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My housekeeper should be a woman

July 25, 2005

The place I am currently staying at has housekeeping come in to your apartment every two weeks, which is super nice. This morning though, I was running a bit later (thanks to late night coding) and as I was getting ready I heard a knock on the door.

“Housekeeping.”

I look through the peephole to see two men standing in front of the door. “Um, I’m still getting ready, can you come back later?”

“This is our last place in the area.”

“Oh ok, don’t bother then.”

I walk away form the door and I hear him knock on the door across the hall. “Housekeeping.”

Then very quickly some thoughts go through my head. “Last place? But you just asked knocked on the door across the hall.” And then, “Hhm, what if they’re not really housekeeping?” Criminal thoughts go through my head. And then a second later its over.

So what happened? Why the negative feelings? Maybe I was partially embarrassed because I wasn’t out of the house yet. But another thought comes to mind. I’m pretty sure that as soon as I saw it was a man, I became defensive and suspicious. Because deep inside, I make the connection between housekeeping as a female thing. Not because I am sexist, this is all subconscious. Think of how Housekeeping is portrayed in media and the majority of the people you have seen housekeeping. My guess is that most of the images in your mind were female-centric as well.

So really no harm was done here, I really wasn’t ready to have someone come in to the apartment. But I think on a subconscious level my attitude was based on the fact there was a male in front of my door. And I also think the only reason I caught this is because I am currently reading a book called Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. The book discusses how we make instant judgments based on very little information, otherwise known as “thin-slicing”.

If you want to see your subconscious come out and interfere with your decision making, check out Project Implicit. Short tests are available that really show through some presumptions going on in that closed area of your mind. You’ll be surprised with what you find.

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