JJ Vincent simply does not fit the stereotype of the neat and fastidious gay guy. Blame it on the chaos fairies.
This post came about after this instant message convo with my partner.
J: maybe you just need to change perspective maybe it could be something such that the point is yes one man really does need that many bags..or so he tells me
me: LOL I have just as many – they are all just empty. the contents are spilled around the car. and the house. and my office…
J: well there is that. chaos fairys?
me: LOL yes ties in nicely to back to school
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My partner is an admitted bag…well, let’s just say he has an extensive collection of bags and carry-arounds and leave it at that. He’s very organized and tidy. I am not. Whatever stereotypical notion you have about gay men being extremely neat and fastidious, you can toss it now.
I am not that stereotype. The stereotype of the guy who drops stuff in random places, who covers the kitchen counter with litter and the table with whatever he is holding when he comes in? Yeah, that’s me. The one whose 4-seater car seats 1 and a half on a good day? That’s me, too. The dude who puts the carton back with that much milk in it? Ditto. You don’t have to worry about me leaving muddy shoes in the living room or dirty dishes under the couch…anymore…but one end table is hopelessly lost under cut fabric and and spools of thread (that’s another post altogether). I’m an expert at putting toilet paper on the roller and the hand towels back on the rack, but trust me, that’s because I was tired of inconveniencing myself.
This is the time of year when thousands of parents and caretakers are trying to get their kids ready for back-to-school. They are teaching the youngest ones to organize their papers, pencils, markers, and other assorted school supplies. They are reminding the older ones that it will be easier to keep track of things this year if the use their folders, notebooks, and bags to organize their papers, pens, calculator, etc. They are pleading with their teenagers to not just cram everything in their backpacks this year and hope it won’t get lost. They are telling themselves that because they let the kids pick their own thumbdrives that they won’t be lost by the third day, and their new uniform sweater won’t get lost under their bed (where few adults dare to go) by the fourth week.
For some kids, these lessons are barely necessary. They are genetically programmed to put-and keep-everything where it belongs. They emerge from the womb ready to organize their toys, books, onesies. For other kids, they can more-or-less get stuff where it needs to go from the first time they scream. For the rest of us, we are functionally incapable of keeping our home and car space neat and tidy.
My parents, poor souls, tried. They begged, pleaded, grounded, bribed, cajoled, threatened, argued, took my stuff away, gave it back, promised, bought organizational tools, took away my phone and tv, gave them back, stripped my room, gave up, lather, rinse, repeat. Around age 17, they gave up. I’m not sure my partner has ever forgiven them.
I’ve gotten better over the years, in the house and my office, anyway. My car, in the words of my partner, looks, “…like it needs to be picked up and shaken out.” Except for dead food, it is about as trashed as a vehicle can get. My mother has threatened me with a Smart car. A truck is just an invitation to make a bad habit worse.
I don’t believe that men are inherently slobs. Nor do I believe that someone should pick up after us. My mother used to ask if I thought she was my maid. The answer was no. I did not expect anyone to pick up after me. I just didn’t pick up after myself. I think men, straight, gay, bi, whatever, are completely capable of cooking and cleaning for themselves. We can do laundry, iron, sweep, wash dishes, wipe down countertops, make beds, even scoop cat boxes. But for some of us, putting things where they belong when we should, or picking them up when we drop them, is just…impossible.
There are so many more interesting things to do. I could pick up those socks—but there is a book next to them. I could clean out my car—but that’s time I could spend sewing. I could shelve my bags of stuff in the garage that I cleaned out of my car—but I just got a new magazine. I could hang up my clean clothes—but our out-of-town girlfriend is on Skype.
So maybe it’s not that I am an unrepentant slob. Maybe I have too many other things to oh look! a butterfly! Anyone else see it? Squirrel! SQUIRREL!!!!
photo: toms / flickr