You know how they say "walk a mile in someone else's shoes?" I say if you really want to understand someone, fold a month's worth of their laundry.
I had last Friday off from work. It was raining out, I was bored because my wife was at work, and I saw an opportunity for brownie points spilling out the top of her already bloated laundry basket. I have completed 5 loads of my wife's laundry, and now know what it is like to be a woman in today's society/workforce/gym environment.
My friends, let me tell you something: It is BULLSHIT.
For context, let me tell you how I do my laundry: I separate it into darks and lights (sometimes, and only if I don't have cold-water detergent), set the washing machines on max (you KNOW why), throw it all in there, and then perform the same ritual with the dryer. I then fold everything into the squares that clothes seem to naturally make and toss them in my drawers. Badda-bing, badda-boom.
Here's what the ladies are dealing with:
First of all, let's discuss what a month's worth of clothes looks like for me (a business consultant and gym-goer) and for her (a public health nurse and regular exerciser). My month load will consist of 10 collared shirts (yeah, that's right, I re-wear them), 20 workout shirts, a pair of slacks, 3 pairs of shorts, 28 pairs of underwear (no, I don't re-wear those), and 28 pairs of socks...give or take a pair of sweats, for a total of 80 items. Now let's do her: 10 pairs of pants, 40 pairs of socks, 40 pairs of underwear (of varying types), 20 work shirts, 14 gym tops, 10 camisoles (it's like a tank-top), 10 bras (regular and sports), 3 pairs of sweats, 3 hoodies, and 14 gym shorts...give or take dress or two. 165 articles of clothing.
The ridiculousness starts right away. Lights and darks? Fuck no. Denim, whites, darks, and then colours. But it doesn't stop there. You see, bras can't go in with the regular wash, they need their own little baggy because they are delicate. Never mind if there's Lululemon apparel mixed in there. For some reason that shit is made of the most fragile material on earth, and anything short of hand-washing it in Holy water will make it shrink, pill, and otherwise turn into the most expensive, but oh-so-shapely, dish rag you've ever had the honour of creating.
LOADING & DRYING
If you think you can just toss it in there, add some detergent and walk away, you're on crack. Guys: do you ever wonder why there's like 20 buttons on the washing machine when we only ever use 3? "Regular Cycle, Large Load, Warm Water". Because women's clothes are made up of 5 million different types of fabric, and each one requires a different setting. Denim = Regular, Large, Cold, Knits = Gentle, Medium, Warm, High % Cotton, Silks & Lace = Gentle, Small, Cold...you get the idea. Add in the fact that lights can't go with darks and certain fabrics can't go together, and you need a God-damned algorithm that would bring down Wall Street just to figure out your load constituents. But it gets better! Because you can't just throw your washed clothes into the dryer either when you're a woman. As I now realize (FML), things like wool, bras, and bikinis can't be machine dried, or they shrink, along with your ego and self-worth.
Somehow, in the transition from washer to dryer, all of her clothing grew laces, straps, clasps, or buckles, and when the buzzer goes to signal the end of the drying cycle, everything winds up in one massive cluster-fuck. As if by some Darwinian black magic, some items are bone-dry and crackly (so THAT'S why bras don't go in the dryer) while others are balled-up, limp and soggy (dirty socks). So after you untangle and re-dry the renegade items, you are left with clothing that has more components than IKEA furniture. Why, on God's green earth, are there shirts within shirts? I feel like I just washed and dried a load of the shittiest and least fun Transformers ever created, which makes it so I can't figure out whether the clothes are inside out or not, and end up "folding" them (more like rage crushing them) each way 5 times before getting it right. Add this to the fact that nothing folds up into a perfect square, and I have invested 3 hours of my life, which I will never get back.
WHAT'S YOUR POINT?
So, what's my point? That chicks have lots of clothes, right? NO! That women have to put up with truckloads of societal horseshit, expectations and road-blocks, and that their laundry is metaphor for their life. The fact that they feel pressure to wear two different types of underwear to get them through the day so that no one sees "underwear lines" is completely normal and yet supremely idiotic. The complexity of the clothing itself is an incumbency, almost by design, created to distract from things of substance that actually matter. I say all of this with tongue slightly in cheek, of course, and yet I couldn't be more serious. My first instinct is to give my wife the gears about how many clothes she has, but if I really stop for a second, I realize that it is actually incumbent upon all of us to make her load a little bit lighter. Fuck laundry.