I've Seen the Ads, But I'm Not Buying

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

Madison Avenue needs to get with the program. Twice in the last week, someone has sent along a link to a television commercial that derives -- or attempts to derive -- humor from the idea that dads are dolts at home.

The first is a McDonalds spot from last year that shows a global cast of children chatting excitably in a number of foreign languages. In the last few moments, we learn what the kids were so worked up about, as a scene from the United States plays and a boy screams to his brother: "Dad's making dinner!" An international cast of dads is shown next, each clutching a bag from the Golden Arches. It's a sweet ad, until you think about the message: In all cultures, in all languages, dads don't/can't make dinner.

Similarly, a reader forwarded me a video on Kia's site in Canada showing a minivan-driving mom speeding past her home when she realizes that dad is standing on a rickety ladder with a leaf blower and the kids are running rampant. Again, the message is clear: Dad is a moron.

The "dumb dad" meme is by no means a new phenomenon. I still remember a cough syrup ad from a decade or so ago and a J.C. Penney's spot from a couple of years back that mirrored the Kia ad: When mom is sick (or shopping), the home falls apart. It's straight out of Mr. Mom (1983). (Adding insult to injury, the McDonalds spot was cited by ad maven Rose Cameron as a model example of how to market to dads.)

Fortunately, there have been seen signs that such humor is tired. Hollywood doesn't spend much time making movies about hapless fathers, Al Bundy isn't around any more (and his doofus-dad successors -- think "According to Jim" are struggling), and a "Mr. Mom" reality show floated by NBC two years ago bombed.

Apparently, however, advertisers haven't received the message.

This would all be a minor irritant if television didn't still have some power to shape culture. A couple of months ago, the National Fatherhood Initiative released a survey that found that "media/popular culture" was the second biggest obstacle to good fathering that dads cited ("work responsibilities" -- no surprise -- was number one, and "financial problems" ranked third).

Fortunately, there are always exceptions. Last year, I was repeatedly transfixed by a Jif peanut butter ad that showed a dad teaching his daughter how he made peanut-butter sandwiches. The spot ended with a twist on the usual Jif tagline: "Choosy Moms -- and Dads -- Choose Jif."

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  February 15, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Dads
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Comments

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My goodness, I am first.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 15, 2007 7:04 AM

I agree, and I think that these ads are bad for men AND women. They make men out to be idiots, and they also reinforce the idea that women are somehow supposed to be good at/enjoy these tasks. I have no patience for men who can't manage home and family tasks, AND I have no patience for women who enable that sort of behavior.

Posted by: wls | February 15, 2007 7:20 AM

In Britain, there is a TV show called "Mums on Strike." It sends about the same message as the ads - that Dads (when left alone with the kids without mom) are complete idiots. It is a reality show and I'm sure the producers pick certain families and purposely exploit the few instances where Dad messes up.

Posted by: londonmom | February 15, 2007 7:34 AM

My pet peeve is still all the laundry detergent ads that show women being extremely concerned with the state of their family's clothing. (Ring around the collar, anyone?) I don't think I've ever seen a laundry detergent commercial that shows a man doing laundry. It's kind of like there's two washing machines -- the one in the basement and mom.

I'd like to see a laundry detergent commercial featuring a man talking knowledgeably about stains and water temperatures.

Often, it's as much about what you DON"T see on TV as it is what you DO see on TV.

Regarding men cooking, there is the one where the guy makes the pancakes using the handy 'shake and pour'. That one always makes me laugh, since my husband is a much better cook than I am and if someone was going to resort to 'shake and pour pancakes', well, that would be me.

Posted by: Armchair Mom | February 15, 2007 7:36 AM

I wonder when advertisers are going to realize that modern men often do the grocery shopping for the family. My DH does far more of the shopping than I do b/c of how our schedules work. He also tends to cook more and we split the other household chores pretty equally.

Posted by: londonmom | February 15, 2007 7:41 AM

"I'd like to see a laundry detergent commercial featuring a man talking knowledgeably about stains and water temperatures."

Stains, temps? I do laundry the male way, one load, one cup of detergent, one temp.

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 7:52 AM

I hardly watch any TV that involves commericals. So I guessed I missed most of these. In the end of Mr. Mom, the dad does figure it out. In the beginning of the film, he is the doofus dad but by the end he gets it all down pat. DH actually falls close to the doofus dad but not as helpless as the media thinks. I just think some people are not interested in domestic chores and gender is probably irrelevant. Just as many women are disinterested as men. Or at least that is what I hear from parents of my generation. Do kids even watch tv shows with commericals now a days? I thought everything was tivoed or commercial free paid channels.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 15, 2007 7:55 AM

Yes, those ads infuriate me too. I am the one that does the cooking in my house, as well as most of the other "domestic" duties such as sweeping, vacuuming, putting away the clothes, etc.

The ad Brian is talking about, where the dad is showing his rapt children how he makes a sandwich, is a good one. So is the one for Jimmy Dean sausage, which has the father figure (the Sun) cooking breakfast before he goes to work ("to light and heat the Earth").

All too often, though, those are the exceptions and not the rule.

Posted by: John | February 15, 2007 7:57 AM

My husband is bad at domestic stuff, but I think I help keep him that way. Whenever he cleans or cooks I get so picky that it probably discourages him. Sometimes I think part of me wants to keep him incompetent because it makes me seem more important to the family.

Posted by: homemom | February 15, 2007 8:01 AM

I like how other people do my work for me.

Posted by: First Comment | February 15, 2007 8:04 AM

My dad was a doofus dad - so back in the 70's and 80's the ads were funny and acceptable. My husband is still kind of a doofus - when I am sick the house does fall apart and I don't let him touch the laundry - but he is much more competent when it comes to cleaning and feeding children then my dad.

I don't think my husband is offended by the ads but I will ask him. He doesn't watch Network TV (except during football season) and during commercials he is too busy channel surfing to cry out in horror at the "doofus dad" characterizations.

Posted by: cmac | February 15, 2007 8:06 AM

Thanks for the honesty, homemom! I can relate.

Many times my husband is actually pretending to be an idiot so that he can get out of doing the laundry, etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 8:07 AM


"Sum quod sum et id est totus sum" Popeye

(who had no domestic skills)

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 8:09 AM

I don't watch the ads, so they don't bother me. Don't you know how to work a remote? Or better yet, ditch the TV altogether. It's bad for kids anyway. And you must be really lonely/horny if you are "transfixed" by a TV ad!

The behavior kids witness in their own homes has a lot more influence than TV ads (that's why it's called role modeling).If the shoe fits, wear it!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 8:10 AM

John said "Yes, those ads infuriate me too. I am the one that does the cooking in my house, as well as most of the other "domestic" duties such as sweeping, vacuuming, putting away the clothes, etc. "

These ads don't bother me as they are farcical. Showing inept men on TV doesn't say anything about ME. What's important is how my wife and children see me - not how some group on Madison Avenue show "men".

If anything, this HELPED me when I was single. If women believed men couldn't do this stuff (i.e. TV brainwashed them), then anything I did that broke the "stereotype" made me look even better. So, if anything, we men should be THANKING the ad people. :)

Posted by: Father of 2 | February 15, 2007 8:19 AM

I can't stand any of these sexist ads. Whether they portray the father as incompentent or worse, the woman as a homebody cleaning the house and worrying so much about the toilet, the floors, the laundry, whatever. Does the woman ever have jobs or careers in these ads? Who creates this crap anyway? This is way I didn't let my children watch non pbs TV until they were older. I didn't want to influence their views about men and women (among other reasons).

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 8:24 AM

Fred, no way -- that's MY way of doing the laundry, too! You can't claim it as a "guy" method! :-)

I also like the sausage ad a lot. Guess I didn't think much about the McDonald's ad, because that's precisely what happens in our house when I'm out for the night. But I do agree that the stereotypes, both in TV shows and in the ads, hurt both sides (I am no more the uber-competent mom than my husband is the clueless dad). Then again, guess that's why I haven't enjoyed sitcoms much for a number of years, and religiously use my Replay.

Posted by: Laura | February 15, 2007 8:32 AM

The flip side of the Doofus Dad is the Mama's Got the Power of Clorox Two phenomenon.

Um... no. I do not make whites white like the sunshine. I guess I do laundry "the male way," too.

But what homemom describes is a big part of it, the gatekeeping. If you make someone feel like a dolt around the kids/laundry/cooking either through your own actions or the pervasiveness of those ads, well, he just might act like a dolt -- and maybe even think it's okay.

Posted by: Two kids in the Midwest | February 15, 2007 8:36 AM

The flip side of the Doofus Dad is the Mama's Got the Power of Clorox Two phenomenon.

Um... no. I do not make whites white like the sunshine. I guess I do laundry "the male way," too.

But what homemom describes is a big part of it, the gatekeeping. If you make someone feel like a dolt around the kids/laundry/cooking either through your own actions or the pervasiveness of those ads, well, he just might act like a dolt -- and maybe even think it's okay.

Posted by: Two kids in the Midwest | February 15, 2007 8:36 AM

I hate those ads. I do however like Ed O'Neil who comes from my area in Ohio.

Posted by: scarry | February 15, 2007 8:44 AM

I hate those ads--hate 'em!

I've always hated the outright bias that only mothers do the laundry, sweep, feed and give a damn. I also loathe the slant that men just don't care and/or aren't capable of doing anything around the house that doesn't involve power tools. Not that there's anything wrong with power tools, I have plenty of my own.

Posted by: MdMother | February 15, 2007 8:48 AM

If you fall for the hooks the advertisers create then you are just as foolish. Who cares who they portray as was what. It's just an ad. No more than a fancy cartoon to get you to by something. Do you actually believe a car is able to drive on 2 wheels up and down the side of a building? Of course not. Why why believe ads that portray dads as dumb?

Posted by: Mike | February 15, 2007 8:48 AM

Actually, my husband doesn't mind the ads. He is fully capable of running the house in my absence.Everytime one of those ads comes on, he looks over at me and says "See how lucky you are."

Posted by: Mom2LED | February 15, 2007 8:50 AM

Aw, crap. I just watched the McDonald's ad and, you know what, it's kind of sweet. Happy kids and dads all over the world. Dads who apparently can't cook dinner, but happy nonetheless.

Posted by: Two kids in the Midwest | February 15, 2007 8:50 AM

I agree that the commercials don't reflect the reality I see. Most college-educated guys (the targets, presumably, as they have more spending money) learned to do laundry in college, if not before. The commercials really hark back to a bad time in family life, when mom was the lowest person on the totem pole. I think they indoctrinate children into this mindset too. Another strange thing in commercials is that male-targeted ads are interesting and/or funny, while female-targeted ads are invariably boring. It's as if ad companies think women lack a brain and/or sense of humor. The only funny female-targeted ad I can remember is a recent one where a dog walks itself and it asks if you, as a mom, sometimes feel invisible.

Posted by: m | February 15, 2007 8:50 AM

Since when has ANYONE EVER believed advertisements? Get a grip.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 8:51 AM

Aw, crap. I just watched the McDonald's ad and, you know what, it's kind of sweet. Happy kids and dads all over the world. Dads who apparently can't cook dinner, but happy nonetheless.

Posted by: Two kids in the Midwest | February 15, 2007 8:51 AM

Actually, my husband doesn't mind the ads. He is fully capable of running the house in my absence.Everytime one of those ads comes on, he looks over at me and says "See how lucky you are."

Posted by: Mom2LED | February 15, 2007 8:51 AM

Laura and Two Kids in the Midwest,

Better watch out or NC Lawyer will assign you to the laundry cave! The color of the cave is dingy white.

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 8:52 AM

The ads that used to get me the worst were those Surf ads where the Dad and son went out and played sports, or did something strenuous, and then the Mom and the daughter talked about how smelly and dirty their laundry was while they did the wash. Nothing like multi-generational sexism for you. I was in junior high at the time and found the commercials very offensive.

Posted by: Beth | February 15, 2007 8:53 AM

I've been holed up at home without internet access and I have two comments to add to two earlier blogs.

Anna Nicole Smith = Erin Fleming

SAHM & WM's was covered, very nicely, by Erma Bombeck for quite some time.

And the poll, while large, certainly doesn't pretend to be a truly random sampling, so we need not get ourselves worked up over it. It's interesting, but it was only answered by people who frequent Ms. Winfrey's site anyway.

Posted by: So glad to be at work today! | February 15, 2007 8:54 AM

Do you actually believe a car is able to drive on 2 wheels up and down the side of a building? Of course not

The difference is in the car ad, there is a disclaimer that you can't drive a car like that

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 8:54 AM

Sorry, the ones who are naive and need to "get a grip" are not those who "believe the ads" but those who think that ads have no effect on our national mindset.

Posted by: Two kids in the Midwest | February 15, 2007 8:56 AM

I revile these "doofus Dads" advertisments as much as I revile the "Deadbeat Dads" moniker for all non-support paying parents. It isn't just the men and the names we put to these groups of people infuriate me.

Posted by: M | February 15, 2007 8:56 AM

I really appreciate this blow against stereotyping of dads, and men in general, as selfish incompetents with whom their suffering wives have to put up. Like many men, I hold a full-time job (my wife doesn't work) and I sometimes cook, I often clean, I do laundry, I pay the bills and of course I do all the traditional man tasks like mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, looking after the cars, etc. In my household, it is I who dare not get sick!

Posted by: Dave B. | February 15, 2007 8:57 AM

Those Dad-the-dunce ads bug me too. On a similar note, has anyone every been to one of those meal preparation places? We have Let's Dish! where I live. They are fun for a treat once in awhile, and the food is pretty good, but their whole marketing campaign is about how great moms are and how incompetent dads are in the kitchen. They have sayings posted in the walls about things like how men wouldn't know the stove if they stumbled into it. I can understand that they are marketing to their prime customers, but it is sad. My husband and I went to Let's Dish! for a 'date' one afternoon while his parents were with our kids, and you should have seen the gushing women when they saw a man participating in the cooking. It made me appreciate the great guy I'm married to, and we both got a laugh out of it.

Posted by: equal | February 15, 2007 8:58 AM

Not that I ever do any laundry around the house, but I just don't understand everybody's beef about the chore. Don't the machines do most of the work?

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 15, 2007 8:58 AM

how come only white males are shown as the incompetent ones?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 8:59 AM

I LOVE the sausage ads - so funny!

What I find ridiculous is that the usually fat doofus dad always has a super skinny, hot wife. In what universe would Courtney Thorne Smith be with Jim Belushi?

Finally re: the housecleaning ads, from what I read on this board most (not all) but most of the women ARE doing the housework - we have lots of topics on that. So it makes sense that the ads would be directed to women. I do lots of woodworking and fancy a nice table saw as much as custom drapes but I'm not upset that the tool ads aren't directed to me because most women don't do woodwork. I don't think that media is as much a driver of culture as a reflection of it - (I'd love a debate on that, I'm open to being wrong).

BTW - DD never even noticed that more than 50% of her stuffed animals were gone - can we say too many animals!

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 8:59 AM

While many of my friends have husbands who help with the housework, I have a Doofus Husband (we're not parents yet). As a matter of fact, he refers to himself as a doofus! (He is, however, my doofus, and I love him ;) )

I hardly hoard the housekeeping duties - I'm happy to share them around. But my husband still can't remember where the measuring cups or can openers are in the kitchen, what closet contains the vacuum cleaner, and despite being able to do his own laundry when I met him, he immediately lost the knowledge of how the washer worked when I moved in with him after our engagement.

He does cook occasionally, but only when the spirit moves him, and that's usually in the summertime when his grill is available to him. So he wouldn't starve...but he would have dirty laundry. And the dog would be running rampant, too - I come home when it's just the two of them and have invariably found her on the "good" couch (which she doesn't even attempt when I'm home) or into the pile of paper-recycling, because my husband isn't paying attention.

Some husbands are still doofuses - but that doesn't mean the women can't be doofuses, too. One of my good friends is still a horrible cook and not the best housecleaner - her husband does all of that. I don't buy products or watch shows based on the doofus-osity of the husbands portrayed though - mostly because they take the stereotype too far. But stereotypes are usually based on a grain of truth that is blown out of proportion. For these ads to work, that grain of truth has to be there, RebelDad. Not all husbands take a page from your book. ;)

Posted by: Chasmosaur | February 15, 2007 9:00 AM

The point I'm making is that white males are the last group society in general think it is OK to make fun of. Whether it is for entertainment (According to Jim, etc), or advertising, they stereotype men as being clueless, but goodhearted guys who somehow have the intelligent and incredibly attractive wife to figure things out for him.

Now, there is a commercial I like that shows a woman climbing up on the roof to get a cat, slips, falls and ends up hanging onto the gutter. While she's just hanging there, she looks into the open window (why not climb on in, idiot?) reaches in and cleans out the cat litter box, before the gutter pulls out some more.

I can't, however, think of another one where the woman is shown as being incompetent instead of the man. The typical ad shows the man bumbling around until his wife calls the repair man to get the job done properly.

Posted by: John | February 15, 2007 9:02 AM

What I find ridiculous is that the usually fat doofus dad always has a super skinny, hot wife. In what universe would Courtney Thorne Smith be with Jim Belushi?

Because as you women tell us, a sense of humor is the best trait in a man. We aren't so shallow as to judge a man on his looks.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 9:05 AM

"Sorry, the ones who are naive and need to "get a grip" are not those who "believe the ads" but those who think that ads have no effect on our national mindset."

Our "national mindset?" Are you kidding? Do you honestly believe that marketing has that much effect on people's attitudes? Maybe you should turn off the TV once in a while if you believe that it has that much influence on your family. I find your comment to be pathetic!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 9:06 AM

I think the point with the advertising is that it perpetuates the image of Mom as a "homemaker" - cooking, cleaning, watching over the kids - and Dad as clueless when it comes to such things. By implication, it reinforces traditional gender stereotypes. And the media is powerful whether you like it or not. It has nothing to do with whether you personally believe whatever it is that the ad is selling.

It is the same reason why everybody is up in arms about all the size 0 models on the runways. It is perpetuating a standard that is unhealthy for society.

Posted by: londonmom | February 15, 2007 9:07 AM

Man white males sure have it bad. They don't get any respect in this society, they are powerless how dare we mock them! Who do you think is greenlighting these ads?

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 9:08 AM

I'm not sure which is worse - being the bumbling dad in a few commercials or the woman on whom 90% of the chores seem to fall. ;)

Posted by: footloose and child-free | February 15, 2007 9:08 AM

Maybe they should have an ad that families go to McDonalds when neither mom nor dad want to cook. That is how it is at our house. That would me more realistic. My kids get to eat fast food maybe once a month so when its that day they are excited.

Posted by: Not Busy | February 15, 2007 9:09 AM

who do you think is creating these ads?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 9:10 AM

I'll bypass your rather meaningless "pathetic" comment.

But we do, in fact, "trun off the TV once in a while." In fact my family watches very very little TV. But, even though I'm not one of them, I'm not naive enough to think that 100 million people watching the Superbowl and tens of millions of people watching American Idol aren't also seeing the commercials and absorbing some of the values they see presented there on a subconscious level.

Posted by: Two kids in the Midwest | February 15, 2007 9:10 AM

Yep. The road to misandry has been paved by advertisers reinforcing damaging stereotypes to make a buck. We've bought it every step of the way, and I don't think we have much to show for it except a lot of bitter people all over the spectrum.

Posted by: Helen | February 15, 2007 9:11 AM

"The difference is in the car ad, there is a disclaimer that you can't drive a car like that"

And there has to be a disclaimer on these ads that says not all dads are like this????

Come on. Common sense has to come into play at some point

Posted by: Mike | February 15, 2007 9:12 AM

How come the McDonalds families are never fat and yelling at the kids like the families I see there?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 9:13 AM

Fo4, for me, it's the folding and putting away -- multiple loads, multiple kids, and I never remember to get it out of the dryer until right before bedtime, when I don't want to stay up an extra half-hr to take care of it all. So usually we just live out of "clean laundry" piles -- until company comes to visit! Luckily, my 5-yr-old is now excited to learn to do her own laundry (hallelujah). In the grand scheme of things, yeah, it's a minor annoyance -- but it's the one we haven't figured out how to make go away!

Fred, does the laundry cave come with laundry service, in light of our incompetence? Or do I get stuck doing everyone else's laundry as penance? If the former, sign me up -- I don't care WHAT color you make it! If the latter, noooooooo!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Laura | February 15, 2007 9:13 AM

Yes, those adds (and TV shows) mocking Dads and men, in general, are infuriating. Those adds have been pervasive for some 25-30 years now. I am a 53 year old male and, by choice, never married. No kids. I cook, clean the house, do laundry, have never been late paying a bill, ect. minus the nagging of an unsupportive, uncooperative, financially profligate spouse and spoiled kids. I refuse to be a PAM and, anytime a woman makes a disparraging remark about men, she is immediately corrected. I will NOT "kow tow" or acknowledge what I consider the on-going feminization of America. Do I get mad at women? No! I get mad at men (PAM's) who simply roll over and allow themselves to be the target of these stereotypes.

