Oh you guys I am mortified that I ever wrote these words. I am even more mortified that I ever thought it was a good idea to spend a week with this guy. I should have fled to a pension after Day 1 with Gomez. A week in Paris and what did we do? He drank and slept and went to his bank and The Gap (three times). Two bottles of wine a day. He didn't want to go to Versailles or the Champs Elysees. ("I've done all that before. It's boring.") He didn't want to go out to eat. Because we were staying in his cousin's apartment, we had to do all the cleaning.
Mistake, mistake, mistake. I know, I own it. Maybe I should blame it all on an addiction.
posted Mon, 03 Oct 2005
If there is ever a revolution in Morocco and Gomez and his family lose everything, he will be OK. In addition to his entrepreneurial sense, he has the gene for cleaning. I can see it now – he will create an empire as the male Martha Stewart.
He was very quick to warn me the first time he washed the dishes and set the table that he does not do this at home. “I hire people to do this for me. At home, I do not lift a finger. Do not get a wrong picture of me,” he said.
Gomez already has an eye for design. He could be the Straight Eye for the Straight Guy. But what do you expect from a man who polishes his shoes every morning? Or who looked around at the people in the Metro and sniffed, “It’s like some of these people have never heard of soap and water.”
He persisted all week in telling me this until I finally asked, exasperated, exactly how he thought this made him any different from other men. Having maids who clean up after him keeps his house from being a pigsty. But not cleaning up after himself does not make him different from most men.
After lunch the second day, I said I hoped Salima had a vacuum cleaner because those crusty French baguettes were leaving crumbs on the carpet. Ten minutes later, when I emerged from the bathroom, he was vacuuming. Wow! Such initiative! I was impressed. I praised him profusely, as this is the way to get men to continue to doing housework, even though it’s unfair that we women do this sort of stuff every day and never get a word of thanks, no we don’t, do we, but this is just the way life is, so we deal with it.
“If my mother could see me,” he sighed as he shook his head.
Yesterday, we did a full cleaning of the apartment before we left. Actually, by midweek, I had started doing some real cleaning just because I couldn’t stand it. Yes, I know it is a grave insult to clean another woman’s house without her invitation. What you are really doing is saying, “You are a lousy housekeeper,” but really, such was the case.
I did a thorough cleaning of the kitchen and the bathroom, using flavored vinegar for the mirrors, sinks and fixtures because I couldn’t find proper cleaning supplies. It smelled like salad but looked great. When Gomez walked into the bathroom, he gasped and exclaimed, “It sparkles!”
When Gomez lost his shoehorn, I found it under the bed. When I told him that’s where it was – I refused to reach under there for it because the dust was so thick – he looked and said, “That’s what it gets like when someone doesn’t live in an apartment for a few months, right? I’ll vacuum it later.” (Salima was ordered back to Morocco a few months ago to find a husband – her parents decided she has played around enough – but she keeps the apartment for when she goes to Paris. Yes. I know. Different world entirely.)
I just nodded and said, “Uh huh” even though I was thinking, “No, that’s what it gets like when someone doesn’t off her lazy butt and clean under the bed for a year.”
So yesterday, when we were doing the final cleaning – washing towels, etc, Gomez got out the vacuum cleaner again. That’s when I learned this was the first time in his life he has ever used a vacuum cleaner! His cousin Ayisha, whom I met on Thursday, and I had talked about the dishes and other chores. “Oh, he’s totally spoiled,” she told me. But I didn’t realize he had never in his life held a vacuum cleaner in his hands.
Then he impressed me even further. He grabbed a rag and started to dust. And not half-hearted dusting, either. He dusted the piano, the TV, the coffee table – he was a man with a mission. He looked at the candle holder on the table and said with dismay, “I just cleaned this yesterday and now it’s dirty again!”
He claims that this week was just for fun – that this cleaning was just a game to him. But I think he has the gene…
The end of the line
11 months ago