Only REAL men iron clothes at 3,000 feet

image 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 her favorite band shirt 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 ( “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 2016 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.


imageWARNING! This has been a shameless excerpt from my book, Humor at the Speed of Life, which is a collection of my most popular columns over the years (as opposed to the kind I usually write) and is available in hardcopy or eBook version at Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble. It makes a great gift for Mother’s Day! (Note: results may vary). Order yours from Port Hole Publications and let them know you’d like a signed copy. It can even be signed by someone else!

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

54 thoughts on “Only REAL men iron clothes at 3,000 feet”

  1. Miscellaneous thoughts:
    1. You can start shopping at the Gap. You can pay a million dollars for a current line of men’s dress shirts called “The Lived-In Look.” It’s pre-wrinkled for you, ostensibly removing the ironing requirement.
    2. I appreciate your ability to adapt.
    3. You think ironing is bad? Get yourself a hot glue gun. You’re guaranteed as many 2nd degree burns as you have digits while making a fashionable wreath for your home.

    1. Lol! I may up the ante and wear “Lived-In” clothes from The Gap while hot gluing a wreath for our home from 3,000 feet. Of course, my Gap clothes will be re-enamed “Pooped-In” because of the circumstances…

  2. I have never understood the attraction of stepping out of a perfectly fine airplane whilst it is flying. I must confess that adding a smartly creased shirt and pants ensemble to the mix certainly makes me reconsider.

  3. Ironing? I’m supposed to be ironing? Oops…

    Thanks for a good Monday laugh. And make sure you check for any stray tees in your pocket before you sit down.

    1. Haha! You’re welcome, Carrie 😉 And there’s no danger of me sitting on any tees. I’ve been forbidden by both local courses from playing on anything but the miniature course.

  4. I learned quickly when I had to start wearing dress shirts for a living: no cotton.
    For years, now, I’ve wanted to write about ironing, just so I could use the title “The Agony and the Ironing.” I don’t know why.

  5. good luck with it. i gave up ironing a long time ago and generally just throw something into the dryer for a few minutes to fluff it back up and out.

      1. I made it all this way with only a little smirk on my face.
        Then, the visual of jumping with a dryer at any altitude gave away my cover on the entirely unmuted work teleconference.

        I’ll be sending my pink slip to you 😉

      1. That’s probably a good idea. If I were to jump out of an airplane, I’m sure that my pants would need a dry cleaning more urgently than my shirt would need to be ironed.

  6. Growing up, I’d always hoped that endless hours of ironing for a family of seven would lend itself to a Cinderella fairy tale ending complete with marrying a prince who would have servants do the ironing for us.
    I married a prince, but alas, there are no servants, offspring, or spousal unit that even know what an iron looks like.

    We found the “spray out wrinkles” stuff. I haven’t ironed anything since the patent was perfected in 2001.

    Maybe fairy tales really DO come true!!

    1. I’m sure the ironing board mishap was an accident. Just like the time I backed the car over my daughter’s iPhone four times when her creepy boyfriend wouldn’t stop calling.

      It happens.

      And thanks for your support, Maddie!

  7. Very funny! No question Mr. B is the better ironer in our house. He is one of 6 boys and his mother taught them all how to iron. I have no patience and make creases where they don’t belong. 🙂

  8. Ah, the world needs more Free Floating Iron Man Competitions. Yep, one comp worth the entry fee, even if it is all hot air.
    PS: I hope you are going to make a video and post on your blog.

  9. I’m not allowed to do the laundry in our house; not since the great “Hello Kitty pajamas debacle of 2001.”
    I’m banned from ironing too. And after breaking my leg last summer, I’m eternally banned raising myself above the ground more than a foot.
    But I loved your post, Ned. I’d kill for your confidence and easy-flowing style, buddy. Truly.

    1. It sounds to me like you’ve got a good thing going, Robert. Before long, you won’t have to do anything around the house. Well played, my friend.

      (And if there’s any lack of confidence in your writing, you’re the only one who notices it 😉 )

  10. I used to iron all the time and my husband was always stumped as to why I would even bother. “Just wear everything slightly wrinkled!” he’d suggest like a crazy person. Now, 17 years and two kids later I have to agree with him. Looking like a mess is the least of my worries.

  11. “Today, men who want to bring home the bacon — while avoiding any domestic chores — are called other things, such as ‘single’ or ‘recently divorced.'” Oh, man I read this as I was sipping some coffee and nearly spit it out. I did that super classy laughing/choking thing. It is a good thing I wasn’t reading this post in public!

    1. Hahaha! You know Hollie, I get that reaction a lot from women. Not necessarily while they’re reading something I wrote, though… 😉

      Thanks for reading (Love the name of your blog, btw!)

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