It struck like a thunderbolt. The thought that out there, intelligent people are ironing. Somehow this had never occurred to me for people do not say much about ironing. They do not even complain about it. A second thunderbolt. That means they must be enjoying it.
We approached twelve professionals to see which end of the ironing board they are standing on. At the hot end, they love it. These people are in a deep and committed relationship with their iron. At the bottom end, they hate it….
I wish I had never Met an Iron!
From Grail Akdeniz, Designer and Mother of Many
Ironing. A highly emotive subject where I am concerned. I hate ironing! It is a veritable waste of time. I learned to iron very early in life as my mother didn’t believe in housework (she had better things to do with her time and told her four daughters to beware of such things). She left everything in a pile at the bottom of the stairs. But my friend had a Domesticated Mother and was always beautiful in clothes with creases in the right places. I was slightly jealous, so I ironed my own clothes. I took my “Laundress” badge at Girl Guides in the 1970’s and never looked back!
Except, that is, for the slight blip in my ironing career when I moved to Istanbul to be with the love of my life. I was happily living with his family, until I overheard my future mother-in-law say to her son “I’ll just give those shirts another press as they are not really very well ironed – but what do you expect from an English girl who has no idea about such things?” I was filled with rage. My first thought should have been to sue the Girl Guide movement. But instead, we agreed that she wouldn’t comment on the standard of her son’s shirts again. Looking back, I should have put all the laundry in a big basket and let her do it every week. She was the best housekeeper I have ever met. And she loved ironing!
If I go near horses I find myself quickly red and itchy eyed, unable to breath and with a fear of dying. However I have an inhaler which helps me through this. Not so with ironing. I just keep away from it until the pile is so big that Ijust can’t ignore it any more. Then, as with a lawn that has grown too long, one has to huff and puff, and push and pull the mower until one’s face is beetroot, because the quicker it’s done the better. So with ironing. After the pile has built up to an intolerable height after two months – I attack. As quick as a frightened stag, I speed through, head down, steam dripping down the walls, until my face is red, hair frizzy, neck aching and hands calloused. Tight-lipped. Loathing it all. Oh yes. I hate ironing.
It’s all About the Board…
Says Periwinkle Unwin, Writer and Traveller
Far and away the best tool I have found to make ironing just endurable is a pull-out ironing board, and I must get one built into my new flat before the monster folding one I have inherited kills me. This place belonged to two chaps and they were a lot stronger than I am. One garment a month seems just about right but I do iron table linen – with a mixture of boredom and satisfaction. One seriously intellectual friend delights in ironing and one is given wonderful smooth linen sheets and pillow cases when one stays with her. I believe it can be combined with watching television but can’t quite work out how.
Luckily Louise Dryden, Pastry Chef and Mother, has the answer….
I don’t mind ironing as much as I hate cleaning and weeding, because I can watch telly at the same time. And it is a really good reason to watch crap telly, as I wouldn’t be able to iron and watch a complicated Who-Dunnit at the same time.
We are having Relationship Issues….From Sophie Brooks, Director of the Zeitgeist Consultancy and Mother
On the one hand, I loathe it, as it represents the ultimate waste of time – wear once and the carefully nurtured item becomes churlishly creased. So for years I have outsourced all my ironing, and focused on purchasing clothing which barely requires it.
On the other hand, I am obsessed with crisply ironed bedclothes, particularly duvet covers, which are a huge pain in the backside and vastly time consuming to iron deftly. Sometimes need overtakes the convenient availability of my outsourcer and I am driven to putting up the board myself. Then, ironically, I find myself completely immersed in the job, with a black and white movie on the telly or the Archers on the radio, a cup of steaming tea on the counter – thus a basket of crumpled pillow cases is transformed from drudgery to indulgent solitude.
From Dr Emma Sanderson-Nash, Sussex University Politics Lecturer and Mother
I’ve paid people to do the ironing but have to be very busy to justify it. So at the moment I’m doing it myself. The process of pushing hot metal through crumpled cotton can result in a thing of beauty. I do it when a friend comes round for coffee once a week, and can do a week’s shirts in an hour white we natter.
From Jane Brown, Artist, Picture Framer and Mother
My daughter Elsa and her nextdoor friend Isis decided to start an ironing service during the summer holidays. Business cards were made and distributed to all the fourteen appartments around us. When their first order came in they then asked me if I could teach them how to “do it” as neither of them actually knew how! They ended up with three customers and made quite a bit of cash over the holidays. My daughter decided ironing was really not her thing and got very bored. However her friend wanted to carry on, despite being at boarding school. So guess who is keeping the business ‘alive’ during term time? Yes, ME!! So I can’t hate it or I would never have agreed….
Meanwhile at the Hot End….
From Andy, NHS Administrator
I’m a man and my partner hates ironing, so I CHOOSE to do it all. I actually find it therapeutic. My job entails lots and lots of never ending paperwork. At least with ironing one gets to see the completion of one’s work! I also daydream and use the time to catch up on all my TV recordings. Am I any good at it? Well, my partner’s two best female friends have started using my services. I honestly think I may start some sort of Ironing Agency for those who have more PRESSING things to do!! …feel free to add me to the article and you can even send me some ironing to do whilst I catch up on some more Sky +!!
From Caroline Dunn, Founder of Floyd Promotions
Thank you for your question. And for your inspirational confession that you love ironing one item a month. I now realise that I actually love ironing as well. It all started about two years ago during the run-up to Christmas. I made a little teddy bear on a hand-operated sewing machine. (I now realise that I love using a sewing machine as well!) Near the end, before the stuffing bit, the little bear-body needed all it’s arms and legs and tricky bits and seams ironing. Ahhh.
Until you asked I had absolutely no idea that I loved ironing!
OK…. this is where it gets Steamy
From Jessie Hyde, Web Designer and Mother
The ecstasy of ironing only really struck me when I borrowed someone else’s iron. Someone else who clearly ironed a lot and was willing pay extra to get the real experience. As a result, I test drove the equivalent of a 6-litre-turbo-fuel-injection-iron. I went home and immediately began investigating where to buy such a beauty, an iron that steams effortlessly through crumpled collars and limp tea towels. I soon discovered one claiming to be turbo-fuelled AND to be non-stick and self-cleaning – and it is! One with a steam setting that goes up to 6 and can then be further boosted. Yes! The flex is long and resistant to twisting (don’t ask me how). And not satisfied with that I bought an enormous ironing board and got an extra pad to go on top. Underneath there is room to air and stack folded linen. Bliss. And when all is done I can fit so many more textiles into my drawers. A girl can never have enough textiles. Yes I love to iron. When I am ironing all must be right with the world.