Posted by: Him | February 15, 2007 9:16 AM

Come on. Common sense has to come into play at some point

If common sense were truly common, there would be no need for a disclaimer on the car ad.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 9:16 AM

The "bumbling dad" myth is set into motion well before a man becomes a father. There is a whole set of pre-natal books that hammer this stereotype:

http://ninemonthodyssey.blogspot.com/2007/01/estimating-fatherhood.html

That said, I do the laundry for my family (myself, wife and baby-to-be) and am very proud of it.

Posted by: SJF | February 15, 2007 9:18 AM

"If common sense were truly common, there would be no need for a disclaimer on the car ad."

That's the most sense I have heard all day

I this case I am going to have to agree with that. There is no common sense anymore.

Posted by: Mike | February 15, 2007 9:20 AM

moxiemom: That is great about the stuffed animals. Our only fear is we will toss the one stuffed animal that would cause heart break. But I suppose you can talk to your DD about which ones she truly loves. Again, my DD has started hiding her favorite toys in fear of them being tossed. It lets me know which ones she wants to keep and I am free to rid the others.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 15, 2007 9:21 AM

Just don't do anything you see on Mythbusters!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 9:21 AM

Yes, common sense is truly in short supply, or the myriad consumer warning labels on everything from ladders to the gel packages in appliance boxes would not be needed. My poor table saw is liberally coated with the things, as if people need to be warned that spinning pieces of jagged steel are dangerous!


Posted by: John | February 15, 2007 9:21 AM

To John:

Actually, people are sensitive to being made fun of - white guys are just the safest group to make fun of these days. There's no political-incorrectness in doing so. Do you think Peter Sellers could have made the Pink Panther movies today referring to Kato as a "yellow devil"?

I'm Italian - you think I enjoy the fact that everyone thinks I have relatives in Sicily, eat at Olive Garden, and I must have received no wedding presents but a purse stuffed full of cash?

(For the record - my family's lineage is from Naples and Florence; not one recipe I know involves pouring alfredo pasta over a steak; and while I received cash at my wedding, it was from my husband's Slavic family - my family always gives gifts.)

Mostly, I just shrug the stuff off, and only point out the grossest of errors (i.e. - if you're Italian, you do not automatically have a mafioso connection), or reprimand the really horrendous slurs (I been referred to openly as a "dago" or a "wop" - so much for enlightened 21st century culture).

Everyone is sensitive to their own identity being slighted. You just learn to shrug it off and live your own life and understand where offense is truly meant.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | February 15, 2007 9:23 AM

Common sense left town with personality responsibilty right behind it.

Posted by: Missicat | February 15, 2007 9:23 AM

"In what universe would Courtney Thorne Smith be with Jim Belushi?"

In my neighborhood, most of the men are pretty hunky and their wives are fat, whiney slobs.


"I hold a full-time job (my wife doesn't work) and I sometimes cook, I often clean, I do laundry"

Why? What does your wife (probably fat & lazy) do all day?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 9:24 AM

Now this has turn into a race issue. I agree with Missicat. Common sense and personal responsibility are truly things of the past.

Posted by: Mike | February 15, 2007 9:27 AM

foamgnome - yeah, it is a touchy subject. However, while I was born in the morning, I wasn't born this morning. I put the animals in a bag in the attic just in case she freaks out! That said, my kids don't even want to part with Pjs or swimsuits that are two sizes too small. They gotta get over that or they are going to be those weirdos on Oprah with rooms full of newspapers and cats!

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 9:29 AM

"Fred, does the laundry cave come with laundry service, in light of our incompetence?"

Our facilities manager would have to give you info on that. He seems to be out to lunch, I think his name is Jim.

"I don't care WHAT color you make it!"

Better be careful, you may have a sage green one.

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 9:30 AM

I wasn't very skillful at first, but I've learned how to cook. My mother insisted that I knew how to do laundry and clean up after myself. I love her dearly for it. Teach your sons to do these things; someday, he'll be grateful too, and so will his family. As for stereotypes about "doofus dads" I do my best to ignore them. White men are easy targets for ridicule these days. Culturally, they are seen as oppressors. In small ways, to ridicule them allows minorities to be the oppressors for a change, to feel better about themselves. It would be refreshing if we ALL could laugh at ourselves, and feel good about ourselves without putting anyone else down. Of course, this is hopelessly naive. Human nature won't allow us all to live without insulting each other. Pathetic, but true.

Posted by: CommonSense | February 15, 2007 9:34 AM

Because as you women tell us, a sense of humor is the best trait in a man. We aren't so shallow as to judge a man on his looks.

Posted by: | February 15, 2007 09:05 AM

Ummm, yeah, we don't really mean that. Also the thing about "size" not being an issue - we don't mean that either - we are just being nice. Sorry!

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 9:37 AM

There's an interesting article about an alpha cook husband in today's NY Times.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 9:37 AM

In too many homes, no matter how powerful successful and busy the mom and supportive the dad, mom does the menial picking up work. I can never get out of my mind an article that was in the paper (I think the washington post) when Eileen Collins, the first woman to pilot the space shuttle, returned. They interviewed her a few days later and she said the family was fine, but she had been doing housework because the house fell apart. She was in outer space for goodness sakes and the kids and dad couldn't keep the house clean?

Posted by: Sad but true | February 15, 2007 9:38 AM

"They gotta get over that or they are going to be those weirdos on Oprah with rooms full of newspapers and cats!" LOL

Posted by: londonmom | February 15, 2007 9:38 AM

I couldn't agree more, Brian. My wife and I have discussed these ads for years now and we both hate them. They encourage the stereotype that men are incompetent when it comes to the house and kids. This, in turn, makes it acceptable to make fun of men when they do make mistakes at home or with the kids (as if women never did). Moreover, it encourages the whole notion of men "helping" around the house or "helping" with the kids. These ideas should be put to rest. They simply make it sound as though men are just assistants to the big boss (Mom) and incompetent assistants at that.

Fathers should be equal partners when it comes to raising kids and, for the most part, they are equal partners. I know very few dads who don't take their responsibilities as seriously as their wives.

Brian, how come your posts are so much more interesting and thoughtful than Leslie's (Anna Nicole Smith, anyone?)?

Posted by: Ryan | February 15, 2007 9:40 AM

okay what about the combos commericial with the guy in drag giving his sick kid pizza combos or whatever ... "combos, it's what your mom would feed you, if your mom were a guy" i think that one is marketing to guys, right? so the tactic isn't aimed at one demographic in particular.

and to be fair i think it's a funny ad, but i generally agree that there's nothing helpful about reinforcing the idea that dad's are domestically useless.

Posted by: ffx | February 15, 2007 9:42 AM

These ads demonstrate 3 things: 1) Advertising creatives lazily resort to cliches 2) Their clients are petrified of any risk so they rely upon the hackneyed and 3) Disconnect-- Madison Avenue and Wall Street have no clue what happens on Main Street

Posted by: Mikopedia | February 15, 2007 9:42 AM

Remember that Diet coke ad a few years back that got mem up in arms - the one with the really hot construction workers and the women checking them out while they were on their diet coke break? It was pretty reflective of how women were treated as sex objects in ads, but once it happened to a man it was totally wrong and unacceptable. Since the dawn of television women are in the ads for cleaning, cooking, sweeping etc - all brain washing them and men that this is what women do and should be concerned about... so there is an ad out there that shows men that do no cook - get over it, it is much less damaging that 50 years of ads of women in the kitchen and laundry room!!

Posted by: single mom | February 15, 2007 9:44 AM

I would be offended, but I just shrank a bunch of sweaters by sticking them in the dryer. D'oh! I can cook though. LOL. I am sick of stereotypes and people using them to find fault with individuals who have not wronged them. Much deeper, I once had a boss who said she had been working for white males her whole life and now she had one working for her. She then delegated all the work to me, took credit for it, and slacked off- then had the nerve to constantly put me down.

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 9:45 AM

I'm glad I'm not the only one who was annoyed by the JC Penney "Where Is Your Mother?" ads. They actually managed to be offensive to men (incompetent boobs), women (chocolate-addled shoe shopping addicts) and children (out of control brats).

Posted by: E | February 15, 2007 9:47 AM

John wrote: I can't, however, think of another one where the woman is shown as being incompetent instead of the man.

A few years ago there was a commercial in which the panicked wife in the kitchen said something to the effect of "I almost poisoned my family with salmonella from raw chicken on my counter!" Then the husband leans in with serious voice and says something to the effect of "I gave her "X brand" disinfectant spray." Oh how I hated that commercial! I've also seen car ads in which the woman is pretty airheaded and the male salesperson is knowledgeable.

Posted by: Vienna | February 15, 2007 9:47 AM

Moxiemom, the more worn the stuffed animal looks, the more it is loved.

Suspect the same is true with parents too.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 15, 2007 9:47 AM

moxiemom, I'm actually relieved to hear that your kids are hoarders -- my daughter is the same way, and I flip-flop between "it's a stage" and "oh my God, she's gonna be Monk." She HATES getting rid of clothes -- she has nightgowns that are practically t-shirts now, but she will NOT give them away! And she's got a freaking photographic memory, so if I get rid of stuff while she's not there, she'll notice it's gone and be really upset about something. I'm definitely going to try the bag in the attic approach -- good way to go halfway and still be able to recover if I've misjudged any items.

And Fred, I will trade sage green for laundry service any day!

Posted by: Laura | February 15, 2007 9:47 AM

If so many men are blaming TV-images as the reason for their poor parenting, then they are morons!!!! More importantly; they aren't men.

I think there needs to be a new set of qualifications for being a man. If you ever, EVER mutter the words, "because the TV says so," you need to have your testicles removed so you'll never be allowed to pass-on your incredibly stupid genes.

Posted by: Ingvy | February 15, 2007 9:48 AM

"I'm glad I'm not the only one who was annoyed by the JC Penney "Where Is Your Mother?" ads."

I know someone who cancelled her JC Penney card over that ad.

Hate those incompetent-men ads. Hate them.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 15, 2007 9:49 AM

I tend to believe that my children will believe what they see from me (Daddy!) more than what's on TV, so I cook, I vacuum, I give baths and change diapers, and I play. I let my kids make mistakes and I help them learn from them. A dad can't do much better than that.

Posted by: 23112 | February 15, 2007 9:50 AM

the more worn the stuffed animal looks, the more it is loved.

Suspect the same is true with parents too.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 15, 2007 09:47 AM

Fo4 - I can only hope that my husband feels the same applies to me as well. I'm getting a little mileage on me here.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 9:50 AM

Yeah, and Ozzy Osbourne music is responsible for satanism and suicidal teens!

Posted by: To Two kids in the Midwest | February 15, 2007 9:53 AM

Comment on the detergent ads. In "the feminine mystique" the author interviews an ad exec about those ads and all the levels of washing. He told her that they made washing more complex to convince women (1) that it required specialized knowledge and was worth their time to do and (2) to spend more money on stuff to do it. When I read this it was a revelantion. I knew all that washing stuff was crap! Towels, sheets, and underwear on hot, everything else cold or warm, and dry everything on a rack. Save money, time, and everyone can do it! It's all a conspiracy!

Second comment on the impact of advertising. You should read "Can't buy my love" by Jean Kilbourne. Once you get educated to how advertising works you'll see how it affects the world (and you). Advertisers themselves claim they don't affect how people think (that it's free will and common sense), but they drop BILLIONS into it. Everyone, everyone really needs to be educated to advertising for their own sake and their children's.

Posted by: running | February 15, 2007 9:54 AM

They gotta get over that or they are going to be those weirdos on Oprah with rooms full of newspapers and cats!

That is priceless. My friend describes her daughter as a bag lady. She even likes to keep gum wrappers and candy wrappers.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 15, 2007 9:54 AM

Thank God For Word

-off topic-

Special thanks to all the SAHPs. Anyone who has the energy and creativity to be with their (pre-school) children all day everyday deserves respect. You are doing God's work.

Needless to say, my snowed in experience was less than ideal, but I do love my child and tried to make the best of it.

-back to topic-

Since the 1970's my father has done the grocery shopping, but his cooking skills left much to be desired. He was a doofus dad as far as household chores, but that is because my parents had their "roles", many of them sexist, but its worked for them for 40+ years, so I'm not one to judge. However its 2007, and my husband needs to be able to take care of the house and kids should I ever become disabled or (God forbid) deceased while our kids are young. With that said, its not a good idea for the media to perpetuate the idea that slacking on cooking, cleaning, and child rearing is a man's duty.

Posted by: TGF Work | February 15, 2007 9:56 AM

I share the frustration about the idiot dad sterotypes because it also encourages fathers to take a lesser role in raising their kids. However, I must admit that I use it to my advantage sometimes, particularly when I don't want to do something cleaning related. Since men are assumed to do all "man" tasks, it doesn't seem fair to me to expect them to do all "women" tasks as well. We don't expect women to fix the house or do "man tasks", so why should men be expected to do everything?

Posted by: JDS | February 15, 2007 9:56 AM

If so many men are blaming TV-images as the reason for their poor parenting, then they are morons!!!! More importantly; they aren't men.

I think there needs to be a new set of qualifications for being a man.
=====================================
Perhaps we can all agree that it's disheartening to see those old chestnuts in the media (let's not forget print and radio!) even to this day.

It's...noxious. It's battery acid to the heart and soul.

Humans are very visual, and sadly it's semi-hard wired within us to believe what we SEE.

So, we "know better", but it's hard to beat back at the imagery. Ditto for what we hear. Come on, we all know that if you tell a person they are a worthless pile of cr@p, day after day, that there is a very good chance they will believe it on some level. For an over-heated example, but perhaps one we can agree upon.

It brings to mind a Dutch proverb that I use as my maxim every time I get a catalogue (and promptly drop it into the recycling bin):

The heart desires what the eyes see

Just a thought.

Posted by: MdMother | February 15, 2007 9:56 AM

Men and cooking.

In my experience, most famous chefs are men. In New Orleans, there are many, think Paul P. Emeral(sp). No, I am not discounting Julia. Think of all the chefs you see on cooking shows. I would say over 50% are men.

I wonder where men got the rap for being bad cooks?

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 9:57 AM

Oops, that should be Work, not Word...

Posted by: TGF Work | February 15, 2007 9:58 AM

Has anyone seen the Volvo ad where the dad is buckling the little girl into the car seat, and she's prattling on about... something nonsensical in the way that little children do. The father is delightedly listening to her as he buckles her in, then runs around to the driver's seat and gets in to drive away, still with this big ol' "it's great to be a Dad" grin on his face as the kid just keeps talking. The ad promotes Volvo as a safe family car and the tagline is, "Who would you give a Volvo to?"

I smile every time I see it. It seems like a much more respectful way to market to parents in general, and dads in particular.

Posted by: Tiffany | February 15, 2007 9:58 AM

I don't let my husband touch the laundry. I'm tired of whites becoming "beige" or "taupe" from being thrown in with dark colors. I'm tired of my nice wool sweaters shrinking so that my 3 yr old can wear them!

He does try and I love that. He's currently taking 1 month off before he starts a new job and he offered to do the laundry today. I nixed that idea immediately- but it;s the thought that counts!

He went food shopping last week and has done the dishes every day (wash, dry AND put back inside of the cabinets!!! They're not always in the right spot, but he does it). But you should have seen the details I had ot go into on the shopping list! It was pretty funny.

Sometimes I feel as if I'm micromanaging what he does around the house, but he just doesn't get the laundry thing. And I really do prefer "running the household". lol.

Men have come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. I think it's great. And the younger generations have seen nothing other than dads being more involved in child rearing and household duties that things can only get better. i have hope!

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | February 15, 2007 9:59 AM

This is obviously a liberal paper and blog. It's not enough that advertisers place disclaimers on their ads. Most of the say-home-soccer moms here believe that advertisers should be more soccer mom "friendly". Who the f cares. They are just ads. I bet many "moms" here blame video games for murder, rape and DWI too.

Go back to watching TV and sitting on your backsides. This country will always be run by men because many of the women are to touchy-feely to know the difference between reality and TV. PMS would be the start of WWIII of a woman ran this country.

Posted by: Mike C | February 15, 2007 9:59 AM

anon at 9:06 says, "Do you honestly believe that marketing has that much effect on people's attitudes? Maybe you should turn off the TV once in a while if you believe that it has that much influence on your family. I find your comment to be pathetic!"

Posted by: | February 15, 2007 09:06 AM

you must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed to be tossing "pathetic" around before 10 a.m. and over such a minor-league topic.

There is an entire industry built around creating good ads, ads that sell products, because - duh - certain ad campaigns result in higher sales of products than others. Published study upon study shows that marketing has a significant effect on attitudes, and marketing certainly isn't limited to television ads - it's all around you on the side of the metrobus, in paid placements in movies, before every movie in the movie theatre, etc.

Most of us realize that advertising has a societal impact, but we tend to think it only influences the purchases and attitudes of everyone else and not us. We are kidding ourselves.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 9:59 AM

This is obviously a liberal paper and blog. It's not enough that advertisers place disclaimers on their ads. Most of the say-home-soccer moms here believe that advertisers should be more soccer mom "friendly". Who the f cares. They are just ads. I bet many "moms" here blame video games for murder, rape and DWI too.

Go back to watching TV and sitting on your backsides. This country will always be run by men because many of the women are to touchy-feely to know the difference between reality and TV. PMS would be the start of WWIII of a woman ran this country.

Posted by: Mike C | February 15, 2007 10:01 AM

My husband hates those ads too. He's pretty competent, and I like to think I am too. He thinks it adds to what he calls 'mommy guilt,' or mothers who think that they have to do everything for it to be right.

The husband to wife 'aren't you lucky' comments in response to the commercials bug me. Why is your wife lucky? Because you aren't a stumbling idiot? If she's anything like me, she wouldn't have married a moron who can't feed his kids.

Posted by: Ann Arbor | February 15, 2007 10:02 AM

On a positive note, I watched Medium last night and was pleased by how the father is portrayed.

The mother of the family is posessed by a crime victim -- she doesn't think she's herself.

And the dad does a competent, caring job of caring for his children while helping the woman resolve the mystery.

Yeah, he ordered pizza once, but who wouldn't in that situation? There were no scenes of dishes piling up, stinking piles of laundry, or starving dirty children. The kids missed their mother, but not because they weren't being cared for.

The dad quietly and carefully did what needed to be done.

Which is how I think most dads would respond. It was good to see.

Posted by: JohnMcG | February 15, 2007 10:03 AM

PS
"We don't expect women to fix the house or do "man tasks", so why should men be expected to do everything?"

Um, the majority of women I know mow lawn, change oil, etc. We both fix things around the house. What exact 'man tasks' are you talking about?

Posted by: Ann Arbor | February 15, 2007 10:05 AM

If she's anything like me, she wouldn't have married a moron who can't feed his kids.


I am glad that your are soooooo perfect and your hubby is also!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 10:06 AM

I checked with Jim. The laundry cave does, in fact, come with a laundry service, including minor repairs, alterations, and mending, at no additional charge.

In one half of the cave (named after Fred), all clothes are washed together in hot water.

In the other half of the cave, colors and whites are washed separately, but only in cold water. Blacks stay black. Nothing ever shrinks, but you have to decide that you like dingy gray and do not strive for whiter whites.

There is no sage green paint for sale within 200 miles of the caves, and the legislature is voting today on a resolution to permanently ban the manufacture and supply of sage green paint based on a study published yesterday that sage green paint is singlehandedly responsible for the effects of global warming.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 15, 2007 10:06 AM

How about all the beer commercials that feature men having a good time? "Normal" looking women don't drink beer and hang out with each other or groups of men? I do!!

And speaking of men having a good time, the ad where the man (hanging out with his male friends in the backyard) calls his wife on the phone to "order" a pizza makes me laugh when she turns on the sprinklers.

Posted by: Columbia, MD | February 15, 2007 10:07 AM

Um, the majority of women I know mow lawn, change oil, etc. We both fix things around the house. What exact 'man tasks' are you talking about?

I doubt that seriously but if true, why do you even need or want a man?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 10:08 AM

There is no sage green paint for sale within 200 miles of the caves, and the legislature is voting today on a resolution to permanently ban the manufacture and supply of sage green paint based on a study published yesterday that sage green paint is singlehandedly responsible for the effects of global warming.

Wow, I guess I started a blog sub culture who hate sage green.:)

Posted by: foamgnome | February 15, 2007 10:09 AM

OFF TOPIC ALERT!

NC L

Did you see my Latin phrase sent to you late on yesterday's blog?

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 10:11 AM

to 10:08 - are you really implying that the only reason why women need or want a man in their lives is to do "man" chores, such as mowing the lawn? Ummm...ever hear of love and companionship? Geez and VD was only yesterday!

Posted by: londonmom | February 15, 2007 10:14 AM

This is a great topic. These ads happen because dads are not a sacred cow like women, minorities, gays etc. It is open season. These ads are ridiculous compared to the norm of what dads are capable of and do on a daily basis. Children who grow up thinking dads are doofus, grow up insecure. Fortunately it is just another hollywood fiction.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 10:14 AM

Just heard that Jet Blue made people in New England sit on a runway for 8 hours! Can you imagine if they had let that 3 year old stay on the plane!

