August 1, 2017

Oh, come on. It's just take out. It's not as if the NYT advised us to hire a personal chef.



And I'm sure they just meant hire a maid service to come in once a week.

Here's the article, "Want to Be Happy? Buy More Takeout and Hire a Maid, Study Suggests." Let's see. Oh! The text uses the term "household help." That sounds like the live-in kind of maid. By the way, the word "maid" only appears in the headline, and the headline appears over a photograph of a a man cleaning a toilet.

I don't know what kind of gender-equity aspiration was swirling through their cranium when they chose the word "maid" to go with the image of a man. We don't want a woman stooping to clean the toilet. Let's have a man.

But go ahead and use "maid" in the headline, and don't worry about using a dark-skinned man in that photograph. How else are we going to signal that he's paid to clean the toilet and isn't just the husband doing his share of the housework in the thousandth NYT article on how men don't do their share of the housework?

IN THE COMMENTS: Snark said:
That is a woman cleaning the toilet. She has breasts, narrow wrists and longish hair on top. And now she has to clean the sink again because the asshole photographer is probably standing on it.
You might be right. I looked again. I'm thinking perhaps the NYT chose to present a non-binary person. And yet, if that's how the Times is presenting these days — non-binary-friendly — it shouldn't be saying "maid."

60 comments:

Gusty Winds said...

I noticed the article was published in the 'science' section.

Molly said...

Don't get too bogged down in these two examples (take out food instead of spending your own time preparing a meal; hire a maid service instead of spending your own time vacuuming and scrubbing the bathtub). There are many other examples: hire someone to replace the innards of your toilet instead of doing it yourself; take your car to carwash instead of doing it yourself, etc. The point is free time can lead to more happiness; and you "purchase" free time by paying others to do things you yourself could do. It may be the case (it seems to be the case for many people according to this study) that money spent to buy "free time" is a more effective route to happiness than money spent to buy (say) airline tickets, or concert tickets, or a new bicycle.

traditionalguy said...

Men! My wife's favorite commercial now is the guy driving a family car filled with his wife and female teens all on their Digital Devices with headphones, and totally ignoring him. Then he brags that he got the rebate check and bought himself a new putter, and they still ignore him. Finally he brags, " Sometimes I even leave the toilette seat up on purpose."

Why that strikes her as funny, I do not know.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

...and don't worry about using a dark-skinned man in that photograph.

One word:

Intersectionality.

Not only do the NYTs readers get to feel good about having a man do what is often considered women's work, but they also get to feel good about supporting undocumented workers.

And it's a three-fer, because doing this is based on science.

Ralph L said...

The man has to clean the toilet if you don't hire that maid.
Meade could not be reached for comment.

Freeman Hunt said...

If you can afford a copy of the NYT, you can afford takeout now and then.

MayBee said...

The guy has to be dark skinned, right? The NYT and its fans love to talk about how without illegal immigration we wouldn't have anyone to clean our toilets. They are humanitarians that way.

Laslo Spatula said...

To be Happy maybe hire a woman in a French Maid Outfit instead.

I am Laslo.

Wilbur said...

I pay others to launder and iron my shirts, service my car, wash my car, and many other things. But I am my own pool and lawn service. I painted my own house. We rarely eat out or do take out. My wife cuts my hair.

Different people make different judgments in this regard. No surprise there.

Hunter said...

My one indulgence is hiring someone to mow my yard. I have grass allergies, and on top of the heat and drudgery, spending 3 hours to cut, edge, and blow would basically knock me out of any activity for a day or more. I've been paying to have it done for a few years now, and at $40 a pop I just come home and it's done... best feeling in the world.

I can be more productive by doing car maintenance, or I can go out and drive for Postmates for a few hours to make that money back if I really needed to. 3 hours driving around delivering food beats the hell out of mowing grass.

Dunno about hiring a maid. That could be nice, but I don't think I can afford it. Even a maid service. You have to be at least upper middle class to afford a maid service on a regular basis. $15-20 for a takeout meal several times a week is also an extravagance for normal people on lower middle class budgets. And we don't even have kids.

Freeman Hunt said...

As this tweeter has discovered, you can afford unlimited virtue-signaling on the Internet.

David Baker said...

