The United Nations has called for an end to the decades long house cleaning war being waged in Australian homes.
According to a new UN report, middle class Australian families have become consumed by the terror that their homes are not as clean and tidy as those of other middle class Australian families.
A case study in the United Nations report illustrates the extent and futility of the Australian house cleaning conflict.
Jenny is a married mother of three. As a combatant in the Australian house cleaning war, Jenny feels compelled to clean her home whenever anyone comes to visit – or raises the possibility of visiting.
Jenny’s neighbour Mark is a single, working Dad and regular visitor. Mark is painfully aware that Jenny’s home is impeccably clean whenever he drops by. Mark feels guilty and ashamed at the disorder of his own home. Whenever Jenny comes to visit, Mark tries to ensure his home is as clean as Jenny’s.
Jenny is amazed – and jealous – at how clean Mark’s home is. Whenever Mark comes over, Jenny apologises for how untidy her clean home is. Confused at why Jenny is apologising for having a house as tidy as his own, Mark takes it as an attack on the untidiness of his own clean home. Next time Jenny visits, Mark’s home is as white and sparkling as a Finnish lake in midwinter.
Traumatised by her inability to have a house as clean as Mark, Jenny employs a cleaner. On hearing this, Mark retaliates by employing a different, more expensive cleaner. An arms race ensues, whereby Mark and Jenny fire a succession of dearer and dearer cleaners for not making their house as clean as that of their neighbour.
Mark and Jenny’s children witness the escalating house cleaning conflict and absorb the belief that everyone needs to clean their house before a visit of any kind. The children grow up believing that everyone’s house is much tidier than their own. Traumatised by the Australian house cleaning war, these children will themselves enter the conflict as adults and inculcate their own children into the same irrational beliefs about house cleaning.
The UN has pleaded for those involved in the Australian house cleaning war to put down their brooms and vacuum cleaners and to enter into a constructive dialogue with each other.
The UN report concludes: “If participants in this conflict sat down at a table with each other – and no one used Spray n’ Wipe on the table beforehand – everyone would realise that no one’s house is as clean and tidy as they pretend it to be.”
Are you a victim of the Australian house cleaning war? Can this long running conflict ever be resolved?
The Tunnel are satire writers from Australia. For more of our stories, click HERE.
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