By the way, I'm a sub-par cook and housekeeper, but I just re-grouted the entire shower, installed a sink and faucet and replaced all the trim on the first floor. DH can't/doesn't want to do those "man" things, but I still need him as my friend, lover, number on fan and wonderful father to my children. Its easier to hire a handyman than it is to hire a super father.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 10:15 AM

Come on, do you really think I was saying we are perfect, or do you have something constructive to add?

I don't think wives should be overly grateful for competent husbands, or husbands should be overly grateful for competent wives.

Sounds like people are a little grumpy this morning.

Posted by: Ann Arbor | February 15, 2007 10:15 AM

"Um, the majority of women I know mow lawn, change oil, etc. We both fix things around the house. What exact 'man tasks' are you talking about?

I doubt that seriously but if true, why do you even need or want a man?"

I do all the home repair. I want to live with my husband because I love him, not because I'm physically or financially dependent on him. I presume he wants to live with me because he loves me, not because I cook dinner or rewire the lamps. Although I don't know; maybe it really gets men going when women display rudimentary electrical knowledge and I just never knew it.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 15, 2007 10:16 AM

Get a grip people - there are real problems in the world, and this is not one of them.

Posted by: 22209 | February 15, 2007 10:18 AM

Father of 4:

I do all the washing and ironing but I agree with you that laundry is one of the easiest chores. When someone complains about it I imagine my ancestors (or their servants) washing clothes in rivers.

Moxiemom:

Yes, size matters but not the way guys think. Most women have a minimum length requirement. After that has been met size doesn't matter. For example, is the difference between six and eight inches really crucial?

On another note, I get pissed off when my husband helps with the baby, does the dishes, or makes dinner and then forces me to congratulate myself on how lucky I am to have such an enlightened man. I tell him, "You wanted this daughter at least as much as I did. It's only natural that you should change her diaper sometimes."

I think white men are portrayed as doofuses (doofi?) in commercials because it is simply more credible. Many black and Hispanic men who are beyond a certain age and have a good job won't even think about helping around the house. In my personal experience sexism is far more rampant in the Black community. Unfortunately, we tend not to see in what position our apotheosis of the "strong black man" leaves black women.

Posted by: Denk | February 15, 2007 10:18 AM

Lizzie writes: I'm glad I'm not the only one who was annoyed by the JC Penney "Where Is Your Mother?" ads." I know someone who cancelled her JC Penney card over that ad.

Bravo to your friend! Would that there were more like her.

The only message that has half a chance of convincing advertisers to take a more respectful approach (see, e.g., reference to Volvo ad above) is the one that we consumers can send with our money. To paraphrase from another context, "Don't buy it, and they won't advertise it that way."

P.S. If you have a couple more minutes, check out the thoughtful posts by our regulars foamgnome, dotted and NC mom on today's "On parenting" blog.

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 10:19 AM

"Um, the majority of women I know mow lawn, change oil, etc. We both fix things around the house. What exact 'man tasks' are you talking about?

I doubt that seriously but if true, why do you even need or want a man?"

I do all the home repair because I enjoy it. I want to live with my husband because I love him, not because I'm physically or financially dependent on him. I presume he wants to live with me because he loves me, not because I cook dinner or rewire the lamps. Although I don't know; maybe it really gets men going when women display rudimentary electrical knowledge and I just never knew it.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 15, 2007 10:21 AM

CAN EVERYONE PLEASE IGNORE MIKE C'S COMMENT?! THANKS!! I'M NOT IN THE MOOD TODAY- MUST BE THAT PMS...LOL WINK WINK

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 10:21 AM

Pabsp Blue Ribbon is a premium beer. It says so on the can.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 15, 2007 10:22 AM

off topic to NC Lawyer: Coach K and his boys answered my Valentine's wish. If your kids stayed up to watch the whole game they had longer staying power than I did!

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | February 15, 2007 10:25 AM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/13/AR2007021301371.html


Did you read the article in this paper yesterday on some women's attitude towards relationships?

Posted by: to Londonmom | February 15, 2007 10:25 AM

My favorite dad commercial is that car one (I forget the brand- oops) in which the little girl is just TALKING TALKING TALKING away and he wants to keep listening so he shuts the door and runs to the driver's seat so he doesn't miss a word.

I think that is the cutest commercial ever. It makes me laugh every time (we have a VERY talkative little girl and my husband does the same thing! So cute)

Posted by: Best DAD Commercial EVER | February 15, 2007 10:25 AM

"CAN EVERYONE PLEASE IGNORE MIKE C'S COMMENT?! THANKS!! I'M NOT IN THE MOOD TODAY- MUST BE THAT PMS...LOL WINK WINK"

Looks like everyone was until you said something. Thanks, I feel better now.

Posted by: Mike C | February 15, 2007 10:30 AM

I love that Volvo commercial too - one of my nieces was exactly like that!

Posted by: Missicat | February 15, 2007 10:31 AM

off topic to NC Lawyer: Coach K and his boys answered my Valentine's wish. If your kids stayed up to watch the whole game they had longer staying power than I did!

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | February 15, 2007 10:31 AM

Well, I have worked in television for many years but can't take responsibility for the advertising. To me, much of it insults the intelligence and has no purpose other than brand recognition. In other words, the story does't really matter.

Sometimes I get mad at the "guy is a dope" type ad but usually it is because the smart-ass woman is so obnoxious. Other times, like the ad (for coffee, I think) where the guy wakes up to discover he is married to the cute woman across the breakfast table, I enjoy very much.

I guess the wit and the personalities are the key for me.

You can drive yourself crazy with this stuff. The idea that my life is unfulfilled because I don't drive this or that or eat this or that or wear this or that is grating on my nerves.

My wife, who is much smarter than I, tells me to ignore the ads.

Posted by: Dave | February 15, 2007 10:32 AM

As for why this matters, it's not just dad whining that they don't get a medal for doing a load of laundry or putting a casserole in the oven.

It's that fatherlessness is still a problem. Accepting the respsonsibilities of fatherhood is seen as a choice in a way that mother hood is not.

And who would choose a lifestyle where one is always an incompetent doofus being outsmarted by his wife and children?

I'm not saying these portrayals take dads off the hook for evading their responsibilities or doing a half-assed job fo fulfilling them. But they do create a disincentive for them to get involved in the first place, and that matters.

Posted by: JohnMcG | February 15, 2007 10:34 AM

They do the ads because they can and get away with it. White men are alaways the idiots in the movies, televeision ads, politics, crime etc. etc.its our societies norm. We would never make women out to be what we portray men as, who would want that type of agravation in their lives

Posted by: mcewen | February 15, 2007 10:36 AM

The whole point is that children DO believe what they see on TV! From Homer Simpson to the Nasonex ad (mom dusting, dad playing at the computer), they are barraged by negative stereotypes. My two sons, now grown, at one point made fun of me regularly, and it was those damned stereotypes that did it. I finally had to sit them down for a talk. Ever seen a Barenstain Bears show? Dumb dad, smart female scout leader. It's everywhere.

Posted by: Gene | February 15, 2007 10:38 AM

I rarely watch TV (we don't have cable so reception is awful,) so I don't see this too often, but have seen it in the past.

But this weekend I was on a business trip and watched one of those redecorating shows where the person is away and the place gets redone in their absence. Well, there were two designing women and one man, a tool-guy and somewhat of a designer himself and the whole dialog and vibe of the show was built around what a haphazard, tardy, bumbling knob the man was, and how, in spite of his goof-ball ways the project gets done. It was a really tired bit.

Of course, my ex-husband, who not only doesn't work, but hasn't paid child support in ten years, makes for a bad up-close example of the capable man. Regardless, I continue to believe that men are great and that perhaps one day a great one will come along for me so that I give and receive adult love and stop being both father and mother to my kids.

When I hear my fellow moms complain about their husbands, I cringe, and I am very sad when I hear intimations of divorce. If only people would work harder to make it work, because from the side of doing it all alone, it looks pretty nice to me when a husband or dad earns an income, helps in whatever way around the house, and gives the kids an example of manhood to strive for or feel protected by.

Posted by: Dignity for Single Parents | February 15, 2007 10:38 AM

Size matters:

Yes, there are minimum length AND circumference requirements.

"Anyone who has the energy and creativity to be with their (pre-school) children all day everyday deserves respect"

For what? Their fat bodies, their dirty houses, or their screaming spawn?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 10:40 AM

We always suspected that most people on this blog were latte sipping volvo driving libs. Now we know for sure!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 10:42 AM

Oh you poor yuppies, under seige from your very own television sets - what ever are you going to do?

Posted by: i81b4u | February 15, 2007 10:42 AM

Oh yes, I like the ad where the woman turns on the sprinklers. I like how the man "orders" the pizza but with a sort of an "I'm so dead" look on his face, but still does it, and he's sort of happy his friends are impressed but terrified of the consequences.

My husband can cook, clean, and take care of kids, so I too find the "dumb dad" ads sort of insulting. I think they create the illusion that competent men are nonexistent.

You know, I think the thing with ads is that you should be able to relate to them: I would think that's their goal. In general, I don't care too much whether the roles are stereotyped, it just bugs me how boring the women ads are. I guess they figure if they make boring ads about cleaning then it'll encourage women to go clean instead of watching tv, and that that's what women should be doing anyway. I can often relate to the guy-directed ads but I just can't relate to the ones directed at women. Do the ad people really think I swoon at the thought of a clean kitchen? Or that I feel excited when my Swiffer works? I get all my new product ideas from my friends, not from ads. (Try the Bleach pen: so awesome).

I remember the ad guy who commented there are few top women in advertising because they don't work hard enough. When I see those boring ads directed at women I think "they really need to hire some women, because whoever's writing these ads for women has gotta be someone who doesn't know what motivates us."

Posted by: m | February 15, 2007 10:43 AM

off topic to NC Lawyer: Coach K and his boys answered my Valentine's wish. If your kids stayed up to watch the whole game they had longer staying power than I did!

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | February 15, 2007 10:43 AM

Yes, dads are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Did anyone read "I Don't Know How She Does It"? I thought it was a dreadfully overrated book but one part in which the main character admits she's glad her husband is too masculine to help out equally around the house, is dead on.

My husband works and I'm at home so I think I should do most of the chores now. But when I return to work it'll be a different story. Then we'll get a cleaning lady.

Posted by: Denk | February 15, 2007 10:45 AM

off topic to NC Lawyer: Coach K and his boys answered my Valentine's wish. If your kids stayed up to watch the whole game they had longer staying power than I did!

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | February 15, 2007 10:45 AM

Fred:

What do you call a man in New Orleans who can't/doesn't cook?

A tourist.

(There are less polite versions of this, including: "a yankee", "a carpetbagger", etc.)

All kidding aside, though, I think it was a cultural thing. I learned to cook as a teenager living in the New Orleans area (Slidell, Fred :-) and almost everybody else I knew, male and female, did as well. It's food; it's life!

It took about two years after marriage to convince my wife that, yes, I really do like to cook; yes, I really am good at it; yes (I'm gonna pay for this) I'm probably a better cook than her; but ever since then I've done almost all the cooking. A lot of the grocery shopping, too, since I know what ingredients I want/need.

And yes, I do the laundry - including ironing all the #*&( shirts for the kids! - and vacuuming, too. I'm an engineer - you do what's needed to make the house run.)

(The biggest obstacle was the MIL, who was convinced her daughter was a failure for having a husband who did the cooking. I finally won the MIL over with a catfish almandine and spanakopita dinner with a killer baklava for dessert. Since then she wants to know when she's invited over for dinner again.)

Posted by: Army Brat | February 15, 2007 10:46 AM

I'm put off by these ads because they mean there's a large swath of this country that agrees with this worldview.

The advertisers sell domestic products in a such a way because the techniques work.

The techniques work because...

The sad fact is that a lot of this country still adheres to a traditional family model.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 10:47 AM

Sorry for multiple post... don't know what happened

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | February 15, 2007 10:47 AM

We actively monitor our children's shows for these negative stereotypes, both men and women. No Simpsons especially but any show where parents are morons also, men or women. These typews of shows are just more of the typical hollywood assault on the family.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 10:47 AM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/13/AR2007021301371.html


Did you read the article in this paper yesterday on some women's attitude towards relationships?

How sad. I read the article and just wondered what the divorce rate will be in 20 years. Hmm, I think you can never fully experience life's great highs unless your willing to experience life's great lows. They all seem just scared.


Posted by: foamgnome | February 15, 2007 10:48 AM

"Pabsp Blue Ribbon is a premium beer. It says so on the can.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 15, 2007 10:22 AM"


How do you know what it says on the can?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 10:48 AM

So, what people are saying is that if I work a full time job and bring in a good amount of money, then I shouldnt have to do household chores if my wife only works a part time job a few days a week and watches tv or reads romance novels on days off? News to me! Why am I always am made out to be the bad guy if I complain about having to do more work than my full time job if the place is a mess when I get home? Should chores be even, or should the person with more free time get more chores? Any women care to answer?

Posted by: anon guy | February 15, 2007 10:51 AM

"The sad fact is that a lot of this country still adheres to a traditional family model."

Um, no the problem is because too many people do NOT adhere to a traditional family model. That is the problem. Too many families without the traditional stability of one dad and one mom.


Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 10:51 AM

Cooking a cultural thing, yes. But the reason I know how to cook is that I have 7 brothers and no sisters. So guess who were the cook's helpers, floor moppers and laundry doers? My sainted mother said that the world's best invention was perma press clothing.

I can cook better than my wife but I am envious of "catfish almandine and spanakopita dinner with a killer baklava"

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 10:52 AM

Off-topic alert:

Product of a Working Mother: the kids couldn't make it past the first-half and neither could I (sigh - old age catching up with me). I feared I would be unable to make it through even one more Sportscenter broadcast on what's wrong with Duke. Today, I at last feel as though the universe has been restored to its customary order. Except for that pesky unranked part.

Fred, Cheetos et vinum valde esculentus est? :>). Did I tell you about flunking the 5-credit Italian course? Somehow I thought my mediocre Latin skills would assist me. I was oh so wrong.

oh, and the cooking question? my theory is that many men love to cook grand meals, but the mundane Monday - Thursday, what-can-we-get-on-the-table-in-45-minutes-or-less cooking doesn't exactly provide the creative outlet that great cooks desire. For every awesome guy cook (like my husband), there are 2 guys who say "what's for dinner" to their spouse or partner as though she has exclusive ownership and responsibility for coming up with a menu plan. In our house, the person who cooks is the first person to get home and start cooking. If that system doesn't work, the parent closest to the first child to say, "I'm hungry" has to cook. We use the term "cook" loosely to mean "determine which combination of real food, frozen food and pre-package food will be served in the dining hall this evening". Sometimes it's cheetos and a salad with your choice of ice blue raspberry Kool-aid or red wine. Most of the time we do a little better than that.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 15, 2007 10:52 AM

"Why am I always am made out to be the bad guy if I complain about having to do more work than my full time job if the place is a mess when I get home?"

Cause you are a sap whose fallen for a shakedown (you probably gave this lazy bones a big ring, didn't you?)! That's why! Tell her to get off of her fat ass or else!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 10:56 AM

"Why am I always am made out to be the bad guy if I complain about having to do more work than my full time job if the place is a mess when I get home?"

I don't think you're the bad guy. I'd be plenty pissed if I was expected to be the breadwinner and also do all the housework.

I'd also be pissed if stereotypes existed saying that I was so incompetent I couldn't take care of my own kids, which I believe is actually the issue under discussion.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 15, 2007 11:01 AM

it appears we've picked up a troll whose vocabulary is limited to the word, "fat". Oh joy.

"Why am I always am made out to be the bad guy if I complain about having to do more work than my full time job if the place is a mess when I get home?"

You know I've been wondering the same thing. Why do these elves leave my house such a mess and why don't they clean up after themselves while I'm at work all day? and who fired Alice? I need someone to do all that hard work of picking up after me, polishing my shoes, cleaning my commode.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 11:02 AM

Brian, you can't post about this.

It does not follow this blog (and society's) belief that fathering is win-win because either no one expects you to try or you are a hero for trying it.

Therefore, you are out of order with this post, sir, and if you persist you will be held in contempt. Everybody knows being a dad is easy. Stick to that script.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 11:08 AM

My grandfather - my father's father - was a chef, and from what I understand a very talented one. Yes, NC Lawyer, he loved to cook the big, grand, "chef-type" meals but my grandmother did most of the day-to-day meal preparation for the family because he, like most chefs, worked long/ridiculous hours. I'm often told, though, that some of their biggest fights started with him telling her what she had done wrong with dinner and how she could make it better next time.

My father couldn't boil water, for one reason: he was the only son, born 10 years after the youngest of his sisters, and he was spoiled rotten. His mother and sisters did everything for him, and he didn't need to worry about cooking, cleaning, etc. (Then he joined the Army and boy did that change, but he never did learn to cook.)

I learned to cook, and love to do it. We have three daughters and one son. We're trying to teach them to cook so as to be self-sufficient. The daughters are coming along fine. However, my wife is spoiling that son rotten! He's 16 now, and all he has to do is ask politely and she does whatever he wants, dropping anything. He needs to learn to cook - among other things.

The wife is leaving this afternoon for her week-long Mardi Gras vacation with my sister. Wonder if I can have the boy cooking dinner before she gets back? :-)

Posted by: Army Brat | February 15, 2007 11:11 AM

Cooking is fun! It shouldn't be counted as contributing to household chores.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 15, 2007 11:11 AM

Anon guy,

The person with more free time should do more chores. I care for our 8-month old daughter but I am still not half as worn out by the end of the day as I was when working for the State Department. My husband's weary expression says it all when he comes home. I frankly feel guilty when cooks or arranges our dinner.

Posted by: Denk | February 15, 2007 11:13 AM

I don't judge myself or my peers from advertising.

I married a doctor, I knew what I was getting in for when I met her.

I don't know a single dad in my entire peer group who is under 50 who doesn't cook dinner a few days a week. I don't know a single dad who only cooks fancy meals (most say they do Spaghetti on Monday nights or slap together a taco kit or toss in leftover vegetables for a soy sauce stir fry). I don't know any people who fit mos of the stereotypes being discussed here and I believe most are false or lies.

Posted by: Bethesdan | February 15, 2007 11:14 AM

Wow, this blog is under siege by meatheads.

Somebody must have linked to it from FreeRepublic or welovejerryfallwell.com or something equally enlightened.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 11:15 AM

Perhaps the stereotype of incompetence exists for the fact that traditionally, men have been the bread winners, and as such have traditionally not done much of the household chores- so they may not be the experts at them that women are. Now the women who stay at home are wanting less and less to do with this stereotypical model and, so they view it as sexist if they have to do the chores, regardless of whether or not the man works all day. Personally, I would not mind the doofus ads so much if they actually DID reinforce traditional roles and cut down the extra work that stretches beyond picking up after myself, which I do.

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 11:15 AM

Sorry - I feel guilty when HE cooks or arranges dinner.

Posted by: Denk | February 15, 2007 11:16 AM

Absent for a while, I decided to weigh in on this one. I'm sure by now it's been said more eloquently than I can, but dammit, I can cook, I can clean, I can iron, I can even do laundry! Don't enjoy all of it, and my favorite thing to make is often reservations, but I can and so can many other Dads!!!!

Posted by: Dad of 2 | February 15, 2007 11:17 AM

Fred wrote: "Stains, temps? I do laundry the male way, one load, one cup of detergent, one temp."

Fred, every year a few kids at my children's school replicate the same science experiment: which temperature cleans the best. The conclusion is the same: cold is as good as hot or warm.

(Although I don't love to cook, I love laundry and ironing!)

Also, to save money, if you like, you can cut that one cup to a half-cup of detergent. Unless your clothes are extremely dirty, a half-cup should do it.

Posted by: Kate | February 15, 2007 11:17 AM

Fred wrote: "Stains, temps? I do laundry the male way, one load, one cup of detergent, one temp."

Fred, every year a few kids at my children's school replicate the same science experiment: which temperature cleans the best. The conclusion is the same: cold is as good as hot or warm.

(Although I don't love to cook, I love laundry and ironing!)

Also, to save money, if you like, you can cut that one cup to a half-cup of detergent. Unless your clothes are extremely dirty, a half-cup should do it.

Posted by: Kate | February 15, 2007 11:18 AM

Not a "dad" ad, but I find the latest H&R Block commercial, where a woman humiliates her husband for 30 seconds for using tax software, downright offensive and sexist. I think the OP should extend her argument to any commercial that portrays men as hapless idiots and women as all-knowing saints.

