x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Housework - or else

Wash the dishes, gentlemen, and take out the garbage. You'll be happier for it – one way or another.

Choose the answer with which you agree, gentlemen, but bear in mind that you will be showing your reply to your wife later:

Men who take on a larger share of household chores:

a) are pathetic

b) need a hobby

c) are happier than other men

The answer, it turns out, is C. Sociologists examined survey data from seven European countries and found that males who report doing more housework score a little higher on general well-being than men who do less. These men also reported a more satisfactory "work-life balance". The two factors together are taken as "happiness".

TheTelegraph, which reported the findings, notes that researchers had expected that wives would be happier if men did more around the house, but women's scores barely varied at different male-effort levels.

There are different ways to interpret this data. Do these men take sincere pleasure in being true help-mates, sharing life's daily burdens with their wives? Or are they merely afraid of those same beloved spouses?

At the risk of sounding cynical, we detect one other possibility: the researchers on this project were not, by any chance, all women?