His friends might make fun of him, but now Joe Molnar has the last laugh with his $22,000 worth of prizes for winning the Mr. Good Housekeeping contest.
"I take a little abuse," said Molnar of Buffalo, NY. "But when I get that new plasma TV and I'm sitting back and relaxing..."
He smiled and trailed off -- perhaps basking in sweet victory.
Last February, Good Housekeeping announced its search for Mr. Good Housekeeping -- a grime-fighting husband who cheerfully does the housework. Roughly 7,000 readers argued that their husbands should win the prize package, which included furniture from Lane and Wrangler Home, a washer, dryer, and dishwasher from General Electric, and a Philips plasma TV.
Molnar is a diamond in the rough, says his wife Sarah Molnar, and statistics show that most men are not willing to contribute to household chores. According to a University of Chicago study, husbands shoulder 39 percent of the household chore load. Likewise, a University of Michigan study found that women do 18 hours of housework a week, but men average only seven.
Molnar, 33, is the exception. He works in a hospital laboratory but at home, likes to fold laundry while watching football. He washes the kitchen floor twice a week and loves to vacuum. He even used last year's tax refund to buy a carpet steamer.
Good Housekeeping editor-in-chief Ellen Levine said they were looking for a husband who happily does chores like laundry and dusting -- not just the manly tasks like yard work. They wanted a father who balances all his responsibilities. They found it in Molnar.
In her letter to Good Housekeeping, Sarah Molnar said her husband is known in the family as "the housewife." She wrote that he folds towels like they do in hotels, t-shirts like they do at The Gap, and makes pancakes like you'd find in a restaurant.
He is "the most loving and caring husband and father to his son and baby-to-be," she wrote.
Molnar said the key to being Mr. Good Housekeeping is to stay on top of the housework.
"A little bit every day means you don't have to do a big clean when family comes to town, or you won't have to waste a whole day of your weekend doing it," he said. "Sarah usually handles the bathrooms, but I always do the kitchen floor -- mostly because our son crawls around there and you never know what he might put in his mouth, so I want to make sure it's clean."
Although the big prize went to Molnar, runners-up Chad Marsh, 30, of Sanders, Ky. and Ricky Randle, 46, of Kansas City, Kan., each got a prize package worth $2,000 which includes cookware, a vacuum cleaner, personal grooming and cleaning products and a digital camera.
The entire Mr. Good Housekeeping prize package includes:
A five-piece bedroom set from Lane Furniture: Gramercy Park King Poster Bed, Gramercy Park King Canopy Frame, Drawer Dresser, Landscape Mirror, Nightstand
Wrangler Home Furniture: Greensboro Chair, Greensboro Ottoman, Bristol Table, Cooper Floor Lamp, Tryon Rug
Philips 42-inch Ambilight plasma television
Good Housekeeping Carpeting from Carpet One
Electrolux Oxygen3 Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Sonos Digital Music Distribution System
General Electric Front-Load Washer
General Electric Front-Load Dryer
General Electric Profile Dishwasher with Smart Dispenser technology (PDW898023S)
Weber Genesis Silver B Gas Grill
Braun Cruzer 3-in-1 Shaver
Aramis Men's Personal Care Kit: Lab Series Skincare for Men Multi-Action Face Wash, Lab Series Skincare for Men Maximum Comfort Shave Cream, Lab Series Skincare for Men Instant Moisture Gel, Lab Series Skincare for Men Instant Moisture Eye Gel, Lab Series Skincare for Men Instant Moisture Lip Balm, Root Power Treatment Shampoo, Root Power Hair Tonic, Ab Rescue Body Sculpting Gel
Hotel and airfare for a trip for two to New York City