This is an excellent story about the tension between partners' expectations and the gender-based judgments when certain standards aren't met. I actually wrote about this in the realm of parenting, since kids wearing mismatched socks with unbrushed hair and missing a jacket (or otherwise wearing a weather-inappropriate outfit) automatically leads to judgments against the mother (even if the father is the one responsible for waking up the kids and getting them to daycare).

It's easy to tell one partner, "Just don't care about other people's opinions" but how do you undo a lifetime of socialization? That's why we end up ironing the shirt before the person wearing it leaves the house.

As you say, we have to hope folks will meet in the middle. I have found myself fortunate to have a great partner, but I also indulge i a weekly cleaning service so the house is as clean as I'd like and presentable at all times if any outsiders drop by.

9X Top Writer. Proud grad of CA public schools. Committed to justice & leadership development. Wife & mom of 2 girls & 2 big dogs. Love to eat almost everything