25 Apr

Bathroom Barons

The other day while I was chitchatting with a flock of respected colleagues around ye old office watercooler (okay, it was on Twitter), a few people were engaging in that beloved national pasttime known as Snarking on House Hunters. (Do you do a lot of entertaining? I do a lot of entertaining! Oh, how I love to entertain. Which means nothing but granite countertops and a farmhouse sink and this rare stripe of travertine tile will do!)

There are many things about HH that feel like someone jabbing a finger in my eye socket (STOP GETTING IN THE GARDEN TUB, PEOPLE), but the one thing about HH that always gets my goat is the single homeowner insisting on nothing less than three (or more) bathrooms. Three! Bathrooms! Insisting! And you live alone! And maybe I’m being presumptuous, but…you only have one butt, right? Or does it sometimes feel like you have two because you’re a giant ass?

Okay, yes, I am fitfully jealous of anyone with more than one bathroom–even people who live alone–there’s no getting around that, but I also just…well, some people come off as grossly entitled (entitled to poop in various locales on one’s own property; is this the true American Dream?), and it makes me heave many exasperated sighs at the t.v. and at my countrymen and -women in general, and then–emotional payoff!–I get to feel quite smug about my own humble, one-bathroom-for-four-people-plus-guests (while entertaining!) abode, even though I’m positive that if I were on the show I’d surely insist on some feature that would make a large contingent of viewers roll their eyes at me. (A circular three-story library with a stained-glass roof and a waterfall in the middle that magically doesn’t damage the books with its refreshing mist? Make it so!)

Also, what’s with the nation’s collective boner over pedestal sinks? You lose all counter space and all undersink storage, and I just don’t get that on any level. Is it some sort of conspicuous consumption thing to show off how much storage you have elsewhere, in your apparently-giant-according-to-the-number-of-bathrooms house? Or–wait, I think I just figured something out–is one of your extraneous bathrooms dedicated entirely to storage, and that’s why you insisted on having so many in the first place? Does the toilet even work in bathroom #4 or did you drain the tank so you could use it to hold your collection of cologne and Axe body spray? I’ve figure it out, haven’t I?

Anyway, what I really wanted to discuss was whether having a double vanity in the [main] bathroom falls under the category of eye-rollingly entitled and assy, or if it’s actually a legit desire for regular homeowners. People on Twitter were all “Whyyyyy would you need a double vanity? Do you and your husband, like, brush your teeth together? Ugh! Gross!” To which my response was, “Yes? Should we…not? Does that fall under the category of things best left unseen?” Even if you’re not using them at the same time, isn’t it still nice to have separate sinks? Because honey, I love you and I love your hair, but I do not love seeing your hair places where you are not.

I get that some people are more private than others–I don’t think anyone’s ever seen my father brush his teeth or clip his nails–but I’m guessing it’s not unusual for couples to share space while taking care of at least some daily hygiene rituals. I have no problem applying makeup on my side of the bathroom while Simon does his hair, for instance. That’s not “gross,” right?

Now, I will not use the toilet in front of my husband*, and I do not want to be anywhere near him when he’s clipping his fingernails or toenails (and frankly it’s best if I stay out of the drop zone for a few hours after he does because sometimes he gets distracted and forgets what he’s doing and *trigger warning* leaves A PILE OF NAIL CLIPPINGS ON THE COUNTER and, oh god, I just gagged). Brushing teeth together is okay on one condition: that he when he spits he has the sink running so it masks that horrific splooshy slop sound when his mouth foam hits the sink. Ick ick ick. You might as well just stir a tub of mayonnaise next to my ears. *HORK*


  • Burping: yes, and sometimes (apologies to my mother) with gusto
  • Farting: no, if I can help it
  • Barfing: yes, unfortunately, although I was grateful he was there to hold my hair back when I got the flu the night of Wombat’s second birthday party
  • Popping zits: yes, although it’s not like either of us pulls up a chair and makes an event out of watching
  • Tweezing: depends on what’s being tweezed
  • Pumping milk: yes, if he promises not to laugh or moo
  • If you’re inclined to share your household’s bathroom rules, please do. Especially if your proclivities will make me feel less like a cretin.

