Frances Gabe with a model of her house
DID you ever hear a plumber say, “I hate unblocking pipes. I hate it! I wish there was no such thing as the sewer line?”
Did you ever hear an electrician say, “I can’t stand wiring houses! Oh, I just hate electricity and wish it didn’t exist?”
Or how about a construction worker? Have you ever heard one say, “I hate nailing. I wish we all lived in grass huts so I didn’t have to nail anything together ever again?”
Probably not. For it is only the modern woman, under the influence of the Great Home-Hating Feminist Psy-Op, who goes about saying how much she hates, hates, hates the menial labor she has to do, as if she were a forest-clearing slave in the Siberian gulag rather than an independent domestic boss surrounded by nifty home-cleaning innovations that would be the envy of pre-industrial peasants.
Frances Gabe (1915-2016) was a housewife who detested and resented housework. She became especially ticked off when her children got fig jam on the walls. Jam on the walls! Oh, how boring, tedious and totally beneath the “educated” (or miseducated) woman! Gabe reportedly was so fed up that she decided to invent and build a self-cleaning house (we don’t know whether she tried to teach her children how to clean instead). She invented one over a long period. The result was entirely impractical and necessarily ugly due to the need to encase everything in plastic or other waterproof coverings to withstand cleaning from jets of water.
The self-cleaning house, though its invention certainly did involve hard work and creativity, has been consigned to the dustbin of useless creations. Mrs. Gabe, whose idea of a really clean house eventually meant one without her husband (she reportedly tossed him out), apparently did not have enough appreciation for the various objects made of fabric and wood that make a house beautiful (when not covered in plastic or resin) and prevent it from being the sort of thing that can be scoured with hoses. This appreciation might have helped her get through the tedium of cleaning or focus on a less ambitious invention.
The New York Times, in its extended eulogy of the maker of this ultimately useless invention, says she died recently in obscurity. (My condolences to her family.) This is not true. There are dozens of articles about Gabe. No one knows the names of many male inventors who made the appliances and little gadgets that make the housewife’s lot so much easier. I bet when Herbert Johnson, the inventor of the wonderful and very useful stand mixer, died, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times did not run lengthy obituaries.
But now many know the name of the woman who hated housework. May she rest in peace — and be someplace where everything is spic and span. If only ….
— Fay Inchfawn
If only dinner cooked itself,
And groceries grew upon the shelf;
If children did as they were told,
And never had a cough or cold;
And washed their hands, and wiped their
And never tore their Sunday suits,
But always tidied up the floor,
Nor once forgot to shut the door.
If John remembered not to throw
His papers on the ground. And oh!
If he would put his pipes away,
And shake the ashes on the tray
Instead of on the floor close by;
And always spread his towel to dry,
And hung his hat upon the peg,
And never had bones in his leg.
Then, there’s another thing. If Jane
Would put the matches back again
Just where she found them, it would be
A save of time to her and me.
And if she never did forget
To put the dustbin out; nor yet
Contrive to gossip with the baker,
Nor need ten thunderbolts to wake her.
Ahem! If wishes all came true,
I don’t know what I’d find to do,
Because if no one made a mess
There’d be no need of cleanliness.
And things might work so blissfully,
In time — who knows? — they’d not need
And this being so, I fancy whether
I’ll go on keeping things together.