How ironing makes me feel less anxious
This week I finally did something I’ve wanted to do for years now: I arranged for a local cleaning service to come and take care of my ironing.
It was a little bit awkward, really – as most things are with me, obviously. I mean, the lady I booked was absolutely lovely: she has her own ironing business, so she obviously wants people to book her services, but, me being me, as soon as I actually did it, I started worrying that she’d secretly be thinking, “Who does this bitch think she is: Lady Mary of Downton Abbey? Why can’t she do her OWN ironing?”
Well, needless to say, she DIDN’T say that: and once I’d gotten used to the idea, I stopped feeling awkward, and just started looking forward to the perfectly ironed bedsheets I’d be getting back in a couple of days time. Because, hi, my name’s Amber, and I iron my bedsheets. And pretty much everything else, really, other than underwear and workout gear. I mean, I’m not QUITE as bad as my mum, who will actually iron things like socks, just for the hell of it, but, well, you know all those people who either don’t own an iron, or DO own one, but claim not to know where it is? I don’t understand those people. I’d LIKE to understand those people, don’t get me wrong: or to understand how on earth they manage to remain crease-free, without ever ironing, at least. Because, me? I just can’t do it. I hate ironing with the power of 100 hot suns, but I hate creased clothes – or bedlinen – even more, and on me EVERYTHING creases. Everything. Even things you wouldn’t think could possibly get creased: it’s like it’s my super-power or something, seriously.
(Every time I go on holiday, the first thing I do when I arrive is to unpack my suitcase and iron everything in it. I carefully rolled this dress to keep it as crease-free as possible, but I may as well have just crumpled it up into a ball and then crammed it inside a shoe, because that’s what it looked like when it came out of the suitcase…)
Now, I know what you’re going to say here, all you Non-Ironers out there: you’re going to tell me you just buy clothes that don’t NEED ironing, that if you hang things up for a while, the creases just magically fall out of them, and that there’s absolutely no point in ironing bedsheets, because they’re just going to get creased as soon as you lie on them. (You’re probably also going to tell me that life’s just too short to spend time ironing, but… we’ll get to that soon.)
In response to all of that, though, all I can say is NO, NO, and THRICE NO.
There ARE no clothes that that don’t need ironing: or, if there are, I’ve yet to find them. (OK, there’s workout clothes, obviously, and if I could wear them all the time I would, purely because they don’t need to be ironed…)
The creases DON’T just fall out. Seriously, I could leave my clothes hanging up for 100 years, and I’d STILL need to iron them afterwards. Hell, sometimes I’ll take an already ironed garment out of my wardrobe – where it’s been, you know, hanging – and will have to resist the impulse to re-iron it, because it’ll have picked up some weird crease where it’s been pressing up against the item next to it.
(I am totally lying about this: I NEVER resist the impulse to iron something, or I just spend the rest of the day looking like I slept in my clothes. Which is really only the case about 50% of the time, I swear…)
Finally, bedsheets: and, look, I’m sorry guys, but there’s a really big difference between sheets that are a little bit creased from being slept on, and sheets that are creased because they came out of the machine that way. Or there is in my house, anyway, and I should know, because I seriously have tried EVERYTHING. I’ve hung them, draped them, left them to waft gently in the breeze. I’ve used all kinds of fabric softeners and other laundry-specific lotions and potions. I’ve even tried buying non-iron sheets, and you want to know what’s the hardest thing in the world to iron? NON-IRON SHEETS. Isn’t it ironic? Don’t ya think?
I’ve tried all of these things and more: and, since Max arrived, I’ve ALSO tried just putting the damn things on the bed creased, to see if the wrinkles really WOULD just magically fall out. (Spoiler alert: NO.) The end result? Unless I iron them first, my bedsheets always look like I just threw them on the ground and then stamped on them. And it makes me feel itchy seeing them on the bed like that, so ironing them seems to be the only solution. Now, I can feel you all judging me from here, so I’ll just quickly add that when it comes to bedsheets, I don’t iron them perfectly. Like, I don’t stand there for hours, carefully pressing every crease, and fussing over them like they’re my firstborn child: a quick once-over is generally enough to get them looking reasonably presentable, and that’s good enough for me, really. (It wouldn’t be good enough for my mum, obviously, but I’ll just quickly remind you here that my mum irons socks. SOCKS.)
(The fact that I’m 100% sure I’m going to be judged for ironing them AT ALL, though, is really, really odd to me. I’m not sure if this is an internet-only thing, but I’ve noticed that any time the subject comes up online, it’s basically just a countdown until someone uses the fateful words: LIFE’S JUST TOO SHORT! And then someone else will say it, and someone else after that. It’s like all of those Facebook posts you see about how a clean house is the sign of a boring life, or whatever, and it’s just as insulting. It’s also quite puzzling, really. You don’t hear this argument made about other household chores, after all. You don’t, for instance, hear people talking about how life’s too short to wash the dishes/load the dishwasher, so they just eat with their hands, do you? I’ve never heard anyone claim that life’s too short to mow the lawn, so they’re just letting their garden return to the wild, either. Ironing, however, is – to some people – held as the stupidest, most pointless thing a person can do with their time, and therefore anyone who owns an iron must obviously have no life/ totally the wrong priorities, whilst the non-ironer is just WAY too busy and important – and also wild and carefree – for such trivial things as ironing their clothes. I don’t judge people for NOT ironing – I genuinely won’t even notice if someone looks creased – so it’s odd to me that people will try to make me feel stupid for doing it. But I digress.)