    *Actual thing I said to my kid this morning: “Honey, sometimes Mom just wants to poop alone, okay?”

    By    17 Comments    Posted in: Regular Entries


    • UH. Thank you. I do not get the need for double vanities. I never even knew those existed until I was way older and house hunting with my husband. We get by just fine in one TIIIINY bathroom with one tiny sink.

      I hate/love House Hunters. I HATE when they get all pissy about the house being out of their $400,000 budget, but they have to have a media room AND be within walking distance of their favorite bars. What the hell is a media room, anyway? We call that a living room. I also hate when they’re all “Ugh, these paint colors are SO outdated and I can’t take these light fixtures!” …you can change that.

      Yesterday, I watched one where the woman refused any house that didn’t have a doggie door. Her realtor looked at the camera, sighed heavily and said, “Yes, I’ve told her how easy those are to install. She doesn’t buy it.”

      (I also don’t fart in front of my husband, like EVER, but apparently at night, I let them all loose while I’m sleeping. I’ve told him I can’t help what happens when I’m sleeping, those just build up over time, I guess.)

    • “but…you only have one butt, right?” made me laugh so loudly at my desk. I don’t get the need for 3 bathrooms unless you are a family of 5. Then, maybe. We have 2 bathrooms but we only shower in one because our downstairs shower is stupid. (It’s on the list to get fixed but the list is long and I’m not sure when we’ll get to it. I don’t understand the need for double sinks because even in our small bathroom we can both brush our teeth together when that happens (not often since we have different schedules). I like the look of pedestal sinks but for practicality? No thanks.

    • We are very blessed to have 2 full bathrooms in a teeny 3 bedroom house but our upstairs (Master) bath. has become our designated pooping bathroom. “I have to go upstairs” is code for pooping in our family. One day, when our daughter is out of diapers, I’m sure she’ll think she can only poop upstairs.

    • Double vanities and separate tubes of toothpaste, as far as I used to be concerned, were relationship savers numbers 53 and 54. But then we moved to an apartment with *gasp* one sink, and I thought I might die, but we were in a crunch, so, compromises (there WAS another bathroom, but I thought the idea of one of us walking down the hall to brush teeth, etc was kinda silly). And I didn’t die. And then we started sharing toothpaste! I know! Then we bought a house with two bathrooms, but one sink in the master, and while we’d LOVE to re-do our bathroom (with a 2-sink vanity), it’s FINE the way it is now, and we’d be wasting money since there is a larger remodel and/or re-build down the road, at which point we will have 2 sinks again. And the guest bath will have two sinks, because growing up, I think my sister and I would have had fewer fights if we’d had our own bathroom sinks…

      Otherwise…pretty much everything put pooping is ok in our house in front of each other…it’s still a little “weird” when we fart in front of each other, but I’d rather do that than have gas pains! Ok! TMI! (Seriously, though, WHAT about brushing teeth together is gross?)

    • We only have one tiny bathroom for all of us, so a double vanity would be awesome. Although we had one once and we both used the same sink. Less cleaning! And yes, #2 gets to be done in private but everything else is pretty much out in the open. Especially for me because NO ONE ever lets me have alone time in the bathroom. If I shower when the baby is awake, Chris will bring her to the bathroom and play peekaboo with me when I shower. Sacrilege!

    • We have two and a half bathrooms. The half is in the baby’s room, so doesn’t get used for much except sloshing out nasty diapers. Which leaves one upstairs, and one downstairs. So the upstairs bathroom is used by me, my husband, my mother-in-law, and our three-year-old. My husband and I brush our teeth together. I had no idea that could be considered gross. No on any toilet business with company, however. The biggest downer in our situation is sharing the upstairs bathroom with my MiL, who is incredibly messy and cluttered and it DRIVES ME CRAZY to be tripping over her shoes and books and shit (not, uh, literal shit, however) all the time.

      But at least we can shower downstairs while she uses the bath (only a bath tub, no shower) upstairs, so there’s some separation. And I’m sure she’s not exactly enthused about sharing a bathroom with three other people, one of whom is still mastering peeing standing up.

