Households blessed with a weekly cleaner are usually filled with replenished fruit bowls, ice machines, net curtains, shoe racks, combi boilers, plasmas and power showers. All signs of a well-oiled family, managed incomes, probably with a working mother, bread-winning father and book-reading, KitKat-eating children, all of whom enjoy nothing better than creating animated characters of the whole family on the Wii ready for team-building activities such as bowling with a remote control. Said families employ cleaners to assist in general duties such as scrubbing bathrooms, mopping kitchen floors and sink bleaching - every little helps an overworked, underpaid, school-run, Zumba Mum. And that's all good.
I, on the other hand, have felt a deep sense of self-loathing since calling on a cleaner to scrub up my studio flat, despite putting on a Geordie accent and whispering 'because I'm worth it' in the mirror. Perhaps it's because I am single and 30 with no kids, husband or busy life (not unless Facebook counts). In honesty, my stress levels reach up to medium only when I have key decisions to make such as: "should I pay my overdue council tax or buy a puppy?" needless to say I bought a puppy on that particular occasion. It's not even that I'm rich like Paris Hilton and can afford to pay someone else to Jif away pubes from my toilet rim. Actually, she probably has a Hollywood (that's a bare muff for those who don't watch porn). Perhaps that could be my next step in laziness, getting someone else to groom my fanny 'because I'm worth it'? What would Cheryl say? Hmm.
Ultimately, using my overdraft to pay someone else to sweep up mine and my dog's skin flakes (that's what dust is, a man who sells mattresses told me) has drug-like benefits. As with hallucinations, I get home to an immaculate flat - no KFC boxes, no overfilled ashtrays, no urine on the floor, dog's urine may I add; as I breathe in the cleaning crystals (they can't use bleach in case it splashes against an eyeball, putting employers at risk of being sued), I pretend this is how I live, how I am, how I was born - 'maybe she's born with it'! There's no sign of anyone else having been here, nobody need know I am a dirty person. All traces of evidence are removed, even the note I'd left on the table reading 'If my dog has gone to the toilet on the floor, I will pick up, DO NOT clean' (pointless really as I know they can't read English, and I'm not being racist, this is fact just like the fact that I can't speak Italian despite paying £180 for a 6 week course). This week, even the dog treats had vanished. I seriously hope the cleaners haven't mistaken the doggie treats as some sort of thank you gift, I'd left them with the note and money, they must think I am scum. I also don't want to consider whether (for research purposes perhaps?) the cleaners looked at the crotch of the worn knickers they'd folded neatly before placing on the corner of my bed.
I convince myself again it's all a mutually beneficial arrangement. For the price of a bottle of high-end wine down in Tesco I am a happy clean person which will in turn save the NHS on Prozac bills (people with messy homes have messy minds, after all). And although the lovely cleaner doesn't speak, she too seems happy... after all, the lady probably doesn't pay high taxes, ahem, and has naturally thick long blonde hair never before seen on a British person. So my guilt isn't one of moral conscience or political correctness after all?
Perhaps the whole concept feels wrong because having another woman clean my rented filthy home is like having another woman ride my boyfriend when I - a capable & relatively fit young woman - can't be bothered. It's just not right. Perhaps instead I should go in search of an OCD-suffering house husband. Or live in prison. Or in an airport like Tom Hanks. Or in a jumble sale. Or in a budget hotel (do you have to pay council tax if you live in a hotel, btw?)...
For a young, independent, modern, working woman with a dog and no savings (or cleaning ethos), there has to be a better way?