Posted by: Tirade | February 15, 2007 11:19 AM

Perhaps the stereotype of incompetence exists for the fact that traditionally, men have been the bread winners, and as such have traditionally not done much of the household chores- so they may not be the experts at them that women are. Now the women who stay at home are wanting less and less to do with this stereotypical model and, so they view it as sexist if they have to do the chores, regardless of whether or not the man works all day. Personally, I would not mind the doofus ads so much if they actually DID reinforce traditional roles and cut down the extra work that stretches beyond picking up after myself, which I do. Government security work, despite being thought of as a joke, can actually be a stressful job- especially when you can not talk about it in detail when you get home, so your spouse has no idea of the burden you carry and expects you to pitch in more and throws a fit when you already feel beat... well, that is my own rant.

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 11:21 AM

"Wow, this blog is under siege by meatheads.

Somebody must have linked to it from FreeRepublic or welovejerryfallwell.com or something equally enlightened."


Another well thought out liberal rejoinder...NOT

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 11:21 AM

Army Brat, I suspect that if anyone could work wonders with the boy in a week's time, it would be you. It all depends upon how you define "dinner", doesn't it, LOL?

A random thought. Does your son fish? if he does, then cooking his catch is just the last step in an essential survival skill. we think of it as, we have $20 left 'til payday, let's see if we can catch a catfish or two in the pond/lake across the street, clean it, fry it and have a great dinner.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 15, 2007 11:21 AM

John wrote "The point I'm making is that white males are the last group society in general think it is OK to make fun of. Whether it is for entertainment (According to Jim, etc), or advertising, they stereotype men as being clueless, but goodhearted guys who somehow have the intelligent and incredibly attractive wife to figure things out for him."

While I understand your point, I think that this has a lot to do with the power of the purse, so to speak. Let's face it, there aren't that many sitcoms featuring African-American characters on network tv to begin with. If you've ever watched Everybody Hates Chris, the dad is pretty much a doofus.

Posted by: MV | February 15, 2007 11:22 AM

Good dad ad - the one where the girl is holding a letter from a university and hands it to her dad to open - don't know why, that one just gets me...

Posted by: Missicat | February 15, 2007 11:22 AM

sorry for the double post- computer error, I promise I am not a doofus. :)

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 11:23 AM

"Not a "dad" ad, but I find the latest H&R Block commercial, where a woman humiliates her husband for 30 seconds for using tax software, downright offensive and sexist."

I don't find it sexist, necessarily, but I hate that ad nonetheless. Hey, way to be mean to your husband! That certainly makes me want to go to H&R Block!

Posted by: Lizzie | February 15, 2007 11:26 AM

Hey, I'm one of those guys that can whip out a "spur of the moment" meal, or do the whole she-bang complete with bells and whistles! I do all the dinner cooking since I get home first, and enjoy preparing the meal for my wife and I.

Last night, for example, we had steak with cheese stuffing garnish, macaroni and cheese and mixed vegetables (together), baked bread, tossed salad and a cherry pie for dessert. Tonight we'll probably have fajitas in my special, hot marinade.

The only time I hate cooking is when I have to do it just for myself. I'd rather eat out alone than cook just for me!

Posted by: John | February 15, 2007 11:28 AM

What I hate about these ads are the lack of partnership and respect they imply. Wives disrespect their husbands, husband not committed to family, kids savvy, parents out of touch etc.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 11:29 AM

Chris

"well, that is my own rant."


Why the hell don't you DO something about the situation? Is your wife really, really hot and willing/good in bed?

If not, I wouldn't put up with the crap for one, single day!

Are you sure you are a man?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 11:29 AM

One thing about those ads is that they make Dad a whole lot more fun. He's the one with the sense of humor, he's the one taking kids out to eat!

I think the problem is that ads always portray Mom as so serious and humorless. Like anybody cares if the laundry is really white or not.

If I were an alien watching ads I think I'd rather be a Dad, they're the ones laughing and having fun.

Posted by: RoseG | February 15, 2007 11:30 AM

If these ads upset you so much - WRITE A LETTER to the company about it. What does complaining on some stupid blog accomplish?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 11:31 AM

Down here, the "girl opens the college acceptance letter" ad runs on the radio for the state college assistance fund.

After she finds out she's been accepted, the dad begin talking as if he suddenly needed to find the money for the tuition, and hasn't been using the college assistance fund previously. I keep thinking "stupid, it would have helped you a whole lot more if you'd been contributing to it since she was born!".

Posted by: John | February 15, 2007 11:31 AM

Bethesdan,

Do you know any Black people?

Foamgnome,

I disagree. The young women in the article regularly experience the depths of hell, they just refuse to admit it. At some point everybody realizes that all a woman has to do to get sex (before she's in a committed relationship) is breathe. Hell, a woman doesn't even have to breathe if we can judge by the necrophiliacs.
The idea of a young woman "scheming" to hook up for sensual pleasure is laughable to anyone of a certain age. These hookups are nothing more than extended exercises in humiliation. I've known my share of promiscuous women but none of them were nearly as joyful as Sex and the City's Samantha, the ultimate fiction.

Size matters:

I don't think a minimum circumference requirement applies. Nature has already put one in place. Have you ever seen a Guinness Book of World Records entry for the man with the thinnest p- ever? No. I've never seen or even heard of a circumferentially challenged man. Gentlemen, you are, of course, free to disprove me...

Posted by: Denk | February 15, 2007 11:32 AM

I'll show you mine if you show me yours.....

Posted by: To Denk | February 15, 2007 11:36 AM

What I hate about these ads are the lack of partnership and respect they imply. Wives disrespect their husbands, husband not committed to family, kids savvy, parents out of touch etc.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 11:29 AM

well said, pATRICK.


hey, Fred, I bumped into your pony comment. ahem. you know what they say, "with friends like you . . . ," LOL.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 15, 2007 11:36 AM

NC Lawyer: A random thought. Does your son fish? if he does, then cooking his catch is just the last step in an essential survival skill. we think of it as, we have $20 left 'til payday, let's see if we can catch a catfish or two in the pond/lake across the street, clean it, fry it and have a great dinner.

___
Shame, humiliation for a kid who lived in the south so long: I don't fish. Never really have; went once or twice and didn't have a lot of fun. (Maybe if we'd actually caught something it would have been better.-) So he doesn't fish either.

Posted by: Army Brat | February 15, 2007 11:40 AM

I remember Johnson's & Jonson's add when I was a kid where the guy washed his daughter's hair. At night the father turned into "Shampoo Man". I think it was revolutionary for its time and probably, in a way, gave permission for all future fathers to give their daughters a bath.

And yes, I washed all my kid's hair with Johnson & Johnson's Baby Shampoo No More Tears.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 15, 2007 11:41 AM

To Denk,

I'm sorry. You are right to call me on it. I shouldn't be bringing down the tone of the discussion with an unseemly interest in anatomical matters.

Posted by: Denk | February 15, 2007 11:43 AM

Well, at least I put a name on my post. I happen to believe in the vows I took, and would like to work on fixing things- not just giving up when things are bad.

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 11:51 AM

pATRICK, 11:29 is one of the meatheads, and even if you're a regular, you might fall into the meathead category if you can't tell the difference.

And yes, it's the kind of statement that someone on FreeRepublic would make.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 11:58 AM

Shame, humiliation for a kid who lived in the south so long: I don't fish. Never really have; went once or twice and didn't have a lot of fun. (Maybe if we'd actually caught something it would have been better.-) So he doesn't fish either.

Posted by: Army Brat | February 15, 2007 11:40 AM

Army Brat, It takes a confident Southern man to admit to being unable to fish. If you weren't such a good cook, it would be hard to live that down :>)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 12:04 PM

11:49:

Wow! I stand corrected. If I may indulge my anatomical curiosity a bit more, were they really bad? The length-challenged few I saw were extremely short, I mean, are- you-actually-a-grown-man? short. On the bright side these types are often motivated to compensate in other pleasureable ways that the normally endowed are not.

See, I haven't forgotten how much fun sex can be. I'm just married.

Posted by: Denk | February 15, 2007 12:05 PM

Pandering, plain and simple. Can't deride women, or hispanics, or blacks, so go after white males. Its ok. Most are really funny - the first time.

Posted by: Mr. Mom in VA | February 15, 2007 12:06 PM

To 9:24: There can be sound reasons for FT WOH men, SAH women, so don't condemn what you don't know. Here are a few justifiable examples of my personal knowledge:

A neighbor woman, who'd been a working wife and mother for years (kids now 21+ and on their own), had to take early retirement after surgery that was supposed to relieve her chronic back pain went awry, leaving her with even greater physical pain and less mobility than before. She does as much as she's able -- mainly cooking and taking care of herself -- but her husband (FT WOH) has to do the majority of chores, including all the strenuous ones, plus marketing and taking her to numerous medical appointments.

Another neighbor SAH wife became almost legally-blind, so her husband had to do those chores entailing sharper vision. He and the woman's sister (lives nearby) had to drive her anywhere she needed to go, or else she rode the bus (but not for grocery shopping and other purchases too unwieldy to carry by herself). In addition, both sets of the couple's ailing elderly parents (now deceased) lived a few miles away in their own homes, so my neighbors and the sister all had to pitch in to do as much as they could to help, including ferrying them to their medical appointments (e.g., FIL was on dialysis 3X/week).

A working wife I know was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when her children were still young. She became too disabled to WOH or to do anything around the house, and has undergone years of treatments by her local doctors as well as experts around the country. For years her husband (FT WOH) handled the cooking, shopping, housework, child care, PTA, etc., which otherwise wouldn't have gotten done -- then, as the children got older, they started helping where they could. The good news is that the right combination of meds have been determined to stabilize the wife's condition somewhat (for now, at least), so she was able to return to work PT a year ago (we all keep our fingers crossed for her) and to function better, and of course she is much happier now, too.

My father cared for my mother at home and did all the chores for the last 5 years of her life following a medium stroke that left my mom physically no longer able to any perform housework whatsoever. Through years of weekly physical therapy sessions she relearned basic tasks like bathing, dressing and grooming herself, and to walk with a walker around the house (though she had to use a wheelchair whenever they went out). BTW, what my father thought of able-bodied drivers who parked in handicapped-reserved parking places is unprintable in a family newspaper.

My own FT WOH DH had to take care of nearly everything (including me) after I contracted a near-fatal bout of pneumonia + complications last year (good thing I was in excellent health beforehand). At first after I was discharged from the hospital, I was still physically unable even to walk to the bathroom without his assistance. Besides WOH FT and managing the entire household, my husband had to handle my correspondence for a few weeks, because I lacked stamina enough even to do a little email (let alone read a newspaper online). The good news is that over the months, I've gradually resumed PT WAH -- thank goodness for telecommuting, so I don't have to go in too often -- which is great MH therapy! Now you'll understand that when I posted earlier this week about having swept 4" of snow off our porch, steps and walk, I wasn't at all complaining, or just giving a weather report; I was actually celebrating yet another landmark on my road to full recovery. Once the weather warms up enough (the groundhog having clearly lied two weeks ago about winter being nearly over), I'm going to commence a walking regimen, to try to regain 100% cardio-pulmonary fitness, or at least as close as possible -- so no pity, please! But don't condemn us, either, because DH still has to do the majority of chores despite WOH FT.

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 12:07 PM

Last night, for example, we had steak with cheese stuffing garnish, macaroni and cheese and mixed vegetables (together), baked bread, tossed salad and a cherry pie for dessert. Tonight we'll probably have fajitas in my special, hot marinade.

Oh man, can I come for dinner? Heck, can I bring my DH and DD too? Sure beats what I have planned on the menu (Stouffer's brocolli and cheese casserole) with Hershey kisses for dessert.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 15, 2007 12:08 PM

Army Brat wrote: The wife is leaving this afternoon for her week-long Mardi Gras vacation with my sister. Wonder if I can have the boy cooking dinner before she gets back?

He will once he gets hungry enough ;-)

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 12:11 PM

What's wrong with women knowing how to re-wire things? My mother re-wired our house, while 7 months pregnant with my younger sib, for example. I refuse to let my husband TOUCH my tractor OR my car. He's already turned one engine into slag because he refused to spend $40 or less to have the oil CHANGED. Let this be a lesson to us all.

I forgot to mention this, but my dad is GREAT cook.

My mom and I would look in the fridge and say, "Huh. Grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner."

My dad would look in there and say, "Welsh rarebit!" (Of course he also saw the ancient bottle of beer that was shoved into the furthest recesses of the fridge).

He says he learned to cook in self-defense. My grandfather came home from WWII and refused to eat ANYTHING that wasn't a briquet.

He is also a great hands-on father and grandfather. In addition to working full-time.

I hope my son grows up to be as competent in the kitchen as my dad.

However, I learned the hard way NOT to let him cut my bangs (I cried!) and that there was a reason my mother and I handled the laundry. The day he helpfully washed my thrift-store find, a cashmere sweater, in hot water AND dried it...I cried again.

He laughs derisively at those ads. So do I. I still wish they weren't around. Sometimes I bet we all feel like Sisyphus.

And yes, I do the gutters. So did my dad. Neither one of us have any significant fear of heights. I also helped a close friend hang her Xmas lights. She's deathly afraid of going any higher than a kitchen stool.

Anyone here read "Born to Buy"? It's depressing.

Posted by: MdMother | February 15, 2007 12:15 PM

I hate the dumb dad ads because they do imply women are the only ones who can take care of the house and children. I agree that they are extremely insulting to men. But it also seems like there are still also a lot of ads where a man appears as the voice of authority and tell a woman how to do housework, take care of kids.

I really hated those Campbell soup ads where it's lunch time and this old English guy appears to tell the mothers about Campbells soup. Like they wouldn't have had a clue what to feed their kids without this man telling them what to do.

Posted by: kep | February 15, 2007 12:16 PM

pATRICK, 11:29 is one of the meatheads, and even if you're a regular, you might fall into the meathead category if you can't tell the difference.

And yes, it's the kind of statement that someone on FreeRepublic would make.

Posted by: | February 15, 2007 11:58 AM

How intellectually insecure are you, ms. anonymous? Are you telling me I can't sit with the in-crowd in the cafeteria today because I committed the sin of agreeing with a specific statement posted by a poster you've decided is unworthy? Golly, I don't know what I'll do.

If you feel the need to put everyone on this blog and in the world at large in nice tidy categories so that you ignore everyone in category X and only listen to everyone in category Y, you'll soon have only yourself and those who tell you you're brilliant for company. That makes for a dull world unless you like sycophants and toadies.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 15, 2007 12:18 PM

pATRICK, I don't always agree with you, but you totally hit the nail on the head about the lack of respect. Everyone in these ads is trying to get ahead at the expense of their family in one way or another, and I find that really sad/disappointing/offensive.

There's a local cable commercial down here in central Florida with a man doing laundry - it's in the genre of "man home alone watching TV, wife calls to remind him of what he's supposed to be doing." He does the laundry from where he's sitting using a toy rod and reel to dump in the laundry and a football to start the cycle. Pretty fine so far, silly but he's being inventive. Then they feel the need to show off the red sock in the middle of the white load.

Posted by: SPC | February 15, 2007 12:20 PM

MdMother, Catlady and others,

You are all making me feel so lazy! I should do less writing and more cleaning.

Posted by: Denk | February 15, 2007 12:22 PM

Denk, as you are the only one who stood up for me working all day and understands why I should not have to worry about more than a fair share of work when I get home, if you feel the need to clean, you are more than welcome to help. LOL

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 12:25 PM

You are all making me feel so lazy! I should do less writing and more cleaning.

Well...if you are offering to do some cleaning, I have a dog who sheds bucket-loads of hair. Come on over, anytime!

But seriously, I don't understand why anyone thinks running a vacuum cleaner or swinging a hammer is too difficult for someone on the basis of gender.

The younger child and I prefer Nutella. Figures!

Posted by: MdMother | February 15, 2007 12:33 PM

Foamgnome, sure, come on down! I'll just cook more fajitas! How many do I need to get ready for? :)

Heights are the one thing I have an irrational fear of. It started when I fell off the top of the barn as a child; fortunately the soil around the barn is very soft, and as a child I was a lot more flexible and pliable than I am now. I can climb a ladder with no trouble, but perching myself on the edge of our 2nd floor roof to clean the gutters is something I refuse to do.

Re: circumferentially challenged males; I suspect there's a minimum size that biology and physics would require, though for proper functioning. ISTR some of my wife's friends in college talking about that one day, using the term "pencil-xxxx" to describe a mutual friend of ours...

Posted by: John | February 15, 2007 12:33 PM

Chris,

Okay as long as you don't have wood floors. We have them and mopping is the pits!

Posted by: Denk | February 15, 2007 12:35 PM

Okay as long as you don't have wood floors. We have them and mopping is the pits!
=======================================
Well, if you have a dog you can always use the soup-on-the-floor ploy.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 12:39 PM

Denk, they've got a robotic non-carpet floor cleaner now, similar to a Roomba but for linoleum and hardwood floors. Plug it in and get out of its way!

Posted by: John | February 15, 2007 12:39 PM

moxiemom:
In what universe would Courtney Thorne Smith be with Jim Belushi?

___________________

My wife is much better looking than Ms Smith, and my physique is slightly worse than Jim Belushi. (A function of all that cooking.:-)

Posted by: Army Brat | February 15, 2007 12:41 PM

Denk, You give me more credit than I deserve. While I can now fix my own simple breakfast and lunch, DH still has to do dinner because I've run out of steam by then (I often need to take a nap in the afternoon, or else I fade badly). Although, we did collaborate on a special homemade SAH Valentine's dinner last evening :-) DH still does all the strenuous housework and errand-running (e.g., I compile the shopping lists, but he goes to the stores), and he's had to shovel the driveway and clear off the car single-handed, and he takes care of the cat and dog. If anything had befallen his health during the worst of my illness -- well, I shudder even to think of it.

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 12:41 PM

As a dad who does at least half the cooking in my household, I'm neither offended nor surprised at the concept of "dad as dunce". This is a stereotype that is at least 50 years old, dating back to the sitcoms of the fifties. The only reason it stings is because some of it is true. I guess it doesn't bother me because I was raised to be very self sufficient, and feel entirely confident in the kitchen or the laundry, and would be entirely undaunted if I was to run the entire household by myself.

That being said, the commercial that really stuns me is the KFC commercial where the kid calls home to ask if he can eat dinner over at a friend's house and the mother doesn't believe him, as if eating a dinner as a family is all that unusual! Frankly, it appalls me to think that serving a meal purchased at KFC is considered fulfilling the responsibility of preparing a meal for one's family! Buying fast food and calling it dinner is idiotic, whether it's KFC or McDonald's. It's just plain lazy, and it is remarkable to me that advertisers actually pander to people that way.

People should learn how to cook. I know, people say they don't have enough time, but the truth is, if you're competent in a kitchen, it doesn't take that much time to fix a decent meal, something far more healthful than whatever pops out of the fryer at your local fast food joint. So far this week, I've had Oven fried Chicken, spaghetti with home made meat sauce, and, (with the help of the time bake feature on my oven) roast turkey. None of these meals took more than 45 minutes of prep time, including the mashed potatoes, the salads, the garlic bread, and the stuffing that went with the various meals. What makes it possible is the experience that teaches efficiency in a kitchen. Once you learn how to cook confidently and efficiently, you will always eat better than you can get in a restaurant.

So, it's not dads who are dolts, it's those people who haven't learned the fundamentals of taking care of oneself, i.e. cooking, laundry, and basic auto mechanics. People just need to be more self-sufficient.

Posted by: John | February 15, 2007 12:44 PM


"ISTR some of my wife's friends in college talking about that one day, using the term "pencil-xxxx" to describe a mutual friend of ours..."

In college we called it a "lady finger". poor fella.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 12:47 PM

"People should learn how to cook."

I make a killer apple cake. Fresh dates, walnuts, extra apples, and the buttermilk sauce adds extra calories and allure.

My kids hate nuts in their foods (gasp!), so I make it and bring it to work periodically. I never, ever have to worry about taking any of it home. Someone else washes the tube pan for me too.

Posted by: MdMother | February 15, 2007 12:49 PM

John, while I agree with some of your cooking arguments, 45 minutes for dinner prep is nearly unheard of in my family. I get home at 5:45 with a toddler who is screaming for food. I can only dream of the days when I would actually have 30 or 45 minutes to prepare a meal during the week. That being said, our Friday night ritual is take out food. It is our little treat for the end of the week feat. I still consider that dinner because I am spending time and talking to my family. I wouldn't count that as cooking but I certainly count it as dinner time. It is the spending time that is the real importance. I try some crock pot stuff but I haven't found any recipes that allow it to slow cook for 12 hours. I tend to cook one big meal during the weekend and eat left overs or readily prepared foods. I buy some of the prepared meals at costco. You just throw them in the oven. We do eat some frozen meals and some simple meals like spaghetti with frozen meatballs etc...

Posted by: foamgnome | February 15, 2007 12:51 PM

I plan to raise my boy and girl to be as independent and competent as possible. The idea that madison avenue promotes is incompetence based on gender. I constantly make it a point to my daughter that she can do anything her brother does, because she can. Men should not grow up to expect women to cook for them and women should not grow up expecting to rely on men to take care of them. These ads really irritate me. Anyone can be competent if they really try.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 12:53 PM

Anyone can be competent if they really try.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 12:53 PM

A new slogan to live by!!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 12:55 PM

John, I agree with you about the KFC commercials. Hate them!!

