Written by Annaliza Davis


Ironing bored

It’s 2016, kids. Yet ironing’s still a thing; why, asks Annaliza Davis.

Ironing with a purpose: a worker during the manufacture of self-sealing gas tanks in Ohio, 1941. Photo: US Library of Congress, via Wikimedia Commons.

Ironing with a purpose: during the manufacture of self-sealing gas tanks in Ohio, 1941. Photo: US Library of Congress, via Wikimedia Commons.

I’ll be blunt: throw away your iron. It is the instrument of the devil and you don’t need it. This is a cause that embraces feminism, human rights and basic common sense.

I’m 42 and I have never, in my life, had an ‘ironing pile’. I cannot understand for the life of me why otherwise sane people would voluntarily spend hours every weekend pressing clothes.

“I quite like ironing, actually.” No. Stop it. It’s a plug-in equivalent of handcuffs.

My mum, bless her, managed a full-time teaching job, cooking, shopping, bringing up three kids and pandering to my dad (who had one job, no parenting obligations and countless hobbies), but she still spent two hours every Sunday behind an ironing board, watching old films, steadily working her way through baskets of laundry. Euch. This is not what weekends were made for!

Mum occasionally ventures a little comment to me such as, “That frock could do with a press,” and her fingers itch to steam it into creased submission, but she knows that ironing is against my religion. Seriously, in this era of easy-care, blended fabrics, there is literally no need.

I don’t even own a real iron. We have a tiny travel iron for extreme emergencies (e.g. a funeral requiring a new shirt) but no ironing board, and no 100 per cent cotton sheets, either.

“Well, of course, I don’t iron underwear or jeans, but you can’t beat freshly ironed bed linen.”

Yes, you can: buy non-iron sheets and spend what would have been ironing time lounging about in bed, instead.

“‘I quite like ironing, actually.’ No. Stop it. It’s a plug-in equivalent of handcuffs.”

When I recently told one of my newer friends that I never iron, she looked at me as if I’d explained that I didn’t have a toilet in the house and simply defecated in the street. Her expression said, “I’m sure that’s theoretically possible but I just cannot imagine it.”

“What about shirts?”

Don’t buy them. If I like a shirt in a shop but realise it would need ironing, I know I’ll end up not wearing it so I choose something else. No item of clothing is worth that.

“What about your husband?”

If he buys something that needs ironing, he’ll have to do it himself.

She blinked, rapidly, trying to get her head around this.

“So your husband does the ironing?”

No, he’s like me. Neither of us buys clothes that need ironing. We don’t iron.

The best place for the iron in Annaliza's household.

The best place for the iron in Annaliza’s household.

I have a feeling my recently formed friendship with Stephanie might not get beyond this particular hurdle. She seemed to find the concept too alien. And bordering on uncivilised.

You might think I go too far here but, to me, ironing is a form of domestic slavery. The idea that women are genetically better at it (piss off) or that we should feel any obligation to shackle ourselves to a hot iron of a weekend makes me want to vomit.

If you can’t bring yourself to part with your superglide steam machine, begin with baby steps. Next time you’re about to buy a shirt that needs ironing, consider the hours you’re signing up for. Then ask yourself how those hours could be better spent.

Before you know it, your iron will be out on the street. Up the revolution!


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Written by Annaliza Davis

Annaliza Davis is run by her own business that involves magazine features, translation and many, many Post-It notes. Finds joy in: tea, pyjamas, family film night, inappropriate jokes and singing along to London Grammar.