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DeWayne's World - These men clean up

DeWayne Bartels

Cleaning is not my thing — never has been, never will be. My wife says I’m cleaning retarded. My co-workers agree. I just lack the gene that makes one care about cleaning. 

So, I was somewhat taken aback when father and son Kevin and Jason Swadinsky of West Peoria and Dunlap, respectively, showed up at my office to pitch a story idea. They own a cleaning and handyman business called Man Maids. Their pitch is, men are better at cleaning than women.

I wasn’t sure what to think, but I knew I wanted to hear more. 

“By far, men are more detail-oriented,” Kevin, 55, said. “Women are amazing at handling baby poop and blood. But, men are better with dirt.”

Jason, 33, agreed.

“Women are fantastic. But, getting down and dirty, men are better at that.”

They had me with the baby poop comment. But, far be it from me to keep some men from fanning the flames of male chauvinism and keeping my male superiority prejudices warm. 

I said, “Keep going.”

I asked, “So, how does this idea that men are better than women at cleaning go over with the female clients?”

“I don’t know that we necessarily bring that up,” Jason said, as the smile faded from my face. “We want them to hire us.”

Well, that probably is a smart marketing tactic.

Both men are married and clean their own homes. They started the business part-time three years ago doing cleaning and handyman work — from power cleaning driveways to lawn mowing.

“We both cleaned our own houses, and did it well,” Jason said. “We thought, ‘Why not do it for others?’”

A business was born.

On Sept. 11 the pair after getting laid off from their jobs went into the cleaning and handyman business full-time.

While both say men are better at cleaning than women, they credit Ers Swadinsky, Kevin’s mother and Jason’s grandmother, with instilling cleanliness in their blood.

“She cleaned forever. She loved it. She would clean out people’s cabinets and say, ‘This is fun,’” Kevin said.

“We learned what we do from her,” Jason added.

As important as the skills they picked up from her, Jason said, is the attitude about cleaning she gave them.

“We are so happy doing this. It’s not work,” Jason said. “We have so much fun with our customers. It’s all what you make it.”

He may have something there. The Web site cleaning 101.com says the secret to a good relationship is keeping it clean.

In a 1999 survey The Soap and Detergent Association revealed “cleaning is a major source of friction between couples and it shouldn’t just be swept under the rug.”

Clever.

According to the survey of married and living as married men and women, almost half of all couples fight about cleaning. The arguments range from who should do the cleaning — 27 percent — to how frequently the cleaning should be done — 24 percent. Still other couples — 20 percent — disagree about the quality of the cleaning.

“The key to a happy and harmonious relationship is compromise, compromise, compromise,” said Sandra Beckwith, author of “Why Can’t A Man Be More Like A Woman” and creator of the Do(o)little Report, which takes a lighthearted look at male behavior.

“Whether it’s grocery shopping or cleaning the home, couples need to agree on their roles and responsibilities.”

Women reported they do 79 percent of the housework, compared to 35 percent for the men. The survey said, “Remarkably, one-quarter of the men surveyed said they can’t handle a single cleaning task from cleaning the bathroom to doing the laundry better than their partner.”

What’s remarkable about that?

“Men and women just don’t notice dirt the same way,” Beckwith said. “Women more often understand the value of thorough cleaning to get rid of dirt and germs, while men see no problem in cutting corners to achieve the appearance of clean.”

Yeah, so?

“When half-hearted cleaning doesn’t get to the true grit and grime, the result can be wheezing, sneezing, unidentifiable odors and worse — none of which contribute to a warm and cozy relationship,” Beckwith said.

Oh, come on. Is that kind of soft-soap[ approach really supposed to work on a man. Please!

After reading that it seems to me this Man Maids concept is a valuable one, except it might feed an unreasonable expectation among woman that men can do better at cleaning.

But, at the same time, guys like me can hire them and say, “You know dear, I realize one of my shortcomings is I don’t do thorough cleaning to get rid of dirt and germs. I’m ashamed to admit I cut corners to achieve the appearance of clean.

“The result is wheezing, sneezing, unidentifiable odors and worse — none of which contribute to a warm and cozy relationship between us. So, I’m calling Man Maids.”

I could make it sound sincere. I can act better than I can clean.

You can contact Man Maids at 453-4412 and 339-7355.