Forgot to mention that one of my favorite ads is the "dad got hosed" commercial from Verizon (or is it tmobile?).

Posted by: MV | February 15, 2007 12:56 PM

Fo4--re: laundry...

It is seriously my most hated task. Always has been, but now that I'm in a 4th floor walkup and the machine's in the basement it's even worse.

But without the 5 flights of stairs and heavy laundry baskets, what is so terrible about laundry is how never-ending the chore is. You can literally never be done. Even if you wash every stitch of cloth in the house, you're presumably still wearing something that'll need washing...

Doing multiple loads (which almost always has to be done, to separate lights, darks and delicates...and because of the volume of laundry a family produces), practically tethers you to the machines...you feel like you're being kept captive by the stupid laundry! Then there's the attention to washing instructions, drying temperatures and times and then ALL the folding and putting away.

It is hugely time consuming (though admittedly much less so than doing it by hand, which I had to do when I lived in Africa...but at least there it was a day-long, everyone in the family pitching in kind of event). It's also completely thankless...no one even notices or cares where their clean underwear has come from and thinks that it's actually easy to stay on top of EVERYONE's stuff.

Not fair.

Posted by: Cate | February 15, 2007 12:58 PM

It is not just an expectation, a marriage should be about being a team with both partners contributing where they best can.

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 12:58 PM

Finding out who might be challenged penis wise is the reason I broke my Virginity Pledge.

I saved myself years in a bad marriage.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 12:59 PM

I hate KFC commercials - how about the one where the wife shows up with the bucket of "chicken" and the family is happy because it is separated in three sections, each with their favorite junk.
Guess you can figure out how I feel about most fast food...

Posted by: Missicat | February 15, 2007 1:00 PM

The person calling himself "John" in the 12:44 post is an imposter. I was here first!

I do agree with him about the KFC commercial; is the boy's mom so clueless that she can't believe the other family is actually eating together?

Posted by: John (the real one) | February 15, 2007 1:02 PM

The other side of the coin is the woman with who you have to tie a board to your rear end to keep from falling in.....

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 1:02 PM

Foamgnome, I've found that what works for me is to take a few minutes on Saturday or Sunday to prepare a meal plan for the week. This way I avoid buying stuff that I'm not going to use and is just going to spoil (which irritates my husband no end). I've also adopted my MIL's tactic of preparing a lot of pasta sauce (at least a basic tomato sauce) and putting them in the refrigerator. It takes about 15 min to make a pasta dinner at my house.

I've also made a conscious effort to cook meals that take no longer than 30-45 minutes. This means that most Caribbean food (where I'm originally from) is cooked on the weekends and Italian food (where my husband is from) and/or a simple meat and vegetable dish is cooked on weekdays.

Posted by: MV | February 15, 2007 1:03 PM

patrick- that's disgusting.
but i suppose valid.
i can't imagine what it would take to get to that point. Even after childbirth, the elasticity just shrinks it up again.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 1:05 PM

(Music) Real Men of Genius (Music fades)
(Announcer) Today we salute the Doofus-Dad-Commerdial-Writing-Ad-Exec
Here's to you, you Satirist of the Airwaves, perpetrator of the Idiot Dad. You bring out the Homer Simpson in each one of us.
We know you could write an original ad, but its so much easier to fall back on the old stereotypes. The commercials almost write themselves.
You bring a smile to a womans face when she realizes that her home would fall apart without her. You make her laugh when she sees a man even more incompetent than her own.
The way you portray dads makes it easy for us to exceed expectations. Heck, we get praise for opening a package of Mac and Cheese and boiling some hotdogs. If the kids are still alive when she gets home, well, we've done our job.
So crack open a cold one and turn on the game - Thanks to you we won't be doing the laundry anytime soon.

Posted by: MDDAD | February 15, 2007 1:05 PM

Laundry is not that hard, despite me goofing it up and drying something I should not have. You stick it in a machine and drop in some detergent. The machine does all the work. Sorting clothes into light and dark takes about a minute. My pet peeve is when someone leaves wet laundry in the washing machine for a couple days and it gets nasty, thus requiring a waste of water and energy to re-wash it... If laundry is the most difficult thing you do, then count yourself lucky and please do not complain.

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 1:06 PM

pATRICK

"The other side of the coin is the woman with who you have to tie a board to your rear end to keep from falling in....."

So true. But there are operations to correct this problem. Thoughtful gift idea!!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 1:07 PM

Pesto is the best thing in the world for getting dinner together quickly, and in the summer it's incredibly easy to make a bunch and freeze it. I've been craving pesto for weeks, but we're saving ours for Lent.

Nigella Lawson has a whole section in "How to Eat" on dinners that you can cook quickly. We keep hummus in the fridge for days that we get home and need something to eat before we even start to think about dinner.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 15, 2007 1:07 PM

Disgusting? yes True? Yes. Heard from many friends over the years.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 1:09 PM

Cate, sometimes, in order to get the appreciation you deserve on the homefront, you just have to do a bad job every now and then.

Same applies at work.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 15, 2007 1:10 PM

Patrick - had to comment - are you sure that it is not your sizing rather than their's? I'd imagine a smaller man thinking that most if not all women need a tightening... I am curious though what would cause such a stretching. I guess I am niave.

As for smaller men, they just have to work harder to make things fun; and sometimes it exceeds expectations of what even a larger man could provide...

Posted by: single mom | February 15, 2007 1:10 PM

The gift that keeps on giving! That's a good one, not sure how you would approach that though.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 1:10 PM

I generally oppose any mean-spirited stereotype, but I find the commercials funny and even identify with them. Come to think of it, most stereotypes exist because the characteristics giving rise to them are at least somewhat accurate.

We don't even have children, and things fall apart when I'm sick, out-of-town, or too busy to deal with the day-to-day. I've come home to DH cooking dinner using every pot and pan we own, and saying "I cooked, you clean!" I've come home to piles of laundry on the floor. I've asked him to pay a bill or two only to be asked "Where is the checkbook?"

Recently, I've been studying for a big exam, and asked hubby to help around the house because I'm too busy. Laundry is piled up, there are dishes in the sink, and the place is a disaster.

Hubby is extremely intelligent and capable. He is also sincerely trying to help. But I've apparently managed the household so well that he has no idea what to do, and then I've exacerbated the problem by saying, "Never mind, I'll do it."

Basically, if I want something done right, I have to do it myself. If I want a huge mess and a project to be disorganized and take three times as long as it should, I ask hubby to do it. If I want it done quickly and correctly, I do it.

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 1:12 PM

mmmmmmm pesto....love that stuff!!! My husband makes a mean pesto sauce (of course it's mamma's recipe :-)) but he adds potatoes to the pasta to make it more "traditional."

Posted by: MV | February 15, 2007 1:13 PM

I would say you would use the law of averages. 9 women good fit, 10th wide open. women problem. 9 women wide open, one good fit, man problem.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 1:13 PM

OK, no bashing Homer Simpson. He's the model Dad of our generation. :-)

Have to admit the commercial for the Simpson's movie is hysterical. Have to leave the kids at home to go see this animated movie. Go figure.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 1:13 PM

I despise fast food. It's just nasty. I break my weeks up like this:

We're vegetarians as well but one can add meat to any of the these easily.

We eat out 2 times/week (1 time a great Chinese or Thaiplace for take out, Fridays at our fave restaurant)

1 night is homemade pizza, which is not as bad as it sounds to make(whole wheat pizza crust or you can buy the crusts) no sauce- fresh mozzerella and tomatoes (margherita style) with broccoli or spinach.

The best thing EVER- COUSCOUS!! Tastes better than rice, IMO and takes 5 minutes to cook. I serve with tofu, which cooks in 10 minutes- it's the fastest meal around. Add tamari to the tofu with some garlic.

That's 4 nights.

Other 3:
veggie dogs w/ sweet potatoes (i make them into "fries")
pita sandwiches w/ left over tofu
pasta of some sort
taco night (i use crumbled up tofu in place of meat)

I always have zucchini cut up in sticks as well as carrots. Always have broccoli, sweet potatoes, peas, and corn. and peppers cut up. I cut them on Sunday nights.

I've found it's about getting into a routine.

If you keep stocked of those veggies

Posted by: Fast Food (meaning meals cooked quickly) | February 15, 2007 1:13 PM

ok, ok, I was making a joke with the "size" comment. Didn't intend to start an anatomy class. Can we stop the "parts" talk please - I'm getting pictures in my head that make my eyes hurt.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 1:14 PM

Lizzie: ""Not a "dad" ad, but I find the latest H&R Block commercial, where a woman humiliates her husband for 30 seconds for using tax software, downright offensive and sexist."

I don't find it sexist, necessarily, but I hate that ad nonetheless. Hey, way to be mean to your husband! That certainly makes me want to go to H&R Block!"

I am so with you on that - there's also a commercial for realtors where the woman is just terrible to her husband while the realtor listens in on speakerphone. It's awful.

I really agree with pATRICK - these ads are not only terrible stereotypes of genders, but of marriage. They make everything look like its about conflict and getting away with things instead of a partnership. It makes me so sad, and I think they do perpetuate a public view that then has a negative effect on the way people view their own marriages - focusing on what they get out of it instead of thinking of it as a true union.

Posted by: Megan | February 15, 2007 1:15 PM

We're as dogless as Barbra Streisand. Did you know that she abhors dogs?

I have got to get that Roomba Roomba floor cleaner. It'll free up a few hours every week.

John,

I am as disgusted as you are by the KFC commercials.

I have a stack of cookbooks but the best for weeknights is Mark Bittman's "The Minimalist Cooks at Home." Some of the recipes can be made in less than 30 minutes. Plus, he has an excellent osso bucco recipe that cooks for 12 hours.

My husband is the PICKIEST EATER IN THE WORLD.

He will not eat (do you have a few hours?): any chicken meat that is not the breast, any kind of meat on the bone (I discovered this after making the osso bucco, of course), seafood of any kind, dill (reminds him of fish), garlic, cinnamon, paprika, gorgonzola, blue cheese, cucumbers, eggplants, zucchini, pumpkin, squash, mushrooms, rhubarb, turkey, cornbread, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, Brussels sprouts (even though he's Belgian), red peppers...and the list goes on. Also, food must be served absolutely fresh and hot and he does not eat leftovers.

After we got married I had to totally relearn how to cook.

Never, never marry the son of a chef.

Posted by: Denk | February 15, 2007 1:15 PM

I'm not married, but my boyfirend creates curriculum to deter gender stereotypes that help in prevening sexual assault. It all starts somewhere, and these adds promote the "woman's place/man's place" stereotype. These ads do a great disservice to everyone. Have you ever noticed an ad for a cleaning product that shows a man cleaning? I find it irritating that women are ALWAYS placed in the domestic role in marketing,even if I am a better at cooking and cleaning than he is.

Posted by: GF-ster | February 15, 2007 1:16 PM

To Foamgnome -

They make Crock Pots with timers. You can set how long you want the food to cook, and when it is done, it will switch to the "Warm" setting until you come home and turn it off. It is my secret weapon in the kitchen! It doesn't work for particularly delicate recipes, but anything that's sufficiently juicy should be able to take a couple of extra hours on the warm setting.

Posted by: FutureMom | February 15, 2007 1:19 PM

Denk, your husband should thank God he lives in a wealthy nation. I think if he were in africa, his tastes would be dramatically less picky. Starvation has a way of curing pickiness....

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 1:19 PM

Fast Food - we love couscous as well, especially the wheat couscous sold at trader joes. My child does not eat fish, meat or eggs, and I am worried about protien.. how do you prepare the tofu that you serve with couscous (which happens to be her favorite)?

Posted by: single mom | February 15, 2007 1:21 PM

To Foamgnome -

They make Crock Pots with timers. You can set how long you want the food to cook, and when it is done, it will switch to the "Warm" setting until you come home and turn it off. It is my secret weapon in the kitchen! It doesn't work for particularly delicate recipes, but anything that's sufficiently juicy should be able to take a couple of extra hours on the warm setting.

Posted by: FutureMom | February 15, 2007 01:19 PM

Wow that is good to know. I will check it out.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 15, 2007 1:22 PM

"My husband is the PICKIEST EATER IN THE WORLD."

Well, good thing he doesn't have to eat what my husband prefers to dish up. Two varieties:

Salt Lick Surprise!
Mystery White Bread Wonder Food

Posted by: Montgomery County | February 15, 2007 1:22 PM

single mom - I haven't tried the couscous at Trader Joe's, but think I will now. Is there a particular brand or type that is better?
I love Trader Joe's - they have great premade stuffed fish and chicken that are great for a single person.

Posted by: Missicat | February 15, 2007 1:22 PM

"patrick- that's disgusting.
but i suppose valid.
i can't imagine what it would take to get to that point. Even after childbirth, the elasticity just shrinks it up again."

1. Women who are plowed by men with large penises/sex toys on a regular basis eventually get stretched out vaginas

2. Women who give birth vaginally to babies with large heads, etc. may get stretched out vaginas and enlarged vaginal lips.

Don't women talk to each other?

Posted by: | February 15, 2007 01:12 PM


Ok, i'm going anonymous again- I'm the one who dabbled in porn (if you remember the conversation from last week). I've slept with more than 40 guys (I won't include the girls :) )and have had 2 kids and I'm not stretched. I'm not like a 16 yr old anymore, but it's still just fine.

Yes, we do talk to each other, but not all of us stretch! Maybe it's an aging thing- I'm only 30.

single mom- i disagree. Oral is great, but I'd just go lesbian if that's all I wanted! I like the hard finish if you know what i mean

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 1:23 PM

I have to say I really hate laundry too. It's not so much that it take so much time, as that it's spread out, so I always forget to go back down and change it over and then go back and get it out of the dryer and so then everything gets wrinkled or smelly and I have to iron or start the whole process over (a huge waste, as Chris said). It's just not a good chore for a space case like me. I much prefer tasks where I can do it, get it done, and see the results - vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, dishes - those are all fine with me, but I'm forever behind on my laundry.

Posted by: Megan | February 15, 2007 1:25 PM

"Salt Lick Surprise!
Mystery White Bread Wonder Food"

My dad, God love him, used to make Cowboy Stew for me and my sister. Cowboy Stew was Dinty Moore beef stew, canned peas, Spaghetti-Os, Campell's soup, and anything else that he could find in a can, all dumped into a pot and cooked for about an hour. "This is just like what the cowboys used to eat on the range!" he would enthuse. Dad actually does know a lot about cowboys - the Old West and the Indian Wars are his hobbies - but I am positive that they didn't eat Dinty Moore and Campbell's meatball alphabet soup.

After he retired he got into cooking in a big way. I guess that his cooking the complete works of Marcella Hazan for my mom makes up for the glop he used to give us kids to eat.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 15, 2007 1:25 PM

The pesto recipe sounds great but guess who doesn't eat basil? That's right, my husband!

Posted by: Denk | February 15, 2007 1:26 PM

"Not that I ever do any laundry around the house, but I just don't understand everybody's beef about the chore. Don't the machines do most of the work?

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 15, 2007 08:58 AM"

To me it is the sheer volume of laundry. I just gave one of my many canned speeches this morning. It was on wearing something for 10 minutes, leaving it in a ball on the floor then throwing it in the laundry later because you don't know if it is clean or dirty. With the snow and several costume changes yesterday I think my kids each went through 5 outfits - ridiculous!

BTW I don't mind sorting, washing, drying and folding - but I have a mental block against actually putting the clothes in the proper drawers and closet. I have 2 friends the exact same way and we figure it is a disorder that has never been properly studied.

Posted by: cmac | February 15, 2007 1:28 PM

Fast Food - we love couscous as well, especially the wheat couscous sold at trader joes. My child does not eat fish, meat or eggs, and I am worried about protien.. how do you prepare the tofu that you serve with couscous (which happens to be her favorite)?

Posted by: single mom | February 15, 2007 01:21 PM


The key is squeezing the water out of the tofu. I wrap it in paper towels and gently squueze out the water of EXTRA FIRM tofu.

Cut into cubes and fry in olive oil, or canola oil (just a tbs),sprinkle garlic powder on and add a little lite or sodium reduced tamari (tamari is really good soy sauce) or cut into slices and fry or broil so it gets crispy.

I use the Near East brand of couscous. There's also the fantastic (i think?!) buyt Near East brand is my favorite.

For protein- have you tried edamame as well? also, peanut butter, of course. Also, veggie dogs, etc.

Posted by: to single mom | February 15, 2007 1:28 PM

"Ok, i'm going anonymous again- I'm the one who dabbled in porn (if you remember the conversation from last week). I've slept with more than 40 guys (I won't include the girls :) )and have had 2 kids and I'm not stretched. I'm not like a 16 yr old anymore, but it's still just fine."

I personally don't believe ANY of this, but hey people are free to post whatever.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 1:29 PM

I have to chime in on the commercials. I do find the H&R block commercial awful. This is a marriage that is not going to last! She is quite contemptuous of her husband and he acts like nothing's wrong with someone talking to him like that.

Also, re: the Volvo commercial. DH HATES this commercial. I have no idea why. We have an 18-month-old son; I think he just hasn't experienced a talkative little girl yet! I'm neutral myself on the commercial.

I can't stand that Jim Belushi show, or any other show (although funny, Everybody Loves Raymond was also guilty) that has a "doofus" dad and a smart, perpetually pissed off wife.

I think the poster who said that the attitude is that fatherhood is a "choice" was dead on.

Posted by: Rebecca | February 15, 2007 1:29 PM

Sorry to post so much, didn't see this before:

My child does not eat fish, meat or eggs, and I am worried about protien.. how do you prepare the tofu that you serve with couscous (which happens to be her favorite)?

Posted by: single mom | February 15, 2007 01:21 PM

Single mom, if you're concerned about protein and nutrition generally given your child's dietary choices, I highly recommend the book "Becoming Vegan" - it has a lot of specific information about the nutritional challenges and benefits of a vegan diet, which it sounds like your child is close to. It has some specific information about children's nutritional needs too. Also, the cookbook "Vegan Planet" has a lot of basic recipes that are great and it might have more variety of egg-less meals than traditional vegetarian cookbooks.

Posted by: Megan | February 15, 2007 1:30 PM

Hey RebelDad - Why don't you turn off the TV and go clean the bathroom??

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 1:31 PM

I'm 27 an I notice more and more men my age don't do the typical man stuff. You know, like change the oil, mow the lawn, fix the faucet...all that stuff. Yes, stereotypical i know but you get the point. Either they are not being taught this by their dads or we are more well off now than before and when this stuff needs done we just call someone. But I don't see a huge increase in men my age becoming more domesticated either. I see so many of my friends husbands who can't be Mr. Fix it around the house and also can't be Mr. Mom and help out with the kids and cook and clean.

So where does that leave dad's role? I think a lot of men help prove the whole "dads are dolts" thing.

Posted by: d's ma | February 15, 2007 1:32 PM

If there are pencil men out there we have to consider that they probably have their female matches.

Posted by: Denk | February 15, 2007 1:35 PM

I just ordered the crock pot with timer. OMG, the things your mother never taught you. She kept saying make stuff in a crock pot. I couldn't figure out what she expected me to make that would cook for 12 hours.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 15, 2007 1:35 PM

Crockpots are the commuting couple's best friend. Stick the food in it in the morning, set the timer to low or (for the more modern versions) to start later in the day, and go to work. Come home and the main course is ready to eat!

Same thing with the bread machine; throw the ingredients in it, set the timer, go to work, and bread is waiting for you when you get home.

Posted by: John | February 15, 2007 1:39 PM

Fred--
re: men and cooking

"In my experience, most famous chefs are men. In New Orleans, there are many, think Paul P. Emeral(sp). No, I am not discounting Julia. Think of all the chefs you see on cooking shows. I would say over 50% are men."

That's not the kind of cooking that's 3 times daily for a family. And chefs do NONE of the real actual work of it (the shopping, washing, chopping and cleaning up). Chefs creating haute cuisine and people doing daily gruntwork cooking to get food in everyone's stomach are just not the same thing. It's really really easy to create a meal for a family if someone else has done all the time-consuming bits of it. Once everything's chopped you just drop it into a pan and let it cook.

Posted by: Cate | February 15, 2007 1:40 PM

"You know, like change the oil, mow the lawn, fix the faucet...all that stuff. Yes, stereotypical i know but you get the point. Either they are not being taught this by their dads or we are more well off now than before and when this stuff needs done we just call someone."

