We were watching The Sinister Urge last night, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, and the disk came with an educational short which has so far delivered three times the entertainment of the actual film.
It's called "Keeping Clean and Neat," produced by Encyclopedia Brittanica. And oh, boy, do those emasculating bitches at the Britannica do a number on one of the short's subjects, an eighth-grade boy named "Don."
Don's told to make sure he cleans his ears and between his toes in the shower. He is advised to keep a nail brush in the shower to scrub under his fingernails. Although instructed to shampoo only once a week, he's to lather twice so his hair will be "perfectly clean." Once out of the shower, he's to clean his brush and comb first so they won't dirty his clean hair. Don has to make sure the towels are all hung up neatly, the cap's back on the shampoo, and the shower, tub, and sink have all been wiped clean of any stray Don hairs. Eww, Don hairs.
You see Don earnestly shining his dress shoes, hanging up his clothes, and organizing his closet. Yes! Organizing his closet. And you hear the male narrator extolling the virtues of being "clean and neat" for what seems like forever. When we were watching it last night, the boyfriend made the crack that "by now, unfortunately, he's missed school," about 15 seconds before one of the dorky robots made a similar joke.
Don goes to a LOT of trouble to be clean and neat. No trucker hat over unwashed hair for Don, oh, no. No leaving the clothes and dirty towels scattered all over the floor for Mom to pick up. No jeans with holes in 'em, no baggy slacks. Don's so clean and neat it's almost prissy.
(The film depicts the clean-and-neatening of an eighth-grade girl, too, but that's another post. Ladies! Be sure to shampoo in the afternoon or evening, so you'll have time to put your hair up.)
Thing is, none of this was really news to me. I've seen my dad's elementary school pictures from the late 40s/early 50s. My father wore dress shirts and ties to school. Public school--PS 189, if that rings any bells for New Yorkers. My dad can't remember whether it was a city-wide mandate, or just something his principal did; but in that school, in that era, every boy wore a shirt and tie, every day. Forget Casual Fridays.
So! Tell me again about how neat, tidy men who take pains to dress well are signs of a culture increasingly hostile to masculinity, and all because of feminism? You can explain it to me after you put a high shine on them shoes, mister. I want to see lots of elbow grease.