Monday, May 2, 2011
The Universal Man
Karel is only half-joking when he says he bought his apartment for the dishwasher. Our apartment had very little else to recommend it when we first moved in (more or less simultaneously), what with bare pipes running througout the walls and death-by-boring beige paint. But it did have a dishwasher, and the Tweeb spent many a cold night huddling on top of the thin metal counter, conducting the warmth of the running dishwasher into her tiny little body. (Those of you who have been to our apartment have only seen the remodeled result and not the el-cheapo predecessors.) The dishwasher itself isn't even all that impressive, either, being a relic of the '80s and guzzling energy and water at a rate that would make a BP executive blush.
But if you've never had a dishwasher before--and Karel didn't, not growing up, not in any of his previous apartments--anything that flings hot water in a circle can be a godsend. Apparently a dishwasher-less kitchen is still fairly common, as until recently most houses were built with a super-cheap kitchen that did not include extraneous applieances. The housing industry stopped the practice of building kitchens entirely in recent years (says the Biotech Guy who just bought a new house) because most people would just remodel the kitchen anyway, so if you do buy a new house, be sure to get recommendations for kitchen stores. Dishwashers these days are more efficient than hand-washing, provided you use them right--and that leads me to the point of this post: that there are certain universal male characteristics, and amongst them is apparently the utter inability to properly use a dishwasher (there's a reason it's narrated by a woman).
I'm not sure what it is about dishwashers that seems to flummox the male brain. Not covering the water jets so that the top rack can get clean just seems like common sense, but then again, people did vote for George W. Bush twice...It could be that I, growing up spoiled rotten (we did have a dishwasher, but my mother was terrified of it until I was about 8 years old) have, over the years, osmosed the logarithmic calculations juggling the size, dirtiness, and space available required to yield the maximum number of clean dishes were dishwasher run. No other appliance--granted, we don't have that many--has been the object of so much discussion about the whys and wherefores of its use.
Now, this is not to say that Karel is a Typical Guy. He's so very not-typical, in fact, that if he ever did learn how to use the dishwasher correctly, he might lose his last stake in the world of men. Then again, if you can be bossed around by a six-pound cat, you probably never belonged there, anyway.