Thursday, April 23, 2009

Because women have cleanliness OCD


Women are cleanliness freaks.

And it can’t just be clean. It has to be clean beyond the capacity for dirt to ever soil it again. It has to be so clean no mere mortal even possesses the ability to get it that clean. There is no vacuum cleaner strong enough, no broom sturdy enough, no dust filter powerful enough to satisfy a woman’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder around the cleanliness of her house.

Even Howard Hughes can’t rival the average woman with his OCD. If we saw him with his remote controls for his television and stereo in a clear plastic bag to keep it safe, we would recognise a mad person. If a woman does it, we accept it as part of the natural cycle of keeping her house clean.

Every feeling for any other creature in the world must be sublimated for the desire a woman has for a clean house. Her most beloved husband is a bastard for putting the towels in the middle of the rack when he’s used them; her own children are thoughtless and selfish for taking their shoes off in their room and leaving them in the middle of the floor.

Weekends are worse, because this is usually the time the woman will choose to act out her OCD. She’ll begin at about five am on a Saturday when everyone else is selfishly sleeping in, and she will start with one room at the top of the house and work her way through. She will put the golden oldies on the stereo – the ones she used to listen to when she was young and free - and work like the devil to get rid of every piece of dust, every worn once piece of clothing, every leaf daring to grow in the wrong direction from a plant and every errant drip in the water areas spoiling the perfect silver sheen of a freshly cleaned tap spout.

Her loved ones are not to be banished from the house; they must act as witness, hiding in the shadows, clinging to the spaces she has not yet cleaned as if these are the only places they still have permission to dwell. As the day creeps on, they are moved further and further into a corner where the only way out is appreciation for her martyr like efforts and to be coerced into keeping the germ free space flawless. Eventually they will be relegated to the yard which they will be expected to tidy - to the standard she's established with the house.

It is, of course, her loved ones she is trying to erase by getting rid of all trace of them from her line of vision, but this is rarely understood. Her phobia for dirt is justified by a grime weary population, even though the average woman’s house far exceeds the demands placed upon cafes, restaurants or hotel bathrooms.

Interestingly, in romance novels the women almost never have OCD, and rarely care how their house looks. However, the woman who reads them, can sit back, place her feet on the cloth over the foot stool, rest her cup of tea on the small cup sized coaster that sits over the doily that sits over the table cloth that sits over the side table, sit back on the covers at the head rest on the couch, and enjoy her book knowing it won’t make any mess at all, and realise how much better she is than the woman in the novel.




  1. Your blog is great - I HONESTLY never realized the psychology behind my sad stupid addiction to romance novels but everything you say hits home. EVERY problem in society is healed in a good romance novel. Every room clean, every monetary need provided for, etc. Thanks!

  2. [...] classic example of this is the clean house that more resembles a person with and OCD psychosis than a comfortable home where people are clean and their possessions are neat and cared for. This is [...]