The Kid (aged 7) mooched into the room. He took one look at me and shrieked “Muvvah!” (yes…that’s how he refers to me – he listens non-stop to Just William audiobooks as read by Martin Jarvis.) And then he goes;
“Hey, Muvvah! What on Erf are you DOIN?”
I felt a little bit disgruntled. Knocked off-kilter. So I said (somewhat defensively.)
“I’m ironing.” And he replied;
“Wow. No. Really? That’s so weird!” So I answered; “Why? What’s the problem?” and then the laddie came out with;
“Well. I’ve never seen you do that….fing before! How do you know how to DO it? Make the iron actually WORK. Like. I didn’t know that you could *use* it. I mean – Grandma does it all of the time. But how do you know…how to work it? And where do you hide that… Iron-fing? And the funny table-fing what you use it on? I ain’t never seen it, Muvvah.”
But I’m not too ashamed of my lack of ironing prowess. In fact, some more sharp-as-a-knife crease obsessed pals of mine have accused me of being perversely proud of the fact that over a period of the last 12 months, I have plugged the iron in just twice (and yes, have ironed 2 items only.)
So please believe me, that there are a number of VERY valid reasons for my ironing-impotence:
1) Time. I don’t have much of it. And the precious few minutes that I do have, I refuse to waste – hunched up over an ironing board.
2) Scruffiness. That’s me. That’s my family. Like it or lump it.
3) Aspiration/Class. I’ve experienced enough of such misled working-class aspirations to know that the phrase ‘Oooh and her children are ever so nicely turned out’ is simply a way of keeping the masses chained to an ironing board (especially the women-folk.) In fact, the filthy-rich sorts; the uber-confident types that I’ve encountered across the world – couldn’t give a rat’s ass if their t-shirt looks like it fell down the back of a radiator for several months. So if it’s good enough for the likes of them…
4) My son. He has a strange fascination with anything that borders on the hot/flammable/dangerous. Keep the hissing red-hot steam electrical products hidden well away from the little varmint, I say.
5) Domestic workers/ Cleaners. Similar to point (3). When I first moved to Namibia, the more fortunate women of the poor in society, that I lived and worked alongside there – considered themselves to be lucky to have landed a job as ‘a domestic.’ And these women had standards and dignity in spades. In fact, they held such a fierce pride in their ironing and knicker-folding ability, that it put me off fannying around with ironing boards for life. They felt sorry for me – for my inability to do anything remotely impressive on the domestic front. They even mocked me and said stuff like “Aw Christina – did your Mama never teach you to peg out your washing nicely? Naughty Christina’s Mama!” (traumatised by this, I am. Traumatised.)
6) ‘No Need To Iron Material!’ Especially the fact that you can now buy school uniform made out of this clever-cloth. So, nuff said. I mean – why *would* you even bother? My two tykes couldn’t give a monkey’s if their skirt or shirt is screwed up to buggery. Okay – once they turn 13 or 14, they might start to care a bit more – when some stuck-up, appearance-obsessed little twerp at the local high school tries to have a bit of a pop at them. And so, when/if that ever becomes the case, my kids can sodding well iron their own. And no, they will not be receiving a financial reward/incentive for such actions.
7) Men and Shirts. See the last sentence above. He can, he always has and believe you-me; he always will.
8) The coolest people that I know don’t even OWN an iron. These people are my role models. They also tend not to own hair dryers, hair straighteners or those funny little vacuum cleaners for the car (I know! How the hell do they manage? Bloody eccentrics.)
So as a constant reminder to me – never to back down on the Me No-Iron vow, one of my favourite artifacts that takes pride of place in my home, is the little beauty in the photos below. Ironing is hateful enough when you’ve got the latest state of the artTefal model which promises to rattle through even your most hardcore ruffles at the speed of lightning – but can you imagine what it used to be like? What the experience was like for the women who lived less than a hundred years ago? Having to shove these heavy as hell things onto a range (if you were lucky enough to have one), to wait for it to heat up and then totry and minimise the dirt, the soot and the perils of it accidentally falling onto your husband’s head?
No. We owe it to oppressed people all over the world to sling the damned iron and the ironing board in the nearest skip.
(And if you respond to this blog and tell me that you actually ENJOY ironing, then that’s fine. Horses for courses. I mean, I quite like cleaning my children’s ears out with a cotton-wool bud, but I realise that it doesn’t tickle everyone’s fancy.)