“Yea, I don’t do that.”

Remind me again, why am I cleaning this thing?” Martin asks as he scrapes the murky layer of sludge from our no-longer-self-cleaning oven.

I wrinkle my nose at the greasy sponge in his hand.

“Yea, I don’t do the oven,” I say flatly.

Martin and I have a relatively equal division of labor that hovers around stereotypical gender lines. I typically tackle the laundry, he usually takes out the trash. But truthfully, on any given day we share most tasks from changing diapers to mucking stalls.

There are, however, a couple of chores we simply won’t “do.” Martin refuses to clean out the cars. The brake pedal can be jammed under a mound of Red Bull cans and he’ll just kick them out of the way.

I refuse to fill the water troughs. When the horses are down to dregs, I’ll dash into Martin’s office sounding the alarm. If he’s on the phone I wave my hands as if the house is on fire. Horses need water!! I’ll frantically scrawl on a piece of paper.

As if I’m unable to water them myself.

We’ve both tried to reform one another. So far my sarcastic barbs — “I see that your dirty clothes lost their battle to reach the hamper” — go ignored.

And for years Martin’s begged me to cut his hair. Please, just cut it, it’ll take two seconds…

“Yea, I don’t do that,” I say. “I don’t do hair.”

“You do the horses’ hair…”

“I trim their whiskers–“

“It’s the same thing! Just use their clippers!”

Last summer Martin tried a new tactic: he bought his own trimmers, which look just like the ones we already have in the barn. I still won’t do it.

Fortunately he’s found a willing assistant. Someone who gamely clutches the clippers and plows on through. Someone who sees no errors in even the most half-hearted attempt:


She regularly cuts his hair.

Until she loses interest and leaves the live clippers chattering on the bathroom tiles. And walks away.

So if you happen to see Martin dragging a garden hose between barn and field, and you notice his ill-shapen, asymmetric haircut… have pity on him.

His barber has only been potty trained for a year.