Katy Guest: It's official - housework makes men happier

Who cares whether guilt or fear of nagging drives them

Share
Related Topics

Thank you, thank you, thank you to the scientists at Cambridge University who have proved conclusively that doing more housework makes men happier. Professor Jacqueline Scott and her ace team of academics based their research on data from the European Social Study, which surveys 30,000 people in 34 countries. They found that men feel happier and domestic arguments are reduced the more male partners take on chores around the home.

The scientists don't know whether to attribute this to the men feeling less guilty, or to the women not nagging them so much, but the important point to remember is this: it is scientifically proven in a large-scale experiment conducted by a real live Professor of Empirical Sociology from Cambridge. I love you, Professor Scott, and I'll do all of your ironing for a month. Or rather, I'll persuade a man to do it, and then we will all be happy.

As a feminist and a rationalist, I believe in equality and relying on evidence, so I am not now going to bang on about how all men are lazy and don't do enough housework. But I would take a bet that in most households there is one tidy partner, who knows the place for everything and prefers everything in its place, and one who wouldn't notice if there were no clean socks, slime moulds were growing in the shower tray, and bluebottle eggs were starting to hatch in last night's Bolognese (to use examples plucked entirely from imagination).

The lazy partner is not necessarily a man. For instance, Lady Gaga clearly doesn't do the washing in her house or she wouldn't have just paid £85,250 for an Alexander McQueen ivory silk tulle frock. You just know that the first time she wears it she'll drop chilli con carne down it, or tear the hem while running for a bus, and who's going have to put it in a hot wash then?

Because the partner who does less housework genuinely could not care less about the carnage, and would probably not contract botulism from the maggots in the Bolognese, it is difficult for the partner who is clumsy and quite likely to slip on the slime mould and break a limb while naked in the shower to insist that the carefree partner does some sodding cleaning occasionally, or spoons all the Bolognese into individual Tupperware portions to freeze it handily for later.

It is, technically, only fair that the person who is irrationally antagonised by seeing keys, coins, bottle tops and copies of the New Scientist strewn all over the floor should be the one to pick them up and arrange them into neat piles on top of other random objects of similar sizes. And anyway, should the tidy partner ever suggest that the messy partner might like to take an interest in the state of their home and their gastro-intestinal safety, the messy partner will only start up again about getting a cleaner, which will result in the tidy partner contributing towards a stranger who comes round once a fortnight to wipe half-heartedly around the bath, and then still being the one always to jump up and wash the ice-cream dishes before the cat gets to them. Even worse, the tidy partner will inevitably find him or herself having to manage the cleaner, and ultimately fire the cleaner when it turns out that the cleaner doesn't mop under the New Scientists, and won't stoop to ironing, not even the odd pair of trousers when there is nothing else to do because the tidy partner has done all the cleaning before the cleaner arrives.

Frankly, I'd rather contribute to a team of academics at the University of Cambridge, and bribe the New Scientist to print their research. Maybe, just maybe, it will then occur to messy people to put the magazine back on a shelf after reading it.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: PHP Web Developer / Full Stack Developer

£24500 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Receptionist

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A bookkeeper/receptionist posit...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£28500 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers unique corp...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Product Support Specialists

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This world leader in the design...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: I'd order a review of all deaths in custody and dismantle the honours system

Benjamin Zephaniah
 

If I were Prime Minister: I'd remind the rich that with great wealth comes great responsibility

Peter Tatchell
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat