Domestic Tips for the Modern Man #1: The Life Expectancy of Tea Towels

In these modern times it is important that a man knows how to look after himself in a domestic sense. This is especially true of bachelors, as it is rare nowadays for apartments to come with a nice old landlady named Mrs Maplethorpe, who serves communal breakfast and cleans your boots if you leave them outside your door. Therefore, without any female presence on hand, you may find yourself staring blankly at a smear of peanut butter on the lampshade, wondering how on earth to deal with it – assuming you even notice in the first place that you’re missing some peanut butter. It’s not because you’re some kind of hopeless caveman lucky enough to stumble into a pair of trousers, but you are in dire need of information.

If you do happen to cohabitate with a female, you may still benefit from domestic advice. Gone are the days when a wife or girlfriend would carry the sole responsibility of making sure there aren’t earwigs in the cheese. With the invention of equality, a man is now expected to carry his weight around the house, and I don’t just mean moving himself from room to room when he requires another sherry – but actually to help in an overall fashion.

Accordingly it has become my great pleasure to share knowledge hard won in the ongoing battle against domesticity. Today we take a look at one of the most crucial weapons in any modern man’s arsenal: the tea towel.

Tea towels are rectangular pieces of absorbent fabric designed to aid in the wiping and drying of kitchen based objects. Generally a tea towel is applied to an object after it has already been cleaned. For example, if you have cleaned out a glass by drinking from it, you could then wipe it with a tea towel before replacing it on the liquor tray. This ensures a presentable quality to the glass when serving to guests.

Another example would be the kitchen bench. Even if you live exclusively on television meals and chewing tobacco, the kitchen bench will eventually become visibly dirty. In this situation you could use a sponge for the initial cleansing of the bench, then follow up by wiping away remaining moisture with a tea towel. The tea towel is handy because it provides the dual action of both cleaning and drying.

Sounds pretty bloody amazing, right? But, as with all good things, there’s a hitch. A tea towel, unfortunately, won’t last forever. As time goes on the towel will begin to collect damp, and the residue of absorbed waste. You can prolong the life expectancy of your towel by hanging it perpendicular to the ground after each use, but no matter what you do it will eventually start to smell like diseased tree lichen. This deterioration will cause your respect for the towel to diminish, and find you using it in increasingly reckless ways; anything from whipping household flies off windows, to mopping up a meat pie that’s fallen on the bathroom floor. Your thinking: ‘Well, the towel was already dirty anyway.’

At the end of its life, a tea towel can be sent on a final suicide mission, such as wiping the grease off your favourite saucepan. This will smear the towel with a black tar that should never go near a brandy glass, nor even a bathroom floor. You can now discard your tea towel, or perhaps bury it in the backyard and plant a tree on top.

Luckily tea towels are cheap and sold in supermarkets, so a fresh supply is always on hand. Towels come with all kinds of patterns, but don’t pay too much attention to these, as it’s dangerous to get attached. A true gentleman has no excuse for holding onto a ‘dead’ towel. In fact it shows forward thinking to have a backup stock of virgin towels in the cupboard, available as they become necessary. All you need to do is adjust your mental shopping list whilst out and about – but you’ll find that ‘new tea towel’ fits in very nicely between ‘shaving foam’ and ‘canned ham’.

Well, that’s all the wisdom we have space for this time – but keep watch for more tips on maintaining domestic order.

Good luck!

Next: The Remarkable Refrigerator