Today’s entry for Flashback Sunday was originally inspired by my need to reclaim my masculinity from somewhere beneath the growing pile of ironing in our home. Being that this falls under my umbrella of responsibilities, it was necessary to make it as dangerous — and therefore manly — as possible. You can be the judge as to whether it was Mission Accomplished or Mission Impossible…I have reached the conclusion that most of the world’s ironing is now being done by men. I say this because it’s the only explanation I have for a sport called “extreme” ironing, which is actually being lobbied as an Olympic event by “ironing enthusiasts” — a phrase referred to in the Bible as a sign of the coming apocalypse.
“And four horsemen will come from the sky. And they will lay waste to the land, but not before having their robes pressed by ironing enthusiasts.”
It’s easy to understand how extreme ironing evolved if you keep in mind this simple truth about the male species:
Given enough time, any man performing a mundane task will find a way to hurt himself.
And if you can hurt yourself doing it, then it’s practically a sport already. Sure, bowling and golf may appear to be exceptions to this rule. But ask anyone who has ever jammed their finger in the ball return, or inadvertently left a tee in their back pocket, and they’ll tell you there is plenty of danger involved.
As a man who irons, I know, firsthand, the danger that comes with pressing my daughters’ favorite clothes. Especially if I use the wrong setting and turn what was once a flowery cotton blouse into our newest hand towel. Until recently, men who ironed were looked upon as being wimpy. This was a stigma left over from an earlier time when men brought home the bacon and women cooked it …
… Then cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed, washed the dishes, bathed the kids, and did all the laundry. Back then, men who refused to perform domestic chores were still called masculine things such as “The Breadwinner,” “King of the Castle,” and “Man of the House.”
Generally by other men.
Today, men who want to bring home the bacon — while avoiding any domestic chores — are called other things, such as “single” or “recently divorced.”
As a result, we men have come up with a way to demonstrate our unquestionable maleness by 1) taking a simple task and 2) making it as difficult as humanly possible. This is the general idea behind “extreme” ironing, which, according to its website (www.extremeironing.com) “combines the excitement of an ‘extreme’ sport with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.”
Being a man, I can appreciate that kind of logic.
Anyone woman can iron a pair of slacks; it takes a MAN to do it while jumping out of a plane.
Because of this, I have decided to train for the 2013 Extreme Ironing World Championships, which my daughters have pledged their support for by providing me with as much ironing to do as possible. In fact, as a demonstration of their unselfish commitment to my goal, they each recently purchased entire new wardrobes, none of which is “wrinkle free.”
My hope is that the experience will draw us even closer together as a family.
At least, once I can find them on the other side of this pile of ironing.
(You can write to Ned Hickson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR. 97439)