Rick's Space

A Not So Private Place

I’m not that fussy. I can remember camping out for a week in the woods. No problem — real men relish the chance to become one with nature and blend into God’s natural landscape.

I am, of course, lying. I did go camping for a week with the guys once. By the third day I was hitching four miles every morning to the old Esso station to get a little private seat time.

Times change. As we enjoyed Memorial Day weekend with our guests, imagine the pride I felt when I reflected on the days when we had only a single bathroom in the entire house.

How successful we are! How lucky to have three bathrooms for times like this, when it’s rainy outside and your guests are stuck inside.

The following is a true story. The names have been changed for obvious reasons.

All I ask when guests come is a bathroom to call my own. My regular, go-to bathroom is in the guest suite. No, it is not a suite. That’s real estate lingo. It is a room with a bathroom attached to it. It is, in today’s parlance, a junior suite. Since I am the only one to use it, I resent the name. I’m no junior.

The bath is fully equipped with comic books, sports magazines, and shaving junk, the kind the real, hairy men need to have on display near the sink. Full sized men like myself.

(The truth is I never use the stuff because I am not really hairy, though I am extremely virile. I just leave the stuff out there for moments like these, when guests arrive and see the bathroom for the first time.)

So, when the couple moved in for the long weekend, I realized that it would be awkward for me to be in there shaving when they woke up in the morning.

No problem. There’s a bathroom in the hallway. Designers now call them powder rooms. The only time I have ever used powder in my life is when I wore diapers, so the name strikes me as dumb. And since I stopped using diapers when I was 25, I haven’t used powder or the bathroom much. (Oh wait, I did have a rash a few years back, but never mind about that.)

Then, the guy in the junior suite came out of the room carrying a newspaper and went into, you guessed it, the powder room, and stayed there for a good half hour. I was livid as I contemplated the indignity of it all. Finally, I pulled Karen aside: “What is he doing in the powder room?” I demanded.

“I’ll give you two guesses,” she said dryly.

“What am I going to do?”

“I’m sure he’ll be out soon, dear, there’s nothing to read in there.”

“I’m going to use the upstair’s bath,” I declared. That’s when the harsh realities of my life kicked in. “Oh no you’re not! That’s MY bathroom!” Karen said authoritatively.

How did it come to this? How could a hairy man like myself, with special deodorant needs and protection problems, not have a fully equipped bathroom for himself? What if I want to read a magazine?

Luckily, cabin fever got the best of them and they decided to take a ride downtown. I waited until the car pulled out and when the coast was clear, I tiptoed into the junior suite to my go-to bathroom. OMG! All the man was stuff was gone. The shaving creams. The Old Spice. More of the Old Spice. Old Spice Lime, which they don’t even make anymore. Mousse. No, check that, men don’t use mousse. Even my 007 cologne was missing.

A pair of female tights was draped over the shower curtain, along with an aqua blue nightie. A couple of crumbled towels were on the side of the tub. I relaxed and opened one of my Fantasy Football magazines when I heard the front door open. They were home! Apparently, she had to use the bathroom!

I scurried to make myself presentable but the tights and nightie fell on my head before I could get my trousers up. The bathroom door flew open and the woman started hysterically screaming, “Oh my God! Oh my God!” Her husband ran in. “What the hell!” Then, Karen peeked in over his shoulder. “Rick, what are you doing under those tights?” she demanded.

“Meditating?” I answered meekly.

Next year I don’t think they’ll be coming back. “Maybe you can go camping,” Karen suggested.