When my mom and dad built what is still my mother's home, they put in "his" and "hers" bathrooms.
Although I was only 9 at the time, I remember thinking this was insanely frivolous. After all, my sisters and I had to share a bathroom. Why couldn't they show some cooperation? They shared a bed, after all.
At the time Dad died last March, my parents had been married 53 years. I know now that separate bathrooms had a lot to do with their marital longevity.
My husband and I remodeled our master bath a few years back. (He did the actual remodeling, of course. My contributions were in the moral support, aesthetic guidance and beer-fetching departments.)
Taking great care to plan and execute the space, we made sure the toilet area was private enough for my heightened sense of modesty (for all he cared, the stool could have gone in the bedroom, preferably in front of the TV), and the linen closet spacious enough for his sauna towels.
We agonized about every decision: Which tiles to use on the backsplash? Where to hang the mirror? Lighting: cans or sconces?
It took us weeks to decide to spend the extra bucks on a radiant heat floor (worth every penny, people), and the closet configuration debate continued ad nauseum. If God is in the details, we made believers of ourselves and the entire Home Depot staff.
What we failed to consider, however, was a glaring, universal truth:
The average woman uses 15 times more personal products than the average man.
To prove my point (as if I really need to ... am I right ladies?), let's look at the line-up of products used by my spouse: Toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, shaving cream, comb, shampoo, soap and deodorant.
Eight things. That's it.
Now, let's look at my list (at least, until we run out of newsprint):
Toothbrush, toothpaste, whitening strips, mouthwash, dental floss and breath freshening drops.
Facial cleanser, toner, day moisturizer, night moisturizer, anti-aging serum, eye gel for day, eye cream for night, tweezers, depilatory wax, lip balm.
Razor, shaving cream, after-shave lotion, exfoliating scrub, loofah, foot cream, pumice stone, self-tanning lotion and self-tanning lotion with bronzer.
Comb, round brush, semi-round brush, regular brush, blow dryer, blow dryer attachments, curling iron, straightening iron, regular shampoo, blue shampoo (once weekly for silver hair as recommended by my stylist), daily conditioner, intensive once-a-week conditioner, blue conditioner, root lifting spray, styling gel, Moroccan oil (e-mail me about this, it's great), hair spray and shine milk.
Deodorant soap, moisturizing soap, shower gel, moisturizer, baby powder, deodorant and cologne.
OK, OK. You get the idea. As for my cosmetics bag and nail care items, I won't even go there. Suffice it to say my 1:15 ratio is accurate. For every eight of his products, I have 120.
That's why the traditional, symmetrical 50-50 split of cabinets and drawers in the master bathroom is insufficient, dare I say, laughable.
For years, I've been negotiating for more storage space.
"Give me one of the drawers and one shelf on your side, and I'll take all my stationery out of your desk," I offer.
"Are you kidding?" he replies. "We already keep our medicines and supplements plus the first aid kit on my side. Just pitch some stuff, and you'll have more than enough room."
Suddenly, the veins in my neck begin to bulge.
"And what would you have me give up?" I ask, incredulous that he'd even make the suggestion. "I need everyone of those things, and I use them, too!"
"Oh, yeah?" he says. "When's the last time you used that giant eye shadow kit with 60 colors? Or that electric detangling comb? And what about that gallon-sized bottle of almond-scented massage oil? I don't know who you're massaging, but it ain't me, babe!"
"Well, I never!" I retort. "That eye shadow kit is going to come in handy when metallics make a comeback, and you know they will! As will the detangler, if I ever grow my hair out again. And if you think I'm going to massage someone who won't sacrifice a measly drawer and shelf for the woman he supposedly loves, you're sadly mistaken."
Currently, we're at an impasse.
We'll be married 30 years this October. I'd like to make it to 53.
But we may have to get another house.