Dirty Girls

No, I don’t mean in the ‘good’ way.

Girls are filthy. 

I went to an industry party last week where there was a set of bathrooms tucked away in one of the halls.  Since I don’t drink much (in public) anymore, I didn’t use the Ladies Room until fairly late in the evening.  When I did, I was completely aghast at the condition.

One stall was completely unusable.  The remaining three had so much paper, trash, bottles, cups, etc that you almost waded into them.  Platform shoes would have come in handy.  The floor was wet and dirty; the sinks were wet and dirty.  There were glasses everywhere. 

It reminded me of college parties. 

Except these girls are not so much girls as women.  Professional women.  Women with jobs and reputations.

And they were filthy.

I’ve seen dirty bathrooms.  I’ve road-tripped, backpacked, and camped.  But actual dirt is not as gross as human filth.

Why the hell are grown women unable to clean up for themselves?  What is so difficult about keeping your own water or that of the sink in the proper place?  Why would you leave your drink in a bathroom?  I fear I may be channeling Dear Abby here, but if you make a mess, CLEAN IT UP.

I actually like cleaning.  My first job was as a housekeeper at a retreat house.  I scrubbed toilets and sinks, stripped and made beds, vacuumed and dusted the 43 rooms with 84 beds every week.  In college, I moved into a rental house with friends and single-handedly stripped decades of grime off the shower and floors of the bathroom.  (Who knew they were white?)  I used to pride myself on keeping a clean (albeit cluttered) house. 

And then I started making money.

Suddenly, cleaning was no longer something I could be bothered with.  Time was money, damn it, and I was an important so-and-so.  So I hired a cleaning lady.  This made me feel like I had truly ‘arrived.’  Only rich people had cleaning ladies.  I was officially ‘upper class.’

Except, when I wasn’t.

The last two years brought our share of turmoil.  Most of it wrecking havoc on that precious asset I call financial security.  First to go?  Cleaning service.  Thankfully, I have a husband more evolved than most.  Not only does he do his share but some of mine too. 

But here’s the thing (me, handing you a thing)… I remembered how much I love to clean.

My friend, Nucking Futs Mama, (and by friend I mean someone I have never met but whose blog I read religiously and therefore know her hilarious life) wrote that Cleaning is Bullshit.  Her blog reminded me of the Simpson’s episode where Marge finally gets the house gleaming, you see the kitchen door swing open with sparkles on every appliance, her family walks through, the door swings open again and you see the kitchen covered in jelly, dirt, dishes, etc.  As Homer would say, “It’s funny cuz it’s true.”

I certainly GET the futility of trying to keep a house perfect with an active family.  Yes, we do the same chores day after day after week after month after year, ad infinitum.  But the ACT of cleaning itself is so gratifying to me.  There is a process, a strategy, and a positive outcome.  I use cleaning time for daydreaming.  If no one is in the house, I use it for singing (my voice is not what it once was).  I tackle issues that are niggling at my psyche.  I debate various courses of action.  I make lists of things I want to do, or should do.  I fantasize about happy memories.  I heal over bad ones.  It is the manual and mindless physicality of cleaning that allows me to indulge purely in mental exploration for no purpose other than my own entertainment, growth, contentment.

That and cleaning is hard frigging work.

Girl gets a sweat going and it feels good.  Especially since I gave up all those uber-toxic “wonder” chemicals that used to practically eat through my hands.  Nothing more than elbow grease and some good tools do more for me than an hour of therapy.

But, ladies, I’m still not cleaning up after you.

2 thoughts on “Dirty Girls”

  1. And plus… while I don’t like to clean, I still have enough respect and consideration for strangers to clean up after myself in a public place (like if my soda spills a bit on the counter at QT or I splash water while washing hands in a public restroom). You would think that’s something everyone would know to do – especially women. But apparently not.

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