Friday, 11 May 2012


I was chatting to two good friends over the weekend. First of all the talk turned to the rudeness of dinner guests who RSVP, not with food allergies, but with whole shopping lists of foods they just don't happen to like. In one priceless example, a woman wrote back to one of my friends saying, "if you're thinking of a creamy pudding, I'll pass".

After we'd stopped laughing about this, one of my friends said, "oh, and can I do a straw poll on sheet washing? How often do you do yours?"

It was perhaps sad in the first place that she wouldn't have thought of asking my husband this question, or perhaps it's just a capitulation to the apparently inevitable.

But setting that aside, the point behind her question was her consternation at finding out that mums at her children's school wash their family's sheets every week.

It wasn't that this made my friend feel sluttish. Far from it. My friend runs a highly successful marketing consultancy. Washing sheets has to be a low priority — her husband also works, and isn't going to be feeding the washing machine in his leisure hours.

Sheet washing is the contemporary Lysistrata — the brilliant Aristophanes play analysing men's attitudes to women, in which they go on strike and withhold sexual favours in a bid to end the Peloponnesian Wars.

My friend was horrified at the utter waste of energy, both the women's, but also the environment's. We are depleting mothers and Mother Nature with our pointlessly pristine sheets. Nowadays, women seem to make themselves slaves to each other — after all, men absolutely don't care about sheets, it's just other women with their ready judgements that do.

So not washing your sheets too often is not just a green action, but a feminist action.

Stop the washing.


Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for that. There was me thinking I was just a dirty lazy cow waiting for himself to complain the sheets need washing when actually I'm being a feminist. Hurrah! With you all the way - save electricity and don't iron either! said...

PS: Aristophanes is the best ;)