Sharing a Bathroom with Three Women
An Editorial by Jamie Beckett
One of the advantages of getting older is you know things. These lessons, learned over many years of hard earned experience, give us old folks us something akin to a superpower. Sure, the days when I could run 10 miles without stopping for a few days in between legs are well behind me. But I know how to negotiate a better price on a new car, I can apply for and actually get a line of credit at the bank, and perhaps best of all I no longer believe that buying semi-cooked meat at a gas station is a quick and inexpensive option for lunch. There’s nothing convenient about the aftermath of some bad decisions.
Yes, it is with a song in my heart and a spring in my elderly step that I offer a bit of advice that will serve you well as you saunter down the road of life. Whether you’re 15 or 50, I urge you to take note. So important and universally true is today’s insightful fact that you may want to neatly cut this page from the magazine (editor’s note: please don’t do that!) and affix it to your refrigerator with a magnet. The day may come when you’ll be glad you did.
If you haven’t done it already, consider the very real possibility that you may marry someday. After taking that monumental step into wedlock, you may find yourself gifted with an unexpected but joyous addition to your family. A child. A small person with tiny little fingers and toes whose sneezes make the cutest sound known to mankind and whose peaceful resting countenance will scare the bejeezus out of you. Seriously. A sleeping baby will make your imagination run wild. You’ll immediately lunge toward them and furiously shake their little chubby arms and legs to make sure they’re still breathing. This of course causes the baby to wake up and scream and cry and shake all over.
Interestingly enough, this is exactly what was driving you crazy before you put the baby down for a nap in the first place.
So anyway, if you’re married, and especially if you have short people crawling around on the floor of your home smearing peanut butter on the carpet and putting Jurassic Park stickers on the dog, this advice is for you. You need another bathroom. Really, you do. If at least one of the people living in your home is female, you definitely need another bathroom. If there is an adult woman and a feminine starter model squealing in the kitchen, attempting to pull every pot, pan, and piece of silverware out onto the floor for close inspection – you need two additional bathrooms.
This is not a joke and time is running out. Get on it.
As impossible as it may sound to the younger members of a modern American family, there was a time not so long ago when entire families existed in homes that had zero bathrooms. I grew up being raised by numerous relatives whose childhood homes were located near a small wooden shack known as the outhouse. While seldom profiled in Southern Living Magazine, or featured on HGTV, outhouses were functional, a bit mysterious, and generally drafty spaces that were designed to be utilitarian at best, and downright scary on a rainy night when the wind was howling.
This is not a bad thing. People didn’t linger in the outhouse. They got in, did their business, and got out. Next.
This is not how the modern bathroom is used. Typically an individual, for the sake of this example let’s say it’s my wife, Phyllis, or Gwen, or whatever her name is. On an average weekday she’ll enter the bathroom sometime around 5 a.m. While she’s in there things happen. I have no idea what, exactly, but I know she’s using a series of power tools and incendiary devices that I wouldn’t handle without a welders apron, work gloves, and full face eye protection. She’s brave, my wife is. And although her morning visit to the bathroom sounds for all the world like a NASCAR team of mechanics putting the points leader back on the track with new tires, a full tank of fuel, and possibly a new paint job – they will finish their work in under 15 seconds. My wife will emerge from the bathroom sometime around 8 a.m., roughly three hours after going in.
This shouldn’t be an issue. After all, we have two bathrooms in my house. Yet, my wife has developed a technique that allows her to use both of them simultaneously. One is the primary bathroom, while the other is used for warming up utensils to be used later. When she’s finally done one of my daughters will take up residence.
I have two daughters. They’re wonderful. But one of them is in the bathroom at all times, with the other on standby. Should a bathroom inadvertently be left vacant for more than a minute, one of the three women I live with will leap into action and set up base camp.
And so I say again young people, buy a house with more bathrooms. Or build a house with more bathrooms. Or add a bathroom to the house you currently live in, just in case. Don’t let your life be ruined as mine has been. Yes, it’s true. I once foolishly believed that two bathrooms was plenty for a house filled with only four people. Fortunately, we live in a heavily wooded neighborhood where I can take long, solitary walks from time to time.
Let’s just leave it at that. Sometimes it’s best not to ask too many questions.