I honestly believe that the manufacturers of washing machines design them to be used by women. I in no way say that in a chauvinistic way, I just think that women seem to be more in touch with the complexities of the modern machines. All those buttons and displays relating to water levels, pre-soaking and gentle cycles seem so confusing to me. There is, however, something about washing my clothes that bewilders me even more than those controls; why do my underpants get turned inside-out when they are washed?
I have, although not of my own choosing, inherited the position of “Director of Laundry” in my home. In no way should you be the least bit impressed by that lofty title as my duties involve nothing more than operating my washer and dryer and there are no subordinates to oversee. I merely place all of the articles, regardless of color and type, into the washing machine, close the lid and press down on the same buttons I always push. I wait until a familiar sounding bell rings, then transfer the nicely cleaned articles into the waiting dryer.
I began to do my own laundry approximately three years ago. At first I paid little attention to the issue of inside-out under pants as I was only concerned with the complexities involved in the machine’s operation. I ignored some of the touch activated buttons with names like, “pre-soak,” bright-white” and “color.” I noticed the control labeled “gentle” but I considered my clothing to be at the very least sturdy so I ignored that feature as well. I decided to wash any items deposited into the tub using only the control labeled “normal wash.”
Once the laundry routine became relatively humdrum I began to give more attention to the items as I transferred them from the washing machine to the dryer. It was then that the issue of inside-out underpants came to my attention.
At first I assumed that I may have placed those under garments in the machine in that unorthodox position so I began to consciously examine the shorts prior to placing them into the washer. I ensured that they were not inside-out and deliberately and methodically inspected them prior to placing the items into the dryer. Much to my amazement, every piece of underpants was turned inside out and as confusing, if not more so, all the other items removed from the machine were just as I had placed them into the washer; not reversed.
After the passing of time and several weekly wash days I decided to conduct an experiment. I placed a number of items into the washing machine right-side-out but I placed three pair of under pants into the same machine inside-out. I stood alongside the machine for more than thirty minutes as it soaked and spun and, well who really knows what goes on inside there. When that bell finally rang I opened the door fully expecting to find the three pair of pants to be right-side-out. However, every one of those underpants was still inside-out. The machine had not reversed them after all.
I examined the machine’s control panel searching for an overlooked underpants control. Was there an “inside-out” button that had gone carelessly unnoticed? After several minutes of careful examination I failed to locate any button or display that mentioned a feature that would reverse the items of clothing to be washed. If the machine was intentionally designed to reverse the orientation of the pants during one of the wash cycles I wondered why the design engineer hadn’t also built a feature into the process that would return the items to their original, and correct, orientation prior to the end of the wash.
I spent an afternoon perusing the machine’s owner’s manual but found no mention of the strange occurrence either in the operating instructions or problems segment. I thought it possible that an employee at the factory where the machine was manufactured may have wired the motor to run in the wrong direction so I pulled the washing machine away from its place against the laundry room wall and removed the back panel. I saw no indication that the motor could be easily rewired allowing the tub’s rotation to be changed from counter clockwise to clockwise.
I finally emailed the manufacturer, and in great detail, described my concerns but that email went curiously, and to my disdain, unanswered. Was this part of a widespread laundry conspiracy that had yet gone unreported?
I considered washing my underpants twice believing that the first wash would turn the garments inside-out and, with great optimism and a small degree of confidence, possibly the second washing would reverse the process and return the clothes to their proper orientation. But wait a minute; I needed to think “outside the box.” The solution to my problem was suddenly so very clear and simple. How could I have possibly overlooked it?
I drove to the local Walmart store and purchased the one and only tool that could bring an end to my frustration. As I drove home I silently continued to reassure myself that this would work; it had to work.
I parked my car in the garage and walked directly to the dresser and the drawer that stored all of my under garments. I swiftly removed each and every item from the dresser drawer and, using the new orange handled scissors, I cut the tags from every pair of underpants. Now, without the discarded sewn-in labels, I wouldn’t be able to detect the orientation of the garments as they were removed from the washing machine. My solution to the problem was not only ingenious but simple as well. As the saying goes, “what you don’t know about inside-out under pants can’t hurt you.”
If my fixation with the desire to acquire the correct positioning of a select number of pieces of laundry as they exit the washing machine seems somewhat obsessive and abnormal, just wait until I tell you about my concerns with my oven.