my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?


Geocultural and Gender-Related Differences in Bathroom Maintenance

How lucky I am to have highly literate and incredibly articulate friends who occasionally share their stories with me. So I can steal them.

This wonderful person -- who knows a boatload about fragrance and to whom I owe my addiction to ... oh, never mind -- shared my recent digestive issues. But she took time out from her own suffering to send me a missive on geocultural and gender-related differences in bathroom maintenance ...

"Of course, in the depths of physical misery I now have to wonder if we will shortly be visited by the local health inspectors who may try to evict us due to my dear husband's misstep this morning.

Some men were scheduled to come and do some garden work this morning. Husband assured me that they wouldn't need to come into the house to use the bathroom (not a long job). I was too ill to do anything but believe him.

Most of house is fine, but husband's clothes are randomly strewn about and I haven't had the energy to pick them up. Still, not *terrible*. My bathroom is perfectly clean, but I left an undergarment on the floor this morning.

Husband's bathroom however, is a frightening, haunted place into which I only venture once a week in full body armor to do a cleaning and then have to exit through his study, which is another holy nightmare and which I rarely bother to pick up anything in since he appears to enjoy the stimulation of terror one feels upon entering and seeing the mess.

Well, I was in the bedroom napping when one of the men apparently *did* feel the call of nature and asked husband to use our bathroom. Did husband go pick up said undergarment from my perfectly guest friendly bathroom??? NO!

He instead invited the unsuspecting man to come in, go through his study and use HIS bathroom. AAARGH!!!

A good Southern man who undoubtedly has a wife who keeps her bathrooms so spotless at ALL times that you can eat off the floors in them. I expect health inspectors to show up any minute now. Husband came very close to needing another trip to the emergency room when I found out.

Our feng shui woman warned me dire things would happen if I didn't keep the WHOLE house clean. Yes, I veer into weirdness from time to time and we paid a considerable amount to have the house feng shuied. Main thing she left us with was to keep all the energy flowing and to keep it *clean*....said while looking suspiciously at husband. I just hoped (in vain apparently) his two black hole rooms could be overlooked by the gods of flowing energy. Sob!

Am off to South America this weekend. Perhaps permanently.

Making matters worse, early this evening I had to take metrocanine out for a stroll. Didn't recognize the truck on the corner till it was already too late and I found myself passing the men who had worked in our yard this morning.

They've met me before. I had no option other than to wave and give a brave cheery smile...all the while PRAYING the earth would just open up and swallow me on the spot. Oh, GOD! I bet they're spreading the word through the neighborhood. Uncleaned Port-a-potties probably look divinely Martha Stewartish compared to husband's bathroom.

I tell you, was only planning about 5 days in S.A., but may just apply for a green card while I'm there."

Well, as I analyze this material, I see that my dear friend has absorbed WAY MORE of that Southern mindset than she needs to. She feels she must live up to the standards established by our genteel Southern sisters.

I'm sitting up here, relaxed, in sweatpants and two ponytails, in the upper left corner of the country and I say: NAY! We must be who we are! Even when we have been transplanted into a locale where the bathrooms are uniformly spotless! I think, though, that this gentility may actually be a part of my friend's personality. Never mind the Southern location.

Also, I'm loving the feng shui aspect of it. That's an interesting counterpoint to the whole Southern thing. I love the image of dear friend dutifully taking notes on clearing the ch'i as husband
apparently rolled eyes and couldn't wait to get his study and bathroom back to their (his) natural state. That's entertainment!

That brings me to the gender-related differences. Um, there aren't any. I'm afraid I fall much more in my friend's husband's camp on the whole hygiene spectrum. Me, I like a little earthiness. Heh. (I mean, not cholera or typhoid ... but nobody would ever suspect me of being Martha Stewart. Or any of her servants.)

But I hope my friend decides against the green card. We would miss her a lot. (Me, her husband and metrocanine.) (And we're not the only ones.)

Today's fragrance: Wild Summer Rose ... a triangular scent of rose, jasmine and iris ... which somehow makes me hum wild thing *I think I love you*


Blogger Kyahgirl said...

Oh what a great story! I am chortling happily while writing this. I think I can guess who our Feng Shui'd, metrocanine owning friend is!
I have a theory about men and bathroom dirt. The theory is based on genetics and it goes like this: Blah, blah, blah, blah..........and in summary, most men, (and some women who live in Seattle), won't recognize a dirty toilet until an alligator lunges out of it and bites their bum.

the end.

11:57 AM

Blogger katiedid said...

Heh, I'm a messy bathroom keeper, too. And when I clean it, I just use vinegar and water mix, or a regular cleaner. But the husband insists that it doesn't count unless you use a high concentration of bleach on everything. I mean everything, too. Whenever he decides to clean the bathroom I can't breathe in there for days afterwards, because the bleach is so heavy in the air.

2:18 PM

Blogger AP3 said...

Yeah, I'm a slob. I have a lot of gender dysphoria, so no big surprise there.

3:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only time my bathroom was spotless was for a few days before my third daughter was born. I had it in my mind to *calve out* ...a cute Wyoming colloquialism, on the bathroom floor.

But since then it's been dirty mostly.

~clearing friend is so funny, and I guess she won't be moving in with us later on.

3:58 PM

Anonymous mamiesb said...

You know, I would never clean my bathroom if I planned to give birth in it. I'd just toss a bunch of garbage bags on the floor, have my kid, throw out the goarbage bags and move to a new house. Why waste good energy cleaning when the room will just look like an slaughterhouse anyway?

"Calve out." That's just a fabulous phrase.

5:25 PM

Anonymous janey said...

This has nothing to do with your friends story except the feng shui aspect. Here's my story - went to lunch with a friend at our favorite pizza place. I'm always freezing. The waitress took our order. I then switched places with my friend so I wouldn't be under the air vent. Waitress came and said with a perfectly straight face "you got a feng shui thing going here". Ok, not as funny as yours but kinda cute and we gave her a big tip.

6:49 PM

Blogger mireille said...

I thought it was funny, J. I BELIEVE in feng shui, though. Must keep that spirit movin'

6:57 PM

Blogger Trina said...

I *wish* I knew your friend, if only so I could have feng shui-ed her house for free!

Yes, among my many other interests I am a feng shui fiend. I actually idly considered trying my hand at a business in said field, until I realized that it would be a *business*... I'd much rather work for free. What does that say about me?

Anyhoo, extra germs are good for us, provided we're not encountering them in a hospital setting (because THOSE babies are nothing to screw with), so I refuse to keep my house pristine. Studies have shown that the more germs children are exposed to the better their immune systems, and that antibacterial soap will be the end of humanity.

Also, people with perfect houses are totally nutso...

12:36 AM


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