Dear Miss White,
My roommate and I share a bathroom, and we both wake up at the same time for work. We alternate who showers first, which has worked for us. But for the past few weeks, on the mornings when I shower first, he’s been taking a shit right before I hop in. I tried getting over it, but it’s pretty obvious so I can’t. And I tried waking up even earlier, but then he seems to beat me to the bathroom, too. I understand a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, but his timing is just not right. I wake up pretty early as it is, so just setting the alarm for another 5 or 10 minutes earlier isn’t really an option. How can I address this (very awkward) situation?
I don’t know you but I already feel close to you. I think it’s because I too know the stress that comes along with communal bathroom living. Who doesn’t? Liars, maybe. The truth is, no one warned us about the drama and distress attached to sharing a bathroom with our peers (thanks for the heads up mom and dad!).
It can make even the most level-headed young professionals feel vulnerable, over-exposed. Simply helpless. The good news is these feelings are completely normal, so let’s just go ahead and embrace/accept them right now so that we can ditch them later.
I’ve deducted that you are indeed a dude, correct? Well, being a lady, I can offer you a glimpse into our world for a minute, with the hope that you’ll take away a few of our strategic bathroom tricks.
Now I must say, women get one hell of a horrible wrap for our hygiene habits. An unfair one I might add. I mean, do clumps of our beautiful hair end up clogging our shower drains? Sure. Do we forget to turn off our curling/straightening irons? Sometimes. Do we make you late as shit to events and take none of the blame? It’s not my fault! Point is, looking pretty comes at a price, capish?
Despite our momentary bathroom mishaps, there are a few non-negotiable pieces of bathroom etiquette by which most ladies abide. For instance, we like to keep things fresh. The bathroom is a sacred place, a safe harbor if you will. And I for one have never allowed even the most filthy, inconsiderate of guests (neanderthal-like man-friends of past roommates, I’m looking at you) prevent me from maintaining a flowery-fresh, non-confrontational bathroom environment.
Don’t you think you’d be a lot less annoyed at your roomie if he was doing damage control in real time? So that perhaps by the time you’re ready to hop in the shower, the bathroom has already been neutralized in a way that allows you to easily forget about what just went down . If you set him up for success, I bet you a bowl of potpourri he’ll meet you halfway on this.
So with that, I offer you my list of bathroom survival tips and tricks, helping to prevent awkward moments and HAZMAT environments since my junior year of college. It’s tried and true and now…it’s all yours:
• Crack a window. Try leaving it open at night so that there’s plenty of ventilation going on in prep for the morning, if you catch my drift.
• Burn a candle. If you don’t already have one or two, go out a get a few. Pick something with a nice scent and light that bad boy up!
• Display a flower, or nine. I know this tactic is slightly girly, but surely your manhood won’t be completely demolished by placing a few flowers on the bathroom counter. Not only will this help to cancel out your roommate’s early morning activities, it will impress your lady visitors, I’m tellin’ you!
• Light a match. This option is a) low budget b) discreet c) so simple! Make sure they’re in an easily accessible spot too.
If you commit to this list, I feel like you, your roommate and your bathroom have a bright future ahead. And if this preventative yet slightly passive aggressive list of measures doesn’t work out, I think you may have to bite the bullet and let your roommate in on your dilemma. Being direct with people, ESPECIALLY your roommates, is typically the most well received and respected method of communication. So if my list of boy scout-esque preparedness doesn’t do the trick, I recommend following the latter approach. Though I have this gut feeling that a quick run to CVS and a little bathroom accessorizing will go a LONG way.
Good luck BB, you’ve got this.
You can read more of Stephanie’s wonderful writing at White Out.