Lead him by his nose to housework

Last updated 05:00 17/03/2014

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Ladies, I hear your frustration.

Your husband wouldn't know the hot end of a Hoover if it sucked his neck and gave him a hickey, right?

Your partner spends more time on the toilet with the newspaper than he ever has reading the print on the toilet duck and cleaning it? I get it.

It's dire, but if we're serious about putting a mop into your man's hands and having Aussie blokes blow the dust off something other than old copies of Rugby League Week, we need to lead 'em by the nose.

Scents such as citrus and pine are admirably gender-neutral, but if you're looking to get a lounge lizard into the laundry, why don't we try fragrances that speak to men, such as ''wet asphalt'', ''bearing grease'', ''new car'', ''leather armchair'', ''sticky buds'', ''gunpowder'' or ''WD40''?

You pick up a can of Glen-20 ''country scent'' and the literal man wonders, ''Which country?'' Hopefully not ''American subway in summer'' or ''Chinese megalopolis with a particulate smog index above 400''. You feel me?

Having done my own washing and housework for nigh on 30 years, it puzzles me why consumer goods companies don't pitch their products at the many Australian men who know their way around a Whirlpool.

We need all the encouragement we can get, apparently. According to a recent report by the OECD, Aussie males do only 93 minutes of routine housework a day, compared with a woman's 168 minutes.

As a single dad, it's always amusing being told how much work I'm shirking in my own home, but even I'll concede fragrances such as patchouli or ylang ylang aren't getting me excited about scrubbing the shower.

If nothing else, cleaning products scented with rose petal, lavender or geranium reinforce that the work being done is ''feminine''. They don't resonate with your average bloke like fragrances such as ''old sawmill'', ''surfboard wax'', ''single malt'' or ''burnt chop'' would.

It might sound counter-intuitive, but if I could make my bathroom smell like fresh footy park mud does when you're packing into the second row of a scrum, I'd buy a six-pack of that cleaner.

If someone could bottle the fragrance of that first-quarter-second of a lit cigarette, jeez, I might even use it to clean the coagulated beetroot juice out of the vegie crisper in my fridge. Surely it would appeal more to men than whatever the hell Shower Power stinks of?

As with most things you can package and sell, the Americans are streets ahead of us in this department.

The mega-selling laundry detergent Tide released a version back in 2012 with the Super Bowl-winning quarterback Drew Brees on the bottle.

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It featured ''victory fresh scent'', which, if we take the word of Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now, smells like ''napalm in the morning'' and probably doesn't do massive sales in Vietnam.

The Poms? They have ''Distinctive'' washing powder for men, which promises dudes they'll ''be seductive with the fragrance of amber and sandalwood'' and is kind of insulting. Most men consider themselves sexy enough already, bent over a front-loader wearing their last pair of clean undies.

''Dirty Boy'' is also an actual, niche US laundry detergent based in Pennsylvania that comes in three ''manly scents'' - ''white water'', ''main event'' and ''making a mint''.

If that's the fragrance of a stack of $50 notes, I reckon they are on to a winner.

- Sydney Morning Herald


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