Full disclosure: I just cleaned an entire bathroom with nothing but 3 baby wipes.
Beyond the obvious pride that comes with such an accomplishment, I'm also left with a question: why would anyone else work any harder at cleaning a bathroom than I just did? Because, and I'm not gonna lie, when I was done, that bathroom looked good, smelled good, was totally free of any visible grime, and probably didn't have too many germs left in it either (of course, my kids go to daycare, so even if there were germs left, they'd be far more scared of me than I am of them). And yet I can't help shake the feeling that half the population is repulsed by that admission and the other half is either wishing they had thought of it first or can't believe it took me that long to think of it myself. And I'd guess that demarcation falls pretty evenly along gender lines.
I'm no sexist (I do laundry and dishes...) and I'm no pig (... because I care that they get done), but it is my firm belief that women and men have big differences between them both in defining clean and determining how best to get there. This is not exactly groundbreaking territory, but we haven't covered it here yet, so my recent sojourn in the bathroom seemed like an opportune... opportunity.
Now, I've never been accused of being TOO clean (I had roommates in college -- and I'm not making this up -- who would put apple cores high up in the kitchen windows to keep the flies away from the stove and sink. Sadly, this was a step up for me, as I moved in with them from a fraternity house. Also sadly, I didn't change their system. It worked.), but I do like things picked up. Conversely, my current roommate (who is female, and who we will refer to as my "wife," as we are married) refuses to spend less than 30 minutes cleaning a half bathroom but is perfectly content with a closet knee deep in last season's fashions.
Obviously, neither strategy is foolproof. In order for her to keep everything cleaned with her particular nature, she'd have to spend approximately 30 hours/day cleaning (and that's on top of the cooking, kid-raising, full-time-job-having and book-club-attending she already does). But my strategy (where everything really, really seems clean) obviously can't be foolproof, by definition.
So which method is better? The woman way (unreasonably labor intensive, often leaving a few things out of place for "character") or the man way (in which no one would ever actually know if it wasn't clean)?
The woman way, obviously. I may be efficient when it comes to cleaning, but I'm not stupid.