Thursday, February 11, 2010

On the Origins of *Free* Time

Do you think Charles Darwin spent his evenings slumped over a sink full of dirty pots and pans, scrubbing out caked-on egg residue?

Can you imagine him spending his free time washing and folding multiple loads of laundry on any given weekend?

Is it likely that this most iconic figure of 19th century science actually changed many of his kids dirty diapers? Or rocked them to sleep on a particularly rough night, while making up songs about bumbling firemen, talking trains, or sofa eating sheep?

Yeah, me either.

Darwin, like many other dads of his generation, most likely left all of this work to the mother or other female folk of the household while they tended to other important tasks such as making sure there was enough food procured for the family table. (Read: hanging out all day with other men and drinking ample pots of hearty ale before retiring to the barn to slaughter the lumbering hog. Or, in Darwin's case, perhaps to study one)

I have this theory that over the years (accelerating exponentially in the past 25) women, as agents of Nature, have been choosing mates who are wired to be helpful around the house, bypassing the other males of the species - who were left to handle the alternatively difficult job of enjoying themselves without the weight of responsibility.

Furthermore, over the course of time these chosen males of the species will, it is theorized, reproduce at a greater rate thus producing more male offspring with these inherently helpful traits. And so it goes.

If true, and just suspend reality for a moment and go with me on this one, the next time I am spending an evening at home feeling overwhelmed by endless loads of laundry and stacks of dishes (tonight), I can take comfort in the knowledge that I, Seattledad, am the end result of a process of Natural Selection that has been slowly taking place over eons.

That I am one of the chosen ones.

Yep, that should certainly take the edge off. That and a nice pot or two of hearty craft brewed ale.

22 comments:

Lady Mama said...

You most definitely are! Husbands / wives who do their fair share of the housework are worth their weight in gold. Too bad that theory doesn't help when you're doing the laundry/washing up/changing diapers...

Idaho Dad said...

As a stay-at-home dad, I can think about your theory 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That's how much time I spend feeling overwhelmed.

But like you said, it's been bred into my DNA, so I just roll with it.

Surfer Jay said...

Hmmm, interesting theory. Im trying to come up with a rebutal, but dammit, I think you're right.

SciFi Dad said...

The more sobering realization is that we are selected, not necessarily superior, which begs the question are we suckers?

Being us... said...

If you are actually keeping a "chosen" list please add my husband to it!!!

Eric said...

I am the antithesis to your theory.

I, a sucker like SFD says, have 4 children. 75% of them are females.

Which means that my woman of Nature has efficiently succeeded in producing more women of Nature than suckers.

Steve said...

Constantly faced by piles of washing?
Check!

Time spent washing saucepans while cathcing a few minutes of radio is classed as "free time"?
Check!

Reassured by SeattleDad's theory of evolution?
Quack quack oops!

Slamdunk said...

You may be on to something there. Or maybe, the pile of dishes and laundry speaks my name as well.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

OKay you lost me at Darwin. But I think I get the jist of this.

And I want to say... yes, it is all about how helpful they can be so that I may finally take my place at the throne in front of the Television after a hard day with the kids while hubs cleans and cooks and all that fun stuff :) hehehe

WILLIAM said...

Here is where the theory works and is slightly flawed. The fact that we do the dishes and the laundry in in hopes of making sure that the wife is not too tired to procreate. In essence we who do the dishes and the laundry are just trying to get laid.

FilmFather said...

To paraphrase another great thinker of our times, Homer (Simpson): I am intrigued by your theories and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

FilmFather said it best. I'm going to leave it at that.

Mighty M said...

Great theory - and think there is a lot of truth there too!

john cave osborne said...

strong post, SD. really liked this.

the only part of your theory i disagree with is women picking men who are wired to be helpful around the house.

why do i disagree? because i'm not wired that way. however, i AM tremendously helpful around the house. why? b/c Lovie re-wired my ass.

good stuff...

If I Could Escape . . . said...

That was a good post! My hubby doesn't do too much around the house at all though so I suppose he's not one of the chosen males! I do have to say that I am trying to teach good old-fashioned cleanliness and neatness to my boys!!

If I Could Escape . . . said...

P.S. I've tagged you for a meme over on my blog. =)

PJ Mullen said...

The hearty ale is certainly a necessity. I cleaned up dinner tonight accompanied by a double chocolate stout. After all, it was valentine's day :)

Jack said...

I like to think of myself as being more of a missing link, a throwback to a different time.

I tried to sell it at home, but it didn't work so well.

Cheryl said...

Just wanted to say that I am fortunate enough to have chosen a guy who can fix stuff and does laundry and helps with the kids. All things you guys do is usually appreciated even if we don't always say it!

Momo Fali said...

I picked my husband because he pours the ale FOR ME.

morethananelectrician said...

I am a sucker...I actually created my own weekend laundry system. I guess I know what I bring to the table in my relationship.

A Free Man said...

Darwin's wife probably didn't do it either, they were quite wealthy landed gentry. They probably had 'people' to do all that business. I recently read Michael Lewis' book on fatherhood (The Home Game). It's fantastic and hilarious and he opens the book with a similar line of thinking.