Bintel Brief: The Mamele Helps With the Housework

Dear Mamele,

This is a complicated question, so I will ask it at length.

What is an equitable division of housework?

Does it entail doing exactly one-half of the housework, even if a large part of that housework seems to one to be fetishistic make-work, of no use or interest to anyone but the person who does it? Is one obliged, as a husband, to accept unquestioningly one’s wife’s definition of a decent house? If not, how does one arrive at a reasonable agreement about what a clean and orderly house should look like?

My wife and I have worked this out, mostly, by rubbing up against one another until we wore each other into shape, but it was rough there for a while. It seems to be rough for everyone.

Also, what is a Bintel?

CHORE WAR

The Mamele replies:

Marjorie Ingall writes The East Village Mamele column for the Forward and is a contributing writer at Self magazine. She has written for many other magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Ms., Glamour, Parents, Budget Travel, Food & Wine, Wired and the late, lamented Sassy, where she was the senior writer and health editor. She is the author of a humor book, “The Field Guild to North American Males” (Owl Books, 1997), the co-author of a sex-ed book for teenagers, “Smart Sex” (Simon & Schuster, 1998) and a former writer/producer at the Oxygen TV network.


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