The college male has a very complex system of laundry. Our female counterparts typically did not understand it, because they simply washed clothes when they were dirty. However at $5 a load you typically were broke as well and enjoyed us paying for all your mochas or Boone’s Farm (whichever the case may be). Let me explain how the system worked:

First you had your clean clothes. Those are the ones that were recently washed and at this point unworn. Those were used for dates and certain social outings. If those clothes stayed reasonably clean after the first use they moved on to class clothes. At this point a cycle begins. Clothes were worn until they showed visible dirt and/or had a slight odor.

Then they were sprayed with Febreze, sometimes thrown in the dryer, and moved to the “just guys” category. Here we worked out, played racquetball/football/sand volleyball/basketball in them, or just hung out. After each use they were Febrezed again, sometimes thrown in the dryer with similar items for 15 minutes, and then smelled.

At some point these clothes move into the “stank” category. These clothes smelled to the point that Febreze does not help, or were too dirty for a Tide pen to clean. These clothes were promptly piled up in the dirty clothes basket until a) the pile overflowed to produce a pile equal to the height of the basket. b) The stank over powered the air freshener. c) you had a girl over that you have been on less than 3 dates with. When this threshold was met it was time to go visit your mom or steal a freshman’s washer shortly after he put his clothes in. Leaving you with plenty of money to take the girl in chemistry class out for dinner at Arby’s and smell good doing it.

This highly sophisticated system has now come back to good use. Newborns do this thing people call “spitting up”. Really it is just a cute term for her puking all over you, herself, and occasionally the dog. However this comes in varying degrees that have an equal action required. Like the freshmen in college, I did not understand this at first. We tripled our laundry washing. Now I have the following progressive system.

First, like college, there is the fresh and clean. This is worn to work and/or around other people who are not parents, alcoholics, or in college. Second is droll or a small spit up. This case you just wipe with a burp cloth, reuse both the shirt and the cloth, continue with previous usage until the next category is reached.

Then there is a minor spit up. This usually leaves a bit of a mark. Clean off with a cloth or spray the dog down. Only re-wear these clothes around other parents of newborns, alcoholics, or people in college. Your shirt will smell like puke, but chances are their shirt does too and they will never notice it. Continue until the next category.

Then you get a major spit up. This usually goes down the front of your shirt, dries white, and is completely un-concealable. Wipe with a cloth, replace the cloth, continue wearing the shirt only around the baby and/or baby momma.

Finally you have the soaker, sometimes known as the barf sandwich. A soaker is to the point where everything, including sometimes your underwear, is completely saturated in someone digested baby formula. Clothes must be washed at this point. A sandwich happens when she is on your chest and it goes between the two of you, both sets of clothes must be washed.

The stank/funk of clothes is irrelevant in this system because you never actually reach the point where your clothes stink or are visibly dirty before any of the above categories. Always re-check which category you are in before leaving the house and make sure it is appropriate for the expected company.


  • Kelli Marks

    Last night at Andrea’s party I looked down and noticed that my pants had icing on them. I’m just thankful that my clothing mishaps smell like sugar and not puke.
    I have an oddly similar process with my dressier clothes and jeans (jeans as we all know don’t get dirty). Problem is, after several ‘clean wears’ I lose count. It’s too much to keep up with.

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