Love & Sex

I Did It for Science: Nude Housecleaning

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Hypothesis:
State your hypothesis in the form of a prediction that can be verified by the results of the experiment.

When Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothing,” perhaps he had nude housecleaning in mind. After all, even strippers need to invest in pasties and stilettos, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve donned a striking new slack-suit for a job interview, only to be shown the door five minutes into the meeting. Maybe it’s time I cashed in on my exhibitionistic tendencies and exchanged my clothes for a feather duster. Would nude housekeeping prove to be a rewarding job, a way of flashing some flesh and scrubbing sinks for profit? Or would it be more about getting dirty than cleaning up?

Materials:

Please list all the materials required for this experiment (including, if applicable, how they were obtained).

  • One canister of Scrubbing Bubbles (They work hard, so you don’t have to.)
  • Three-pack of Scotch-Brite sponges
  • One roll of Bounty paper towels (the quicker-picker-upper)
  • Brillo pads
  • Clorox disinfecting wipes
  • Yellow latex gloves


Method:
In this portion of your report, you must describe, step-by-step, what you did in your lab. It should be specific enough that someone who has not seen the lab can follow the directions and recreate the same lab.

My search for employment began online. I Googled the words “nude housecleaning” in the hope of finding an appropriate temp agency. Unsurprisingly, a link to the "household services" section of Craigslist appeared. When I clicked through, I found a spattering of ads placed by aspiring nude housekeepers mixed in with hundreds of ads placed by clothed housekeepers. It seemed that a well-written ad on Craigslist was my best bet. Since I was conducting my Internet search from my part-time day job (where I’d already been reprimanded for excessive web surfing), I had to work quickly to avoid The Man. After a moment’s deliberation, I typed:

Adorable nude housecleaner will clean your pad spic-and-span for a reasonable fee. Available immediately.

