According to the Observer, unemployed men have been reduced to poaching eggs, weighing edamame and — shocker — playing with children. But silly as their concerns may seem, they may be part of a larger recessionary turn toward housewifery.
Alexandria Symonds writes of men who, post-layoff, are forced to engage in pursuits once the province of women. Norm Elrod now fills his days with "grocery shopping and other household stuff" and "sometimes waits, June Cleaver-style" for his wife to get home. "Brad," who asked to remain anonymous, says that when he was unemployed, "If someone called me and said, 'What are you doing right now?' I would be like, 'Oh, I have so many chores to do today.' You make something out of nothing." And Robert Barr, a former publishing professional who now spends his time poaching eggs and buying leafy greens, says,
There is a weird little sense of accomplishment that you get, cleaning up the space around you. For example, today, I got up and-I have a lot of shiny surfaces in my apartment, and they really show any kind of smudges and stuff like that. They don't even have to be that dirty to look kind of bad. At one point, I was just like, 'O.K., I don't like this, I want to clean the space around my computer and I want to clean off that countertop.' And I felt good. I felt very organized.
On the one hand, it's annoying to hear work that women have done for centuries — usually without fanfare and often on top of their day jobs outside the home — treated like a new fun hobby that men just discovered. Anyone who's actually had to maintain a home, especially with kids, might dispute the idea that chores are "making something out of nothing." On the other hand, though, these guys may be tapping into a zeitgeist. Perhaps the recessionary June Cleaver fantasy is more widespread.
A few months ago we wrote about the (possible) ascendancy of the "wife" blog, and now there's a new one on the scene. Just Call Me June Cleaver titles her inaugural post, dated July 24, "How to be a 1950s housewife in the 21st Century." She writes,