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Confessions of a slob: The ‘Dust Cootie’ revelation

August 17, 2011

Hello, my name is Sophia and I am a slob.
Growing up, my parents affectionately (or not so much) referred to my bedroom as “the sanitary landfill,” and rightfully so: the clothing, books, art supplies, action figures (the proud owner of the X-Men set) that covered the floor would often reach knee-height before I felt the urge to clean. Often, the desire would come in the form of parental units threatening house arrest until said room was tidied, but hey, whatever works. Ever since, my brother teases me quite fondly about my home design plans involving a flamethrower and a drain in my floor.
In my defense, there is basis for my behavior that contributes to my slovenly ways. I’m easily distracted, impossibly disorganized, and I have a pretty high tolerance for chaos and clutter. Sure, I get stressed out about messes, but it doesn’t really bother me until it’s reached a point where I realize I haven’t had guests over in the past three months because I am afraid I will lose them after they enter my domain.
And as hokey and eyeball roll inducing as it may sound, being a slob made me feel rebellious. My parents, for the record, are not slobs. Growing up, we were expected to clean up after ourselves, do our own laundry and make our own dinner if mom or dad had to work late. Every Saturday was house-cleaning day where Brozilla and I were expected to divide the tasks of dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing and sweeping, which included our rooms and making our beds. Mommy and daddy were not keen on shoddy jobs either. They were wise to any tricks either of us might attempt in order to skirt around a chore thoroughly done. If you didn’t do it right, you didn’t receive a get-out-of-the-house free card to go hang with your friends over the weekend.
So when I finally flew the nest and started living by myself, I went a wee bit crazy in my own domestic circle (sure, unwashed cereal bowl, you can stay the night).
Also, I have always been very hesitant about the household dynamic between men and women. Men are expected to be messy and unpredictable. Women are expected to clean up after them. I saw so many women in my life spend their time and energy cleaning up after their husbands and boyfriends and nagging them about it; I swore to myself that I would never let that happen.
I recall a time several years ago when I had been up since 2 a.m. witnessing the birth of a baby, then went home to boyfriend-at-the-time. All I wanted to do was soak the sight of vagina explosion away in a nice, warm bath, but the restroom was less than inviting in its clutter and crud. So, like any good Stepford Girlfriend, I said not a thing and began scrubbing the bathtub, sink and toilet while BATT watched a movie in the living room. Or at least I thought he was, until he came up behind me and started critiquing my cleaning technique. Never before have I been almost overcome with the insane urge to commit homicide by sponge. I made up my mind after that episode of “911 Calls Averted” that I was through being a mommy to anyone except the future Hell Spawn I might sprout.
But back to the here and now: Once I’d decided to try my hand at cleaning, the question was how. My attempts at tidying up usually involved me burying myself in a pile of paper and knick-knacks and having a panic attack, so I called in reinforcements. I had my friend Katie come over and give me organizing workshops. I’m quizzing my neat freak friends about what it takes to maintain such a strange and foreign lifestyle. I’m religiously reading the copy of Organization for a Disorganized Person that my dad gave me for Christmas (finally found it the other day under the couch. Who would have thought?).
Slowly but surely, I’m coming back from the Dark Side. Last week, for example, I cleaned the bathroom. Like, really cleaned it. I scrubbed the floors and the tub, sanitized the shower curtain, polished the mirror until even my reflection said, "Obsessive much?", and rearranged the medicine cabinet. And it turns out, June Cleaver was right--housework is its own reward.
Don’t tell the cooties that live in the corner (I have not the heart to kill them yet; they have names), but it feels good.

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