Never before has the sentence “Fold my laundry” caused such a stir.

Having a relationship with someone outside of your own culture gives you the chance to experience a whole new world of everyday behaviours and societal norms that you might never have otherwise known about. While some of these new discoveries might be annoying, others are so eye-opening they make you question your own previously held beliefs in such a profound way that you want to share this new-point-of-view with everyone around you.

That’s what happened to Japanese Twitter user @odencentury recently, who recounted the tale of her foreign-born boyfriend in a series of Tweets online. According to @odencentury, who currently lives in Northern Europe, she had a culture-shock experience when she first started dating her boyfriend, and it was so profound it’s stayed with her to this day. Her eyes were opened after this event, and she wants other women in Japan to know about what she experienced so that their eyes might be opened too.

“When I first started dating my boyfriend, I went over to his house where he was living by himself, and while he was taking the washing in from the verandah he said, “Fold that” so I just started folding it like I normally would. Then, when he came back from the verandah he said, “Hang on, how come you’re really folding it!?” and rushed over and picked it up.”

“He said things like: “It was just a joke. It’s my laundry so there’s no reason why I’d make you fold it. Don’t you think that would be strange? Even if you get a request like that, you don’t have to do it. This sort of thing is wrong. Get a hold of yourself.” But for me, who was brought up in Japan, I wouldn’t think it’s a joke for a man to say something like “Fold my laundry.””

“When he said that, it was as if saying “I made my girlfriend fold my laundry” would make him feel really guilty, but he seemed just as shocked that I would be docile and just do as I was told. I remember he said to me pretty strongly, “From now on, even if someone tells you to do something like that, it doesn’t mean you should do as they say.”

“Even though I thought of saying to him, “You just told me to fold your laundry”, after he talked himself hoarse, I’m sure he would’ve just said, “I’m going to do it myself”. For him, “Fold my laundry” was like a joke because it was such an incredulous statement.”

“However, at that time he told me, “Treat yourself with more importance.” This, just from folding your boyfriend’s laundry? By doing this, he thought I wasn’t respecting myself. In Japan, it’s normal for a girlfriend to clean her boyfriend’s room and go over to his place to cook for him. So I was super shocked. I won’t ever ever forget it.”

“For him to be this shocked at his girlfriend folding his laundry made me wonder, “What on earth was the type of culture he was brought up in?” But when I came to his country, I saw that all members of a couple or family prepare meals, and no one person is in charge of doing all the housework and laundry. Instead, people who live together take turns at doing the chores.”

Although @odencentury hasn’t disclosed the exact nationality of her foreign-born boyfriend, many Japanese women in similar relationships left comments on her Twitter thread, saying they experienced the same type of culture-shock scenarios with their non-Japanese boyfriends.

While it’s true that many Japanese women find themselves stuck in a rut when it comes to being boxed into traditional gender roles within families and romantic relationships, stereotypes and expectations are slowly changing as more and more women join the workforce in Japan.

Which means more and more Japanese men find themselves folding their own laundry these days. Although with technology giving us things like Laundroid, the laundry-folding robot, we might be coming closer to an era where laundry is one less thing for couples to argue about too.

Source: My Game News Flash
Featured image: Pakutaso