Below is an excerpt of a column that appears on It’s a Southern Thing. Click here to read it in its entirety.
My childhood home at 123 Lake Drive in Warner Robins, Ga., did not have an automatic dishwasher. It did have some pretty awesome saloon doors leading to the kitchen that my brother Doofus and I used to smack each other in the face with, a mustard-gold fondue pot and a cabinet hi-fi with 8-track player, but no dishwasher. Unless you counted us kids.
I have a photo of my big brother, Doofus, and me, ages 7 and 5, standing on chairs at the kitchen sink, aprons wrapped twice around our prepubescent waists, me dipping a cloth in soapy water and wiping each dish and Doofus drying and stacking on a rack. Actually, the fact that there is a photo capturing this event likely means we weren’t required/trusted to do this task very often and I recall Mom doing most of the dishwashing. But, if memory serves, washing a plate with a dishrag and warm soapy water was not all that difficult. I mean, 5-year-old me could do it. Yet, being humans, we had to make it even easier. The automatic dishwasher became ubiquitous in the late 1970s and I think all our subsequent homes had one.
I’m telling you all this history so we can more intelligently discuss a recent study by scientists who, very bored during COVID isolation, were looking for something of life-altering importance to study when one of them looked up from the Zoom screen, eyed the stack of dishes in his sink, and said, “Hey, what about dishwashing?”
So they studied dishwashing and found that, despite technological advances, it is waaaay more difficult now than when I was a kid. The study found that households average 18 arguments per month about the dishes. Eighteen. That’s more than once every other day, y’all. Click here to read the column in its entirety.