Working from home, domesticity is a sliding scale

By Buddy Early

It’s now been over one year since I started working from home. Like many of my fellow WFH Americans, I have had to make a number of adjustments, some easy, some not so much. The double-edged sword can be best explained by my desire to be left alone vs. the reality that my charm and overall appeal require the in-person experience. (If you’re reading this and you’ve never met me, right now you’re thinking “Wait, is this guy actually tolerable?”)

Another catch-22 of this home confinement is that, truth be told, I don’t really like spending time at home. For years my usual routine was to leave home in the morning and not return until it’s time to stuff my grocery hole with whatever takeout I obtained, then hit the sack for 7-8 hours of drooling on my pillow. Being out in public, even by myself, has always been soothing for me. In short: I like being around people; I just don’t care to talk to most of them. Again, these are probably the kind of self-deprecating and snarky comments that bring people to form opinions of me. That’s on me, I suppose.

Toiling away behind a computer in my dining area while talking heads bloviate on sports shows and Law & Order reruns play on the television eight feet away has made me face a certain reality: my domestic practices are seriously lacking. As a woke gay man, I know it’s not cool to make generalizations and stereotypes. But as a person living in the actual world, I have to say that my lack of domesticity renders me a disappointment as a gay man.

It’s not that my skills are lacking. Like I said, it’s my practices. I own all the appropriate cleaning supplies and products to ensure a pristine, spotless home. Honestly, I’m practically a hoarder of cleaning supplies. And contrary to what some believe, I do know how to cook. It just seems to me that there are better things I could do with my time. So, it’s really a lack of interest that keeps me from cleaning and cooking. Yeah, that’s it!

I figure my home is clean enough. I rationalize this by recognizing that I rarely have any guests in my home whom I need to impress. This attitude might severely hinder my goal of trapping a husband – who am I, Laverne and/or Shirley? — but not make it impossible. I simply need to lower my standards to a mate who doesn’t mind that I don’t keep a spotless home. You know, look for someone down at my slovenly level. Or perhaps rather hold out for the real dream: a husband who agrees to live in separate houses yet he still pays half my bills.

And as far as cooking goes, I just don’t get the same thrill that most of my gay male contemporaries get when exercising their culinary prowess. Save your outraged letters; we all see it. Our social media is littered with the images of gourmet meals prepared with fabulousness. And, hear me out, I am impressed with and appreciate the apparent kitchen skills of my friends who, in a stroke of luck, have also mastered photography.

While I sometimes get an itch to try a recipe I found online or see on a cooking show, in the end it all seems like too much pressure. The expectations of these recipe hawkers yet again make me feel deficient. Like I missed an entire chapter on the requirements for being a functioning, respectable adult gay man.

The online recipe sites often start with 750 words (or worse, 45 slides) of the person explaining their psychological approach to preparing Grandma’s Apple Brown Betty. I lose interest after 35 words or 2 slides.

As for cooking shows, those hosts usually try to make their recipes sound simpler than they are. It states with the lie that “everything you need is something you already have in your kitchen.” The next thing you know they’re detailing a delicious fruit shake with just a few slices of kiwi, same guava (or cantaloupe, if out of guava), half a plantain, two cups of coconut rice milk, a sprinkle of Pakistani Nutmeg, and 16 ounces of fat-free plain yogurt.

I find it impossible to use half a head of lettuce before needing to throw it out, yet I’m expected to have all these random ingredients lying around? No ma’am.

The moral of this story: I’ll push a broom around more often if there are rewards, be it sex or Cheddar Bay Biscuits from Red Lobster. And I’ll cook for two if I don’t have to use more than two burners. Basically, for the right man, my level of domesticity is negotiable. Yep, that’s going on my dating profile.

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