I Am The Manly Housekeeper

After my wife and I got married two-and-a-half years ago, it quickly became my job to make dinner each night. She had just started her first job as an attorney, while I had more flexible hours as a journalism school graduate student. Plus, I liked cooking much more than she did. Soon, our household roles became even more clearly defined. I kept house and went to school, she worked.

This setup jived for me. I’ll take any excuse to make another trip to Target, and I frequently procrastinated doing my schoolwork by cleaning the bathroom. The dry cleaner doesn’t know my name but she knows my wife’s, because I always bring in her suits to get cleaned. I am now officially a househusband.

But I’ve had housekeeping tendencies for a while. In college, I kept my half of the dorm room spotless. These were the few square feet that were all mine, and in a new and disorderly world, I wanted my textbooks to be stacked in neat piles.

Last summer I started baking bread, and I was surprised by how much I liked it. I loved the challenge, and the reward that came with the challenge. I soon thought to myself, “Hey, I actually have a hobby!”

As I was finishing journalism school at USC, I had no idea what to do next. And then I remembered every writer’s first maxim: Write what you know. Well, I know housekeeping. I know cooking. I know cleaning. I know what to buy at Trader Joe’s, and what to buy at Albertson’s. I know the best way to clean hard-water spots off a shower door, and I know the best way to get whole-grain bread to rise properly.

It’s thanks to my wife’s career that I’ve honed my housekeeping skills. She works hard all day, and in return she expects dinner when she gets home, the laundry done, and her dry cleaning picked up. And I think that’s a fair trade. We’re like a flip-flopped couple from the ’50s.

It’s also a trade more and more couples are making, as more women become better educated and earn more than their spouses.

Here’s my main goal with this site: To prove you can be a guy, take care of the household chores, and not be emasculated by it all. One possible slogan? “Real men keep house.” Another? “You don’t have to be a breadwinner to be a bread baker.” We won’t be doing flower-arranging projects, instead we’ll be cooking with beer. (In a future post, however, I will be asking, “Is it possible to make flower arranging manly?”)

There’s so much to talk about, and I have so many tips to share. But I have to go for now; I’ve got errands to run at Target.

  • Derog

    “I know what to buy at Trader Joe’s, and what to buy at Albertson’s.”

    We just got a Trader Joe’s that I’ve slowly become obsessed with, but I am definitely finding out more and more that this is something I also need to learn.

    • http://themanlyhousekeeper.com Mark Evitt

      Our Trader Joe’s and Albertson’s are literally across the street from one another. I always shop at TJ’s first, then fill in the cracks at the “regular” grocery store. Coming up I’ll have a post explaining exactly what is better to buy in which store. Probably the most striking example is dried spices – easily more than 50 percent cheaper at Trader Joe’s.

      • Anonymous

        I certainly subscribe to the “Filling the Cracks” theory of Trader Joe’s, but I’m always torn when it comes to beer. TJ’s doesn’t refrigerate their beer, so if I want one while unloading the groceries, I have to get it at the conventional store. The only reasonable course is to grab a 6-pack from each store.

        Also, I f’ing love the blog idea. My fiancee’s a lawyer, and I’ve been doing all this stuff for a couple years now.

        • http://themanlyhousekeeper.com Mark Evitt

          I hear you on the lack of refrigeration for TJ’s beer. Their selection is also mostly house brand stuff, which I admit I haven’t been that good about trying. They started carrying 12-packs of Sierra Nevada fairly recently, but not at a significant discount. I would say the best thing they have is 22-ounce bottles of Stone’s Arrogant Bastard, which is fantastic.

          • Brian Wolly

            I will vouch for the Dunkleweiss and Hefeweiss from TJ’s. Both are quality.

          • Delaney Towery

            I prefer german when it comes to wheat beers. Try Weihenstephaner if you can get it. One of my favorites.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1702125 Alissa Green

    Uh — where can I buy that apron?

    • http://themanlyhousekeeper.com Mark Evitt

      You’re not the only person to ask that … merch coming soon?!

      • Evan Potman

        My thoughts exactly! I’ll take one!

  • Rebecca Stone

    I love it, Mark! If there’s anyone who can make an interesting read out of housework, it’s you. As for making flower arranging manly, I’m sure you’ll figure that out, too. How ’bout foraging for your own shrubs up in the hills and doing a seasonal shrub arrangement. Rough yet subtly whimsical, but in a manly sort of way…. Oh, and have you discovered grocery shopping at the 99 cent store yet?

    • http://themanlyhousekeeper.com Mark Evitt

      I like the foraging and seasonal shrub arrangement idea. I’m writing that one down.

      I haven’t done any shopping at the 99 cent store – I was under the impression that while things might cost >99 cents, overall, because you aren’t buying in any sort of bulk, prices are higher. I think more research is required!

      • Rebecca Stone

        Listen, when you can buy a pack of six tomatoes (that are actually pretty good) or a large bar of Yardley Lavender soap for just 99 cents… I think that’s a smokin’ deal. Definitely check it out! Oh, and I, too, love your apron.

