Goddess knows I try to fold neatly. I
figured it was a butch thing or some unnamed disability: dysfoldia?
Wrinkleism? Or that generic fallback, SLDS: scruffy little dyke
No matter how hard I have tried over
the years, from washcloths to a canvas tent, there was always a
corner poking out, borders not exactly mated, the deepest layer
bunched and irretrievable. When I try to line up a towel’s edges,
or smooth a blanket’s lump, I find myself with an armload of
All my life I have thought that certain
women – femmes, whether gay or straight, female or male – have
an innate knack for this sort of impossible task, or were taught
secret formulas for everyday dilemmas I found insurmountable. I was
blown away to learn this was not the case.
In a life-changing moment, I noticed
that when my sweetheart folded a blanket she simply faced the rough
edges to the wall where no one would see them. I was seriously
I asked her, “You mean there is no
secret to folding perfectly? You just hide the uneven side?”
She was kind enough not to answer,
I continue to be completely shocked.
Why, even as a kid, I thought my mother used magic to hang clothes in
a way that each item did not come out looking like it had lost a
fight with its neighbors. Only now, with my sweetheart in charge, do
my clothes again come off hangers all spruced up.
Other such epiphanies have come back to
me. I never knew how the women I lived with got sinks so shiny. I
would scrub and scrub to achieve the same effect, but always fell
short. Then, one day, I caught a partner at it: after cleaning the
sink she wiped it down with a dry dish towel! Halleluiah! What a
stunningly simple solution. Duh.
I am forever buying ancient copies of
books like Hints From Heloise, but they don’t address these humdrum
issues. I don’t have the housekeeping gene and have to learn
everything the hard way if I can learn it at all. When I went to work
as a Housekeeper for a lesbian-owned motel, I was trained in shelving
clean linens. There was a huge amount of laundry, which I could
handle, but motel-grade sheet folding, especially the fitted bottom
sheets, was like doctoral level physics for me.
A lesbian femme friend who keeps an
immaculate, tasteful, almost neat-freak house, opened the world of
dusting for me. I must have been groaning and complaining about the
need to dust the items I had displayed atop the cabinets in my
kitchen, including open Fiestaware pitchers.
“You know what I would do?” she
asked in that off-handed way I knew would be fraught with expertise.
“I’d leave them the way they are until you have to take them down
to use them.”
“You would?” I replied, astonished.
When she nodded, that was enough for me. A year later, my poor
sweetheart had to clean those pitchers when she helped me pack up and
move cross country.
And making beds? I can get a sheet
tucked into a bed like a Girl Scout camp counselor, which I was.
Making a bed look all spiffy? Not so good. Even if there are no cats
on the bed when I finish the chore, there is always at least one
scrunched up section. I am so grateful for pillows: they hide the top
edges of the covers so no one can see how uneven I’ve left them.
Except, of course, for my sweetheart, who has no idea of her appeal
when she, in that sexy femme way of hers, smoothes the sheets, the
blanket, the bedspread, with the back of her hand and her graceful
long fingers so there isn’t a dent or a pucker or a line out of
place. Part of me wishes I could make the bed look that good for
her, but another part of me rejoices at our different styles.
As my friend the story writer said to
me just today, “I'm a damn good plumber, painter, cook. Can even
hang wall paper, but I'm so computer 'stupid' I'm truly ashamed.”
Like her, there are things I do well, but when it comes to
housekeeping, I guess I have to accept that I’m still a scruffy
little dyke who will always need my savvy femme.
Copyright 2009 Lee Lynch