The Freak Next Door

I was recently alerted to the fact that I am a freak. I learned this because I mentioned in passing to someone that I iron each week. Yes. I am that person. And apparently there are a lot of people who do not iron and never would. There are people who don’t even own an iron. I had no idea that was even legal.

I learned how to iron when I was 13 or 14. I ironed my navy blue, polyester movie theater uniform that smelled of popcorn and cleaning solvent. As a college student, I ironed my preppy, khaki pants to ensure they were crisp. When I got my first apartment, I ironed all my work clothes. I even ironed my t-shirts and shorts when I was a stay-at-home mom with toddlers because I figured that, even if I hadn’t showered, my clothes could tell others I was not totally losing it. Currently, I am ironing cloth napkins for our dinner table tonight because we’re fancy like that. The best part about ironing is that my entire closet is filled with clothes that are ready to go at a moment’s notice if the Queen of England shows up to join me for afternoon tea.

While I never fault a person for their choice not to iron, I cannot say I understand that lifestyle. It’s such a small thing to do to show yourself some love and respect. I like to start my fall days in a merino sweater that has been neatly pressed, even if I have no plan to leave the house. I may not be the youngest, the prettiest, the strongest, or the bravest but, dammit, I can be the ironedest! That is within my purview.

Can I tell you a secret about my dirty little habit? One of the benefits of ironing is that no one in my house wants to do it, so when I pull the ironing board out they all head for the hills. Hello, alone time! I queue up a new show I want to binge or a fascinating documentary I read about online and steam press my way through an hour plus of solitude. No one dares to approach and interrupt me. It’s another win-win in my life.

I am fairly certain the only way I will ever stop ironing is if someone else decides to do it for me, which seems highly unlikely at this point, or if I find some twelve-step program for people frittering hours of their wild, precious life away at the ironing board. If you hear of such a group, let me know. Maybe I can grow? Maybe I can learn to let some wrinkles into my waking life? Or maybe I’ll go to the grave ironing? That might be the wisest choice. At least I won’t have to worry about what they pull out of the closet for my casket attire because we all know it will be pressed, presentable, and ready for viewing.


  1. Many years ago, I saw/heard a story of a man who ironed his shirt every morning. He had been taught the proper way in boarding school. Now, as an adult, he used this ironing time as his morning meditation. So, keep being the freak, and enjoy your meditation time!

    1. I’m not the world’s best ironer or anything. I definitely am not skilled. I’m more of a “as long as it looks better than it did” ironer. Nice work getting a husband who irons. Mine can iron, but doesn’t care as much about it as I do. Thanks for reading!

  2. I’m an ironer too but admittedly, I don’t iron as much as I used to and I don’t enjoy it. My mother ironed EVERYTHING…. even my father’s handkerchiefs, my sisters and my pajamas, and even pillow cases! My biggest childhood memory of her is of her standing over the ironing board in the den. She didn’t particularly care for it though (so it didn’t make sense to me that she ironed ALL the time). She used to say that hell to her would be having to stand over a hot ironing board for all of eternity! LOL!

    By the way Justine, I am so impressed that you are writing every day. How in the world are you coming up with your topics?! You are an inspiration.

    1. Thanks for reading, Gail.

      I enjoy being ironed. The act of ironing itself is only made better by the fact that I get alone time. 😉

      I struggle plenty of days to come up with topics, but I realized that if I didn’t really push myself it would be too easy to not to do the thing that most makes me who I am. With all the work I am doing on my mental health, I decided it was crucial. It’s not easy, but it’s all good. 🙂

  3. The comment section almost made me hold back mine but I am not that type of a person. I like alluding to the bible verse that goes, I can do all things.. Except ironing. Been around girls that like ironing and that saves me the agony. When my dress or top is overly creased I will either have it on like that and put on a tough don’t care face or change the outfit all together to something that won’t need ironing. It gets so bad that I skipped a story titled I stand here Ironing in an anthology of short stories because boy oh boy I cannot stand ironing.

    1. A lot of people feel the same way you do. You are in good company, I think. Ironing isn’t my favorite chore. It simply isn’t my least favorite chore. That honor belongs to mopping floors. 🙂

  4. I simply never learned this task, and the one time I tried I burnt a hole in a blouse I love. Therfore, I got friendly with my local dry cleaners. Then I got married, and My spouse became my saving grace he enjoys this task. Once the iron basket fills up in our laundry room. Much like you he queues up a new show and steam press his way through a movie or show in solitude. No one dares to approach and interrupt him, as were grateful for his extra kindness.

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