Too Unmanly?

April 24, 2013

In all my time in Sicily, I’ve neverΒ everΒ seen a uomo (person of the male persuasion) anywhere near a laundry line.

Are clotheslines unmanly?

It’s always women hanging over balconies, stringing up the sheets. Thank you, ladies, for the sweet smiles and lovely show.

Sicilian woman hanging laundry on balcony, copyright Jann Huizenga

Sicilian woman hanging laundry, copyright Jann Huizenga

Sicilian woman at window, copyright Jann Huizenga

Now, gentlemen, I’d like to see a few of you out and about with clothes pins in hand.


Read about my first attempt to hang laundry in Sicily here.


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50 comments to Too Unmanly?

  • Ahhh, I adore those women ( they deserve worship )

    You MUST find a man hanging clothing. What about the new generation? Surly, this should be one of their tasks!

    I shall be waiting to see a photo of this. (Some hot Italian hanging his woman’s nighties!)

    Love to you, my dear Jann. xx

  • Jann, what a charming post! The photos are exquisite and these ladies and their clothesline put a smile on my face! How I love air drying my sheets! I love how neatly they’ve hung up the wash. The sunny, bright colors remind me that summer is around the corner! Yes! πŸ™‚

  • unlike the 100th monkey man will never start doing laundry.

    • Jann

      No monkey see monkey do for you, Dennis?????? You’ve obviously got a good woman who loves doing your wash. Che bella fortuna!

  • My lovely hubby and I share the laundry duties. I’m guessing he is going to be shocking the local ladies this summer when he starts hanging out our unmentionables!

  • John Schinina

    Ciao Jann, When will this curse a man must carry end. I think God created us without completion, what can say. I still love to watch women at work, by the way just kidding.

  • vicki carol

    I think Janine is spot on. Let’s leave this beautiful art to the Ladies. They
    do it so perfectly.

  • ahahah Jann, you make me laugh:yes it’s true rarely men hanging laundry on the line!
    as far as me,I don’t think it’s something unmanly…but in my case, for example, I’m quite jealous the way I hang the laundry on the’s quite strange I’m not a very rational person…but if somebodyelse does for’s never the way I like.
    Hanging laundry ,I don’t know why, I follow an order..of colours, of shape,of size etc…strange or crazy?
    so each time I didn’t..I go and check…mamma mia quanto sono strana!!
    your laundry photoes are gorgeous…it’s something I like to do as well…
    I’m looking forwards watching men & laundry in your next photoes πŸ˜‰

    • Jann

      Lucia, I think you’ve inherited, in your DNA, an appreciate for the art form of hanging laundry. Every Sicilian woman seems to have it, and that’s why I love looking at laundry lines–things are hung in such a pretty way, all orderly, colors and shapes matching, etc etc… I’ve started to be so ASHAMED of my own line. πŸ™‚

  • Linda

    Hard training has gotten us to the point where he will hang out laundry if we are in campangna . We have many male friends (sicilian) who are closeted laundry doers and hangers. They live in the countryside and usually no longer have their mammas amongst the living.
    In the city my sicilian husband does not allow me to even touch his laundry and has his 86yr old mamma wash and iron his shirts and underwear. Works for me!

  • Anitre

    Hanging laundry? I’ve never seen an Italian man turn on a washing machine,iron, hold a broom (in the house), wash the dishes, dust, help set or clear the table, etc… Please, don’t get me started. Grrrrr! I love the photos. Those lovely ladies make laundry day so joyful. Brava Jann!

  • Some jobs are just too important to leave to chance. There’s whole ritual at play (I mean work ;-)) here. I remember having a whole line of washing I’d just put out rehung by the matriarch of the family I was staying with in Puglia one time. And yes it was a rooftop terrace so family honour was at stake. Seems the southern women don’t just wear the pants, they make good and sure they hang them out to dry too! Fabulous post, Jann xx

  • Cathy

    Love the pics Jann,especially the last one! πŸ™‚ What a cutie… I have one of those rare birds, a man who prefers to do his own laundry — and he has been known to use the line also! I adore a bed made up with sheets fresh off the line in the summertime…. Hate dealing with the spiders tho, petrified of them!

    Hope all is well with you & yours xoxo

  • Lovely photos, Jann. The lady in the third one is so sweet, caught out in flagrante delicto with the washing!

    I hesitate to associate Aussie men with great strides in equality, yet I have lived with two men in my life (not concurrently, I don’t think) both of whom were obsessed with washing clothes. Gathering, sorting, hanging, putting away and … IRONING!!!

    • Jann

      Narelle, love that “flagrante delicto”… Sooo interesting about your Aussie men–even ironing?????? Lucky you.

  • That is too funny! In the US I am afraid it’s either dryer or Hand wash,hang in the house. We just don’t see much air dry laundry here too bad because it smells wonderful.

  • Good luck with that request!I think you will be waiting years!

    • Jann

      πŸ™‚ I fear you’re right, Contessa. I hear young Sicilian men, if they live in a different city from mom, send their laundry home to mom.

  • Nancy Hersch

    May sound strange, but one of my favorite sites in Italy. When we rented an apartment for a week we bought one of the laundry contraptions you hang out the window so we could do our laundry.

  • John

    I’d love to hang out the laundry more often in Sicily but Diana won’t let me. Something about my technique I believe.

  • Rich Losacano

    Love the last picture…lovely ladies. I enjoy walking under the newly hung laundry…memorable scent. I’ll be a guy hanging out laundry in Sicilia in June!!!

    • Jann

      Hi Rich, so glad you are going to set a good example in Sicilia. Show them how to do it. Have a wonderful trip & buon viaggio!!!!

  • Oh what gorgeous photos and those big smiles are wonderful! I am a bit of a novelty in Italy as I don’t cook and my husband does x

    • Jann

      Oh, Lisa, what a gem your hubby is, to cook for you. (I can imagine how novel that is in your village!)

  • Such lovely smiles from these gorgeous ladies.

  • Debra Roppolo

    Beautiful photos, Jann, and beautiful women too! I share your love of seeing laundry hanging to dry, especially in Sicily…

  • Ru

    Jann, I love you site. They make me long for my days in Sicily (7 years). My husband (an American) would hang the laundry and my landlord loved to tell everybody about it!

    • Jann

      Hi Ru, thank you for commenting—I’m happy you found me. So funny that your laundry-hanging hubby was such a novelty! Where did you live in Sicily?

  • Bob McNamara

    In the village of Donnalucata, there are a number of men who hang laundry (myself included). Can’t be seen from the street because the lines are up on the rooftop terraces.

  • Sam

    I would happily hang laundry in Sicily every day of the week, if someone would only pay for my trip over there.

  • Old stereotypes die hard, don’t they, Jann? Don’t feel so alone, my friend — men in the States rarely hang laundry outside either!! In fact, I don’t think I’ve EVER seen it!!

  • Ah, I have such a fondness for laundry photos. They have even more charm with a woman’s figure anchoring them. A man hanging the laundry would risk creating a “bruta figura” in Italy, I think. Here, my own uomo has been liberated to the extent of doing his own laundry, including hanging it on a clothesline. In fact, I must admit, he is keener to hang the laundry than I am as I would just as soon as wing it into a dryer (she admits shame-facedly).

    • Jann

      Yes, I’m sure you’re right, Lynne, about the brutta figura if a man were to touch a clothes pin–or perhaps more accurately be SEEN in public touching a clothes pin. (As Bob points out, a rooftop terrace where one can’t be seen may be a different thing.)

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