Much Ado Over Messy Kitchens


SG Buckley
2 min readJan 18


Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Here I thought I wrote a light-hearted post about research that explains why men generally feel less compelled than women to clean up after themselves. But according to some male readers, it seems I’ve been “whining” and “nagging” and, let’s face it, I’m “neurotic”.

“Oh look, another article on how women are poor little victims,” wrote one guy. Still another suggested I buy a whip.

I was going to let it go, but then Estwald comes out with a post saying I’m advocating for men to experience greater distress over messy kitchens. Oh Estwald, please! Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Here’s the truth. I stumbled across some research, thought it would make a funny headline, and dashed off what I saw as a bit of fluff.

I certainly didn’t mean to seem bitter.

My husband, who routinely leaves crumbs on the counter, read it and laughed.

I won’t lie though. I probably was being passive aggressive. I have a high “Neat Quotient”. (Thank you J. Andrew Shelley for that term!)

By the time dinner is ready, my kitchen is clean. I replace toilet paper rolls in other people’s homes. Counter crumbs don’t mildly plead with me to clean them (see original research, thanks Hermes Solenzol!), they gnaw at my very soul.

I appreciate there are men like me. My brother, for example, keeps a tidy home. That’s possibly because we had equal cleaning chores growing up or because we both carry the obsessive neat gene.

It’s this neat gene that drives my family nuts. My husband’s solution to the muddy shoe prints in our front hall is to leave a kitchen towel there. Yuck. We use/d that to dry dishes. And who wants a dirty rag hanging by the front door?

My solution is to constantly nag my family to remove their shoes. So right you were Max Dancona!

I can’t help it. I like things just so, and wish other people felt the same.

Finally, thanks Garrett Forrest for the tip. I knew that light on the car’s dashboard meant something! But where do I get oil? And then what?



SG Buckley

Writer, editor, parent. Former staffer at Quartz, WSJ and Inc. magazine.