I figured that “adorable” sounded infinitely less conceited than “hot” or “sexy." Plus, I figured men who were seeking nude housekeepers were probably looking more for June Cleaver than Jenna Jameson.
    Moments later, a deluge of e-mails appeared in my inbox. Posting my ad on the coldest weekend of the year had been a stroke of genius. No one was planning to leave his or her apartment. The very idea that someone, anyone, was willing to go outside, let alone take off their clothes, was a phenomenon — a marketing blitz.
    “Do you do bathtubs?” “What is your rate?” and “Can you send me a picture?” were the most common requests. Not knowing how much to charge, I looked to the other ads on Craigslist, but all of the nude housecleaners simply wrote, “e-mail me for rates,” with the exception of one nude housecleaner who was offering his services for free.
    “Ew!” exclaimed my coworker, Angie, who’d been hovering over my shoulder, reading the various ads. The going rate for clothed housekeepers was between ten and twenty dollars per hour. “If they just took their clothes off, they could make a lot more money,” I surmised. “Maybe they need a manager.” Fifty dollars an hour seemed to be a fair price, if not a bit on the cheap side. But because my endeavor was really a science project, I didn’t believe it was ethical to charge premium rates.
    “What’s the best way to clean a bathtub?” I asked Angie. (Not that I don’t clean my bathtub; it’s just that I clean my bathtub with no regard for whether or not I leave scratches.)
    “Scrubbing Bubbles," she responded confidently. "Definitely Scrubbing Bubbles.”
    “Really?” My mother had used Scrubbing Bubbles in the ’70s, and I was sure bathtub-cleaning technology must have advanced since then. “What if I faint from the fumes? I don’t want to end up naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.”
    “Maybe you should wear one of those paper masks,” she suggested.
    “That’s not really erotic, is it?” I was going to look silly enough bent over in unflattering positions, my loose flesh flapping about. I didn’t need to compound the ridiculousness with a mask.
    After work, I went by the drugstore to peruse the cleaning-supply section. Much to my surprise, I noticed that Scrubbing Bubbles had multiplied into an entire line of products, including toilet brushes, Fizz-it toilet tablets and mildew-stain removers. The new products featured angry-looking bubble mascots with arched eyebrows and aggressive expressions. I wondered if the new, evil-looking bubbles were a reflection of American politicians in the new millennium — at war with an unseen enemy, going about their business blindly, only to be washed down the drain eventually. I was overcome with sadness. Then I realized that the old-school Scrubbing Bubbles canister still featured the happy-looking, bristle-mustachioed bubbles of yore. This cheered me.
    On my way home from Duane Reade, I stopped in at the local video store, hoping to pick up a copy of Maid in Manhattan for inspiration. Maybe my first client would be a Ray Fiennes look-alike who would whisk me out of destitution and into a life of leisure and couture. Predictably, I could not locate said J. Lo vehicle — this being a downtown hipster video store — and I was too embarrassed to ask the surly cashier if they carried it. Instead I rented Murderous Maids, a French film about two incestuous sisters who are also maids and kill their employers. Probably a little more realistic.
    At home I slipped into my footie pajamas and popped open my blueberry laptop, whereupon I began e-mailing current photos of myself to potential employers. I made an appointment with “Tony,” an Upper West Sider who wanted to see me the next day at the unreasonable hour of nine-thirty a.m. We agreed on a minimum of two hours of cleaning.
    Another potential client named “Ryan” — who had yet to see my photo — sent me his cellphone number and requested I call immediately. He’s awfully trusting, I thought, dialing the number.
    Ryan insisted he needed his apartment cleaned that very night, no later than ten p.m. It was now eight-thirty. I hesitated. For starters, I hadn’t washed my hair in two days and had begun to resemble a lost member of the Manson family. Not to mention the five o’clock shadow that had begun to form around my pudenda. I imagined that greeting a client with a stubbly vag was a nude-housecleaning faux pas. How I would get cleaned up and get uptown in under two hours was beyond me, but I agreed to it.
    “I just have two main concerns,” Ryan said before giving me his address. “The first is that while you claim you’re ‘adorable,’ I worry that you’ll show up and look like Jabba the Hut.”
    I assured him that I was not a legless, tapered slug covered in slime, but rather more like Princess Leia, and could even wear my long, raven hair in dual buns if he so desired. This cinched the deal. Within every man who was breathing during the early ’80s, there lies dormant a terrible fear of Jabba the Hut and an overwhelming fixation with Princess Leia. (Specifically when she is bound in chains by the gruesome Jabba; it’s the greatest BDSM scene in cinematic history.)
    “I do have small breasts, so if you want a nude housecleaner with huge breasts, that’s not me. Plus, I have a crazy scar on my stomach.” I figured it was best to get these two things out of the way immediately.
    “That’s okay, but my other concern,” he added. “Is that because you are going to be naked, you won’t do a good job cleaning my apartment.”
    “You have nothing to worry about,” I assured him. Secretly, I thought, Oh shit, he really wants me to clean. Cleaning, unlike getting naked, is an actual skill I wasn’t sure I’d mastered. I jotted down Ryan’s address, leapt off the phone and quickly Googled "how to clean wooden floors.” What if I ruined his fancy Upper East Side apartment?
    I gussied up in record time and ran to the train. My bladder began to swell with urgency; I had traveled outside my “pee radius.” My mind raced with concerns. Would his apartment be well heated? Would he be a sociopath? Would he get a boner? Would he not get a boner? Would he want me to polish his family jewels? Would I get turned on?
    The prospect of doing something so naughty already had me a bit titillated. As the subway rumbled beneath me, my vaginal walls began to contract, partly from the need to pee and partly from excitement. On the street, as I turned a corner onto Madison Avenue and strolled past a group of mink-clad women, my tattered faux-fur coat and pink-streaked hair made me feel conspicuous. I hope the doorman realizes I’m not a prostitute, I thought.
     But what if I were a prostitute? It’s nothing to be ashamed of. At least prostitutes get to lie down on the job. Here, I’d be naked and scrubbing toilets. Prostitutes would laugh at me. As sex work goes, naked housecleaning is as low as it gets on the food chain. Except for the guy who used to pay to lick come off peep-show stalls in the Times Square of yesteryear. That guy is just below me on the sex-work ladder.


Observations/Results:
Quantify the effects of the experiment.

