“I’ll help you fold the laundry – just let me use the restroom first.”
These words send a shiver of annoyance and fear down my spine. On the surface, it seems like a very innocuous – even helpful – statement. But I know that there are several of you who understand how loaded these words are (no pun intended – I swear).
You see, my husband means to be helpful. The sentiment is there – but the reality? Well, thirty minutes pass as the load of laundry is folded and put away … and he’s still in the restroom.
Why, please someone tell me why, does it take men 30+ minutes to use the bathroom?
But like, seriously. Why? At first I was concerned that this was a health issue. I mean surely spending more than 30 minutes in the bathroom cannot be a sign of a healthy system. But the way he swaggers out cool as a cucumber, clearly this is not the case. Spending a half an hour on the toilet is enough time to make your insides go completely outside. And yet … he seems perfectly fine.
I ask him, “oh – are you alright? Does your tummy hurt?” He looks nonplussed as he answers, “No, why?” WHY? Why? Because you have literally spent nearly HALF A MOVIE’S length of time on the toilet.
His timing is also very convenient and thus suspect.
While he has plenty of time to use the restroom, he always seems to need to go urgently right when I or the kids need something. His go-to line, “Yes – just let me use the restroom first.” And that particular phrasing makes it impossible for me to argue or say no. He is agreeable and on the surface this seems like a very reasonable request. It’s one of our more basic needs. He’s not asking for the moon – he just wants to potty.
And yet …
It does not escape me that his time in the bathroom increased and directly correlated to the following things:
- The invention of the smartphone
- The rise of social media platforms
- The number of children we have
Oh, yeah. I’ve done the math.
In fact, during the course of our marriage, I think it would be a conservative estimate to say that he has spent half a year sitting on the toilet. The majority of that time likely accumulated after 2012 when our first child was born.
But it’s the bathroom. Where do we go from here?
I can’t stop him from using the restroom. And I’m sure as heck not going to start reminding him to go like one of our kids so we don’t bump into a need to go right when one of us requests his assistance.
One friend suggested a squatty potty. This seems like a great idea – I was prepared to get one for every toilet in the house. But then another friend burst my bubble when she said she tried that and no dice. If anything, it may make him more comfortable. That is not the game we are playing here, my friends.
And speaking of comfort – I once tried to give him a taste of his own medicine. I went to the restroom and made a concerted effort to spend as much time as possible in there for a “break.”
Yes – sitting on a toilet alone feels like a luxury that I fear I may never be able to afford.
In fact, I can’t. I couldn’t even last 5 solid minutes. My bottom fell asleep and I got insanely bored – even with my phone.
Another friend suggested cutting off the internet after a certain amount of time. This can probably work for many of you – but unfortunately, he’s outsmarted me on this one because we have unlimited data on our phones.
Ultimately, in the grand scheme of life, this prolonged trip to the bathroom doesn’t really bother me. It is definitely annoying when you have small kids that need things constantly – and right when you need your partner the most, they disappear for an inordinate amount of time. And it continues to mystify me every time it happens – what are you doing in there? What can possibly take so long? Why does every single dad I know do this?
And the worst part? I know I’ll never get an answer. And maybe I’m not supposed to. Maybe this is one of those “the less you know, the better” type things that keeps the mystery alive in a marriage.