By Michael Howlett
April 10, 2014
The other day the Mistress of the Manor was relaying some interesting information about laundry. Okay, maybe not interesting, but informative, if you’re into that kind of thing. She began to explain how often a woman should wash a blouse, pants, even those frilly unmentionables, all according to the laundry experts assembled to discuss this important matter on a morning talk show.
Although they did discuss bisexual things – wait, that’s not the right word – let’s say gender-equal items such as sheets and pillow cases, the experts failed to offer any advice as to laundering men’s clothing. I’m thinking if anybody needs help in laundry matters, its men. The only primate worst at doing laundry than men are chimpanzees; and even then it’s close.
But you really can’t blame men. I mean, when they’re growing up, mom is in charge of the laundry. Then when they go off to college, most just put their clothes in a bag, tarp or biohazard container and dump it at mom’s feet when they come home for a visit. Although mom and dad like to think their son has come home because he is missing them, we all know it’s to get their laundry done and to ask for money.
The reason I say this is because I don’t think I ever did laundry during my illustrious college career and I don’t remember any of my friends doing laundry either. Now, I might wash out my favorite T-shirt, like the one emblazoned with the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, or wash off my American flag shoes with a wash cloth, but I never really did laundry. It wasn’t that I considered laundry women’s work, it was just with all the studying and stuff, I didn’t have the time. I’m not sure what took up the most time, studying or stuff. Okay, I was just kidding about that, everybody knows stuff is much more time consuming.
Now, when I got drafted into the U.S. Army we were told to keep our fatigues cleaned and pressed. However, since every day of basic training was spent either running around with a full pack and an M-16, or doing calisthenics, not one drill sergeant ever mentioned our unkempt appearance, although they relentlessly checked our foot lockers and the floor of the barracks. As long as your foot locker was neat and the barracks’ floor was shiny, you were considered an exemplary soldier. Why this was is still a mystery to me, because you seldom have time to organize your foot locker or shine floors when you’re doing soldier things like shooting at people.
Anyway, I digress; I’m here to address the laundering of men’s clothing since the aforementioned morning show experts decided to ignore the segment of the society most in need of this information. Even though whole books have been written on this subject, I decided to check out one of my go-to sites, The Art of Manliness. The advice that surprised me most dealt with towels. It was recommended if a man uses a towel on a daily basis, it should be washed once a week. I find this totally unacceptable. Use one towel for a whole week, what in the name of Martha Stewart is going on! I use two towels every time I shower, one for the heavy-duty drying and a second for fine tuning, and I certainly don’t use them a second time.
The website goes on to say T-shirts should be laundered after one wear, button-down shirts and sweaters after one to three wears, jeans after four to six wears and underpants after every wear. I seldom wear T-shirts more than once, but that’s only because I have a tendency to drop food on me. If I can escape a faux pas of the food sort, then that baby gets worn again. The rest sounds about right, although there was an interesting note concerning underpants.
The Art of Manliness advised men not to turn their underpants inside-out for another use. I used to think this technique was fictional; something used as a comic gimmick in a TV show or movie. But then I met Rooster Edwards, who takes this disgusting technique a few steps further. After wearing his used underpants inside-out, he then turns them right side-out for another wear and continues to alternate in such a manner for as much as a month at a time. I tell you this so if you ever hear Rooster’s wife, Ugina, refer to “Old Stripey” you will know who’s she talking about.