When Ryan answered the door, I was delighted to see that he was a preppy redhead. Even though I tend to date men who are more like the Fonz, I am most attracted to Richie Cunningham types — wholesome redheads. (I know that Ralph Malph was also a redhead, but I preferred Richie’s dry sense of humor to Ralph’s reliance on sight gags.) Sadly, the Richie Cunninghams of the world want nothing to do with me.
    “Is it warm enough for you?” Ryan asked shyly, as I ran to his bathroom to relieve myself. “There are a lot of elderly people in this building, so I don’t even need to turn my heat on.”
    “Do you think they’d want their apartments cleaned?” I asked.
    “Probably not,” he replied.
    As I ambled out of his bathroom, I began to remove my clothing in a manner that was matter-of-fact and probably unerotic, perhaps because I was now wearing giant yellow dishwashing gloves. Sort of a shame, since my hands are my best feature. I’d planned to bring a pair of silver stilettos along but had forgotten them in the mad rush uptown. Soon I was buck nekkid. It didn’t feel much different than being clothed. At no point did I feel shame or shyness. Maybe I’m becoming a naturist, but it just felt . . . right.
    As for Ryan’s apartment, it didn’t look dirty. In fact, it seemed cleaner than my own.
    “Do you like wine?” he asked.
    I know I shouldn’t have accepted a glass of wine from a stranger with whom I was now naked in a strange apartment far from my home, but the answer slipped out before logic could catch up with my mouth. “Yes, I like wine very much,” I answered, suddenly feeling like a gullible protagonist in an ABC After-School Special.
    “Great, I have some white wine in the fridge. Only problem is there are no clean glasses to drink it out of.”
    In the history of the world, I don’t think two glasses have ever been cleaned as quickly as they were at that moment. Within seconds, we were sipping wine from two sparkling, streak-free goblets.
    “Cheers!” Ryan pronounced as we clinked glasses.
    “Back to work,” I said, pouring dishwashing liquid onto the plates in his sink.
    “Whoa!” he exclaimed. “That dishwashing liquid is very thick. It leaves film on the plates if you use too much.”
    Was Ryan here to bask in the glow of my nakedness or to backseat-drive my every move? Would he soon slip on a white glove and follow me around, like Leona Helmsley checking for dust marks at the Park Lane Hotel? The distasteful Joy brand dishwashing liquid featured a sunglass-sporting lemon on the label. “I don’t like the looks of that guy,” I said, noting the lemon’s malicious grin. Apparently an evil-mascot trend is afoot in the world of cleaning products.
    “I got it at the ninety-nine-cent store,” Ryan admitted.
    “You should never buy your cleaning supplies at the ninety-nine-cent store. I’ve made that mistake. Things always end up sticky or smelly.” I diluted the Joy with water and continued scrubbing. The silence grew.
    “Why did you hire a naked cleaning lady as opposed to a regular cleaning lady?” I finally inquired.
    “I guess it’s just cool to have a naked lady around.”
    “Naked ladies are cool,” I agreed. Truer words were never spoke.
    “Plus," he noted, "I like the way your breasts jiggle when you scrub the dishes."
    “My breasts don’t really jiggle," I said, calmly scouring a serving plate. "I’ve been wearing a training bra since I was thirteen."
    “They jiggle enough for me.”
    I looked down. Sure enough, each swipe of the Brillo pad facilitated a chain reaction.
    “Tell me about your scar,” Ryan suggested.
    “A lot of people think it’s a C-section scar, but it’s actually from a ruptured appendix. The doctors misdiagnosed my stomach pains as gas, and a few hours later I was chewing Pepcid AC’s at home when it burst. Soon thereafter,

gangrenated appendix matter poisoned my blood. I almost died.”
    If Ryan had a boner, it must have wilted as I described the oozing, bloody hole on my stomach that I was forced to pack daily with Bacitracin-covered gauze. When I looked up from my monologue, his face was sheet white. He looked like he was going to be ill.
    “If you squint, my scar actually looks like a second ass,” I offered.
    “Yeah, except for the belly button,” he concurred, squinting.
    I handed him the last of the dishes, which he dutifully dried. “What’s next?”
    After scouring the microwave and countertop, Ryan refilled my wine glass and checked his watch. When you’re paying fifty bucks an hour, it’s important to prioritize. “Well, we don’t have time for laundry,” he deduced. I heaved a massive sigh of relief. When it comes to cleaning, laundry is my Achilles heel. I guessed Ryan wouldn’t be too pleased about wearing a toddler-sized shirt to work on Monday.
    “Your floors look very shiny and clean,” I noted, attempting to save myself from cleaning them.
    “Yeah, they’re pretty clean. I guess we’ll move onto the bathroom.”
    In the bathroom, I pulled out my weaponry — the Scrubbing Bubbles I’d become so emotionally involved with — and sprayed a heavy layer onto the bathtub’s surface.
    “What does it do now?” he asked.
    “It does the work for us,” I said. “Which means I can move onto the sink.”
    As I scoured the sink, Ryan and I chatted like old friends. Maybe it was because we were around the same age, or maybe it was because we bonded over the varying levels of high-SPF sunscreen I found in his cabinet, but I felt comfortable around him.
    “This SPF 30 looks a little old. You might wanna throw it out,” I said.
    “I didn’t realize I would get a running commentary on the products in my bathroom.”
    “What’s this? Hydrating seaweed and mineral-water spray? Do you actually use this?”
    “No, and I have no idea where it came from. Do you want it?”
    “Sure!”
    Once we’d fully exhausted the topic of his cabinet contents, the conversation turned to love woes, ambitions and desires. We veered from mindless chatter into deep conversation. Like Alice consoling Jan over an unrequited love on The Brady Bunch, I consoled Ryan over his poor choices and hankering for his ex-girlfriend, and he listened as I described my exasperatingly unpredictable love life. “Do you ever want to get married?” I asked.
    “Yeah, you?”
    “Yeah, but only so I can wear a pink mini-dress and matching veil to my wedding.”
    What life choices had we made, we pondered, that had brought us to this strange point in our lives? Maybe the wine or the cleaning fumes impaired my judgment, or maybe I thought it would make the story more sordid, but I desperately wanted to kiss Ryan at that moment, even though he claimed he was physically holding out for that special someone — an actual girlfriend or, in the best possible scenario, his ex-girlfriend, whom he still loved. This just made me crazier, as it fulfilled every Richie Cunningham fantasy I’d harbored since well before puberty. And the worst part was that Ryan seemed to think of me as his naked friend, platonically hanging out with him in the bathroom.

