Friday, December 03, 2004

Dave Barry v. The Department of Labor

Dave has a great column about the recent "dissing" of American men about how little work they do around the house compared to women, according to that evil institution The Department of Labor.
It turned out that women spend twice as much time as men on household chores and child care, while men spend more time on leisure. On the surface, this looks bad. But surface looks are often deceiving. A good example is the iceberg, which appears to be a big hunk of ice, but if you look beneath the surface, you find that it is ... OK, it is actually a big hunk of ice. So we see that this is in fact not a good example, and we should just move on.

But my point is that this survey is very misleading. Take the concept of ''housework.'' It may be true that women spend more TIME on it, but what, really, are they accomplishing? In my own home, my wife spends a lot of time picking up our 4-year-old daughter's doll clothes and laboriously putting them back on the various naked Barbies, the naked Snow White, the naked Ariel the mermaid, and the incredibly lucky naked Ken.

When my wife does this, she is clearly working, but she is not what a man would call ''working smart.'' A man knows from harsh real-world experience that all of these dolls will soon be naked again, and so he makes a conscious decision to leave the dressing of the dolls, and the cleaning of his daughter's room in general, until a more sensible and productive time, such as when his daughter enters college. But does this man get any slack from the so-called ''Department of Labor?'' He does not.