are children’s pictures on the wall, and heaps of clothes on the floor waiting to be sorted, but they’re all indications of the happy and busy life that is motherhood. 

I infinately prefer the latter scenario.  Probably because I’m a bit like that myself.  I refuse to spend four hours a day polishing and waxing.  I have no idea where my iron is, though I know that the ironing board is in the attic.  The kitchen is always clean and uncluttered, but the living room is home to all sorts of curios, games, books, plants, toys and poker chips.  I might steam clean the carpet from time to time, but there really is no point, as it’s a magnet for spillages and dog-hair, and life is just too short to obsess about it. 

One relative seemed appalled by my house on a rare visit, and proceeded to clean and dust when I wasn’t looking.  She then complained about being tired from all the work she’d done.  I happily exclaimed ‘Sure I didn’t ask you to clean it!’ and was promptly severely scolded. I felt like the only sane person in the world right then. 


I just find it unusual that there is rarely a middle ground here.  Being an occasional windowcleaner, I get to ogle many houses and have come to the conclusion that you’re either born to be a clean-freak, or you’re not.  Kim and Aggie have made a comfortable living out of this.  Is there a gene involved here?  Having a haven of perfection and cleanliness seems to be the socially accepted norm, but isn’t it a sign of an obsessive disorder of some kind?  Are mothers depriving their children of much needed attention while they scrub their tile-grout?  Is it just me, or are messy people far more interesting?

Don’t tell me it’s all about the germs.  I firmly believe that having an immaculately anti-bacterialated house is a bad thing.  If a person has no access to dirt or germs in their home, as soon as they step foot outside, they’ll be invaded with aboslutely no built-up defenses, and probably find themselves pretty sick.  Children should be allowed to play with germy dog-bowls and roll around in muck.  I’m not being a scumbag, either.  It’s true!  Children of dirty cluttered homes are usually a lot healthier than those from sterilized environments, and I’d put good money on that theory.

What I want to know is… what is the ratio of clean-freaks to scumbags out there?  Is it 50-50?  80-20?  I can’t keep smacking people across the face when they berate me for allowing a layer of dust to accumulate.  I need evidence that I can frame to prove that I’m not alone.  Failing that, does anyone know of an upgrade I can upload which will give me the desire to clean?


Bring on the comments

  1. Baino says:

    I’m a clean wannabe. Never happens except at about 4.00pm on a Saturday afternoon when all is well with the world before someone gets out of bed and starts frying eggs and bringing out the washing after I’ve done it all . . . my house is immaculate . . . my cupboards are shite. Out of site out of mind in my book! How clean can you be with 2 20 somethings and a thumping golden labrador galumphing around the place.

  2. Brianf says:

    If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind then what is an empty desk?
    When I read your description of the highly polished living room that looks like nobody lives there, I thought, Damn, she knows my sister Ginger! My house has a bit more of a “lived in” feel to it. I have a glass coffee table and I ask that you use a coaster. You can put your mug on the coaster after you move the books, chinese take out menus, old mail waiting to be filed, assorted remote controls and other odds and ends that end up living there.

  3. SID says:

    If I may quote the “Monk with no Name” from the film Bullet Proof Monk shown on Ch 4 Sunday night….

    “Water that is too pure has no fish”.

    So its a big YAY for dirt!

  4. Conortje says:

    I’m with you totally. I heard of a wedding recently that stated in the invitation no red wine and no high heels. For god’s sake who are these people. Pass us a biscuit there if you can find one :-)

  5. jen says:

    With you on the insanity of over cleanliness. I don’t reckon you can combine happy family living with a designer home. Maybe it’s just cause i’m a messy biatch.
    Saw a sign once – standards have not slipped, priorities have changed.

  6. b3n says:

    I think it’s the way people are brought up. My parents are clean freaks (they had me polishing brass ornaments from when I was 3 years old) and because of their freakishness I have no inclination to spend 4 hours a day cleaning and have developed some allergies whilst MsB3n’s parents aren’t and she is a bit of a Monica (I’m dead if she reads this, a bit dear, I said a BIT) but through our relationship we’ve managed to strike up a happy medium (I think) where we spend a hour some weekends giving the house the quick once over. Totally agree that kids have to be exposed to dirt, it’s the only way that the immune system will evolve.

  7. K8 says:

    Baino, right. That’s it. I’ve just spent 3 hours hoovering, washing up, re-aligning, de-smudging, mopping and wiping. My gaff looks exactly as it did before I started! Toddler possibly made it even worse?! I give up.

    B3n, Monicas are GOOD. I need a Monica.

    Brian, I believe in the coasters. I just find that dust absorbs moisture quite satisfactorily. Did I just make a new word?! No, okay.

    Conor, that was because of the dress I reckon. My best bud got married in a princess dress that involved a barring order of 10ft at all times. Pfft.

    Jen, as Baino says: ‘Yay!! Happy Claps!’ My kind of biatch :)

    EXCELLENT slogans there, by the way Jen and SID.
    I’ve just scrawled them both repeatedly in red lipstick all over the living room and hallway walls.

  8. Deborah says:

    I wholeheartedly agree – lived in homes are so much more welcoming. Irish house architecture is also not at all clean/neat friendly. If there’s no integrated storage it makes for more clutter – or so I like to tell myself to detract from the fact that I’m a lazy slob! ;-)

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