Happiness is knowing how to use a pressure cooker. And it's amazing how many people are still afraid of them.

Mingus Jerry said...

..and don't worry about using a dark-skinned man in that photograph.

One word:

Intersectionality.

Not only do the NYTs readers get to feel good about having a man do what is often considered women's work, but they also get to feel good about supporting undocumented workers.

And it's a three-fer, because doing this is based on science.


It's ever better. What you didn't realize is the man isn't really a man at all. Ze considers zerself gender fluid.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

David Baker said...

...And it's amazing how many people are still afraid of them.

Three Boston Marathon spectators could not be reached for comment.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Happiness is knowing how to use a pressure cooker. And it's amazing how many people are still afraid of them.

8/1/17, 7:50 AM

They terrify me, due to an explosion I witnessed at a friend's house when I was a kid. Corned beef and cabbage WMD. All over the kitchen. It's seared, seared into my memory...

John Lynch said...

This works if housework is about results. Often it is about effort instead.

Amy said...

That was one dumb, overly simplistic and totally obvious article. I would have been happier had I not read it.
Every adult should know that life satisfaction increases when you are able to avoid those tasks you deem highly unpleasant. Why is this newsworthy? Or is it all a part of social engineering and/or virtue signaling?

That said, after years of resistance, I hired a 'maid' to clean my house 2x/mo about a year ago. I said I was tired of working all week and cleaning all weekend. I sheepishly admit that my happiness and life satisfaction has increased exponentially. But takeout - never, as well as most of the other tasks listed. My husband loves to mow. It is all individual choice.
Can I collect a paycheck from the Times for this summary?

MadisonMan said...

spending 3 hours to cut, edge, and blow

A beauty of my lawn: It takes 15 minutes at most to cut, etc.

Fernandinande said...

Amy said...
Can I collect a paycheck from the Times for this summary?


No. But thank you for reading the fNYT fluff for me, and making that shocking analysis.

exiledonmainstreet said...

If you enjoy cooking, it's not an extra chore for you, although the cleanup is a bit of a pain, made more manageable if you do it as you go along. When I feel like cooking, I do. When I don't, I buy takeout or go to a restaurant. Cooking is less avoidable when you have kids because of the expense. Still, it's not in the same league as scrubbing the tub or dusting - things that few people find enjoyable but must be done by someone, unless you're OK with a messy house.

tcrosse said...

This works if housework is about results. Often it is about effort instead.

There's nothing like the sight of a pissed-off woman going on a Cleaning Frenzy, where the effort is the whole point, the result not so much.

Static Ping said...

Buying time is nothing new. There's a reason why the highest gasoline prices in my area are at the gas station near the million dollar homes. Sure, they could spend five minutes to save five bucks on the fill-up, but why cut into the pool schedule? All this article is doing is rehashing economic phenomena that has been well known and documented for a long time.

What I find interesting is how this reflects on the New York Times readership. Did the well educated, affluent sophisticates that favor the paper fail to take any economic courses in their Ivy League days and therefore are ignorant of the basics, or is this simply a nice way to justify their extravagant spending as a moral good? Perhaps it is both.

Of course, spending money is also a very effective way to become very unhappy. Financial strain is a great way to make life miserable. In addition, the idle rich being frequently bored is a cliche for a reason; buying more boredom does seem counterproductive.

glenn said...

This is why so any Times readers are open border advocates. They need Pedro and Maria to cook their food and clean their house.

David Baker said...

"Corned beef and cabbage" can be challenging. The trick, however, is not to overfill the pressure cooker, particularly with items that tend to break down and clog the vent(s). But even still, the safety features make it difficult to cause anything akin to an explosion.

And the payoff can be huge, not just in time saved, but in flavor gained. Especially regarding meats, where the secret is the moisture inherent in pressure cooking. Also the simplicity - no need to empty the spice rack. A little salt and pepper, a "trinity" (chopped onion, carrot, celery - plus a little garlic), 1-3 pounds beef short ribs (browned), 12oz beef stock or beef bullion, and about 15 minutes later - the best home-cooked beef you ever tasted. (strain the liquid, add a thickener, to make a gravy)

The best pressure cookers (I prefer PRESTO stove-top models) tend to be the simplest, and come with lots of easy-to-follow recipes.

David Baker said...

