I don’t often iron clothes.  After all, that’s what jeans and t-shirt were invented for – so you don’t have to iron.  This means that on the rare occasions when life requires me to be smart, brandishing the iron is a new and exciting adventure, with all manner of things to discover.

Based on the photos of FM Alexander, his clothes would have required a great deal of ironing, but based on the prevailing social ethos of his lifetime this work would have been done by someone else.  A female someone else.  I suspect he was a stranger to the mysteries of ironing.

However, if he had tried, I’m pretty confident he would have started from first principles, experimented, and built on his experience.    What makes me so confident?  It’s what he did with other things.  Take this, for example:-

I have personal knowledge of a person who, by employing the principles of conscious control which I advocate, mounted and rode a bicycle down-hill without mishap on the first attempt, and on the second day rode 30 miles out and 30 miles back through normal traffic. This same person was also able to fence passably on first taking the foil into his hands. In each case the principles involved were explained to him and he carefully watched an exhibition, first analysing the actions and the means whereby,” then reproducing them on a clearly apprehended plan. (*)

I think he might have enjoyed the principles I’ve come up with:-

  1.  Use your eyes.  This means you iron what is in front of you, not what you vaguely expect to be in front of you.
  2. If your iron weighs 2kg, lift 2kg, not 20kg.
  3. The job is to remove creases, not to fulfill family expectations.  Ignore the ghostly voices of disapproving female relatives telling you how it should be done, and stick to the means whereby  that you have reasoned out.

Try it next time you iron, see how you get on.

(*) Man’s Supreme Inheritance  by FM Alexander, Irdeat edition  p.130; it’s pretty clear that he’s talking about himself at this point.
 photo credit

CNHC and ITM registered Alexander Technique teacher.

Posted in Uncategorized
  1. That’s a fab post, thanks! just a few days ago I had to iron a shirt (first time ironing in about 2 years) and because I was so engaged in it through my alexander practice I had so much fun!

    good timing for this post!

  2. Hi Andy, thanks for the lovely comment. Isn’t it just amazing how boring chores can be transformed when you use the AT? I bet you had the most beautifully ironed shirt ever. Karen

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