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Men, Receiving Flowers Isn’t Lovely If You Do This

  • 4 min read

The dreaded ‘bouquet-drop’ makes my blood boil.

Is there anything nicer than your husband coming home from work bearing a beautiful bouquet of roses or tulips?

“Darling,” he says, dropping the bouquet onto the kitchen counter, “these are for you.”

He smiles, kisses you, and then disappears to play Eldon Ring for two hours.

What’s wrong with this picture?

The last time my husband did the dreaded ‘bouquet-drop,’ instead of feeling delighted that he’d brought me a gift, I felt my blood begin to boil.

I’d just put my son to bed, finished cleaning out the fridge, and had a scheduled call with a mentee in 10 minutes.

The flowers should’ve cheered me up. But unless they were going to jump into a vase magically, all I could see in them was another task to be completed.

And I resented my husband for it.

So, I decided that day would be when my husband learned how to arrange flowers.

“But you’re so much better at it!”

I grabbed a plastic vase from the bookcase and slammed it in front of him.

At first, he looked confused, but eventually, he realized what I was getting at.

“I mean, I can do it…” he began quietly.

“But you’re so much better at it!”

“I’m quite busy already,” I replied flatly, handing him the scissors.

A look of panic crossed his face.

Then, holding each stem at arm’s length as though it were a poisoned arrow, he stabbed them into the vase with a forced flourish.

Once he was done, he looked at me nervously, expecting praise or criticism.

And the arrangement looked… fine.

Sure, it wasn’t going to win any ikebana awards, but my husband had managed to put flowers in a vase for the first time in his life.

“Thank you for the flowers,” I said.

“And thank you for arranging them.”

He smiled a slight, proud smile.

Practice makes perfect

If I hadn’t been at the end of my tether that evening, I might not have flipped out on my poor unsuspecting husband and his thoughtful gift.

Under different circumstances, I’d have thanked him and arranged those flowers myself, for the simple reason that when he said ‘you’re so much better at it,’ he was right.

I am better at it. But I’m not better at it because I’m a woman. After all, women’s genes are somehow coded for floral design.

The idea that women (or men) are naturally better at certain tasks exemplifies embedded sexism.

Women aren’t better than men at ironing or cleaning. They’re not even better at childcare.

They’ve just had more practice.

Our vaginas are dictating chores

Across the EU, 79 percent of women report being involved in cooking and housework daily, compared with 34 percent of men.

Women report completing domestic chores 17 hours a week, while men report 10 hours.

The global picture is even more skewed. According to the UN, women worldwide carry out more than two and a half times more unpaid household and care work than men.

It’s insulting and unhelpful

It shouldn’t be a surprise when women appear to be ‘better’ at domestic tasks than men. But the suggestion that one gender is better at something simply by nature is unhelpful and insulting.

In heterosexual, cohabiting couples, this kind of sexist thinking can lead to tension and frustration, as was the case with my husband and me that evening.

But the wonderful thing was that my husband completely understood my point.

And since then, he always offers to arrange flowers whenever he buys them.

Sometimes I take him up on his offer; I do it myself, not because I’m better at it, but because I have time.

A necessary learning curve for happiness?

When developing any new skill, there will always be a learning curve.

Men taking on more domestic tasks will have wonky flowers, singed shirts, and the occasional small kitchen fire.

In the end, there might be more marital equality and happiness.

Final Takeaways

Women worldwide do two and a half times more unpaid domestic and care work than men.

Competence in a domestic task is a reflection of practice, not gender.

Receiving flowers is lovely…

… provided they don’t represent another chore for the recipient.

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© Kristina God

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