This is an interesting point. In my own marriage, I am the mechanically inclined one for two reasons:

1. My grandfather was an auto mechanic who taught my dad to do all this stuff. After my sister was born and it was clear that my parents weren't having any boys, Dad started treating me as the eldest son. I was the one who learned to fix cars, chop wood, do the wiring, all that good stuff. I once helped him fix some tubing in my car's engine with an empty M-1 shell and a paper clip. Husband's father never taught him any of this stuff for reason number 2, which is:

2. Husband comes from a higher socioeconomic strata than I do, to the point that if it were 1950 there's no way we ever in a million years would have gotten married. In his family's circles, no one ever would think of painting their own dining room, changing their own oil, or anything like that; they hire it all done. So in spite of the fact that Husband is a public school teacher and therefore not exactly in a position to have someone from the stationery store come to his house during the afternoon so he can look through samples and place orders for his engraved writing paper (something his grandmother does), it's not exactly like he absorbed my striver-working-class skills when he married me.

Our kids will learn how to change the oil and fix the faucet because I'll be there to teach them. Their dad will be able to pass along the fading-but-totally-fascinating social mores of the WASPy, boarding-school, summer-house-on-Nantucket set.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 15, 2007 1:44 PM

To Denk: For your basil-hater, try making pesto with flat green Italian parsley instead. I like basil OK but a little goes a long way with me, so I combine fresh basil and parsley.

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 1:45 PM

"hey, Fred, I bumped into your pony comment. ahem. you know what they say, "with friends like you . . . ," LOL."

But I said it in a very loving way with great respect and for attribution!

Cheetos et vinum valde esculentus est
Cheetos and wine are very delicious!

My special dish is Tacos. The real secret is to (1) put chopped onions in when you are browning the meat and (2) add more water to the taco mix and allow the meat to simmer more than the 5 minutes that the instructions say to do.


I do have a joke about a women who was married three times but was still a virgin. It relates to some of the occupations mentioned above BUT I am not going to tell it here.

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 1:45 PM

cmac,
I'm with you on the whole unable to put the laundry thing. Its a failure to climax, laundry wise. The kids just come down in the morning and I hand them their clothes. The older 2 can put theirs away, but at least I know they have socks, clean underwear this way.
btw, who was it that posted the other day that "everyday is like groundhog day. its like they've never put on a coat and got in a car before." I think of that now every morning as they get ready for the bus.
As for Dads, my husband fixes most things because he is better at it, but he also cooks and does all the grocery shopping.
My mom however can and does all the home repairs and lays tile, etc. and loves pwer tools, as well as being a great cook. My dad regularly breaks vacuums by getting frustrated when they clog and throwing them down the stairs. Their basement is a vacuum graveyard.
jessker

Posted by: jessker 1 4 | February 15, 2007 1:47 PM

Single mom, if you don't like the mess of frying, here's a great recipe for baked tofu.

1. Press the tofu to drain the water out as fast food described, or just put it on a plate, another plate on top and a can on the top of it and let it sit while you prep

2. Cut into cubes and marinade the tofu for 10 or 15 minutes in a marinade of soy sauce, ginger and garlic (fresh or powdered are fine for the ginger and garlic)

3. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are browned at 400 (I think, maybe it's 450, you can try it and see). If you're ambitious you can turn the tofu cubes over halfway through to get even browning, but I think that's a pain and just let it bake till the tops are a bit brown.

Posted by: I love tofu too! | February 15, 2007 1:48 PM

"And chefs do NONE of the real actual work of it..."

Not to strongly disagree with you and not to be snarky but at the restaurant that I worked at, the chef did all this but mop the floors. I did that.

In the restaurant that Fredia and I ate at for our 31st anniversary, the main chef--a famous person--was front and center baking the flat bread and then garnishing it. He was also broiling a lot of the meat.

"the shopping, washing, chopping and cleaning up" As one of 7 brothers, I know well about doing all of those thing.

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 1:53 PM

Megan, I thought it was about conflict! How is this, I will work full-time and even do the majority of laundry- except sweaters- if you do everything else. I might even cook on occasion to be sweet. LOL.

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 1:55 PM

That should be 1 of 8 brothers.

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 1:56 PM

"So, what people are saying is that if I work a full time job and bring in a good amount of money, then I shouldnt have to do household chores if my wife only works a part time job a few days a week and watches tv or reads romance novels on days off? News to me! Why am I always am made out to be the bad guy if I complain about having to do more work than my full time job if the place is a mess when I get home? Should chores be even, or should the person with more free time get more chores? Any women care to answer?"

Anon Guy, you got me and you lost me all in one. You're absolutely right that chores need to be split some way that both partners think is fair. To me, that includes taking into consideration how much time is spent on work/chores both outside the home and inside the home -- when I was part-time WAH, I naturally picked up a lot more of the laundry and childcare and cleaning than my husband to make our overall burdens even out.

But, dang, the tone of your post is really belittling. You really think/know that all she does is sit around and read romance novels all day? And your negotiation method is to complain about how hard you have to work? I hope it's just venting your frustration on the blog, and not how you actually approach her. Because, man, if my husband complained that "all she does is X," or went off about why does he have to do the laundry after working 40+ hrs at the office, it would send me through the roof -- EVEN if the complaints were valid. Because it would be a clear sign that he doesn't have a clue how hard I work or value the contributions I make to the family.

In fact, my husband tried the critical approach. Once. He made a somewhat sarcastic comment about how it would be nice if my daughter's clean laundry pile was folded and put away before his parents came. And it really, really ticked me off that he just presumed that was my job, especially since I had been busting my butt cleaning up everything else for their visit (which he either didn't notice or didn't care about). So I said, "well, feel free, it's not going to fold itself" and stormed out of the room.

Point is, even when you've got good reason to be upset, if you approach it as a criticism of her, it's just going to provoke her to be defensive and justify everything she does -- you say "how come I always have to do X," she says "well, because I do A and B and C," and then you both just dig your heels in and argue about who works harder. But if you approach it with a gentler spirit, acknowledging what she does take on, you can find ways to open her up and really talk about what is fair. Personally, I have found that it works better if I approach my husband by saying something like, "I'm really dealing with a lot at work now and it would help me tremendously if you could X" -- instead of trying to shame or bully him into something, I'm giving him the chance to step up and be the hero, even if it's just something minor.

Posted by: Laura | February 15, 2007 2:00 PM

I'm surprised no one has brought up how these dumb dad ads reflect a feminist message: Men are useless and women can -- and should -- do it on their own.

Only part of feminism is about equality. Much more is taught in college and I suggest readers look to what is being taught, because it gets reflected in things like ads. And it may be "just an ad" but media does shape culture.

Posted by: Dennis B | February 15, 2007 2:07 PM


"... And chefs do NONE of the real actual work of it (the shopping, washing, chopping and cleaning up). "

At least in N.O. the chefs are very involved in the shopping. They do personally select the produce, the fish, meat and poultry and other ingredients used in their restaurant.

As for doing the scut work, I know at one point on the way up the ladder, they have all done this.

(I cannot tell you how many potatoes that I peeled while in the army!)

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 2:08 PM

Count on Laura to come up with the useful, civil, non-snarky response to anon guy.

and, btw, we're doing a good job lately of turning any initial topic into a food-related discussion. it's quite ingenious.

Fred - oh come on. tell us the joke already. look how far we sank today and nothing's been deleted yet, as far as I can tell. what's a joke among friends? p.s. I agree with you that non-celebrity, real-life chefs do a lot of work. The ones on tv or the superstars? I tend to think not so much.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 15, 2007 2:10 PM

Speaking of annoying ads, there was one a few years back that just got to me. It featured a bunch of manly men working out at a gym, and then when a voice on the P.A. system said something about a parked minivan, they all smirked and made fun of the embarrassed guy who owned the minivan. I don't even remember what kind of product the ad was selling, but to me the message was that a man who takes fatherhood seriously is to be ridiculed. It's like the message was, fatherhood is SO UNCOOL. (not that minivans are the be-all and end-all of serious fatherhood, but you know what I'm getting at. . .)

Posted by: anon mom | February 15, 2007 2:14 PM

"everyday is like groundhog day. its like they've never put on a coat and got in a car before."

Ha, ha!!!
This is a Hall of Fame contender.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 2:14 PM

I have discovered that once I taught (repeatedly like you do with kids and understand that mistakes *will* be made) my sweetheart how to clean, and gave a lot of praise that I could calmly turn over a lot of the cleaning to him. His parents never made him learn how to do some of the stuff so he never learned. It takes a committment and helping like you would anything else, but if you're in it for the long haul its worthwhile. I can rewire and do other things, but if I'm too sick or out of town its good to know that he can help with anything I can do and I can do a lot of the stuff he can do.

Catlady your situation is exactly why people have to be crosstrained. I was in a fairly nasty caraccident and my sweetie had to take care of a lot of stuff (fortunately he had already learned a lot of cooking, and is probably better than me now)

Life is so complicated. Its always better to be able to fill in for each other at a moments notice--learn how to start the mower, have an envelope where the other person's passwords are, learn where the shutoff valves are for the water and some basic electrical stuff, sometimes you're on your own.

Posted by: ljb | February 15, 2007 2:15 PM

Laura, Even if his complaints were valid? If he worked hard all week and you realy did not tidy the house? You would still be mad at him if he complained of having to work AND do all the chores? Why is that?

I bet your place is not a mess, that you do not leave dirty glasses, clothes, and candy wrappers lying around. I somehow bet the rooms of your house are clean, or at worst, lived in, but not messy. If you worked full time and he did not, and did not bother to do ANY chores on his 4-5 days off, I bet you would be through the roof complaining on here about your lazy good for nothing husband. ROTFLMAO! I mean, look at your rant to the poor anon guy. You are not an astronaut, are you?

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 2:15 PM

About tofu, doesn't frying tofu defeat the purpose of eating tofu?

Posted by: foamgnome | February 15, 2007 2:16 PM

Jessker: "btw, who was it that posted the other day that "everyday is like groundhog day. its like they've never put on a coat and got in a car before." I think of that now every morning as they get ready for the bus."

That is my life summed up : Every morning is Ground Hog Day. I think it was Moxiemom and I am putting her up for quote of the WEEK, not day.

Sometimes my husband looses it if we are going somewhere - it takes 20 minutes just to get shoes and jackets on. The Coup de Grace is when we get where we are going both kids usually have to go to the bathroom. WHY DIDN'T YOU GO BEFORE WE LEFT??!!! We know they hold it for hours and spring it on us JUST to irritate us.

Posted by: cmac | February 15, 2007 2:16 PM

Catlady,

I'll definitely try parsley pesto. Luckily for me, my husband does like pasta.
Thanks!

Posted by: Denkpaard | February 15, 2007 2:16 PM

I take fatherhood seriously and Minivans ARE dorky.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 2:22 PM

Fred

Didn't you learn how to make beds and stuff like that in the Army? You probably have superior housekeeping skills compared to a lot of people.

Regards to Stella

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 2:22 PM

"Fred - oh come on. tell us the joke already"

No, but I will tell you that the woman was married to a chef, a salesman and an OB.

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 2:22 PM

The chef was the last husband.

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 2:24 PM


"I take fatherhood seriously and Minivans ARE dorky."

I know, that is why I keep mine in the garage, out of sight.

"Didn't you learn how to make beds and stuff like that in the Army? You probably have superior housekeeping skills compared to a lot of people."

Well, I learned the army way, a lot different from the real world way.

Fredia (aka Stella from A Streetcar Named Desire) would say hello but I am sure she has a BF emergency today!

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 2:27 PM

About tofu, doesn't frying tofu defeat the purpose of eating tofu?

Posted by: foamgnome | February 15, 2007 02:16 PM


Not if one uses only 1 tablespoon of oil. Light pan frying really gets a bad rap!! Olive and canola oils are a healthy part of a balanced diet (I sound like an ad! lol)
We're not talking deep fried, here.

I also like tofu on a panini press (aka george foreman grill!) with a spray of pam to prevent sticking.

Posted by: Fast Food (meaning meals cooked quickly) | February 15, 2007 2:27 PM

Another take on "guy" laundry. When I was single I did my laundry using the good clothes/bad clothes method. Good clothes were what I wore to work and bad clothes were everything else. Once I got married, my wife decreed washing off limits since she said I would ruin all of her things!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 2:28 PM

Ever try astronaut diapers?

Posted by: to cmac | February 15, 2007 2:29 PM

not the same as astronaut ice cream, right?

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 2:31 PM

Thanks for all of the tofu recipes... Trader Joes brand is my wheat couscous brand of choice. The George Foreman grill is my favorite kitchen appliance - and grilling tofu is a great idea. I'd use olive oil spray though rather than pam - also can be purchased at trader joes... now I sound like an ad.

Posted by: single mom | February 15, 2007 2:31 PM

My husband is a brilliant, dear man and I have no idea if he was a doofus Dad because I wasn't married to him at the time. But he doesn't touch my laundry--he's ruined too many of my things; he still doesn't know where all the kitchen stuff is kept; he's always telling me to buy something we already have; the list goes on and on. The commercials are correct.

Posted by: questionauthority | February 15, 2007 2:32 PM

ljb, I'm so sorry about your accident. Luckily for me, DH was well-trained from an early age by his widowed mother, as she needed him to help out in order for them to survive. During college he lived on his own, so by the time we were married he was totally self-reliant -- what a catch! That doesn't mean he LIKES to do every chore (really, who does?), just that he KNOWS how, in case it's necessary (which it was last year). On the other hand, there are some traditional "guy"-chores that I've never tackled, which means that should I wind up widowed someday I'd have to hire people to do them. But at least I know how to spackle and sand a room, then paint it all by myself, and how to lay linoleum tiles! Note to foamgnome: Next time someone asks us math geeks why anyone needs to know plane geometry for real-life, tell them this is a great example!

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 2:32 PM

so, single mom, you are just grilling the tofu, or do you marinade first?

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 2:33 PM

On pesto: my hubby, a messy but highly talented chef, makes a fantastic cilantro pesto.

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 2:33 PM

All of these comments have me feeling guilty. My boyfriend and I love to cook together but when we do I tend to take over the harder stuff while he chops vegetables, washes dishes, etc. I am a much more experienced cook than he is, and when we cook together it's usually the weekend and we make something a little more elaborate. So it makes sense for me to do more since I already know how to do it. Also, given his lack of experience he sometimes makes mistakes or doesn't pay enough attention to things like cooking time. But I don't want him to feel like a doofus (or think that I view him as one). I also want him to gain the confidence and experience to make more complicated dishes on his own someday. So I guess this means I need to back off and be less bossy and let him occasionally screw up so he learns, doesn't it?

Posted by: Charlottesville | February 15, 2007 2:34 PM

QuestionAuthority,

I would NEVER allow my hubby to touch my laundry, either. I have too many nice things to let someone who doesn't know what a lingerie bag is for and uses hot water on everything in the laundry room!

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 2:35 PM

With my DH there is clear distinction between being capable of doing household chores and doing them on a regular basis. He can do the laundry very well, can cook delicious meals and wash the dishes, can take out the trash, etc... but asking him to actually help out on a regular basis is like pulling teeth. He does it when he feels like it...which is like once a month maybe? We both work full-time so it's more of an issue of pulling his weight rather that being a "moron."

Posted by: lily | February 15, 2007 2:38 PM

My all time favorite chef?......... Chef Boyardee. We are enjoying not one but two of his fine creationg this evening - Mac and Cheese and ABCs and 123s which is not only nutritious but educational as well.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 2:38 PM

Is it possible that the doofus dad ads are the remnants of a backlash against "father knows best" type portrayals of men? Where dad knows/fixes everything, has all the answers... Could these types of ads, having their roots in the 70s/80s, actually be a result of the feminist movement? Just an idea for discussion, not necessarily my opinion.

(I didn't read all the posts today, so I apologize if this already came up.)

Posted by: JJJ | February 15, 2007 2:41 PM

Charlottesville,

Yes, you need to let your boyfriend cook by himself if you want him to get comfortable in the kitchen. He'll make mistakes but that's the best way to learn, as long as he doesn't poison either of you or burn down the apartment.

When my wife began working at a site requiring a much longer commute than mine, I either had to accept eating very late at night or cooking dinner myself. I screwed up something terrible a couple of times, but eventually I learned what worked and what didn't (managed to mess up boiling rice once...), and now feel fairly confident I can cook all the foods we like to eat.

Just give him time and some space, and if he really wants to learn to cook he'll do it.

Posted by: John | February 15, 2007 2:43 PM

We get one of the parenting magazines at home (not sure which one). My wife comments almost every time an issue arrives that dads are almost non-existent in it. I take no offense and don't need a magazine to determine my worth as a dad but it is indicative of the stereotype that refuses to die. It is interesting though that the idea of "mom" as head of household for ad purposes has not changed with the sheer number of moms who work outside the home and dads who stay home.

Posted by: FL | February 15, 2007 2:43 PM

"So I guess this means I need to back off and be less bossy and let him occasionally screw up so he learns, doesn't it?"

Yeah. If it's any help, I am the ultimate control freak and it was really hard for me to back off at first. ("You're wiping that counter wrong!") Once you've been doing it for a bit, though, it gets a LOT easier, and eventually you don't care a bit.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 15, 2007 2:43 PM

"I guess this means I need to back off and be less bossy and let him occasionally screw up so he learns, doesn't it?"

---

I think, in general, abosrbing this lesson is a key to an effective partnership.

That doesn't mean to stand by while he burns the house down, but I know that I much prefer having freedom to make some mistakes and learn from them than getting dinged every time I forget something.

Posted by: JohnMcG | February 15, 2007 2:44 PM

"Next time someone asks us math geeks why anyone needs to know plane geometry for real-life, tell them this is a great example!"

I just hope your floor has the pattern of a Klein bottle.

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 2:44 PM

Fred,

What is the Army way of making a bed? Can't you relax the standard for civilian life?

Remember this jingle?

Pick a service
Pick a challenge
Set your self apart
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines
What a great day
It's a great way to start

I think it's from a recruiting ad from the 70s and 80s.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 2:44 PM

Fred, if the chef was the first husband and you mopped up the restaurant and ended up with Fredia, this story has everything one needs for a great blues song about the backdoor man. or am I not reading carefully enough today?

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 15, 2007 2:46 PM

To JJJ: In the 60s (and earlier), TV commercials often made the wife/mother look stupid beyond comprehension. My mother used these ads as teaching moments, to reassure me that they were wrong, not funny, and demeaning to all human intelligence (male and female alike).

Some of the current male-bashing commercials that Brian and others on this blog decry are simply the same concept, except with the gender roles reversed.

It's degrading either way.

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 2:48 PM

FYI- Pam makes Olive Oil spray.

I usually just grill it and then add toppings/sauce, but either way works.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 2:48 PM

btw cmac - thanks for the credit. I honestly cannot figure out why they are so surprised every day that we have to leave for school? Like I'm some sort of jokester springing the same crazy surprise on them EVERY DAY!

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 2:50 PM

"lingerie bag"
What is that?

Hot water is the only temp that I wash most anything in, clothes, dishes, pots & pans, my body.

Is there a different setting?

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 2:50 PM

My hubby is a chef, and I refuse to cook when he's at home, because he stands over my shoulder telling me I'm doing something wrong, or at least that there is a better way to do it. Drives me crazy!

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 2:52 PM

Chris, yeah, I'd say especially if his complaints are valid.

I'm not saying he doesn't have a right to be mad -- yeah, eating bon-bons instead of helping would totally tick me off. But my point is, do you want to spend your life in righteous indignation, or do you want to fix the problem? Because yelling or getting pissy is a great way to do (1), but counterproductive if you're trying to do (2).

I know this because I deal with this. Sometimes my husband really pisses me off (usually w/ our daughter). But if I respond by yelling at him or belittling his parenting abilities, it just makes the situation worse (got snarky once -- huge momentarily relief, but only moved us further apart). So now when he annoys me, I make myself shut up until I've cooled off and can figure out a constructive way to raise the subject, usually as a problem that I am hoping he can help me solve. We don't always agree, but we can talk civilly and constructively, and we usually BOTH end up willing to acknowledge that we're not perfect and need to work on stuff -- something that would never happen if I'd started it off as how he's really annoying me.

I'm sorry you saw my comment as a rant. It wasn't intended that way. I read some earlier responses that seemed to blow off this guy's concerns, so I was trying to take it seriously and give some advice. Frankly, the guy kind of reminds me of my husband, in terms of wearing his frustration on his sleeve, so I figured he might be equally clueless about how some of the vibes he is sending out might be sparking a negative reaction from his wife.

And btw, LOL at what you think my house looks like. I do pick up religiously -- every two weeks, the night before the cleaning service arrives (figure they need to see the floor to clean it). :-) And we split the "dirtying" chores -- DH and DD leave the dirty glasses and candy wrappers around, while DD and I are responsible for scattering the dirty laundry everywhere.

Posted by: Laura | February 15, 2007 2:52 PM

Lingerie bag -- bag (pillowcase will also work if you don't have one) for delicates. Things like fancy undergarments and bras can get damages being in the laundry with the regular clothes. I also put washable sweaters in a lingerie bag so they do not snag on hooks and clasps.

Hot water -- it will fade colors and causes shrinking. It may also cause certain fabrics to degrade prematurely.

Everything I own gets washed on the cold, delicate cycle.

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 2:55 PM

"What is the Army way of making a bed?"