BTW, "The Colonel's" secret was using a pressure cooker.

Fabi said...

Maids are a fine luxury; take out not so much.

Fabi said...

I've never heard of mirepoix referred to as "trinity", but it is easier to spell.

PackerBronco said...

One way in which I save time and increase happiness is not reading insipid articles in the New York Times.

Snark said...

That is a woman cleaning the toilet. She has breasts, narrow wrists and longish hair on top. And now she has to clean the sink again because the asshole photographer is probably standing on it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The headline reminds me of Steve Martin's skit on how to become a millionaire.

First.....get a million dollars.

David Baker said...

"I've never heard of mirepoix referred to as "trinity", but it is easier to spell."

Both terms apply, but also may not apply. A mirepoix, for example, involves a specific cooking method to as to avoid caramelizing. And a "trinity" in New Orleans includes/adds chopped green peppers.

But generally, a trinity - three items - is easiest to remember.

rhhardin said...

My lawn takes a week to cut. A few swaths a day.

Why get a stationary bike, rowing machine or treadmill.

Get a scythe.

cubanbob said...

Without reading the article I guess with high confidence this is Manhattan living: two or three young woman jointly renting an apartment none can singly afford and splitting for the maid service since none of them wants to clean the others mess. Take away food but of course.
Who wants to clean other people's schmutz toilet bowls etc plus carry heavy groceries up the stairs to have roommates 'borrow' stuff not to mention portioning the shelves and fridge. In such a setup, it actually makes sense.

Pamela said...

What about the maid's happiness.

Michael K said...

"My lawn takes a week to cut. A few swaths a day."

Mine only needs cutting in Monsoon Season. Now it's a foot high.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Trader Joe's sells premade mirepoix, but in an exceptionally annoying packaging -- onions on top of celery, on top of carrots, in something like a plastic soup container. Getting equal amounts of all three out of there is a real trial. They ought to put them in a flat container, such as they use for meats, only divided into three sections.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If you enjoy cooking, it's not an extra chore for you, although the cleanup is a bit of a pain, made more manageable if you do it as you go along.

I LOVE to cook so it isn't a chore. And as you say, clean up as you go. However, that doesn't mean I don't like a pizza or chinese take out once in a while ;-)

The last thing I want is some person coming into my house, my sanctuary, rummaging around. I can clean. It just seems like an intrusion and invasion of privacy.

We do hire someone to do the windows once a year and an occasional yard/handyman guy to handle the big stuff around the property/orchard/ditches. When my husband makes $XXX an hour and we can hire someone at $xx to do the weed eating, pruning, hauling, digging (all stuff we don't like to do) it is cost effective as well as liberating. Time IS money.

SO...if you can afford it, yes, it is a good thing to hire someone to do those chores and occasionally take a break from even things you like to do.

Mike said...

Fabi said...
I've never heard of mirepoix referred to as "trinity", but it is easier to spell.


That's because Trinity is the New Orleans variation on mirepoix that includes green pepper, finely chopped, instead of carrots.

Martin said...

Hey, that maid will be cheap as soon as we get rid of Trump and welcome millions more illegals into the country.

They can deliver the take-out as well.

Keeping wages for service people low is real reasons why many of the elites favor open borders. Pure aggression against lower-skill Americans.

And they still think Trump was somehow the fault of Putin--well, they aren't that stupid, they just claim to, and count on the rest of us being that stupid. Which so far is about 50-50.

exiledonmainstreet said...

David Baker said...
"But even still, the safety features make it difficult to cause anything akin to an explosion."

The explosion I speak of occurred in the '60's,and God knows how old the pressure cooker was then. I assume safety features have been added since then.

Thank you for the tips.

David said...

"swirling through their cranium"

Perfect. Beyond perfect. Is there such a thing?

James K said...

From the caption:

This owner of a New York City cleaning business found that the happiness of others could be profitable.

The NY Times discovers that profits can come from something other than contaminating the environment, cheating customers, or exploiting widows and orphans. Who'd have thought they could come from providing a good or service that customers value?

BN said...

First world problems.

Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy you plenty of time to sit and cry over your take-out.

...and pay for the shrink.

Bill Peschel said...

Ann, have you seen the cost of cooked food in NYC lately?