    • I have to fess up to the fact that when we last moved, I insisted on having at least 1 and 1/2 bathrooms. Because – and here’s the TMI – when you gotta go, YOU GOTTA GO. And if someone else is enjoying a half-hour of reading time in the john and you have IBS, trust: another toilet is a very, very desirable thing. And lo, we found a place with one large bathroom (sink, toilet, tub/shower) and one small one (toilet, shower – no sink.) But god bless having two toilets.

      We have a pedestal sink that I HATE: a) no storage, b) no counter space, c) no access to the goddamned U-joint or whatever it is. If you drop your ring down the drain or get a clog, you’re dropping cash on a plumber, no choice. But double sinks? I mean, sure, but money’s too tight to mention, so let’s not mention it.

      Toothbrushing: sure. (Doesn’t anyone remember Mad About You, where she spits toothpaste on the back of his neck in the opening sequence? Marital hilarity!)
      Burping: lustily
      Farting: no, except in cases of IBS that require immediate relief
      Tweezing: depends on what’s being tweezed, indeed
      Peeing/pooping: no, except with our 4yo son, who is just starting to let me have some privacy once in a while
      Barfing: I can barely talk about it, I’m a recovering emetophobe. So please lord no.

    • We have 2.5 bathrooms for a four-person family. I share the main with our two little girls, my husband uses the tiny ensuite for himself, and the guest bathroom is on the main floor. It’s not a big house — 1200 sq. ft. — and we are not rich, but I wouldn’t buy a house with fewer bathrooms than this. I LOVE that my husband and I don’t share; he scrubs his own toilet, and I never have to deal with his hair or nail clippings or whatever. I have no problem sharing with the girls (5 and 3), though I imagine that’ll get annoying when they’re teenagers. We plan to develop the basement with bedrooms and another bathroom for them when the time comes. The guest bathroom is just convenient. People don’t have to feel awkward by poking around upstairs for the right door, and it’s always clean!

      It actually makes me really uncomfortable as a guest is someone’s home to use their one and only bathroom. It is such a personal space, moreso to me than a bedroom. I don’t really like knowing if they leave the seat up when they flush (toilet water sprays 6 ft in all directions!), and you never know how long it’s been since they changed the hand towels. And ugh, what if THEIR toothpaste is still in the sink?

      Obviously, I am a bit of a neat freak. :)

    • Don’t hate me, but we have 3 bathrooms and are 2 people (so far – baby coming in August!). (I obviously can’t talk about anything without mentioning the kid).
      Anyway, our bedrooms are all upstairs, so there is a main upstairs bathroom and an ensuite with the double vanity. And then downstairs is our main living area so there is a bathroom downstairs too. Truthfully, I love the double vanity. Would never go back to a single sink to share with my husband. We are often getting ready for bed/work at the same time, and it’s so nice to just not be in each others way. Luckily, the toilet has its own water closet in the ensuite, because we just don’t do certain things in front of each other! Nail clipping, burping, farting is all fine in front of each other in our house, but anything toilet related – NO.

    • “Or does it sometimes feel like you have two because you’re a giant ass?” Oh my gosh YES! I was laughing very loudly at this one. I would love a double vanity in the master bathroom but we have more bathrooms than people (!) so I shall not complain. Also, despite having more than one bathroom, which means I could easily go to a different room to brush my teeth if I was grossed out by sharing that hygienic requirement {which I am so not}, I never do. Mostly because I don’t want to clean more sinks.

      Speaking of sinks- I loathe pedestal sinks for all the reasons you mentioned and also I think their ugly. Sorry HH ‘stars’ but you are WRONG on this one. So many people on HH drive me bananas but I really don’t get the pedestal sink obsession. There have been times where I am in a 1/2 bath as a guest and the damn sink is so small I knock the soap off the ledge. Why in the world would you have one if it could be avoided?

    • Double vanities are a must for us. I care about little else in the house, but I must have my own sink. I like my own space in the bathroom. That being said, yes, we do brush our teeth together. Also: tweeze, clip nails, share the same tube of toothpaste, etc. I guess we’re “gross”! I never really thought it was strange.

