Kids are definitely the boss of you. Anyone who will barge into the room while you are on the commode is the boss of you.- Tina Fey, Bossypants
As I type, I am sitting in the emergency exit row of an airplane, enjoying the tiniest bit of extra leg room and wishing that the wing were outside someone else’s seat. Everything comes with a price tag, I guess. My knees won’t hurt, but I also have a lovely view of the wing. This flight is taking me home to Dallas, where my burglarized car is waiting to take me back to my apartment and to my new life as a married woman. This week in Mexico has been so relaxing, as all good vacations should be. I have laughed so much, and this has confirmed to me that I made a good decision in choosing my spouse. (Not that I needed this confirmation) This week has also raised a lot of interesting topics of conversation and presented situations that I suppose most newly married couples face. Important things like deciding whether or not our home will have an open bathroom door peeing policy and whether it’s funny to pass gas and force another to endure it. The words Dutch oven come to mind. But really, these are small dilemmas that must be talked through. Personal or not, using the bathroom is something we all do, and so I am feeling free to talk about it right now. I have to admit, I am more of a close bathroom door kind of a girl. In my opinion, romance in marriage will fade enough on its own without my encouraging it by carrying on conversations about picking up dry cleaning and dinner plans while I sit on the toilet. It just seems wrong. Plus, I have a teeny tiny bathroom, and well, it might just be plain crowded with two of us in there.
Some memories I have from childhood are pieced together from listening to the retelling of them by my parents, combined with small bits of my own memories of them so they play out smoothly and with all the details. I believe this is one of them. The picture is a seven year old me, standing in my bedroom in a thin white full slip, the kind that no one wears anymore, especially seven year olds. My mother has ironed my church dress and is calling me from the other room to come get it from her, and I remain frozen. My brother Craig is in the house, and I do not want him, a boy, to see me in my underclothes. My mother keeps calling my name, and I am on the verge of tears because I know she is getting upset with me for not coming and I know that I don’t want to leave my room. My memory kind of ends here. I don’t remember how I got my dress, but I must have because I never went to church naked. But this story is to tell you that this is how I was, even from childhood. I am private in many ways, and this is one of them. And so here lies not just my justification (not that I needed it), but also my explanation for why I will remain a private restroom kind of girl. Some things were just meant to be done without an audience.
Next conversation. I once read about Ethel Merman’s marriage to Ernest Borgnine. I don’t remember the exact details, but basically, on their wedding night, he passed gas* under the blankets and held her head down. In my mind, I remember the story going that she was so disgusted that she filed for an annulment the following day. It’s possible that the real story didn’t go like that, but my brain changed the ending because it’s exactly what I would have done. I don’t know what brought up this conversation during our week in Mexico because my new husband did nothing to inspire it (just feeling the need to defend his honor here), but we ended up talking about it. I assured him that though I would not file for an annulment in this kind of situation, I would never think it was funny, only disrespectful. And then he called me old fashioned and said that most people think that kind of thing was funny nowadays. And it’s possible that he is right. A girlfriend told me once that her husband did something similar in a car and would not let her out. She laughed and said it was hilarious. Not me. No way. I told her that I was horrified by this and she said “You’ll change”. I assured her that I would not. I also assured my husband that I would not. I would rather be old fashioned than be a modern woman who is locked in a smelly car.
You all are free to be different. By golly, you are welcome to sit and read magazines on the toilet while your spouse shaves or showers. You can feel free to argue, plan vacations, talk about baby names, all while taking care of business. But just know that I am out. I can't and won't do it. Bathroom time is me time, and me time is to be respected. Always. Even when kids come along (and for you doubters, I was a mommy for three whole years and I made this policy work).
So we will be home soon. I think we have worked out the kinks in our expectations regarding these things. I am sure there will be more things to work out. More ways that I am old fashioned and he is not. And while we all know that everyone goes to the bathroom, in the Turner house there will never be eye witnesses to it.
*my mother would kill me for using anything more blunt than this, especially in a blog