Example: Last week's New York published its "Cheap Eats" issue. The headline bragged "most of them under $25."

Let that sink in: "cheap" eats under 25 bucks. Most of them.

We are living in a culture where actions have few consequences, so we're capable of claiming that the planet is doomed (as New York's cover proclaimed, while at the same time writing admiringly of millenials flying to Bangkok to be with their kind.

Of course, I just read about the Australian Weather Bureau got caught tampering with their temperature logs that raised the low temperature readings, so I guess the right people know how bogus this is.

reader said...

This reminds me of a conversation I had with my sister about ten years ago. She was over on a Saturday and I was painting the long central hallway of our house. She pointed out that my husband could afford to pay someone to do that chore. I responded that he was - it's called community property. Yes, I was a stay home mom.

I should probably point out that this was a tongue in cheek conversation.

TWW said...

You don't have to be 'rich enough' to afford a paywall. Most of us spend more on our vices than a monthly subscription cost. What you do have to do is value the content enough to pay the toll.

Meade said...

Ralph L said...
"The man has to clean the toilet if you don't hire that maid.
Meade could not be reached for comment."

2 bedroom; 2 bath = happy marriage. Each keeps respective bathroom to their liking. The second bedroom is kept for houseguests or as a spill-off when the couple is out of sleep sync.

Meade said...

..."3 hours to cut, edge, and blow would basically knock me out of any activity for a day or more. I've been paying to have it done for a few years now, and at $40 a pop"...

You have someone willing to mow, blow, and go at a rate of less than $14/hr.?!!! Using their own equipment, transportation, and fuel? Are you sure they're not in the country illegally?

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Titus said...

That is me! I have take out or go out to dinner almost every night and my maids-there are three of them, don't speak english, and clean every Friday so the place is sparkly for a Grindr trade.

One time my maids and my neighbor's maids got in a fight. I think everyone in my building has maids.

My lead maid Veronica drives a mercedes SUV. I just met her beautiful daughter last week.

tits.

Mark said...

I guess the Little Way is not for them.

Mark said...

Did you know that "the pursuit of happiness," as expressed by the Founding Fathers, does not mean leisure, material gain, or hedonistic pleasure? They meant being free to lead a good, moral and virtuous life.

Titus said...

My neighbor (Star Realtor to Asian International Students at MIT) pays his maids $300.00 per cleaning and I pay $275.00 per cleaning, which is such a bargain.

The lofts are approximately 1200 square feet which are considered enormous around these parts girls. Also the maids do windows and the units are basically floor to windows throughout the entire loft...sometimes I dance naked in front of them at night. We have juliet balconies but you can't really sit outside but you can do a mean Don't Cry For Me Argentina, which I have done.

have a super day.

Mark said...

Did you know also that the Beatitudes, as in "Blessed are . . .", is also translated as "Happy are . . ."?

Poor in spirit, meek, merciful, pure of heart - as the way to true happiness. Detachment from worldly ways and desires.

There's something to be said for that.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Some people get more enjoyment out of spending their disposable money on things; some on avoiding tasks they'd rather not do. One is not necessarily better or more moral than another. No reason to preen. Whatever floats your boat.

We hate the heat and fumes but love having a tidy yard, so the yard guys come every two weeks to mow, weedeat, and edge. $50 a pop. There are, I think, 3 guys at a time and it takes them about 20-25 minutes. I leave a check under the mat and I ADORE it just being done with me hardly ever having to think about it.

Same with the cleaning lady. I tidy and spot clean every day, necessary in a busy household of 7 (8 in February) plus five cats, but it's an enormous help to have her come every other Tuesday to do the stuff I just can't get to regularly but like having done. She dusts light fixtures and ceiling fans, thoroughly vacuums the carpeted floors, thoroughly mops the hardwood, cleans the bathrooms to within an inch of their lives, dusts and polishes the furniture, washes the inside of the windows, dusts the blinds (which I LOATHE doing), empties and cleans all the trash cans, makes the beds when I leave fresh sheets out, and anything else that catches her eye. (To my embarrassment she once folded a basket of clean undies and lingerie.) The only thing she doesn't do is the kitchen, because I'm super picky about that and keep it spotless. I make sure the house is really tidy and nothing is in her way before she comes, so there is no clutter; just dust and smeary windows. She's usually here for about 3 hours and gets paid $90 each time. She's a widow with an elementary aged daughter and she gets to work alone in a quiet airconditioned house for around $30 an hour while her kid is at school ~ that seems like a way better deal than working nights and weekends running a register at Walmart to me, so I feel like it's a win-win and no one is exploiting anyone.

