The Sock Dilemma – The Pair of Socks Paradox

No sock should be left behind. Each sock should employ the buddy system
No sock should be left behind. Each sock should employ the buddy system

When I bring in the washing I always match the socks straight off the line and fold them together before throwing them in the basket to bring in the washing (or should that be the dried?) off the clothesline.  Job well done I hear you say?  Well no; not in the eyes of my good wife.  Let me explain.

Generally I don’t care if both socks are or even one of the socks is the right way round; that is, the way they need to be when you put them on your foot.  My theory is I am never in a rush to get my socks on so turning one or both so they aren’t inside out isn’t a hassle in my book.  But to my “time poor” wife (who spends 30 minutes in the shower mind you) she needs to have them ready to go.  (I think she might secretly be a fire-fighter so she doesn’t have time to lose).

So this got me thinking about this dilemma which I am calling The Pair of Socks Paradox.  There are so many levels to this; so many places where the paradox can be fixed, but then they spawn further paradoxes.

Paradox One – It’s Fine From the Line

We will start with the situation as it stands now.  I fold the socks straight from the line with no regard for how they are but my wife would prefer me to fold them so that both socks are right to go when taking them out of the drawer.  She doesn’t even fold them together at this point; she is happy to take them off the line and match them up when folding the clothes at a later stage.

So should either of us make sure they are the right way around and folded together at this point?  At first I thought yes but then I got to thinking; maybe they should be washed the right way around so that anything that has stuck to them can actually get washed off and removed in the washing machine.

Paradox Two – Deus ex Machina

One thing that I like to do when filling up the washing machine is to make sure that I have both socks in the pair go into the machine so they can be washed together.  You always hear those tales about washing machines eating one of the socks, but my theory is that both socks didn’t go in together and the machine is (just like Harrison Ford in The Fugitive) wrongfully accused.

I guess it is at this point that the socks should be turned the right way round so that they can be washed properly, but when you consider that the person loading the washing machine has the responsibility of making sure that the washing is separated properly (whites versus brights, lights versus darks, delicates versus heavy duty), or that pockets do not have things in them (tissues are the invasive noxious weeds of the washing machine landscape), one more job for the washer is really loading them up with lots to think about.  Maybe the responsibility lies with the person who wore the socks…

Paradox Three – Fox in Socks

It would be easy to have the onus of having the socks go into the dirty clothes basket the right way round fall on the person who wore the socks.  But when you consider our household; we have only just successfully campaigned that master four takes off all his clothes and put them in the basket rather than on the floor.  Accepting that battle as a victory to me and my wife means that we should really hold off on creating more complexities to this task for now.  Besides, master one is still fighting another battle called “Operation: Keep My Socks On Because I Don’t Want a Bath….”

Sure my wife and I could take this step (the final step in these socks for the day) and make sure they go into the basket the right way round, but after a long and busy day, who really has the mindset to remember that?

So what is the solution?  The way I see it (and the way most of our society would agree), a man is doing the laundry.  Just be happy that the job is done at all…

What are the jobs that someone in your house does that seem half-hearted or incomplete to you?

5 thoughts on “The Sock Dilemma – The Pair of Socks Paradox

  1. My wife and I seem to have differing attitudes to socks. My wife often wears odd socks and doesn’t seem too bothered about it, whereas I take the dull serious approach of trying to wear proper pairs. This does become a bit of a challenge for with being colour blind and my wife liking to deliberately pair up some of my non-matching socks from time to time.

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