(from previous post)
A washing machine is like a woman.Â Â If handled right it gets wet and inviting, and washes away all sorrows.Â Â Â But a washing machine, like a woman, is a turbulent, emotional machine.Â When something goes wrong â€” watch out!
OK, I hear you.Â My comparison of women and washing machines in my last post is borderline offensive, but I do associate washing machines with women, which is odd, since it was my father who did the laundry when I was growing up.Â Â
When my parents married, my father was a real traditional sort of husband, which meant, of course, letting my mother do all the household chores.Â At some point, when I was around six years old, my father decided to do the laundry.Â Â Did the feminist movement finally reach him?Â Did my mother have a â€œseriousâ€ talk with him while I was over at my friend Robâ€™s house playing â€œOperation?â€Â Or was it because he was able to go downstairs to the apartment building â€œlaundry roomâ€ and be the only adult male in a sea of horny housewives?
My father loved going to the laundry room and talking and joking with the women.Â I would sometimes accompany him downstairs and help him fold the towels, embarrassed that others could see my Fruit of the Loom underwear as he place it into the dryer.Â Most of the women would ignore me as they spoke with my father, hanging their enormous cupped bras right in my face, not realizing how this would affect me in my later years.Â
My father took on his laundry-chore as a job, doing it for the rest of his life, even though he never got the hang of doing it correctly.Â He was stubborn and refused to follow â€œthe rules.â€Â He mixed the whites and colors, and always dried everything on high heat.Â My underwearÂ always came out pink and too tight, proving once and for all that you are born gay.Â Â Tight, pink underwearÂ can make you look like ABBA, butÂ it canâ€™t really change your sexual orientation.Â
I went to college at Columbia in Manhattan.Â I stayed in the dorms, despite my parents living in nearby Queens.Â During my freshman year, I was so bad at doing my laundry that I would pack it in a suitcase and take it home with me on the subway to my parents.
During my sophomore year, while watching the McNeil-Lehrer Report on PBS in Nanetteâ€™s room, Nanette unbuttoned my pants and gave me a hand job.Â It was a tremendously good experience, but when I came all over her duvet cover, she immediately insisted that IÂ go downstairs to the dorm laundry room and wash the duvet cover with hot water and bleach.Â But from that day on, I did my own laundry.
When I moved to LA, a roommate found a girlfriend in a laundromat in Hollywood.Â I started doing my laundry at the neighborhood laundromat, even though there was already a decent machine in my own apartment building.Â Rumor had it that the laundromat was a good place to pick up girls, so that was the big draw.Â I was pretty bad at it.Â I felt phony acting like a dumb guy and asking questions that I already knew the answer to — like, â€œHow much Tide do I put in the double load machine?â€
I never did meet any women in a laundromat, but I enjoyed the experience.Â Women would come in looking disheveled; their hair in buns, wearing sweats and flip-flops.Â It was very easy to imagine that this is what a woman would look like in the morning after we had sex all night.Â Women became less of a mystery.Â Years before meeting Sophia, I began to understand how women used their makeup, hair, and clothes to enhance what God gave them.Â Â In the laundromat, I could see the “real” woman, and when it came down to it, even the most gorgeous woman had dirty laundry, just like everybody else.Â I consider my single maleÂ “laundromat days” as an important part of my education.
After Sophia and I got married, one of our first purchases was a Kenmore washer/dryer from Sears.Â I think it was the first time I had ever actually walked into a Sears.Â Sophia insisted that we buy a â€œfrontload washerâ€ for reasons that, years later, I still donâ€™t understand.Â
Buying a washing machine was symbolic for me.Â What could be more iconic of domestic life?Â Gone were my days of hanging out in public laundromats, watching women drying their delicates.Â We were now a family unit â€“ husband, wife, and washing machine.
Sophia and I have not had an easy marriage, but throughout the years, one constant has been our reliable Kenmore washing machine.Â It cleaned our clothes and didnâ€™t ask for anything in return.
Last week, I was packing up some books from my office.Â Sophia and I are â€œseparatingâ€ again.Â Iâ€™m supposed to be moving out by next month, but I am moving very slowly.Â
â€œNeil!â€ yelled Sophia from the garage.Â â€œThe water wonâ€™t go down.Â Something is wrong with the washing machine!â€
proving once and for all that you are born gay. Tight, pink underwear can make you look like ABBA, but it canâ€™t really change your sexual orientation.
Neil, I love your stories like this.
