Why your son doesn’t care if he has clean clothes

Posted on June 27, 2012


Where a 10 year-old believes the laundry basket is

Welcome to this week’s installment of WTF Wednesday, where we won’t rest until we get tired.

Today’s question comes via the magic of Twitter and is from Cindy Dwyer (@CindyDwyerWords), owner of the blog A Reason to Write.  Cindy writes:

Dear IBMP,

If my son never puts his socks in the hamper, am I responsible when he runs out of clean ones?

Cindy, I checked with my son and it seems that yes, you are responsible. He was pretty clear about that. But, thinking this through, you are also the one who has to sit in the living room every evening with the fumes from those dirty socks radiating from your son’s feet.

We also need to extend your logic beyond socks and ask how long you are prepared to watch your son put on the same pair of overly ripened underwear before you break down and wash his clothes?

You see, the problem is that you assume your son actually cares whether his clothes are clean. Hell, I’m in my forties and wear the same shirt repeatedly until it finally succumbs to its increasing stiffness, cracks and crumbles to the floor.

Boys are essentially immune to the smell of their own dirty clothes. It’s a survival mechanism that ensures the species will continue to thrive in the event of a global catastrophic household appliance failure.  I think that’s one of the examples Darwin lists in his famous thesis.

There is a solution:

It’s hard to tell from your question, but I’m going to guess that you’re one of those parents who ask their child to undress for their monthly bath or shower.  Not only does this result in dirty clothes being scattered across the floor, it’s also a total waste of water.  When bath time comes (every 5th Tuesday in our house), your child should be fully dressed and pre-soaked in liquid laundry detergent.  Just make sure you hang or lay  your son flat to dry, as his hard head could damage the dryer barrel even on the gentlest setting.

Problem solved. You’re welcome!

If you’ve submitted a question and you haven’t seen it yet, keep checking back. Yours might be next.

If you’ve got a question, drop it in the comments below.

Posted in: Advice (bad)