Men Trip Up
John Norberg, humor columnist s

Recently several young women friends at my office went on a business trip to Chicago. On Monday when they returned I welcomed them back and asked what they did to relax all weekend.

"I know it was a hard, busy trip," I said. "It was good that you had the whole weekend to rest."

They looked at me like I was insane.

Me: "You mean you didn't rest, relax and read a book with a cup of tea by the fireplace while your dog curled up beside you? Then what did you do when you got home."

They answered in unison: "We cleaned house."

Me: "You worked hard out of town all week, came home and had to clean? What about the guys? Didn't they clean the house before you returned?"

In retrospect, it was not a smart question for a man to ask a couple women.

But this is the way it is. When women come home after being out of town they immediately have an uncontrollable need to clean. This is because they can't get to the bedroom without tripping on the mess that's all over the floor. Dirty dishes are stacked in the sink, food is splattered all over the microwave, Cheeto crumbs litter the bed, and empty pizza boxes fill the refrigerator covering the homemade soup they spent hours making before they left.

The good news is that dirty clothes are not stacked four feet high in the laundry room. The bad news is the dirty clothes are scattered all over the house.

In other words, the place looks like the bachelor pads the guys lived in when the women found in the first place and rescued them! And they know the guys are not going to clean it up. So itís up to them.

Woman: "I was only gone for three days. How can you make such a mess in three days?"

Guy: "What mess?"

What women do not understand is that "mess" is a relative term. What's a "mess" to a woman is not necessarily a "mess" to a man. What's a "mess" to a woman might just look "lived in" to a man. What looks "lived in" to a man might look "uninhabitable" to a woman. Maybe even "condemned."

Men have a higher tolerance for "mess" than women do -- especially if they're the ones who are going to have to clean it up.

Men also go on business trips. Have you ever known a man to clean the house when he comes home from a trip?

†In all our years of marriage I have never come home from a trip and cleaned the house. I have also never made food for my wife before leaving on a trip.

But when my wife goes out of town she makes food for me so I'll have something nutritious to eat while she's gone. Of course I go out and eat cheeseburgers and fries until she comes home. But I appreciate that she thinks about me.

I had to go out of town recently. I decided this time I would make sure she had food while I was gone.

Wife: "You don't make food for me when you're here. Why are you now going to make food for me when you're gone?" Me: "I'm not actually going to make anything. Iím leaving you some pizza coupons."

I told my wife about the young women at the office who came home from their business trip and had to clean house. Me: "How do you explain this? It's terrible. I don't leave a mess for you when you come home."

Wife: "I have to agree you are right. I never come home to mess."

"Exactly," I said, admiring my consideration, neatness and even chivalry. I wanted her to admit how wonderful I am so I pushed the point further. "And do you know why the house is never a mess when you come home from a trip?"

Wife: "Yes. It's because I ask our cleaning people to come by right before I return."

Some guys just don't know when to shut up.

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