    As my mind quietly conjured debauched scenarios in which I corrupted the seemingly uncorrupted Ryan, glistening vaginade began to flow. Quickly, I turned my attention back to the bathtub before I was forced to mop up a puddle on the floor beneath me.
     I triumphantly ran my Scotch-Brite pad over the tub. “I can see myself,” I marveled. Indeed, his bathtub gleamed like Oz in the distance, but as I stood up, the resulting head rush almost knocked me off my feet. Maybe the paper-mask idea hadn’t been such a bad one.
    Ryan glanced at his watch. I figured that he didn’t want to spend a thousand dollars for me to chitchat his ear off all night while subsequently emptying his wine rack. As we left the bathroom, I walked over to his bed and lay down. “I think I’m inebriated,” I said bluntly.
    Either Ryan was the most gentlemanly human alive — or he just thought I was a pathetic nude- housecleaning whore — but nothing actually happened, even though I suggested we do some necking. “Don’t you want to make out with me?” I asked from the edge of his bed, still wearing the giant yellow gloves.
    “I think it’s really cool that my nude housecleaner is coming onto me, but I can’t.”
    “Damn!”
    “You can sleep over if you need to,” he offered.
    “I have to get home to my Chihuahua. We’ve never spent a night apart,” I explained, searching for the contents of my wardrobe and tossing my bra into my purse.
    “In that case, I insist you take a cab. I’ll pay for it.”
    Is there a factory that makes Ryans? I wondered, as he escorted me out the door and put me in a cab. As the trees of Central Park East disappeared behind me, I felt a little sad about the whole experience. Maybe it was the way Alice felt after consoling Jan, when she realized she really wasn’t part of the Brady Bunch. She could serve them dinner but could never eat with them, because she was a slave. That’s exactly what I had been, no matter how much I enjoyed it.
    The following day, my “nature sounds” alarm clock announced the ungodly hour of eight a.m. with a cock’s crow. In a haze, I stumbled to the shower. Suddenly nude housecleaning didn’t look so fun now that it was morning and I was hung over. However, upon opening my purse to retrieve my lipstick, I realized I had two fresh fifty-dollar bills. This made my scientific endeavor seem a lot more worthwhile.
    Today, my nude housecleaning would be like a mafia hit. I would get in and out as quickly as possible — no wine, no deep conversation, no yukkin’ it up. When I arrived at my destination, I was shocked to discover that my client lived in the very hotel where I’d had my first same-sex experience. (Long story: I got turned on while sleeping next to a bald lesbian named Pam.) Because the security guard seemed to be dozing off — much like me — I made my way to the third floor, where Tony greeted me at his door.
    While Tony wasn’t physically offensive, he was definitely not my type. I like my men breakable and spindly, with skin that looks like it’s spent several years fading in a cave. Tony was tan and muscular. He walked with the pigeon-toed gait of someone who went to the gym twice a day. Sure enough, I spied muscle-building protein formula on top of his fridge and was immediately turned off.
    This, coupled with the fact that my libido doesn’t work until after five p.m., meant that I was in for a mundane two hours. I’ve got to clean as quickly as possible and then get the hell home to my bed, I thought, stripping my clothes off and laying them on a chair.
    Apparently my arrival had interrupted Tony’s cartoon watching, as he immediately reclined on his chair and recommenced watching Pokemon. He told me he liked my photos and found me fetching, so I wasn’t too taken aback by the fact that he was riveted to the television, not my naked body.
    “I usually have a clothed cleaning girl do this,” he explained. “But I saw your ad and thought this might be fun for a change.” He instructed me to start with his bathroom, mainly the bathtub. Apparently, all men passionately detest bathtub cleaning. (Since my tryst with the nude- housecleaning profession, I have conferred with other males on this subject, and they have professed that this is 100% true.)
    I repeated the various steps I had performed only a few hours earlier at Ryan’s, letting those crazy bubbles initiate their war on germs while I sponged little black hairs away from the general vicinity. Pikachu giggled like a schoolgirl in the distance as I sprayed Windex onto the mirror, revealing a reflection of myself wherein I looked old and tragic.
    There truly isn’t much to report from this session, save the various steps I followed to sterilize Tony’s apartment. At one point, I cleaned Tony’s bedroom mirror with a glass cleaner whose label declared it was for the bathroom, whereupon he tried to stop me. I had to explain that just because a cleaning product declared it was for the bathroom, didn’t mean you couldn’t use it in the bedroom, and vice versa. As long as you don’t mix bleach and ammonia, it should be smooth sailing.
    Vacuuming followed bathroom sterilization, which was followed by dusting. I’m sorry if I’ve given the collective readership of this report a softie, but I was bored out of my mind too. After almost an hour, I announced that I was finished and reached for my panties. “Hmm, we’ve still got fifteen minutes,” Tony declared, checking his watch. “You don’t do anything besides cleaning, do you?”
    I wasn’t sure if this question meant, “Do you do anything sexual besides cleaning?” or “Do you do other things in general besides cleaning?” I was about to say, “Well, I like to walk my dog, paint and eat a lot of Mexican food” when I noticed the lascivious expression on Tony’s face.
    I think he wanted a blowjob. But I will never know, because he didn’t ask, and I certainly wasn’t going to suggest it. When requesting sexual favors from your nude housecleaner — or from anyone at all — it’s important to be as specific as possible. “How about a back massage?” I proposed.
    Removing my yellow gloves, I rubbed my hands together and worked my fingers down into his flesh, as he lay upon his beloved couch. “You do that really well,” he sighed, a smile crossing his lips. Maybe he wouldn’t notice the shitty job I did cleaning his floor.
    After a fifteen-minute rubdown, Tony stood up and handed me a fifty-dollar bill with a totally dissatisfied look. “You said no funny business,” he smiled, shrugging.
    Truth is, I was happy to get dressed and flee from his apartment. After only two sessions, nude housecleaning had lost its novelty.