  • Kenisha Dilliard

    In addition to the apron, I would like to know where to buy a “Mark”. Seriously, though very great post. I also, consider making Guinness ice cream or bourbon infused whipped cream to go with your Guinness cake.

    • http://themanlyhousekeeper.com Mark Evitt

      Love the bourbon-infused whipped cream idea. I still have a bunch of cake left – I’ll try that tonight.

  • Joan Dundas

    This is great. I love the concept.

  • Kjb2005

    Wow, Mark this is a funny site. I will spread this to all my buddies. You not the only man that can cook and clean. Since college I am now in the same tidy boat as yourself.

  • Sharssmile

    “What a Guy” :)

  • KC

    Please, PLEASE, post on how to clean glass shower doors soon!! I’m desperate.

  • Evan Thomas

    What about “The Chamberman” or the “Patron Beefcake” or “Macho Maid” or “Stainless Stud”?

    Just kidding. Congratulations dude!!

  • Ginny Faust

    I, too would love to buy the apron–but can the last figure have the frying pan?
    –Gin

    • http://themanlyhousekeeper.com Mark Evitt

      The apron was a Christmas present from my mother-in-law, and seeing the image on the apron gave me the idea for the logo for the site. If (when?) I do make aprons, I’ll be sure to use The Manly Housekeeper logo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Glenn-Evitt/100001068800522 Glenn Evitt

    dynamite Mark!! You are da man!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Glenn-Evitt/100001068800522 Glenn Evitt

    Dynamite Mark, you are da man!!!

  • Mariefrancoise B

    I love it! it’s so “real”, practical and simple!
    And I absolutely love the logo! Is the apron available anywhere?

  • Sdgreig

    Great job Mark. Many very interesting and informative ideas to make housekeeping and domestic chores fun. Also creative and good to know where to buy cheaper.

  • “Aunt Suzy”

    I just discovered your blog while searching for info on grill pans – I LOVE it!!  I have subscribed and will pass it on to others.  Great info, nice writing style and love the concept.  (I also will buy one of your aprons when they are available :-) )

  • Madelinjumped

    Regarding your apron…I saw a joke the other day with the same progression of five ’men’. Underneath the middle one it said, “You are here.”

    • Anonymous

      Ha ha — I’d buy a t-shirt with that on it!  Perfect.

  • Conchaudaetas

    I’m looking forward to learning from your tips. Please…

  • Steve

    Very cool. And I don’t find it funny at all, it’s just very cool, that’s all.

  • aya

    you’re one of cool guy! :D

  • http://www.dmcileasing.com/apartments-for-rent-taguig.php Apartment for Rent in Tagiug

    Nice story! LOL.. I also love cooking maybe later when i get married I’ll end up like you too. which i think is fantastic! Continue to be a good house husband! 

  • guest

    “Is it possible to make flower arranging manly?”I’ll go back to an old joke I’ve heard about that. The samurai of Japan practiced Ikebana which is flower arrangement, and I challenge anyone to call any one of them unmanly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mrdoering Mark Doering

    Maybe there’s something magical about the name Mark? I too have started keeping house while my wife is at work.  I have a job that allows me to work from home full time.  In addition to keeping house it has allowed me to tackle some side projects and raise our younger son.  I love my life, love my wife, and would’t trade our setup for anything.  Glad to see there’s another like-minded person out there!

  • Suzy-Q

    I just came across this website and found it hilariously informative.  I was in the middle of scrubbing my shower and fighting with the soap/hard water deposits.  I decided to “google” a solution and found the Manly Housekeeper. I’m running out to get a can of the “Bar Keeper’s Friend” right away.

    I have a tip for those of you who don’t think a floor is really clean unless you’ve scrubbed it on your hands and knees.  I’ve had a problem with my knees getting really sore from crawling around on a tile floor. Yet, I wasn’t willing to start using just a mop all the time. Ahhhh! Volleyball knee pads to the rescue!!  They are awesome! Soft and with lots of cushion, my knees feel great after a half hour of scrubbing!

    Thanks for the shower tip! I look forward to more. And I’d like to get a hold of those aprons too. I know a lot of guys that would love it!

  • Delaney Towery

    I have also recently found that I became gay as well, mark. haha just kidding. It gets harder when you have a bunch of kids. Right before I posted this I uttered the phrase “Why don’t you go and cover Mr. Peanuts up with that?”. My only friend is my baby twin. P.S. I like to go outside at the crack of dawn and pick wild flowers and arrange them. I don’t know how to make it manly though. Maybe if we make it into a competition somehow.

  • Jennsih

    Wow! How interesting, have to make sure not to miss anything. Following by rss :-)

  • Patricia

    New to your successful site and I am loving it. thank you.

  • Mama Duck

    Yes, flower arranging is a “manly” art required in Japan’s police academies.

  • gail weber

    I have just discovered your website & I’m thrilled! It’s phenomenal!

  • Leslie Burns

    I just came across your site and I love it. I will be trying your swiffer duster blind cleaning technique soon!

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