I have a pretty damn-near perfect marriage. I love my husband and he loves me. He is the one I think of when love songs are played on the radio. We still hold hands. I picture us growing old together. We feel like we’re part of a special love story…
Except every morning when I wake up my first thought about him is ‘lazy bastard’ because every morning without fail he chooses not to put the toilet paper on the actual holder. Instead he props it up on top of the holder, on top of the empty roll. It’s infuriating.
Each morning when I wake up the first thing I do I stumble to the toilet so I am starting every day with a negative thought about him. Why isn’t it on the holder? Why couldn’t he be bothered to do that for me? Is he that lazy? Am I asking too much? Is he in a rush? Is that what he thinks of me – I’m the toilet paper holder fixer and he’s just so busy and important that he can’t take half a second to do it himself????
Still, I shouldn’t complain. Until recently he didn’t bother to get a new roll at all. I can’t tell you how many times I went running for the toilet in the morning only to find no toilet paper. Legs clutched together I’d run to the cupboard, retrieve a roll and barely make it back to the toilet in time. This is when I’d ring him and the first conversation we’d have each day is me calling him an ‘inconsiderate prick’ for not replacing the toilet paper when he used the last of it and if he wasn’t going to replace the toilet paper he needn’t bother coming home!!!
He came home after the first of these early morning ear-bashings and we greeted each other hesitantly before laughing and kissing each other hello properly. I explained again why it was such a big issue for me. I explained that the first thing I do each morning is use the toilet and if there is no toilet paper or a roll haphazardly placed on top of the empty roll it makes me think he doesn’t care about me or my comfort, that he is lazy and selfish because he doesn’t think beyond his own needs and doesn’t consider the fact that the next person might need toilet paper or toilet paper on the roll for easy use.
He explained that he doesn’t think that far ahead, that the consequences of not putting the toilet roll on the actual holder doesn’t enter his head as he gets ready for work each day but now that he knows how important it is to me he’ll make more of an effort.
I know half of you are nodding vigorously right now and the other half (not married and still in the ‘my boyfriend always puts the toilet paper on the holder’ stage) are shaking their heads saying, ‘I’m never going to put up with that. My partner will be way more considerate than Jo’s husband.’ Or maybe you’re thinking, ‘So what Jo? He works full time so you don’t have to so if he forgets to put the toilet paper on the actual holder, just do it you whiny nag’.
To each of you I say there is a ‘toilet roll holder’ issue in each of your relationships. This is the one that annoys the hell out of me. Yours could be that your partner leaves toast crumbs all through the butter, or maybe he takes the washing down from the line but doesn’t fold it so it becomes all wrinkly. She might eat all the chocolate after you’ve gone to bed or fall asleep in front of the TV. Why can’t she just turn it off and come to bed like a normal woman? Must I shake her away, be snapped at and get her to bed every night?
And so the wheels of our relationships keep on turning. Now most days when I wake up with a fresh roll of toilet paper carefully and considerately placed on the toilet roll holder I think, ‘He loves me.’ It’s my first thought each day. Now I feel loved and in love until at least 10am when I discover he has eaten all the Ben and Jerry’s (all of it you greedy pig) or has pointedly ignored the rubbish bag I tied up and left at the front door so he could throw it out on his way to work. I’d do it myself but there is a mega-scary night time spider that now lives over our garbage bins from around 9pm each night.
I’ve always been told and I’ve always believed that it’s the little things that make a relationship work. Also, actions speak louder than words. I might be stretching to think that no toilet paper means ‘I don’t love you’ and new toilet paper means ‘See how much I love you?” But I believe it to be true.
Just like my eternal search for his favourite Yoplait full-fat Strawberry Yoghurt continues (why is it always sold out!) and why I make sure my children each have their favourite biscuits (Nice for Philip, Teddy Bears for Giovanni, Scotch Finger for Caterina). It’s how I say ‘I love you too.’ It’s how I say, ‘I think of you even when you’re not with me.’