every man in my life has taken issue with my dishwashing style. my father, he claimed I washed them out of order. I should wash the cleaner ones (glasses, silverware) first, and leave the dirtiest (pots and pans) for last. he nitpicks, we argue, and finally I shrug, “they all get rinsed in the end. what does it matter?” the point for him was the procedure of the thing, not the purpose–the means were the end.
my first boyfriend, he thought I was stupid for washing the bottom of the plate as well as the top. I was OCD, he said. well, buster, what do you think happens when you tuck those plates away in the cupboard all stacked neat and prim, the dirty bottoms nestled into the clean tops? still, I shrug, “you’re the one eating off them. pass me a bowl, please.” if he wants to keep his dirt outta-sight-outta-mind, that’s not my problem.
my second boyfriend told me I held the sponge wrong when I washed the glasses. I should curl the sponge around the lip, like so, not just scrub the inside and then scrub the outside. not thorough enough, he fussed. have to make sure you get off all those dead skin cells on the rim. while he stands there I curl the sponge. when he turns away I scrub-inside-outside and rinse. what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. not everything in this life can be sterile, you know.
this last boyfriend huffed and fretted that I was using a scrubby sponge on the nonstick pans. you know, the sponges that say “non-stick safe” on the package. I showed him the package but he continued to fuss. so I handed him the sponge and walked away. “they’re your dirty dishes anyway, dear. not mine.” precautionary overkill and out-of-control need-for-control were the rules of his little game. all I was trying to do was wash the damn dishes, for God’s sake.
on days like today–when first I wash the nonstick pans with a scrubby sponge, then inside-outside-rinse the glasses, then soap up the bottom of the plates–I think to myself, ahh, it’s so good not to have any men in my life.