I've had people tsk-tsk at me because I'm a stay at home mom and it's my job to clean, but actually it's my job to maintain the household and sometimes that means delegation. If we can afford it, and my time is better spent in other ways (there is always sometime productive to do in a large and active family, something more worthwhile than dusting miniblinds) what's the problem? I don't feel a tiny bit guilty because it fits in our budget and because I don't spend money on a lot of stupid junk that other women do so there's that. I rarely own more than 5 pair of shoes at a time and they get replaced every couple of years. My wardrobe is tiny and functional. I have a strict no-MLM policy and marvel at the women I know who will drop hundreds of dollars on essential oils, diet supplements, craft supplies and makeup because their friends are pushing it. The kids wear hand me downs and basics I buy at Kohl's with coupons and promos. My only jewelry is inexpensive stuff I've picked up here and there, costume jewelry I inherited from my grandmother and my wedding set which is a family heirloom (and from which the diamond was sold and replaced with a glass 'stone' during the Depression). I breastfeed, pack lunches and cook from scratch but occasionally take a break from dishes with takeout.

Pool maintenance we do ourselves because it needs to be monitored daily anyway, so what's the point of a weekly pool guy? I blow out the main filter pretty much every day and my husband vacuums the bottom and maintains the chemistry.

Michael said...

The undoing of my first marriage began one Saturday morning in Menlo Park, California. I was enjoying the day after a week on the East Coast and suffering from a hangover. My wife presented me with a few things to do around the house. "You see Tom across the street, my dear?" Yes, she said, why? Well what is he doing? He is mowing his lawn. "And who mows our lawn?" Why the Mexican men do. "Exactly! Do you think I pay them to free me up to work for you?" Could measure the beginning of the end from that moment.

Luke Lea said...

Could it be a traid? Anyway I use the Opera browser with its built-in VPN option to get around the NYT paywall. (But I probably shouldn't be giving this secret away.)

buwaya said...

We have always had servants.

Housekeeper (majordoma), cook, driver(s), washerwomen, and general duty maids, as well as yayas (from ayah, the generic term in the Far East) for the kids.

And, as required for a considerable household, one requires a considerable house, with a certain grandeur. Not coincidentally, such an establishment makes it very convenient to entertain, and in such a society they do, constantly. For people of a certain position open house every Sunday was the custom, and nearly every afternoon at tea time (merienda).

Servants and the concomitant circumstances certainly are great contributors to life satisfaction.

One does have to be a bit of a "people person" though.

In America, even if one is of a certain position, life is usually lived much smaller. Its a lonelier world here.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ buwaya

When we lived and visited in Mexico with my Grandmother, Aunts & Uncles, in the 1950-s to early 60s we always had "people", maids, cook, grounds keepers, driver (my aunt and Grandmother didn't drive and the uncles were still in military school in the US much of the time) etc.

For my parents it was a pretty good deal because there was a maid who would take care of us when they were wanting to go off someplace, out to dinner or other fun stuff. For us kids, it was a really sweet deal, because Maria, the maid who was responsible for us, would spoil us rotten. We got to go to the market with her every day. This was when in a smaller town outside of their Mexico City home in a more laid back resort area. In Mexico City not so much. Maria would show us off to the other maids and was really proud of how we little blond kiddies could speak Spanish. I guess it was a mark of her status that she was in charge of us.

We though it really cool to pick out live chickens for dinner, get ice cream treats, and be fawned over by Maria's other friends. She was more like an indulgent Tia than a 'servant'. Some of the other maids/child watchers would also have their charges with them and we would all get to play under their watchful eyes in the small town zocolo/park. The kids were from all over, Mexico City, France, Germany, Canada, US. It was like some big playground for all of us!

The gardener would let us 'help' him. I just "bet" we were really a great help. But he was so patient and friendly with us.

As I remember it from my child's perspective, it was more like an extended family rather than hired help. You are right...life much smaller and lonelier in some ways.