“Men is just like women. They just have more dog in them,” read the all-too-true saying on a bathroom wall years ago, at least a truism for the men I live with and for many straight men I know. When you can track the beloveds you live with by trails of socks, and cabinets and drawers left open, you know you’re living with men (at least in most cases). I can also track mine by the bits of paper they drip from room to room (little notes on plant changes, unopened mail, opened and left aside mail, business cards or whatever else they pick up one place and put down in another). Then there’s the bathroom: Oh, the horror.
So it’s no wonder that every so often, living with a herd of men (and a herd of ADD men, but maybe that’s redundant), I feel like I’ve gone out of my mind. The front door is open, the coats aren’t hung on the hooks right next to that front door but flung on chairs and floors, and big pairs of shoes trip me up.
It’s not just how they mess up the house, but what they do with all the food I buy, inhaling it at the speed of life. Make burritos? All the beans and cheese are gone. How about a stir-fry? The big container with the leftover rice, enough for a small country, is lying empty on the counter. Okay, a tuna fish sandwich? The pantry is bare. Peanut butter? Hardly any of that left too. Okay, so I live with two fairly young men, do they have to inhale all in their path like vacuum-mouthed water snakes?
I’ve taken to hiding rice cakes and crackers, picking up dozens of socks (which seem to multiply when thrown to the ground), and yelling at them every night to hang up their coats, close the front door, put down the toilet seat, and clean something instead of sitting at the kitchen table (ignoring the piles of stuff they just put on it) to watch youtube videos. Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert always win out, and I’m left with a house in with most of the rooms make me feel like the world is falling apart, which it is, but who needs to be reminded so much?
It’s not like I don’t give them their own space. My friend Stephen, upon seeing the basement, told me, “This is a real man cave.” It is: gaming computer, Wii, other video devices, weight-lifting equipment, television and overflowing stacks of videos, not to mention all the worn-out chairs with dirty plates on them. But one space is not enough for the men of my house who simply can’t help themselves. They live in a different gendered universe in which they don’t see the open drawers, spiderwebs on the ceiling, dirty coffee cups on the couch and tshirts on the floor. Or if and when they do see these things, it doesn’t ruffle their waters in any way.
As for me, I can only stare into the eyes of my female cats and dog, count the days until my daughter gets home (who will yell in unison with me, “What is wrong with you guys?”) and steal away into the man cave to watch a long chick flick.