Cooking and ironing are a girl’s worst friend. At least they were mid last century when we were bound to the indispensable ironing board and to quote an advert for kitchens the ‘focal point of much food preparation’. Thankfully today we are liberated mums making our mark in the workforce, carving out careers. No time to cook or to iron.
While it’s true that in more recent times we have been lured back into the kitchen the focus these days is more on nourishing our creative urges than a yearning for the return to the daily and thankless grind. I can’t see women giving ironing a second chance when they can give themselves some extra ‘me time’. Why should we when for the measly price of a salad roll and a cup of coffee somebody else can do it for us. I have taken a straw poll amongst friends and family and I am pleased to say that the only women who still speak fondly of those good old days are women of my mother’s generation. My theory is that their rosy coloured memories have more to do with remembering what it was like to feel useful than a love for manual labour. These wives and mothers not only juggled a routine that would fell an ox, but also managed to find time to iron hankies, bed sheets, pyjamas and shirts. In fact, any item that got in the way was grist to their ironing mill.
I’m not made of such stern stuff. I refused point blank to iron hankies. But I raised two sons and began ironing their cute little shirts when they were five. I kept it up till the shirts were adult size and not so cute. Imagine working your way through mountains of shorts and shirts each week and not being able to complain because everybody else was doing the same.
My partner in life still wears shirts; he hasn’t cottoned on to casual wear yet, but ten years ago I discovered that ironing was bad for my health. I was forced to give ironing up. Coincidentally it was around the same time that I had accidentally dropped my iron to the ground from a great height. Neither it nor I have been the same since. I went down the road to my local shopping centre and bought a bunch of polyester cotton shirts that could drip dry if they were hung the right way. I replaced my bed sheets and pillow slips and replaced cotton hankies with disposable tissues(much more hygienic). Everything else goes to the dry cleaners.
Every now and again a salesperson stops me in my tracks at my local department store and offers me a demonstration of her whiz bang iron, a snap at three hundred dollars. Granted that it’s shiny and streamlined with lots of mysterious buttons to press, but in the end it’s only a slicker version of my old one. My response to the sales pitch is to ask a pertinent question: will it iron without my assistance. Until the day I get an answer in the affirmative I intend to walk on by with a sneer on my face.