Why Men Shouldn't Work from Home
The Top 10 Things you can do in a brown dressing gown….apparently.
Disclaimer (or anti-divorce clause, call it what you will). Before reading this article it must be said my husband is super-smart, loving, and patient (clearly by nature of being married to me). He is a wonderful father to our two girls and my best friend, who willingly stumbles in and out of adventures with me. He is an unfortunate hostage in this article but he was warned.
As a writer who has the privilege of being able to work from home, I never take for granted how lucky I am that I have flexibility to set my hours and (more awesomely) my workplace attire. As much as it may shock, most at-home writers don’t labour away on their laptops in some Carrie Bradshaw inspired couture just waiting for that spontaneous invitation to jump out and ‘do cocktails’ with their editor.
I enjoyed the novelty of the first few weeks of leggings, oversized jumpers and no make-up, but since those first self-indulgent few days, I have now acquired discipline. This requires a concerted effort to ensure that I have a shower and get dressed before I sit down and begin work; just as I would if I worked in an office. I take my work seriously so I figure good habits generate good work.
How others adapt to a domestic work-life apparently is up to personal interpretation, something I discovered when my husband took the leap and started working full-time on our technology start up.
My husband, who I refer to as THE GENT, revelled in the lack of strict office hours, peak hour traffic and any accountability for his general appearance and personal hygiene. I was prepared to let this go for the first few weeks as a rite of passage for anyone transitioning from office to home-based work. But after a couple of months I was surprised to learn that my gentle inquiries of ‘showering today?’ were somehow being interpreted as friendly office banter or a possible lead up to midday sex. I mean who could resist an ungroomed 40 something who had been stewing in his own juices since 7.00am….the day before? I am so lucky.
With this newfound sense of self (unshaven and unwashed) and being the master of his day, came the disillusionment that he could also perform multiple tasks of both a professional and domestic nature in his dressing gown. To set the scene we are not talking a crisp white or navy waffle weave with the scent of Polo Blue for men, gently billowing open. No, no, no, no we are closer to a fluffy coat, the colour of an unwashed potato (which is surprisingly still worn in the height of an Australian summer).
You may well ask, ‘why not just wash it?’ Well the trick there is that it actually has to be removed from your person in the first place. The dressing gown has been water boarded; I mean put through the washing machine a few times. But the poor tortured piece of apparel barely sees the light of day before THE GENT appears, as if he’s changed into a superhero costume, putting out the bins or under the house looking for that screwdriver that has gone missing.
At last observation, this is the list of activities that THE GENT can now execute while donning his poo coloured, terry toweling shroud of shame.
1. Clean the pool. He completes his outfit by wearing his equally vomit- inducing slippers. Heaven forbid he should get his feet wet.
2. Change a gas bottle on the BBQ. Because why wouldn’t you do this while wearing a garment labelled ‘highly flammable’?
3. Prune the camellias. Apparently there is nothing worse than an unsightly low-hanging dried flower arrangement…Oh hang on.
4. Conduct staff performance reviews over the phone. It’s always important to ensure others are aware of their shortcomings and insufficiencies.
5. Scoop up dog poo. It has been scientifically proven that this task is easier to do if you actually look like a large steaming turd.
6. Re-grout the shower tiles. The mastery in this is not getting the dressing gown cord cemented as a permanent fixture next to the soap holder.
7. Removing a hot water service from the attic. What could possibly go wrong?
8. Coach netball in the backyard. Athletic prowess and a relentless training regime for teen girls can only be reinforced and respected by a man fanning around in a brown kimono.
9. Wash the dog. I suspect if the dog could talk she would suggest they switch places.
10. Make coffees for his in-laws. A willing host will always put people completely at ease by wearing his sleeping attire at three in the afternoon.
I now take this opportunity to thank God that my husband can’t write, so that I may remain suspended unjudged in faultless perfection.