I was reading an article recently on marriage. It was written by a man who had been divorced twice and, fair enough, he was writing an article on what NOT to do to keep a happy marriage. Or, at least, some of the things he’s sure went wrong in both of his own. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that.
I found one of the things he mentioned really interesting. It’s not the first time I’ve heard someone mention it in relation to their marriage, but it’s the first time I’ve heard a man mention it. And it’s in a category that many marital fights have started over – bathroom etiquette.
If you have ever shared a bathroom with anyone – ever – you have had fights or at least repressed anger about how they used it. Maybe they didn’t clean up after themselves well enough. Maybe they hogged it in the mornings leaving you barely enough time to brush your teeth. Maybe you shared toothpaste and they left the cap off or – and I personally hate this – left some paste on the top of the tube so it gets all gummy and disgusting! This man was not against any of these things. Well, he might be, but he didn’t mention them. What he did mention was defecating with the door open.
Honestly, my views on sharing bathroom time have been all over the place. I was raised in a house with three sisters. For a few years we had a foster-sister as well – so that’s six women in one house. (You can go ahead and feel sorry for my father and one brother – even our dog was a girl!) It was nothing to be brushing your teeth while someone was using the toilet. When we visited my cousins in Mississippi where there were seven cousins in the same family and they had one bathroom in their house – you peed with anyone in the room. I thought nothing of it.
I hit an awkward stage around puberty. (Did anyone not hit an awkward stage around puberty?) And I became friends with girls who didn’t seem as comfortable sharing their potty space. Be it that they were only children, had no sisters or were just raised in a more modest household, I don’t know. All I know is I suddenly deemed bathroom time as private time. I have a very distinct memory of locking the main bathroom door at my cousin’s house and a female cousin knocking on the door asking why in the world I locked the door?!
My first semester of college I lived in a dorm with a communal bathroom for the hall. There’s just no way around it, you had to do all your business in full ear shot of everyone else in the bathroom, even if they couldn’t see you. I got more comfortable with sharing the bathroom. I later lived in a house with two female roommates, one bathroom, you get over it. Well, I got over it. And then it’s just a matter of time once you get over it with your own sex that you stop caring with the opposite sex. Whether it’s a close friend or a partner. In the end, does it really matter? If you’re comfortable with them seeing you naked or sharing bodily fluids, who cares?! Everyone does it. Literally, everyone. Obama does it. The Queen of England does it. Jesus Christ even did it. It’s natural. It’s normal. We’re human.
The gentleman warning couples against it wasn’t putting the blame on either of his ex-wives, but mostly on himself. I’ve heard women say that they would never let their husbands even hear them go to the bathroom – have to keep the magic alive. After my sister and her – now – husband started living together they remodeled and were without a bathroom door. It wasn’t uncommon for her to drive to my parents’ house to use the restroom.
And I guess I’m curious, do you really care? Am I the abnormal one?