Regular readers know that two of my favorite things are dishwashers and online-newspaper comments. So what better than a combination of the two! The NYT Real Estate section ran an article about how "Manhattanites" (cue the offended Queens residents) who used to rent and are now buying apartments, according to some real estate broker, consider having a dishwasher "'an inalienable right, not a privilege.'" The P word! Their privilege is showing.
The ostensible point of the article is that as the market has shifted more in buyers' favor, that which they used to put up with, they no longer have to: the dishwasher as barometer for changes in the real estate market. But the commenters, much to my delight, are not having it. It is most definitely about dishwashers:
"Dishwasher? I'm 60 yrs old and haven't ever lived in a house with anything but a dishpan and piece of scotchbrite."
Non-dishwasher-use seems to bring out a certain pride. Or rather, two quite different versions. One is pride in being too important to cook. Too emancipated for that, if female, or too waited-on/non-domestic if male, but regardless, too much of a big deal to have ended up in the kitchen with counter-and-sink-fulls of dirty implements for which you yourself are responsible. Non-dishwasher-use suggests a life of glamor - nightly dinners out, or a job that pays enough that takeout poses no problem. (If you're not using a dishwasher because you're living off Wendy's or Lean Cuisine, you're either a master of clever self-presentation, or not announcing your non-dishwasher-use in the first place.)
The other, meanwhile, is pride in being a back-to-the-earth, artisanal-local-organic post-yuppie, someone who eschews modern appliances in order to eschew modern appliances. Why buy dry pasta if you could hand-knead your own? Why put dirty dishes into a machine that cleans them for you, when you could clean the by hand? Didn't Michael Pollan say something about emulating our great-grandmothers? If you're not eating processed foods, it stands to reason that you're not allowing a mechanical device to process your dishes, either. After you scrape your leftover bits of kale and quinoa into BPA-free containers or perhaps a compost heap, you're really going to break out the Cascade?
As for dishwashers being fancy, a question for (both) my readers: isn't New York unusual in that you have to be quite wealthy/lucky to have a dishwasher? That was my impression, at least. That it wouldn't be normal in another town for a young lawyer, say, to live without one.