One blanket (scratchy, wool blend) covers from the foot to 3/4 the way up to the head. The other blanket is folded in half and this covers the area from the head to about 1/2 way down the mattress. You see no sheets or pillow, just all OD green.

"...for a great blues song about the backdoor man."

Just a different interpertation! Need to stop laughing before bossman comes!

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 2:55 PM

My favorite is the good housekeeping rules for a wife circa 1950. Just a bit extreme. Funny how far the pendulum swung back to hurt the next generation...

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 2:56 PM

Laura, some people are lazy. Some are messy and some just don't care. You must account for those people in life.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 2:58 PM

Here is a bunk made the army way


http://www.eustis.army.mil/ncoa/Student_Guide_files/image008.jpg

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 2:58 PM

Fred wrote: "I just hope your floor has the pattern of a Klein bottle."

If it did, we'd never be able to escape!

Seriously, though, the geometry is helpful for drawing the cutting lines for all the odd shapes and sizes of the tiles that go along the walls, doorways, and kitchen applicances or bathroom fixtures (depending which room you're flooring).

For foamgnome: I also used an intuitive visual estimate of Diophantine equations to figure how to lay out random-length wood flooring in another room, so we wouldn't wind up with leftovers from each pallet. Wow, I miss Number Theory!!!

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 2:59 PM

The irony is that the "competent" moms in commercials are for the most part cooking utter crap: some sort of TV Dinner, Betty Crocker, Pasta Mix/Rice-A-Roni thing, or stopping at Boston market, and the whole family is in awe. The biggest consumers of most of this crap are college students. It would be awesome to see a little reality--some hung over college girl cooking up some mac and cheese in some questionably sanitary, slightly disfigured bowl she picked up at Target.

The one add campaign that actually made me want to be violent was the Volkswagen ads that used to feature some sort of married urban, yuppie, sissy types fawning over a Volkswagen--A VOLKSWAGEN, for crying out loud--in some sort of pathetic way. You know the one where the guy marvels about how he can open the car window from the outside with his key, or where the guy licks one at the dealership to claim it. Gosh, even my wife wanted to kick those guys in the nuts.

Posted by: bkp | February 15, 2007 3:01 PM

For foamgnome: I also used an intuitive visual estimate of Diophantine equations to figure how to lay out random-length wood flooring in another room, so we wouldn't wind up with leftovers from each pallet. Wow, I miss Number Theory!!!


Well, you definitely got me beat.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 15, 2007 3:02 PM

I honestly cannot figure out why they are so surprised every day that we have to leave for school? Like I'm some sort of jokester springing the same crazy surprise on them EVERY DAY!

Oh good, it's not just me who occasionally deals with fair-to-middling children. Why does it come as a surprise to them, day after day? I didn't drop them on their heads, goodness knows they can remember when they are supposed to be at a friend's house, or if there is a show they want to watch (no)!

Do NOT let me get started on their consternation when I ask them if they have homework, or when they intend to practice their music lessons.

*sigh*

As for getting them up, I am sorely tempted to use a bucket of ice-water and an air horn.

Posted by: MdMother | February 15, 2007 3:02 PM

"Seriously, though, the geometry is helpful for drawing the cutting lines for all the odd shapes and sizes of the tiles that go along the walls, doorways, and kitchen applicances or bathroom fixtures (depending which room you're flooring)."

Wow, we just bought extra and played around with the tile saw until we got it right!

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 3:04 PM

The BF is a more instinctive cook than I -- good sense of flavor combinations and ways to change up a recipe. About half the time I think up a meal and he ends up executing more of it than I do.

NC Lawyer - I've been watching the 9 PM duke games since the Laettner days but back then I only had to worry about paying attention in school the next day. Being a "grown-up" stinks some times. The BF was kind enough to change the channel every time the SC folks mentioned "what's wrong with Duke". God love him. (even if he is Terps fan).

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | February 15, 2007 3:05 PM

Thanks for the input. I don't mean to make my boyfriend sound like he's totally incompetant. He just takes recipes very literally. For example "cook 10 minutes" means "cook the item for exactly 10 minutes," not "cook it until it is done, checking periodically, which should take about 10 minutes." Things have burned this way. But I'm going to be better...

Posted by: Charlottesville | February 15, 2007 3:05 PM

Laura, well, I know I am usually the one who wants to reason things through and discuss them logically- ALWAYS the first one to suggest solving a problem diplomatically. Sometimes when you talk politely, it still does nothing, and the other party, much like certain foreign nations conspiring to build things they should not, just get angry and pop off a nuke when you try and talk with them. Even signing a treaty is meaningless if the other party does not honor it.

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 3:05 PM

Wow, we just bought extra and played around with the tile saw until we got it right!

That's the spirit of adventure.

(My handy-dandy excuse for not even trying to remember any math beyond balancing my checkbook)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 3:06 PM

"He just takes recipes very literally. For example "cook 10 minutes" means "cook the item for exactly 10 minutes," not "cook it until it is done, checking periodically, which should take about 10 minutes."

This used to be me. Cooking terrified me and I was convinced that unless I followed EVERY SINGLE STEP AND INGREDIENT EXACTLY TO THE LETTER, chaos and horror would ensue. Slate has a good roundup of basic cookbooks here:

http://www.slate.com/id/2120782/

and I wholly back their endorsement of Marcella Hazan as the best. She taught me to cook. These days, overly-specific recipes annoy me. I'm looking at you, Christopher "America's Test Kitchen" Kimball.

"Sometimes when you talk politely, it still does nothing, and the other party, much like certain foreign nations conspiring to build things they should not, just get angry and pop off a nuke when you try and talk with them."

Oh, man, I would crack up if my husband compared me to Li'l Kim. Then, uh, I'd probably be really annoyed.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 15, 2007 3:12 PM

To catmommy and 3:06, who bought extra linoleum tiles:

We calculated and bought exactly the number of boxes we needed. DH has commented on occasion that the only person he knows who's more miserly than I am is himself. Meaning, we're compatible on financial matters, which I've read are the leading source of household arguments!

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 3:14 PM

I had to infuse a little humor. ;)

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 3:15 PM

and one more before signing off. Choosy moms-- and dads-- choose salmonella.

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 3:18 PM

I'm 3:06, and I didn't say that I bought them. I'm too cheap to spring for new tiles.

Right now, we are down to one burner on our 30 year old range and I just cannot find it within myself to part with the money to get a new one. Personally, I think that it would be wiser to replace the 30 year old dishwasher. My husband disagrees. So, we cook on one burner and use the oven (also 30 years old!).

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 3:19 PM

"some hung over college girl cooking up some mac and cheese in some questionably sanitary, slightly disfigured bowl she picked up at Target."

Amen to that. We'd come home from the bars, fix a box of the powdered mac and cheese and each with our own fork, pass the hot pot around a circle until it was all gone. Ahhh the good old days.

A ray of hope re: mem that don't cook. I know a family that was very traditional, wife did all household stuff and dad worked until he retired. Now he is the uber chef. Cooks every night and delights in new and exciting recipes. So there is hope out there for others.

For the BF who takes the cook books literally, give him some time. Once he develops some confidence he will move away from the books, but when you don't know what you are doing you stick with it. Until you know what sauteed onions are supposed to look like, it is hard to tell if they are done.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 3:21 PM

"I also used an intuitive visual estimate of Diophantine equations to figure how to lay out random-length wood flooring in another room"


I used the chart on the package, windbag!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 3:24 PM

Chris wrote, "Choosy moms -- and dads-- choose salmonella."

Actually, I think it's aflatoxin. Oh, yum!

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 3:24 PM

I'm glad we bought extra tile, because it turns out one of them is loose (can't figure out how that happened, but anyway), and we will likely have to destroy the tile to get it out and re-stick a new one.

The whole tile job for a 200 square-foot kitchen was $450. Tile on clearance (another reason to buy extra -- it was discontinued), plus backerboard, screws, thinset, and grout. Another $50 for incedentals such as sponges to clean up the grout.

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 3:24 PM

I think it's Peter Pan that is contaminated.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 3:26 PM

I think it's Peter Pan that is contaminated.

Posted by: | February 15, 2007 03:26 PM

I'm certain Michael Jackson had something to do with it!

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 3:27 PM

i always thought one of the nice things about guys was that we didn't take ourselves very seriously so we could find commercials/shows of this ilk entertaining. it's supposed to be the fairer sex that's more emotional! i guess Brian has proved me wrong.

Posted by: J | February 15, 2007 3:28 PM

Laura, your 2:25 post was excellent (and the previous one too), it's great to read someone being so thoughtful in their approach to dealing with these things.

Posted by: Megan | February 15, 2007 3:28 PM

You guys are getting awfully spicey today and it is not even Friday yet.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 15, 2007 3:29 PM

Tile: $300
Backerboard: $100
Thinset: $25
Grout: $25

Completing our first home improvement project without killing each other or damaging our house: PRICELESS.

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 3:29 PM

"You guys are getting awfully spicey today and it is not even Friday yet."

Wait 'till the "Sex after Baby" topic comes up. You ain't seen nothing, yet!!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 3:31 PM

To catmommy, who wrote: "Tile on clearance (another reason to buy extra -- it was discontinued)."

Wise idea!

Of course, we had a few tiles leftover from the last box, but discovered that after several years the rest of the floor no longer matched them. Guess all those ads trying to shame women into getting their floors absolutely spotless were lost on us!

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 3:32 PM

I had to infuse a little humor. ;)

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 03:15 PM


right...humor, that's what it was.... I know who I'd rather be married to between chris and laura, that for sure.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 3:33 PM

oh moxiemom, you are baaaaaaaddd....ha ha ha....

Posted by: dotted | February 15, 2007 3:36 PM

Re "Completing our first home improvement project without killing each other or damaging our house: PRICELESS."

I did the job myself in half a day! DH came home to find the kitchen with a sparkling new floor.

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 3:37 PM

oh moxiemom, you are baaaaaaaddd....ha ha ha....

Posted by: dotted | February 15, 2007 03:36 PM

I'm just saying that maybe you should check the visitors log at ConAgra.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 3:40 PM

the 'doofus' dad commercials are just part of the much larger advertising genre you might call 'moron men.' it's rare, in fact, to see men portrayed as anything other than self-absorbed, badly dressed, emotionally shallow nitwits. surely not all of us fit this facile stereotype. my only explanation is that marketers discovered some time ago that women make most household purchasing decisions and so they're portrayed as the 'smart' ones who can run rings around their lovable, dim-bulb men. the trouble, of course, is that marketing is so powerful that such stereotypes can become self-fulfilling prophesies.

Posted by: baltimore guy | February 15, 2007 3:43 PM

"Completing our first home improvement project without killing each other or damaging our house: PRICELESS."

Catmommy, that's awesome. Our first home improvement project was tiling the bathroom floor, and it was so fun to do together - my husband, the engineer, handled all of the laying out of the tile and did a lot of the work while I kept our son out of it, but I was still excited to get to do some of it with him. I come from a totally non-handy background, so I'm loving learning from him as we get to do stuff on the house together.

Posted by: Megan | February 15, 2007 3:44 PM

Hey Charlottesville, hang in there with your guy. Definitely take that deep breath and step back. It's a trial-and-error process to learn that 10 minutes isn't always 10 minutes when you're cooking; some of us learn at 14, others at 34! At least he sounds like he's good with directions - trust me, you'd *really* have your work cut out for you if he wasn't. More importantly, he wants to learn. Embrace this. Why don't you let him solo on something that can take some abuse and/or would benefit from some off-the-recipe creativity, like a soup or stew?

Posted by: BxNY | February 15, 2007 3:48 PM

What about the ad where the guys watching sports on TV ask their (male) host how he ever got his toilet so clean? Thought that one was cute.

Posted by: Diane, Baltimore | February 15, 2007 3:49 PM

For example "cook 10 minutes" means "cook the item for exactly 10 minutes,

Must be an engineer

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 3:57 PM

"For example "cook 10 minutes" means "cook the item for exactly 10 minutes,

Must be an engineer"

Or an equally anal retentive jerk.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 4:00 PM

For example "cook 10 minutes" means "cook the item for exactly 10 minutes,

Must be an engineer

Or a chemist.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 4:00 PM

"Things like fancy undergarments and bras"

Catmommy, those fancy undergarments just chaff me in places that I would rather not mention. And, dammit, if I could only find a bra that fits properly!

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 4:02 PM

"For example "cook 10 minutes" means "cook the item for exactly 10 minutes,

Must be an engineer"

LOL. My husband is an engineer and he did go through that phase also. Charlotsville, I think it's awesome you want to help him learn - it took a lot of my stepping back to let my husband do it, but now he is really into it. He cooked up an Indian dinner the other night that was amazing. He's starting to get the intuitive grasp of it and be able to invent and stray from recipes. It's awesome. Good luck!

Posted by: Megan | February 15, 2007 4:02 PM

For example "cook 10 minutes" means "cook the item for exactly 10 minutes,

Must be an engineer

Or maybe, unlike the male gender stereotype, he asks for directions.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 4:03 PM

Megan,

What kind of engr?

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 4:03 PM

"For example "cook 10 minutes" means "cook the item for exactly 10 minutes"

Duh, what else could it mean?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 4:04 PM

To 4:04, who wrote: "For example "cook 10 minutes" means "cook the item for exactly 10 minutes"

Duh, what else could it mean?

What it means mathematically is to cook it for between 9 1/2 and 10 1/2 minutes.

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 4:10 PM

Fred - electrical and mechanical. He's also a musician (he plays bass) which is a pretty awesome combo.

Posted by: Megan | February 15, 2007 4:11 PM

If it makes anyone feel better, somehow I made it to age 14 or so without EVER being told you could not put foil or metal in a microwave. I used the microwave frequently for snacks and reheating leftovers, and I guess the issue just never came up.

That was a lesson learned the hard way.

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 4:13 PM

"For example "cook 10 minutes" means "cook the item for exactly 10 minutes"

My best girlfriend in high school approached the Nestle Toll House cookie recipe in the same manner, and was highly uncomfortable with the imprecision of "bake for 5 - 6 minutes". I hear she had other gifts that made up for the lack of cooking/baking talent.

Product of a Working Mother. It's okay. Intra-team ACC marriages often work out, so long as only one fan is from a North Carolina team. During the Laettner years, I watched basketball with the Duke Club at some sports bar close to the Convention Center. Ah, the memories of pitcher beer, overpriced nachos and being the only non-Duke graduate in the bunch. . .

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 15, 2007 4:13 PM

Megan

I had to suffer---I mean had an EE for a father. I think that I won only one argurement in my first 17 yrs of life with him.

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 4:19 PM

These ads are part of a marketing campaign geared to women -- and they believe that Dads are doofuses. So the ad reinforces their feelings about men and Dads, and they feel good about the product in the ad. When women stop believing that men are jerks and doofuses, then we will stop getting these kind of message ads.

Posted by: Colorado Kool-Aid | February 15, 2007 4:19 PM

"Things like fancy undergarments and bras"

Catmommy, those fancy undergarments just chaff me in places that I would rather not mention. And, dammit, if I could only find a bra that fits properly!

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 04:02 PM
==========================
Fred, c'mon...you need a BRO!

Posted by: Dad of 2 | February 15, 2007 4:20 PM

Fred, c'mon...you need a BRO!

Posted by: Dad of 2 | February 15, 2007 04:20 PM

Or a mansierre!

Posted by: Missicat | February 15, 2007 4:22 PM

"Wait 'till the "Sex after Baby" topic comes up. You ain't seen nothing, yet!!"

I think that all of us will have to post "anon" for that discussion.

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 4:28 PM

NC Lawyer:
Carolina Ale House is my favorite place to catch an ACC game. Even the one in Durham.

Posted by: dotted | February 15, 2007 4:30 PM

I've read that a lot of TV advertising (and programming) is geared toward males ages 18-34, not because they have the most money -- because they don't -- but rather because they don't watch as much TV so there's not as much time in which to get advertisers' messages before their eyes. Also, younger viewers are favored because advertisers believe they are more susceptible to switching brands than older viewers.

Not that I necessarily agree with their approach, mind, but please don't shoot the messenger.

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 4:31 PM

Frankly,
I'm not ready for a 'sex after baby' blog for more than one reason. I'd had to participate anon (and I don't like that) and it's been too long since we had a baby in the house.

Posted by: dotted | February 15, 2007 4:33 PM

"Cook for 10 minutes" means go have a beer or 1 glass of red wine, and check back.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 15, 2007 4:41 PM

"Not that I necessarily agree with their approach, mind, but please don't shoot the messenger."

I'm calling BS on this one.

Just because something is effective doesn't mean it's OK. Torture may be the best way to get answers out of somebody, but that doesn't make it morally licit, even for someone whose job it is to make suspects talk.

The people making these ads are moral agents who can be held accountable for their actions. The culture may make some ways of doing their jobs easier than others, but that doesn't mean they haven't chosen it.

Posted by: JohnMcG | February 15, 2007 4:48 PM

Father of 4, can you substitute Pabst Blue Ribbon for the beer?

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 15, 2007 4:48 PM

Here's another anon topic suggestion: playing doctor. Did we do it? Is it healthy in small amounts? What should do if you catch your child and a friend with their pants down.

Are we mature enough to handle it?

Posted by: FFFF | February 15, 2007 4:48 PM

Also, by voicing our disapproval, we are altering the environment to make these stereotypical portrayals not such an easy path.

Posted by: JohnMcG | February 15, 2007 4:49 PM

To John McG: By saying "please don't shoot the messenger," I simply meant please don't blame me for repeating what advertisers say they think. I totally agree with you that it's appalling.

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 4:53 PM

I had to put in my $.02. I think my favorite commercials are the Volvo (with the chattering child) and the recent oat-based cereal ad (I don't recall the brand) where dad lowers his cholesterol and son has a report due. Dad isn't portrayed as an idiot, just a dad!

From my own experience, I'm the only girl in my family and have to admit that I have done almost all of the work on my own car, (changed tires, brakes, replaced exhausts, alternators, done tune-ups, exchanged drive-trains and transmissions, etc). My dad started teaching me when I was 16 and I got an old AMC Concord as my first car. He said I could have it as long as I could keep it running (what his dad told him). It ran for a total of 1/2 hour! I've had considerably better luck with my most recent car, although I did have to replace the engine last year.

The two times I've had a flat tire I changed it while my dad or my brother stood by and watched. My dad had a good reason. It was my first flat and he wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing. My brother didn't have that excuse. He simply didn't know how at the time. He has since learned that and how to change the oil, the brakes, the engine, the transmission, replace the entire exhaust, etc.

As far as cooking goes, I love to cook. I love to take a recipe and change it up to something totally different. My youngest brother has similar fun. My oldest brother can make hot dogs and mac and cheese, and can (and has had to) feed his 3 girls for days at a time when his wife is taking care of her mother. My middle brother couldn't boil water until he recently got married. Now he cooks every night since his wife gets home 2 hours later than he does and, due to her pregnancy, she is to tired to cook.

In the end, it turns out, that Mom and Dad both taught us everything we needed to know to be self sufficient, we just didn't all apply the knowledge right away.

Posted by: Longtime Lurker | February 15, 2007 4:53 PM

"Also, by voicing our disapproval, we are altering the environment to make these stereotypical portrayals not such an easy path."

You're right again, John McG. As I typed much earlier today, the most effective way to voice our approval so that advertisers understand it is to withhold our consumer dollars from those whose messages we find objectionable.

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 4:56 PM

Now he cooks every night since his wife gets home 2 hours later than he does and, due to her pregnancy, she is to tired to cook.


Longtime lurker-

I had to laugh at this one! Wait until your SIL actually has the baby- does she know what kind of tiredness she's in for??

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 4:57 PM

I apologize for my misunderstanding.

Posted by: JohnMcG | February 15, 2007 5:01 PM

Longtime lurker-

I had to laugh at this one! Wait until your SIL actually has the baby- does she know what kind of tiredness she's in for??

Posted by: | February 15, 2007 04:57 PM

Don't assume that she doesn't. Some of us are just lousy at being pregnant and, even with sleep deprivation, have more energy post-baby. I had to take a nap every afternoon during both pregnancies - could . . . not . . stay . . awake between 4 and 6. It was as though I had taken three Benadryl at 3:30. After the babies, I was back to a tired version of normal, but not a catatonic version.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 15, 2007 5:02 PM

JohnMcG, Please don't worry about it. We all do this from time to time!

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 5:06 PM

"As I typed much earlier today, the most effective way to voice our approval so that advertisers understand it is to withhold our consumer dollars from those whose messages we find objectionable."

To this day I will not eat at Carl's Junior, no matter how big a hurry I'm in, because of their ads. The first big ad campaign featured attractive people eating hamburgers, and spilling food all over the place, all while making disgusting noises. I thought the commercials were so disgusting and in such poor taste, I've never eaten at one and never will.

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 5:08 PM

NC Lawyer - me too! I was soooo tired when I was pregnant, and also ravenous all the time. I felt like all I could do was eat and sleep. I was so glad I was in school and thus could slack off, I have huge respect for people who manage jobs while pregnant. Post baby was tiring, but not the same.