    • Ours are pretty much exactly the same. I will just add flossing: preferably no, especially when my husband is doing it because he kind of *pops* the floss out from between his teeth and it makes me gag.

      As for number of bathrooms–we have 2.5 for 4 people, but until a few months ago we had 1 for 3 people. And whenever we had guests it was bad news, especially since the only overnight guests we had liked to take looooong baths and shave every day and all this time-consuming stuff when I needed to PEE. Now we could all potentially be peeing at the same time in separate toilets and it’s lovely.

      My one exception to your rules is that one time, my husband and I (uh, pre-kids, pre-marriage in fact) had been out drinking. When we woke up, he needed to go to the bathroom and I needed to puke. I couldn’t find a trash can in our hotel room so I had to run in and do it in the sink while he was on the can. Not a proud moment, especially since the sink wouldn’t drain and he had to CLEAN IT OUT for me. That is true love, right there.

    • We have 1 and a half bathrooms. I don’t really care about the double vanity, but I think having two full baths would be great, bc no matter how many times I school my kids on bathroom etiquette, they are just gross. My husband also has ulcerative colitis, so we’d be in trouble with only one toilet. I imagine as the kids get older, having only one shower is going to be a problem, too. I like to be by myself for any bathroom-related events, including brushing my teeth. I don’t think it’s gross, I’d just prefer my space. HH cracks me up when they have fits about wall colors. Isn’t it just a given that you need to paint when you move into a new house. I have a purple bathroom and a green kitchen. I can’t imagine everyone would like that, but we do.

    • I can understand the desire for double sinks in the master but it would be on my “nice to have” list not my “deal-breakers” list. We have 2 full baths upstairs and I use the 2nd one while my husband uses the master. Mainly because I hate the shower in the master but thats honestly just a convenient excuse because I really hate sharing a bathroom with someone else. I have had to do it in the past; all during childhood and for certain places I lived with my first husband and it was awful (and perhaps a contributing factor to that divorce – ha, j/k). Whiskers in the sink gross me out and the HAIR, my god, the HAIR on the floor! Why do men shed body hair like dogs? Makes me gag. I am not a fan of the open-door bathroom policy but I don’t think people who don’t mind are gross or anything like that; its just not for me.
      I also agree with your plea for folks to stop climbing in people’s tubs! I am always thinking, dude- no shoes in the tub!!!
      Thanks for the laugh – this entire post was hysterical!

    • I have to admit, if I can have 2 bathrooms for the rest of time, I will. It’s not a total deal breaker, but MAN does it make life nicer.

      Also, double vanity–yes, please. We currently have one sink in a space for a double vanity, and the counter space alone is a marriage saver at times. And pedestal sinks? NO NO NO. I’ve lived w/bathrooms w/no storage, and no. No.

      (also, I am the burper in the family. My husband just…doesn’t. I do…with gusto. Cmon, sometimes nothing feels better than a big burp.) The rest of my list is similar to yours, though I would really prefer to never barf in front of anyone. Ever.

    • Pedestal sinks are good for the teensy tiny powder room that really should have been the closet by the front door.

      I would LOVE to have two sinks in our master bath! Nothing like have to share the same space with someone who is trying to wash his glasses or shave while I am trying to brush my teeth or put on moisturizer.

    • Oh, House Hunters. I love it so much. I think my biggest pet peeve about the home owners (besides all the entertaining people imagine themselves doing) are the early 20-somethings who will not settle for anything less than granite, stainless steel (fingerprints! just wait till they have children) and 3,000 sq ft. I am soon to be 35 and I only got a dishwasher for the first time in my life 3 yrs ago. I also hate it when there is a large, walk-in closet and someone jokes that it’s enough room for the wife, but where will the husband put his things, har har.

      As for double sinks: would be nice but not necessary. We do brush teeth at the same time, but we manage with one. Peeing in with the other in the room is okay, pooping is not. Try not to fart, burping is okay. Pimples no, nail clipping yes.

    Have at it!

    Subscribe without commenting