23 May 2001
Doing more in one man-hour

Project Eyeball: Venus & Mars

When it comes to housework, don't knock the male: look at the end result instead


THEY don't call her Posh Spice for nothing, huh?

Not only has Vicky Adams bagged striker Beckham for a hubby, she even has him doing the housework.

Talk about having your beefcake and eating it, too. It's not enough that macho misters are cheerfully chipping in with housework - they now have to live with ridicule from the missus.

Last week, for instance, fellow columnist Adeline Goh claimed that guys who think they can play house are just kidding around (''House- training the husband'', Project Eyeball, May 22).

Now that's really hitting below the apron.

After all, even if footballer Beckham doesn't score on the culinary front, he's still bringing home the bacon.

It's not as if Ms Modern Gal is likely to fare any better, after leaving the dusting to Mum and maid all her life. What makes you think Miss Mango '99 will morph into Martha Stewart right after the wedding?

At least, real men today are well-versed in multi-tasking (look at our spiffy Pentium 4 PCs!). So what if we take short-cuts to housekeeping in the name of efficiency?

Who needs all the arcane arrangements (white towels in the second drawer, pink towels in the third drawer) or mystical rituals (''twist the mop twice clockwise and once anti-clockwise'') females consider ''proper'' witchcr-, er, housework?

Listen up ladies: Guys don't rely on the phases of the moon when deciding whether to clean the windows or bake apple strudel. We do it when it needs to be done, when we're asked (nicely), or heck, whenever we feel like it.

And when we do get down to business, we employ the full force of God's greatest gift to Man - no, not maid agencies, but technology.

A proud house spouse myself, I stock a full range of the latest time-saving devices in the coolest colours - from my razor-edged Laser Fusion carving knife (never needs sharpening!), to my double-action Moulineux vacuum cleaner and Kenwood SuperChef Blender (It slices! It dices!).

Remember the definition of efficiency: Minimum effort, maximum work done. So if we guys don't seem to be spending much time on housework, it's because we've found a way to do it faster.

And the reason why we know how to do that, is that we devote the rest of our time fiddling with new gadgets.

Bah, humbug, you say? Try programming the VCR all by yourself, without the manual.

Singaporean men come from a breed of tough immigrants, who had to cope with living alone the moment they stepped off the boat.

My grandfather, a coolie and driver, was a genius with his hands, and could conjure up a makeshift broom, spatula or toilet brush from his trusty toolbox.

And speaking of child rearing: The good men (and, to be fair, women) of my grandfather's generation - with their stock of stories and worldly wisdom - had more parenting skills in their little fingers than your average yuppie backed by Dinah from Dhaka.

Why, they coped with whole broods of screaming grandkids in relative serenity!

Guys today may not have endured the same hardships, but, heck, we've got National Service where most guys hone their hyper-efficient housekeeping techniques.

No time for all this hang-up-clothes-before-spin- drying-or-they'll-smell crap. Our motto on cleaning detail: There'll always be another dust bunny; deal with it.

One more thing: Why is it so difficult to imagine men as great cooks? After all, we love food and are much more appreciative of good chow than Ally-wannabes on anorexic diets.

The top chefs in the world are male. Jamie Oliver may seem to be fooling around in The Naked Chef, but he can whip a female's butt when it comes to a souffle.

We're not talking Maggie-mee either, but haute cuisine. Why, I'll match my steak au poivre with anything you ladies can cook up. In half the time.

Femmes who insist on sweeping statements about how useless guys are at home know where they can stick their brooms.

© alvin pang
clm : rvw : esy : rfl