Posted by: Megan | February 15, 2007 5:09 PM

To catmommy -- No Carl's Jr. (or their ads) where we live, but if it were here, I wouldn't eat at it either!

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 5:14 PM

I'm really pregnant, work fulltime, and do much of the cooking and cleaning already. Me thinks DH is going to have to change his ways when the baby comes.

Posted by: lily | February 15, 2007 5:15 PM

Back to pATRICK -- of course, minivans are dorky when compared to sports cars or whatever. Just like diaper bags are dorky when compared to designer handbags or cotton nursing bras are dorky compared to fancy push-up bras. (Believe you me, nursing bras are WAY dorky!) But you don't see women being ridiculed by other women (at least in advertisements) for carrying around diaper bags or wearing nursing bras instead of using the non-dorky, high-fashion alternative. That's what I'm getting at.
Or. . .staying on the bunny slopes with your little kids is dorkier than jumping off cliffs with the cool dudes on Double Diamond ski runs. But you shouldn't be ridiculed for staying on the bunny slopes with your little kids. (Maybe you should get sympathy, but that's different.) I could go on and on, but basically, I think you understand why that minivan-ad thing was annoying.

Posted by: anon mom | February 15, 2007 5:17 PM

How is Chef Boyardee good for you (or whatever the term was)? Isn't it loaded with sodium? Eek.

Posted by: From a few posts up... | February 15, 2007 5:20 PM

Ease up on the engineers, will ya?

Posted by: WV Aerogirl | February 15, 2007 5:23 PM

Other products I would never buy based on their commercials.

Mucinex: commercial featuring a cartoon phlegm family moving into one's lungs. Ew!

Lamisil: cartoon fungus eating the tissue under one's toenail. Ew!

Pepto Bismol: heartburn, nausea, indigestion, upset stomach, diahrhea chant with dance is digusting.

Zelnorm: ad for prescription medication for some stomach problem featuring a bunch of stomachs with word written on them.

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 5:25 PM

How is Chef Boyardee good for you (or whatever the term was)? Isn't it loaded with sodium? Eek.

Posted by: From a few posts up... | February 15, 2007 05:20 PM

It was a joke. I'm feeding my kids junk tonight buty making every attempt to "spin" the Chef. I know its junk, but its ready in 45 seconds. Thursday is left overs for Mom and Dad and "The Chef" for the kids.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 5:28 PM

I'm weighing in pretty late, but I wanted to add my two cents to the division of household chores: I'm not a TOTAL slob, but I am when compared to my BF. His place is spotless and immaculate. I don't think he's OCD or anything, but if there's a spot on the floor, he 409s it and wipes it up immediately; I wait until my weekly mopping. Anyway, he used to have this idea that whoever made less, regardless of who had more free time, had to make up for it by doing more housework. In his mind, whoever had the lesser-paying job was less efficient and should have to pick up the slack at home. Needless to say, I thought this was extremely unfair; imagine if you had a head of a non-profit who worked 70 hours/week but made 50K and an engineer who worked 40h/week and made 100K. Would it really be fair in that case to make the person who made less do twice as much housework? I couldn't reason with him, so I made up my mind to make more money than him (although I wouldn't have made him do more housework based on salary; it would be based on spare time). It took one of his female friends calling him a caveman before he'd finally realize that salary is not the end-all, be-all when determining distribution of chores. He finally sees it my way, but I'm still a little mad that he was so single-minded in the beginning.

Posted by: Mona | February 15, 2007 5:31 PM

Minivans are the death of a young man's dream. That is what men instinctively know and that is why it was a funny commercial.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 5:34 PM

" Anyway, he used to have this idea that whoever made less, regardless of who had more free time, had to make up for it by doing more housework."

OINK!

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 5:39 PM

catmommy -- What you said! I hit the clicker as soon as any of those come on.

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 5:41 PM

Want to see great funny ads about men being men w/o being dorky? Go to:

http://www.haggar.com/gs/ads.html

Do not drink milk when watching, it may come out your nose.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 5:42 PM

Minivans are the death of a young man's dream. That is what men instinctively know and that is why it was a funny commercial.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 15, 2007 05:34 PM

and a young woman's dream. I wouldn't be caught dead even parked next to one.

Friends don't let friends buy minivans.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 5:44 PM

"Minivans are the death of a young man's dream."

Well, also, according to car-freak Husband, minivans are also pretty crappy vehicles. The mileage is rarely all that great, the engines are invariably underpowered for the kind of weight the vehicle is expected to haul, and they look incredibly dorky. There are other vehicles out there (like the Audi A4 wagon Husband has his eye on) that serve the same function as a minivan but are actually well-built and have good engines.

Husband's objection to minivans is that they are an inferior product. The dork factor is an extra; not the whole of the matter. He has the same objection to many SUVs.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 15, 2007 5:44 PM

catmommy, you're not kidding...it was very nearly the end of us. I appreciate the girl who had the sack enough to tell him to stop being such a (richard); I wish I had.

Posted by: Mona | February 15, 2007 5:45 PM

People who make or air these ads are cowards. They know if they pick on women or anyone with minority status there will be hell to pay from the PC crowd or any one of many special interest groups, but it's okay ridicule white men as they are not protected from hate speech nor have a lobbying group in the PC world. The state of advertising in the USA is not good, either because it insults the sense of anyone with a brain or because right-wing puritans object to anything that might be the least bit honest.

Posted by: Mike 99 | February 15, 2007 5:46 PM

Mona, A man who can adapt to sweet reason sounds promising.

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 5:48 PM

How about a topic on balancing your coolness with family transportation.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 5:53 PM

Mini-vans = underpowered and dorky

SUVs = yuppie death traps

Station Wagons = dorky, but better-performing that mini-vans

Mid-Sized Sedan = can be cool with some muscle under the hood and nice rims

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 6:02 PM

"before he'd finally realize that salary is not the end-all, be-all when determining distribution of chores. He finally sees it my way, but I'm still a little mad that he was so single-minded in the beginning."

WOW, Mona, he must have a lot of other redeeming qualities for you to have put up with that! :)

Lizzie, I've never really looked at minivans but am in total agreement with your husband on many SUVs - so many of them are utterly impractical as well as being gas hogs, it's amazing.

Posted by: Megan | February 15, 2007 6:05 PM

Minivans are the death of a young man's dream. That is what men instinctively know and that is why it was a funny commercial.


and a reminder of a older man's regrets.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 6:07 PM

How about a topic on balancing your coolness with family transportation.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 05:53 PM

moxiemom, there's nothing to balance. The kids can squeeze into whatever space we graciously provide and be grateful, just like we all were when we were rolling around in the way-back of the station wagon with no seatbelts. if you must transport a baseball team of 14 year-olds, then I understand that a Subaru Outback may not give them enough legroom. But why do mothers of 2 kids under 5 require more square footage in their vehicles than I have in my entire house?

I wouldn't drive a minivan if someone gave it to me for free and told me it would bring world peace.

am I missing the counter-argument? :>)

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 15, 2007 6:07 PM

Megan, he does have a lot of redeeming qualities, but the implicit sexism and the single-minded idea of money being everything was not tolerable. I don't think it would have worked out if he hadn't dropped that attitude, not that it matters since I'll likely make more than him after law school.

And when I do, I won't expect him to do more chores--unless he has more free time.

Posted by: Mona | February 15, 2007 6:11 PM

am I missing the counter-argument? :>)

Only that the larger and more powerful a car a man needs, the more inadequate he may feel in, um, other areas.

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 6:12 PM

In defense of Mini Vans

Try hauling a family of 6 and luggage in a (middle size) SUV or sedan or Subaru. It just does not work. The other thing about mini-vans is that they can haul a 4 X 8 sheet of plywood or sheetrock with the back gate closed! Try that in most pickups esp. the dual cab ones. Besides your teenagers have less a chance of totaling them!

Posted by: Fred (did not write this) | February 15, 2007 6:14 PM

nc lawyer:
I knew you were a woman after my own heart (even though you don't bleed blue). I would never buy a mini-van. We squeeze into a passat wagon. That passat engine whips some major behind too. My teenager may call it a mom-car (what does he know?), but it is a stealth mom-car.

Posted by: dotted | February 15, 2007 6:15 PM

I scanned throught he last few days because I thought that Fof4 was going to be putting the e-mail listing in the blog. Did I miss it, or did it get placed and pulled??

Then, having read through today's postings, I have a curious question on a "delicate" topic. But we are all relatively anonymous here. So I thought I'd make an unofficial poll (no pun) of the ladies present. Other's mentioned that there is a relative minimum length and circumference requirement. That's fair, and seems reasonable.

So given you are at a minimum in both, the question I have for the ladies is this: Once minimums are met, isn't an increase and girth preferable to an increase in length? Always wondered how most women graded that out. Ladies??

No need not point out that both is better, or other such obvious things...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 15, 2007 6:15 PM

NCLawyer - nope I'm with ya! I just think its all very funny. Especially the justification for the SUVs when its mostly driven around by a tiny blonde mom. My dad's theory is that the bigger the car, the smaller and blonder the female driver. I could go on an on about minivans- personally, I think they are the sweatpants of the automobile world - what you drive when you just don't care about anything but comfort. Just like sweatpants.

I have a wagon and pretty much everything fits in there. If not, I can have it delivered. I'll save my vitriolic speach about SUVs for a later date - generally I think they are an indicator of a person who is either selfish or completely thoughtless.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 6:16 PM

Hey, Fredia drives a SUV. She needs the room for all of her pumps and gov't required forms.

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 6:18 PM

Girth.

Posted by: to Texas Dad of 2 | February 15, 2007 6:20 PM

I'll have to stop laughing over the pun before I can vote.

Fred - the xterra works just fine for plywood - believe me. I can stand up to the slings and arrows of the anti-SUV crowd just fine. But, come on, you take a minivan to Lowe's when you want to do a man project? Isn't there a Man Law against any guy driving a minivan?

dotted - the passat wagon strikes me as an eminently reasonable choice for a stylish woman such as yourself. I'll have to keep that in mind for my next not-a-minivan vehicle.

length over girth.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 15, 2007 6:22 PM

Gee, typing fast is a bad thing...that was supposed to be:

"an increase IN girth"
"No need TO point out"

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 15, 2007 6:23 PM

Hey, Fredia drives a SUV. She needs the room for all of her pumps and gov't required forms.

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 06:18 PM

Not intended for you - generally was the modifier I used. Most people don't have needs like Frieda or sexy - floor mopping husbands like you so you are not covered under anything that applies to the average citizen.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 6:24 PM

"But, come on, you take a minivan to Lowe's when you want to do a man project?"

Actually, yes, but I laugh all the way home when it is raining and my 25 sheets of drywall stay dry!

You can really put a 4X8 plywood flat in the Xterra and close it up? Really?

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 6:26 PM

"Only that the larger and more powerful a car a man needs, the more inadequate he may feel in, um, other areas."

Oh, come on. Husband and I care about what we drive and we don't want to drive some underpowered, indifferently designed piece of crap. Does that make me some kind of jerk? Does it make my husband one?

Posted by: Lizzie | February 15, 2007 6:27 PM

Well, the first two ladies votes are opposing....hmmm.

Wish I could have posted this earlier in the day. Not enough folks stay dialed in later in the day.

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 15, 2007 6:28 PM

good save, moxiemom, LOL.

I also have a floor-mopping, fine cuisine cooking husband and he's the driver of the xterra. he's just a little thoughtless - not completely thoughtless, LOL.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 15, 2007 6:29 PM

NC Lawyer, dotted and moxiemom, I love finding kindred souls on this issue. We've got a Toyota Echo and a Scion XB. A lot of people think the XBs are ridiculously ugly, I kind of like the complete boxiness of it. But I'll tell you what, that thing fits the three of us, my husband's upright bass, his amp and gig bag, and overnight bags. You can't beat that for the price and the gas mileage. And we've had snow on the ground (and lots of it) for 57 days now and both cars have handled it just fine, even when our street was layered with ice and snow and all rutted out for three weeks. I love our cars, can you tell?

Posted by: Megan | February 15, 2007 6:30 PM

Moxiemom, Fredia drive a compact SUV Ford Escape.

Lizzie,

"Husband and I care about what we drive and we don't want to drive some underpowered, indifferently designed piece of crap"

That is why I drive my Infiniti and not the van to work.

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 6:32 PM

I also have a floor-mopping, fine cuisine cooking husband and he's the driver of the xterra. he's just a little thoughtless - not completely thoughtless, LOL.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 15, 2007 06:29 PM

Sounds like you had better keep an eye on him NC Lawyer. That's like dangling a steak in front of a tiger - rrrowwww.

Kidding - dh isn't a floor mopper, but he's a dish washing, kid loving, bed making, clutter cleaner uper in a Saab.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 6:33 PM

Texas Dad of 2: girth.

Posted by: Megan | February 15, 2007 6:34 PM

whoops, meant to do that anonymously, habit got the better of me. Blushing.

Posted by: Megan | February 15, 2007 6:35 PM

lol megan - your secret is safe with us!!

Posted by: moxiemom | February 15, 2007 6:37 PM

Megan,

Brother in Law has a Honda Element. Great for his small business. No need for snow traction in Pensacola though.

The Element is a bit spare and hard riding for me.

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 6:38 PM

"I could go on an on about minivans- personally, I think they are the sweatpants of the automobile world - what you drive when you just don't care about anything but comfort. Just like sweatpants."

Come on Moxie! I drive a sweet 8 year old Dodge Gr Caravan! It looks like it has been through a war zone but she still purrs like a kitten. I would not be caught dead in sweat pants in public, but it is comfortable. More importantly it is paid off with low mileage!

Posted by: cmac | February 15, 2007 6:41 PM

meant sparse not spare

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 6:41 PM

Oh, come on. Husband and I care about what we drive and we don't want to drive some underpowered, indifferently designed piece of crap. Does that make me some kind of jerk? Does it make my husband one?

Posted by: Lizzie | February 15, 2007 06:27 PM

Lizzie, not at all - you're in good company here.

Fred - yes! and by God, we've tested that many times.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 6:44 PM

I hate ads that make Dads out to be so stupid. Conversely, there are also those ads out there where a Dad finds a great cough syrup or something that Mom of course didn't know about and she looks at him with the advertising world's favorite "oh, what a man!" face. UGH.

My dad was NOT a doofus Dad so I had positive expectations for a domestic partner. However, my BF's mother was such a household micro-manager that when we first shacked up he expected me to instruct him/ have an opinion on ALL household chores/ tasks. I should not have been surprised as I was the one who taught him how to do laundry in college. It took months before he understood that I did not care one iota how the towels were folded, how the pans were stacked, where the cleaning/ paper products "should" be stored or basically any other minuscule domestic issue. Luckily he was amenable to being untrained and now makes his own domestic decisions!

Posted by: 80s kid | February 15, 2007 6:48 PM

G-35 is a super car at a decent price verses its competition. This is the second one I have owned, (First one was stolden in Sept)

Posted by: Fred | February 15, 2007 6:49 PM

We did not inhert the earth from our ancestors, we are borrowing it from our children.

A Native American

Posted by: My take on SUV's | February 15, 2007 6:51 PM

If I see another Hummer with a teenager driving it, I will scream. Maybe little darling son or daughter is safe in it, but what about everyone else!

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 7:05 PM

If I see another Hummer with a teenager driving it, I will scream. Maybe little darling son or daughter is safe in it, but what about everyone else!

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 7:05 PM

Hey, Moxie, I have an SUV, actually a Subaru Forester, and I defy you to tell me I'm morally wrong for choosing this particular vehicle. We've had snow on the ground here -- and streets -- since early November. The snow will likely remain for a couple more months. And many of the roads here are not paved.
For some people, SUVs are very good choices, particularly SUVs with four studded snow tires.
OK, I don't own a hybrid, but that'll be the next step when the time comes.
As for a minivan, I can definitely see the appeal, as long as it's an AWD vehicle. The reason is this: just try to get more than two child seats into your car and see how much you sweat. Unless you have a minivan. If you ever have to carpool, and I do, even an SUV falls short.
Yes, in the old days, we made do by jamming kids into every nook and cranny of the station wagon or sedan, but in the old days we didn't have child seats or even, in some cases, seat belts. And in the old days, lots more kids died in car crashes.

Posted by: alaskan | February 15, 2007 7:07 PM

If I see another Hummer with a teenager driving it, I will scream. Maybe little darling son or daughter is safe in it, but what about everyone else!

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 7:08 PM

Just saw on the news that this particular peanut butter recall is for salmonella. (Earlier I posited that it might be for aflatoxin, which occurs most often in peanut butter -- my bad).

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 7:08 PM

We did not inhert the earth from our ancestors, we are borrowing it from our children.

A Native American

Posted by: My take on SUV's | February 15, 2007 06:51 PM

It's far better for the earth and for my children for my husband to drive our 22 mpg xterra an aggregate 4 miles to and from work 5 days per week than for someone else to drive her Honda Odyssey an aggregate 28.6 miles from Springfield across the 14th Street Bridge every morning and back home each night.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 15, 2007 7:10 PM

Just saw on the news that this particular peanut butter recall is for salmonella. (Earlier I posited that it might be for aflatoxin, which occurs most often in peanut butter -- my bad).

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 7:13 PM

I'd hate to be a school nurse this week. Imagine all the PB&Js that must be floating around an elementary school.

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 7:14 PM

Sorry for the multiple posts -- my computer was behaving badly.

Posted by: catmommy | February 15, 2007 7:15 PM

"We did not inhert the earth from our ancestors, we are borrowing it from our children."

I hear you, but my horse just isn't fast enough to get me to work by 8!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 7:26 PM

"Sorry for the multiple posts -- my computer was behaving badly."


Oooh, I can hardly wait for the series: "Computers Gone Wild"!

Posted by: catlady | February 15, 2007 7:42 PM

length vs. girth

it's not the size of the ship, it's the motion of the ocean.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2007 10:06 PM

Well I have 2 kids who like to bring friends along when we go places. Me, DH, 2 kids, 2 friends equals 6 seats needed. You need something other than a car to seat 6.

*There are other vehicles out there (like the Audi A4 wagon Husband has his eye on) that serve the same function as a minivan but are actually well-built and have good engines.*

The Audi A4 wagon is close to twice the cost of a minivan. Many minivan drivers make there choice based on need (# of seats, packing space) and affordability.

On a blog that is commenting on the unfair portrayal of men, you can't see how ironic it is that you portray minivan owners as being uncool and compare them to wearing sweatpants in public.

*I think my favorite commercials are the Volvo (with the chattering child)*

To each his/her own, but I think that kid is the most annoying kid on tv.

Posted by: anon | February 15, 2007 10:59 PM

I'm a guy and I've gotta say, who bloody well cares what the ads or movies say? I don't need a positive message from the media to know that I can cook and take care of the kids. I'm me, I take responsibility for me, and "societal pressures" are pretty darn meaningless. Are we just looking for things to get upset about here?

Posted by: Matt | February 16, 2007 10:36 AM

God, I wish it weren't true, but this is a problem at my house. My husband does help around the house, or insists that he does his share at least. But his idea of doing laundry is Fred's, with a twist: he does nothing that the machine doesn't. That means that he gets the laundry out of the drier and dumps it on our bed or the floor, waiting for ME to fold it. He doesn't fold. He likewise will do SOME dishes, but never fully empties the sink. Nor does he do them before they are crusted over and foul. He refuses to then clean out the sink or wash down the counters, because that isn't important.

So he participates, but insists on choosing which chores he gets to do, in his own sweet time, and refuses to follow anything that purports to be a "rule" about how such things should be done. I suspect that his motivation in "helping" has nothing to do with concern for the family and a feeling of participating for the good of all, but that he wants "good dad" points for having done something. If he really cared to help, he would do the entire job, or he would share chores with a mind to the fact that NOBODY wants to clean the toilet.

To make matters worse, I'm expected to fall on my knees and thank him for helping, when no such thanks are forthcoming for the billions of things that I do that he doesn't even notice.

I believe that these ads resonate with women and children because there are men in so many lives that either (1) don't help, (2) purposefully suck at helping so that they won't have to, (3) get grossly passive aggressive about helping because their fathers didn't have to, and they see it as "unmanly" and emasculating to be forced to help (even by the new societal expectations of what a good dad does), or (4) are so unattuned to what those around them want or need, that they have no idea that they are clueless - because they don't even KNOW that they put the wrong juice in the wrong cups: everybody has juice, right?

These are my problems, maybe somewhat stereotypical. But you talk to a group of moms or kids, you will find that this encompasses a LOT of men out there. Enough to make ads about it.

And also, if you look at it another way, you will see that this is a different dig against dads: moms are the ones forcing the healthy food on kids, dads are the ones who are the FUN parent providing the happy meals for dinner. It isn't so much incompetence as a disregard/subversion of what the MOM thinks is important - an "inmates running the asylum" if you will. I don't see the ad as a comment about men's domestic abilities so much as one about the FACT that moms are so often forced to be the bad cop.

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