The “his and her” sinks in the master bathroom mock me. Actually, it’s only one — the one that would belong to her — if there was a “her” of the house.
When we moved into our new home in December, it didn’t occur to me that a bathroom with double sinks could cause such an annoyance. But it has. The sinks are about as subtle as a divorce decree taped to the mirror.
For no real reason in particular (or so I thought), I chose not to use both sinks, though they were both perfectly available for use. I chose instead to stick with the sink on the right: “his.” And I abandoned the one on the left: “hers.” I told myself this was to avoid needing to clean both sinks. Why dirty them both when I can keep the mess to one? But I’m beginning to believe something deeper has been ingrained in me from my years as a married man.
You see, I once lived with an identical bathroom arrangement — and it was clear that even though there are two sinks built into the counter, under no circumstances do you cross over to use the opposing sink. A man might make a mess, you see? A man should never defile a sink kept spotless by the lady of the house.
Of course, I am distorting reality a bit there — but that’s how it felt at times. My previous experience with double sinks has created an interesting and unintentional dynamic now during uses of my new bathroom. The master bath has been reduced to half its size. And the “hers” sink has mysteriously tapped into my psyche.
When I brush my teeth before bed, “her” sink grins at me. I see it from the corner of my eye. The sensual porcelain lips curled low and plump under the metallic nose and eyes of the faucet. I can almost hear it mocking me.
“This bathroom was meant for two,” it seems to say. “You see the jacuzzi tub? Same story. So … wheeere’s your other half???”
First, I should say I am in no hurry to fill the void of a lady in my life, especially not to rescue me from the self-imposed paranoia derived from the bathroom set up. I’m perfectly content living on my own. I have done so for more than four years now. Our first home after the divorce was a townhouse in the complexes behind the Price Chopper in Gardner, Kan. Yes, it was a glorious as it sounds. I survived that with the only real threat being the loneliness that came when it was not my weeknights or weekends with the kids.
I then bought a modest house in a semi-notorious neighborhood in our town to be a few blocks away from where my children split time with their mom. We found the neighborhood to be perfectly cozy, and a tad on the boring side. When we finally became content there, of course I found another house (even closer to the kids) that I had to put an offer on right away.
And now we’re here, in nicer living arrangements, with more space inside and out for the kids to play, and a large, spacious master bedroom and adjoining bathroom … meant for two … married people.
No one would ever agree that someone with the physical characteristics I have could ever be discriminated against, but that’s the feeling I have with these accommodations. I feel unworthy to have all this to myself when it was specifically designed for a couple. When the children aren’t here, that feeling is even stronger. This is too much house for someone like myself, who sticks to one room — his bedroom — and maybe the kitchen for days on end when there aren’t children to entice him to explore the other rooms.
I am learning to live with it, though. Tonight, for example, I was again brushing my teeth before bed. I spit into my sink. The “his” sink. I turned on the faucet to wash the toothpaste down, and while I was raising back up to keep brushing, I caught a glimpse of the “her” sink again. This time, it said nothing, and rather nodded in acknowledgement that I knew my place. I shouldn’t spit at her unless I wanted an argument.
As a once married man, I know better than to speak up about something so trivial. The master of the house can’t win an argument when his wife refuses to recognize his authority.