The Battle of the Bathroom Between Husband and Wife

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Bathroom Behavior

My fantasy bathroom would be a little more elaborate. It would be a completely tiled room, floor to ceiling, that is completely flushable -- push a button and water flows out from up high on every wall and cleans every surface. I would simply sit in the middle of the room, in a customized Barcalounger with a hole under the seat and magazine racks all around me suspended from the ceiling so they won't get wet.

If there were a waterproof high-definition TV in there -- or even better, a DVD player -- I might never come out. Just slide the meals under the door. I'd use paper plates and plastic utensils, and I'd just flush the whole works when I was done.

I've given more thought than I care to admit to why there is so much marital friction concerning the bathroom. Much of my best thinking has taken place in the cramped, reading-material-free guest powder room, only reached by a long flight of steps down from our bedroom, to which I am banished so Diane can be mistress of the master bath.

Part of the friction is obviously just competition over access to the nicest bathroom in the house. And there are, of course, the standard battles over the husbandly and wifely understandings of concepts like "clean" and "dry" or "put away" and "mine." I will admit to sometimes walking out of the shower soaking wet to get more soap or shaving cream and then doing only a cursory job of sopping up puddles afterward, even though I know this is wrong. And I have been guilty of wiping steam off the mirror with my hand although I realized this could cause smudges, streaks, and other forms of reflective sullying.

But I think there's a bigger issue here. I think wives are, at some basic level, deeply offended by everything their husbands do in the bathroom. Diane daintily refers to her time in the bathroom as "being at my toilette," because she doesn't want her endless primping to be confused with what icky boys do in there. Yes, that's right -- we actually sit down. On that porcelain thing. And for much longer than any bodily process could possibly take. Deal with it.

Continued on page 3:  Master of the Bath


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