Conclusion:
Summarize your findings. Don’t forget to attempt to identify possible variables that could result in different findings for others trying to recreate your test results.

     Whether you’re naked, clothed or half-dressed, cleaning is actual work. The two main bonuses to cleaning naked: you won’t soil your clothes, and you’ll make thirty dollars more per hour than a regular maid.
     If you’re being sued for unpaid medical bills (like me) or if your landlord is simply up your ass for back rent, nude housecleaning is a great way to make cold, hard cash. It’s also vastly less taxing than twirling around a mirrored pole in six-inch stilettos. This is the perfect form of sex work if you aren’t a good dancer or if you have extreme exhibitionist tendencies, in which case this type of employment might also save you the hassle of getting arrested.
     But I am hardly an expert. The big variable in this experiment was the employer. My session with Ryan felt more like fun than work, and my session with Tony dragged on. This could have also been the result of another variable: the time of day. Like Garfield, I hate mornings and should not have been naked, cleaning, or even out of bed on a Saturday before noon.
     As I walked from Tony’s to the subway, the cold air froze my face and my teeth actually chattered. It was too cold to be naked anywhere, indoors or out. Even Thoreau recognized that clothes were necessary for warmth sometimes. Ducking into Hot ‘n’ Crusty for a cup of hot tea, I had the distinct feeling that I never wanted to get naked or clean another apartment again. For the next week, I thought, the only sponge I want to see wears square underwear and works at The Krusty Crab.


I Did It for Science appears monthly.

Photographs by Jason Thompson.

©2005 Rev. Jen Miller and Nerve.com