Men of Iron

A while ago, Arnab forwarded me the link to this Anita Bora blogpost where she cribs about how much she hates ironing.

Well, of course she does. Ironing clothes is the domain of Real Men. And Anita Bora is not a Real Man1.

We Real Men have it tough. Back in the good old days we had many ways to assert our rugged individuality. In India, we used to stand on one leg for ten thousand years until we were granted a boon (or turned into cranes). Later on, and in other countries, we took up building log cabins in the Appalachian mountains, becoming ronins in medieval Japan, shooting grizzly bears in the Rocky mountains, and walking down the mean streets of Los Angeles. Now, civilization has encroached upon the spaces we used to occupy. The corrupting influence of women and imaginary men is everywhere. Real Men have been rounded up, herded into the corporate world, and been force-fed platitudes about the value of teamwork. Rocky has given way to Lagaan. Conan the Barbarian has been superseded by Charlie’s Angels. Raja Raja Chola has been replaced by coalition governments. The Real Man’s freedom to act independent of the influence of others has been severely curtailed.

Except when it comes to ironing.

Ironing his clothes is the last bastion of the Real Man. It allows him to touch his heritage. In the past, the Real Man moved through life facing his enemies alone, with only his sword. The modern Real Man is similar, facing the hated wrinkles with only his steam iron. There are no others to interrupt or interfere with the clash – for ironing, like duelling, cannot be done by committee or team. Both are an expression of pure individualism. The traits required cannot be brought in by a team – you either have them in yourself or you don’t. A steady hand, a firm will, and a dispassionate temperament – these are the virtues of the Real Man which assisted him in decapitating villains then, and assist him in detangling creases now.

At the ironing table, with his shirt laid out before him, and the iron in his hand, the Real Man can finally be true to his values in a world that has turned cruel and hostile.

The Real Man realises this. That is why he irons his own clothes. His fierce independence is the reason he never lets another iron them, and his overwhelming respect for others‘ independence is why he never irons theirs. Always, it is only one Real Man, doing all his own laundry, and nobody else’s. He presses on, neither tarnished, nor afraid.

1: This is the point where her regular readers say ‘I should bloody well hope not!’

0 Replies to “Men of Iron”

  1. Upon deep reflection, I have come to the conclusion that Ironing is just one of the many ways in which the Dread One separates those who will be Eaten First from those who won’t. Real Men struggle with the non-Euclidean topology of crushed garments, thus preparing their minds for greater horrors to come. While every sane person craves to be Eaten First, few realise that one must retain sufficient sanity to marinate oneself and guide oneself to the friendly neighbourhood Tentacle. It is only after these necessary steps have been taken that a surrender to shrieking insanity is appropriate. The unimaginable horrors of crumpled clothes will inure Real Men, for that brief but necessary interval, to the reign of madness to come.

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