19 May 2009

Gender-Related Perspectives on Bathroom Cleanliness

Between our toilet and the bathroom counter sets a toilet brush. This is one of those fancy kinds of toilet brushes that has its own storage cylinder that helps hide the fact from your house guests that you even need to use--nay, own--a toilet brush. (The common "courtesy" of hiding the toilet-fixing tools is always a point of great turmoil for me when visiting someone's bathroom, as I often do. Somehow that is always the very time when the toilet decides to overflow, not flush, or leave behind too many signs of me having been there.)

Upon placing the brush side into its place in the storage cylinder, you can rotate the handle and the brush disappears inside like a spy into a secret bookcase passageway, hiding away until it is needed once again. Of course, the next time you realize you need a toilet brush, you forget that the white thing in the corner with the long handle sticking up is a toilet brush, so you end up going to buy another, more normal one.

In the odd event that you eventually remember that you have a futuristic, Bond-esque toilet-scrubbing device, the enclosure has long since sealed up from the oozing, unspeakable horror that was on the brush the last time it was put away, an alien substance cementing the brush to the frame.

In the corner where the brush contraption and the bathroom counter meet, resting atop the brush cylinder is a single, wadded ball of toilet paper. I do not know whether or not this toilet paper has ever been used. Certainly it has not ever been moistened as it still seems to have that cottony fresh look about it. In fact, the top portion that I can see is still completely white.

However, this little ball has been there for at least a month now, maybe more. It has occurred to me a few times to do something about it, but as I am of the male portion of the human species, that quickly ricochets to some other random thought that makes me forget whatever it was I happened to be thinking of at the time. Thus, I leave behind the restroom and the lonely ball of lint-free two-ply.

For some reason, though, a new thought sprung to my mind as I was in the restroom recently. Why is that my wife has not seen and subsequently done away with that little piece of litter? Understand, it's not that I think it is her place or purpose in society as a woman to make sure the restroom is clean. In our household, though, we do have our own responsibilities that we have divided somewhat in the sense of the things we gravitate toward completing more than the other. She doesn't like to wash dishes, but I don't mind to do it. We each put our own clothes away--I don't know where hers go anyway. She is an excellent cook; I make a mean sandwich. I take out the trash; she cleans the bathroom.

Then I had an epiphany. As I was standing there in the bathroom doing my business--thinking of things to write about--I understood a possible reason the paper was still there. When I use the bathroom in the fashion that males tend to, I can see in plain view around and behind the toilet. When she uses it, she sees everything in front of the toilet. That explains why the floor on that side is always pretty clean. Also, from her usual standpoint in front of the sink and mirror, I noticed that I could not see the corner from there either. The paper was still there because she never saw it!

With that revelation came another, equally stunning notion: I am evidently too lazy to pick up and throw away a single piece of bathroom trash. That, or I'm too wary of sticking my hand down that close to the toilet.

Of course, it is probably stuck to that white, long-handled, cylindrical thing. Maybe I should buy a toilet brush to get it out of there. I can't seem to find one anywhere in the house.

(This article can be found at my Helium account.)

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