Herald and Journal, March 12, 2001

Is ironing a thing of the past?


Does anyone out there still iron?

It may sound like a silly question to those of you who are dyed-in-the-wool ironers, but I can't help but wonder how many people still indulge. I'll bet if a study was done, it would show that the sale of irons and ironing boards has plummeted over the last few decades.

Frankly, I don't care if ironing has gone the way of the horse and buggy. I hate doing it.

There are probably many reasons why women don't iron any more. The main one would be the invention of so-called miracle fabrics that don't need ironing.

I bought a new pair of pants recently that were marked "permanent press." What a joke. I think we need a little truth in advertising here. They should have been labeled permanent pressing, because that's what they require.

I won't claim to be the most diligent ironer in the world. Not even close! When you iron something, though, you should at least be able to tell it afterward.

I grimaced as I took my new pair of pants out of the dryer for the first time. I had expected them to float from the dryer wrinkle-free and ready to wear.

What greeted my eyes was a wrinkled mess. That pretty picture in my mind was soon littered with empty spray starch cans.

I actually ironed those pants three times. Each time, I could hardly tell I had ever begun. I was so incensed that I wore them anyway.

"Let people think I slept in my clothes!" I declared. They probably did.

I recall, as a teenager, my mother telling me that she had started ironing her own clothes when she was a girl because she didn't think her mother did a good enough job. That little story was the equivalent of the torch being passed from mother to daughter. From then on, I ironed my own clothes.

When I say the torch was passed, it almost looked like it, literally. But then, who's going to notice a few scorch marks here and there anyway?

Several years and a few kids into my ironing career, I read a "Dear Abby" column that made me shake my head in disbelief. A woman wrote in to Abby complaining that her mother-in-law thought she was lazy because she didn't iron everything, including her sheets.

I was incredulous. Iron sheets? That was the most ludicrous thing I had ever read. This confirmed my belief that some people had way too much time on their hands.

When I crawl into bed, I'm certainly not looking for wrinkles. I've just witnessed more than I care to see in my bathroom mirror.

I'm lucky if I find the time to iron things that really need it. I have often joked that my kids actually outgrew some of their clothes before I got around to ironing them.

I finally adopted this handy little method of pressing my clothes in the dryer. I throw them in at low temperature with a dryer sheet and tumble the wrinkles out before I put them on. The ones that are resistant to this method force me to spend at least a few minutes slaving over a hot iron.

Recently, I confessed to one of the young gals at work that I use the dryer method of ironing. I was more than a little impressed when she admitted that she did the same thing, throwing a damp towel in with her clothes to help ease out the wrinkles. I was so moved, that it almost brought tears to my eyes. I think there may be hope for the younger generation yet.

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