Different Johns

I read a column the other day written by a young lady who had just recently started shacking up with her boyfriend. Probably she’d never had to share a bathroom with anyone before because she was pretty horrified by how things were going in that department.

And who can blame her? There’s something really, really wrong with the whole design concept of bathrooms.

Why, for the love of all that’s sane and rational, would a civilized being put a  toilet (into which you eliminate your bodily waste, the occasional vomit and perhaps one or two other bodily fluids) in the same tiny room as a bath (where you relax and cleanse yourself)?  And then add a sink where you will brush your teeth, with toothbrushes that have been absorbing tiny molecules of flushing toilet water day after day after day.

University of Arizona environmental microbiologist Charles Gerba published a scientific article in 1975 describing bacterial and viral aerosols due to toilet flushing.Toilets spray millions of particles into the air when you flush them. It’s known as the “aerosol effect.” The mist contains particles of urine, feces, all sorts of bacteria and virii, etc, and it basically coats the entire bathroom within a 10-foot radius or so. Germs in feces can be propelled into the air when the toilet is flushed. That’s why toilet paper in public restrooms often comes shielded inside some plastic thing, but the mist can still land right back down on the toilet seat, all over the walls of the stall, on the handle, on the ceiling and sinks.

And that, friends and neighbours (especially those of  the male persuasion) is why the toilet seat and lid should always be put down before flushing.

It would make so much more sense all around to put the toilet in a separate room because along with the “spray” there’s also the “smell.” If you’re sharing the bathroom with even one person, you are going to encounter unfamiliar and unpleasant odours from time to time. Sometimes it’s just when you’ve been looking forward all day to a nice, warm bubble bath with a glass of wine and a good book.

I know a lot of people who eat and drink in the bathroom. My daughter is one of them. She snarfs down her morning bagel and tea in the bathroom while putting on her make-up.  Personally, the thought of eating or drinking anything in the bathroom makes me feel all gaggy.

How intimate do you have to be with a person to share a bar of soap or a razor or a towel or the bathroom cup or a comb or hairbrush or even a toothbrush? People do it all the time without thinking twice about it. But if you do stop and think twice about it, do you really want to dry your face on a towel that’s been drying who-knows-what? Even drying your face with a towel that’s been drying your own who-knows-what is a tad sketchy if you stop to consider it.

How intimate do you have to be with a person before you’ll conduct your bathroom business with them in the room or vice versa?

How much bathroom sharing do you do?

What if guests use your bathroom? What if they use your bath towel to dry their hands instead of the designated hand towels? You never know what kind of weird stuff people will do in other people’s bathrooms. What if they stay over-night and use your shower? Do you give them little guest soaps or do they use your soap? Do they get to use your expensive salon shampoo or do you hide it away?

And what is all that crud that accumulates in bathrooms? For a cleaning-up place it sure does get disgusting really fast, doesn’t it?

Unless you clean behind your toilet at least twice a day there are always mounds of furry stuff back there. What the hell is that stuff?

There are always, always peculiar sticky streaks and stains on the tiles and walls and mirrors.

And the scum! My god the scum! It’s everywhere – in the tub, around the tub, around the shower, all over the shower door/curtain, around the tooth-cleansing areas, mixed with blobs of dried-up toothpaste, soap, hair products – hair.

All sorts of hair lives in the bathroom – head hair, genital/arse hair, nose hair, ear hair, leg hair, unidentifiable red hair when no one in the household has red hair.

And then there’s the crud in that bathroom vent. That bathroom vent that spawns grey matter like fungus. You clean it. The vent is spotless. You wash your hands. You look up and all the grey matter has grown back. It might be the same stuff, except in a slimier format, that clogs up your bathroom drains on a frighteningly regular basis and which you have to pull out, in long, wet, oozing hanks with your bare hands.

It might be the same stuff in your vents or even the same stuff you find behind your toilet, but who knows? Not me, that’s for sure. Bathroom crud and scum are just a couple of great mysteries of  life from what I can see.

All I really have been able to figure out is that all this crud and scum comes only when I share a bathroom with someone. It makes you wonder what other people do in there exactly, doesn’t it? Other people don’t seem to know how to behave in bathrooms.

How many arguments in your household are bathroom-related? It’s not deemed the most dangerous place in your house just because people sometimes accidentally drag an electrical appliance into the tub with them, you know.

I thank the beneficent gods of plumbing each and every day that XUP Jr. and I each have our own bathroom. Every human being over the age of five should have their own separate toilet room and their own separate bathing/bodily cleansing room. Anything less is inhuman.

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