I was going to say they “suck me into the meat of the story” but then I reconsidered, given that Nanette vignette….so I’ll say they draw me into the drama immediately.
can’t wait for the next installment.
My father loved going to the laundry room and talking and joking with the women.
So your blog is your laundry room?
Now I wonder if he met any cute girls while he did his laundry last night?
My Freshman son, “Mom, can you dry all the clothes together in one big load?”
i wasn’t offended by the washing machine analogy. i find it to be pretty true.
Frankly, glad I missed the woman as washing machine post. But loved this one. Do you remember My Beautiful Laundrette?
Ren Kat — I loved that movie!
I kind of never want to buy a washing machine. I would rather spend that money on something fun.
(Move slower than slow, Neil. Take your time!)
The comparison betweeen your father chatting up women in the basement…and you chatting them up on the net was very touching to me. Your dad must have raised you right…
Did “the baby” in your family unit survive?? Hope so…
We just bought a new washing machine. It was the biggest one they had, top of the line, and it does everything but fold the laundry. I love it!! No one else in my family will touch the laundry but me. I am kind of like your dad; I never clean out the pockets, so I am always washing ballpoint pens. It’s a good thing polka dots are fashionable right now!
I love the images of the two men in the laundromat, one your dad, confident in doing his laundry HIS way, and you actually picturing the laundry do’ers, naked.
ah the laundromat. watching life through the cycles. liquid softner or sheets?
Scarlet — I used to think the same, but you end up saving money in the long run. Think how many quarters you use every time you go to the laundromat.
Really, I think your comparison is dead on. 🙂 Sorry to hear you’re “packing” again. Hang in there!
sorry to read about your washine machine and relationship issues. hope you’re doing okay, and not having to wear smelly clothes.
Silly me, and I always fell for the Tide line at the laundromat…
Great story Neil. Can’t wait to hear the next bit…
Nanette must have been quite a woman if she could get bring you to orgasm during McNeil-Lehr. That’s nicer than saying you must have been a helluva geek, right?
I will never watch the Newshour with Jim Lehrer the same way again.
I am not overly fond of laundromats – there is something a bit “unsanitary” about them. I really don’t care about other people seeing my unmentionables, but I have colleagues who literally freak out about going to the laundromat because their students may see their underwear.
And, I am writing this, I am actually doing my daughter’s laundry. She dropped it off before stealing my car to go visit her boyfriend in eastern PA (hopefully, she won’t return with a duvet cover for me to wash – aarrgghh!)
maybe that’s why I’ve never liked going to the laundromat – there were hardly any men there.
I’ve never read such an exciting story about laundry before.
The laundromat I went to a couple of weeks ago doesn’t take quarters. You have to purchase a card and put money on it.
Neil, I recently found your blog and love it. I have never been so riveted by laundry!
i hate doing laundry, and i don’t even have to go the quarter route any more. it should be all convenient for me. and yet i have gone out to buy underwear rather than do laundry on more than one occasion.
My partner and I just bought our first washer and dryer together after four years of laundry mats and friends’ houses. The ability to do laundry in the buff has changed my life.
If you need any tips on how to move slower than a snail, let me know.
I loathe doing laundry. Maybe once I have a place with a unit in my house, I won’t mind so much. I don’t like the pressure of having to take it out before ‘the cigar guy’ in my condo complex makes my laundry all smelly.
I don’t like the idea of someone taking my laundry out of the machine… creepy.
Not many women will deign to give you a handjob while watching the news on PBS.
the last time i went to a laundromat, a guy stood outside of the big side window while looking in and jacked-off.
i guess he was hard-pressed for a date.
hahaha in my country, nobody does their laundry in the laundromat. Everybody did theirs at home.
Damn, all the encounters I could’ve had if only I’ve bring my laundry to the laundromat. You’re making me regret it so much. For all I know, my life could’ve been so much more ‘exciting’ … instead of just sitting in front of my PC reading blogs…
When I lived in Manhattan Beach,the laundry mat might as well have been called the vagina store.
I, too, look foundly on laundromats.
Great story, anxiously awaiting part 2. Sorry to hear about the separation.
You’re such a wonderful writer. I’m glad I stumbled across your blog, and I hope you and Sophia are able to work things out.
p.s. Front load seems like it would suck b/c you can’t add the sock you dropped once the door is closed.
Yeah, I used to get my rocks off watching McNeil Lehrer, too. But after McNeil left it just wasn’t the same.