For the record, I don’t have any problem with people hiding things in their drawers. That’s not my business. However, I am fascinated by the ways that people from different cultures do laundry. I decided to conduct a study. Participants agreed unanimously that once clothes are washed, they should, in fact, be hung up or put away in drawers. Drying clothes or putting clothes on hangers was simply referred to as “hangups.”
I lived in France during college, and I learned that the French procrastinate. They don’t like dealing with their hangups at all. I became close friends with quite a few people and got invited to their apartments. Many of them had very few clothes and they’d wear the same outfit all week. I learned that the French invented eau de toilette water just to avoid doing laundry. They would rather meet up with friends to talk over a glass of wine and a plate of crackers topped with smelly cheese. At first, I didn’t like the smell of some of the cheeses or even some of my friends, but it didn’t take me long to adapt to the culture and pay less attention to my own hangups.
Americans put their clothes in the dryer and expect the appliance to minimize their hangups. Numerous participants reported that their clothes do tend to shrink in the dryer.
In reality, dryers are a big waste of money and space. Clothes dry all by themselves if you give them a few hours. They don’t need to be baked. We’d all be better off if people dealt with their hangups on their own, instead of relying on an electric appliance for a quick fix.
Many Americans firmly believe that people shouldn’t hang their laundry out to dry. In fact many homeowner’s associations and apartment complexes in the U.S. restrict people from hanging their laundry out to dry. They forbid people from putting up clotheslines in their own backyard or hanging clothes on their porches.
Uppity hotels and resorts in the U.S. restrict their customers from hanging their beach towels or bathing suits on their balconies. I think we should stop doing this. It’s really confusing to foreigners who think America is the land of the free.
One Italian stated that he didn’t understand why so many Americans went all the way to Italy just to take pictures of laundry hanging across streets in his hometown, Venice. He felt that Americans should be free to display hangups in their own streets.
Most participants agreed that it’s perfectly normal to have hangups. We’d all be better off if everyone hung their things out to dry. Several men commented that they like to know if a woman wears granny panties or thongs, adding that they have a tendency to be curious about things like this, but many female participants stated that they prefer to hide these sorts of things in their drawers.
My husband loves me regardless of my hangups. I know this because over the years he has supported me during times when I’ve had fewer hangups and at times when I’ve expanded my collection. It’s important for married couples to be tolerant of one another. Since we married, I’ve dealt with every one of my husband’s hangups, except for the occasional ones I pass on to the dry cleaner. Even this I take seriously. I don’t give his hangups to just any dry cleaner. I look for ones that don’t use PERC.
I’ve traveled all over the world and observed that women are usually the ones who take responsibility not only for their husband’s hangups, but also those of their children. That’s why middle age women are generally afflicted with a higher percentage of hangups.
More Americans are starting to understand the hangup issue we have in our country. They’re banding together in organizations like Project Laundry List to educate people and to promote things like clotheslines and drying racks.
A member of the International Naturist Federation participated in the survey and commented that most people in Western countries have way too many unnecessary hangups. He asked to remain anonymous even though he assured me he didn’t have anything he wanted to cover up.
You can do your part by supporting Project Laundry List and your local green cleaner, but the most important thing you can do is start dealing with your own hangups. As soon as they come out of the washer, hang them up to dry. As with any change, you may find it a bit uncomfortable until you get into the new habit, but you’ll quickly begin to reap the benefits. You will increase your physical activity, your clothes will last longer, and you’ll save money.
Shortly after the laundry study was complete, one of the participants contacted me with good news. Her husband decided he would try to do his own wash.
“What setting do I use on the washing machine?” my husband yelled out from the laundry room one morning.
“It depends,” I told him. “What does it say on your shirt?”
“Go Gators,” he replied.
Photo credit: “Invisible Children” by Magic Madzik is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Dr. Lorraine Haataia believes that laughter is is both a pill and a remedy. She helps people discover more happiness and fulfillment in their daily lives by encouraging them to stay focused on their dreams and passions. Check out her blog, DrLorraine.net, for 100s of tips to improve your life. Dr. Lorraine is a Leadership Development Consultant. She coaches authors, entrepreneurs, startups, and other busy people who understand the value of investing in their own personal and leadership development in order to reach their goals and dreams. She helps people cut back on working harder and ramp up by working smarter.