My girlfriend, “Jane,” and I moved in together during the pandemic, since her roommate was an essential worker and I lived alone. We figured it wouldn’t last that long (yeah, yeah), and it would be better than being all by ourselves. We’ve fought a bit, but mostly in a way that confirmed we were good for each other, and overall things have been great. Except for this: Jane doesn’t believe that men can or should do any domestic chores. She thinks we should leave it to women to “do it right.” I drew up a chore schedule so we’d both know what needs doing, and she does my share while I’m working. Anything I do manage to finish, she redoes with a sigh. I realize “not having to do chores” isn’t much to complain about. But even though part of me is glad I don’t have to scrub the toilet, I still feel like it’s unfair. Plus, what kind of life can I really build with someone who thinks I’m genetically incapable of wiping a plate?
I’ve spent a whole pandemic trying to convince her I’m capable of basic housekeeping, but it hasn’t worked. I don’t see how I can continue to date Jane, even though this is our only real problem. It sounds stupid, but I would just feel like such a weird throwback. Plus my family would hardly respect this “lifestyle,” and that matters to me. Am I missing something? I didn’t live in a pit before Jane moved in with me. I didn’t have a house cleaner, either; I paid a neighbor’s kid $20 to water the plants and open the windows when I traveled for work. Everything else I took care of myself.
—No Cleaning, Please, I’m a Man