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Flawed by Design

I firmly believe no one should be allowed to design products for others unless they have extensive experience in using, cleaning and maintaining that kind of item and the space it occupies. This means that, in general, men should not design anything. Let me clarify with some examples.

Toilets

All men use them. A lot of men maintain them. Very few clean them (or the space around them). Thus, they are full of design flaws.

Flaw #1: They have all these little ridges and indents that collect splashes. (Guess where the splashes come from. Hint: not the person who gets stuck cleaning them away.) Yes, porcelain is heavy and toilets may be in part be designed that way to relieve some of the weight, but wouldn’t it be better to have streamlined hollow walls?

Flaw #2: If a toilet is 18″ wide, a man will try to cram it into a space that is 20″ wide. That means that to clean the sides of the toilet and the space around it, a person has to pretty much stick their head inside the bowl. (You remember who that person is, don’t you?) It’s akin to making parking spaces that are just a few inches wider than a car. Oh, wait, they do that too.

There are other flaws but I think I’ve made my point.

Women’s clothes

A few men wear them, but that doesn’t qualify them to design them, because they aren’t shaped like women. A few men clean them, in a manner of speaking, and a very few maintain them. Actually, I’m not sure of that last. At any rate, no man has yet managed to design anything that is comfortable and practical.

Design flaw #1: This one makes me wonder whether the designers have actually ever seen a woman. The proportions are all wrong. And don’t even get me started on “unisex” or “one size fits all”. I’ll bet you a dollar to a donut that men don’t buy anything labelled “unisex”, and I’ve never seen anything labelled “one size fits all” in men’s clothing.

Design flaw #2: They leave too much skin exposed, like the designers are only allowed a square foot or so of material. The result is, we freeze when it’s cold and sunburn when it’s hot. Look at what people are wearing at a party or fancy restaurant. The men are wearing long-sleeved shirts, jackets, ties, socks, possible a vest. Women are wearing backless, sleeveless and almost frontless dresses. What are the odds any temperature would suit everyone? The women shiver , the men sweat . And turn the air conditioning up.

Design flaw #3: Impractical material. A garment may be made of washable material, but if it’s lined, the lining isn’t, so it has to be dry-cleaned. Of course, a lot of clothing isn’t washable. The label may claim it is, but it shrinks, runs or falls apart after one or two washes. I believe this is a a devious plan to make women buy more clothes. (As if they need an excuse!)

Houses

Men definitely use them often maintain at least some aspects of them, but seldom clean them. Ergo, per my criteria, they shouldn’t design them.

Design flaw #1: Inadequate and inaccessible storage. There are never enough closets. Hello! We have seasons here! That means we need closets for out of season clothes too. And places to store boots. And sports equipment. Then there’s that weird corner cupboard in the kitchen, the one you have to be a contortionist to get to the back of.

Design flaw #2: No utility room. Houses these days may have a den, living room, family room, playroom, and 1.5 baths for every family member, but seldom a utility room. Apparently the architects expect us to fill our cleaning pails in the kitchen sink or maybe the bathtub – if there is a bathtub. Those seem to be going out of favour, too, replaced by showers.

Cars

All right, I’ll grant you men use them, maintain them, even clean them, but they are seriously bad at designing them. That’s because they design them for other men, with just a nod to the other half of the human race that drives them.

Flaw #1: Poor proportion again. Seats are adjustable, but not in a way that makes sense. To reach the pedals, I have to move the seat as far forward as it will go, and I still have to stretch. Meanwhile the steering wheel has pushed so far into my stomach it hits my backbone. When I get into the car after my husband has been driving it, I find I am sitting on the floor, and there is more space between my feet and the pedals than there is between earth and the moon. It’s like trying to drive from the back seat. On the floor.

Flaw #2: Seat belts that choke the life out of you. Even when you slide the adjuster as far down as you can, if you aren’t close to six feet tall (see flaw #1), the strap clips the edge of your jaw and runs across your neck. If it ever had to stop you from being ejected, it would decapitate you. Meanwhile it prevents you from talking much. Perhaps that’s the plan.

Other stuff

I could go on and on. There’s furniture that is high enough off the floor to see the dust under it, but not high enough to get a vaccuum cleaner brush or a dustmop under it, shelves you can’t reach, even standing on a ladder, and so on.

I’m not saying women would necessarily do a better job of designing these things. I stick by my original statement: no one should be allowed to design products for others unless they have extensive experience in using, cleaning and maintaining that kind of item and the space it occupies. It’s not a job for amateurs.

Tell me in the comments about some of the design flaws that make you shake your head.


What do you think?

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