My bathroom privacy..gone forever?
November 30, 2005 7:40 AM   Subscribe

Bathroom privacy when door policy?

My wife of 5 years insists that I should get over myself and let her brush her teeth while I go to the bathroom. I insist that she keep the door closed while she is in there to prevent me intruding (though she doesn't see it as an intrusion, but a normal aspect of cohabitation).

While I'm rational enough to understand that everyone 'goes', I like to keep certain things private, fearing a complete lack of personal boundaries will somehow detract from intamacy elsewhere.

What's the norm here? Should I just get over it (if so, how?) or should I still try and enforce this last final boundary? How do we reach a middle ground here?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (67 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is one of those crazy things where everyone is different and I can't figure out why- who would be OK with someone watching them pee?? My best friend is an "open door" girl; I'm a "closed door" girl. So, she teases me, and I shut the door if I walk by and she's in.

I don't know exactly how one gets over it- practice? Start small by leaving the door cracked?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:50 AM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]

I don't think that's something you have to get over. Tell her to go away and make you breakfast.
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:55 AM on November 30, 2005

I agree with ThePinkSuperhero. It's just personal comfortability. I'm of the "closed door" variety and my bf is of the "open door" sort. I, too, am rational enough to understand that everyone has to go. So I don't mind if he pees while I brush my teeth, or if he doesn't shut the door when he's in there.

But I also keep that boundary for my own self and kick him out when it's my turn to go. Hasn't been 5 years for us, but so far so good (he does get to tease me about it, though).
posted by tentacle at 7:56 AM on November 30, 2005

It's very simple really:
#1 = Door Open
#2 = Door Closed
posted by JeffK at 7:57 AM on November 30, 2005

Ditto JeffK - and also only with my spouse, not with any old friend or family.
posted by Chunder at 8:00 AM on November 30, 2005

This is definitely one of those things where "it depends" is the only answer.

I really don't care if someone is in the same room when I pee. I don't see why I would. They aren't "watching" me; they're just there to continue the conversation or because they have something to do or whatever. Personally, I would be kind of hurt if my intimate were to insist *I* close the door, because it would make me feel like they thought I was disgusting. I have no idea if your wife would share that feeling.

On a more practical level, I would only care that you insisted I couldn't enter if there were only one bathroom and I was in a rush. Or if you insisted I hurry my bath/shower because you had to pee and I couldn't be there. Because then something I consider a total weirdness would be making my life harder. Then again, other people compromise more than I do.

As for the question of intimacy, I don't see how this would make life less intimate elsewhere. I mean, you've been married five years; it doesn't seem likely that you aern't beyond intimate with her body. I understand the notion that things revealed can be hotter when somethings are still hidden, but this doesn't seem like a case of that.

How you go about changing it, I have no idea. I come from an open-door house, so it was always this way.
posted by dame at 8:01 AM on November 30, 2005

I don't think there's anything irrational about wanting some privacy. I've noticed a lot of men, myself included, enjoy the brief moment of calm and alone-ness on the toilet... sort of a hillbilly meditation technique.

Maybe you need another half bath?
posted by selfnoise at 8:02 AM on November 30, 2005

here we keep the door closed, but not locked, and don't complain if the other person walks in.
posted by andrew cooke at 8:10 AM on November 30, 2005

It's clearly going to smell less in the rest of the house if the door is closed during these activities.

There's a reason the bathroom door has a *LOCK* on it -- the designers expected it's a door that will be closed almost all of the time, and that some people may want even more privacy than that.

There's no reason she can't intrude on you using the bathroom to clean her teeth (if she can get over the stench!) But it should be like intruding, ie: she has to open the door.

A policy like this also means that when you have company your wife won't accidentally forget she needs to close the door and scare the living shit out of them.

If you can't get agreement on this, try this: Does she want you to leave the toilet seat a certain way? Almost surely. Well, the bathroom door is *your* toilet seat, an "irrational" thing you want a certain way, which you should have your way in the interest of sharing.
posted by shepd at 8:12 AM on November 30, 2005

Our bathroom is an open floor plan for sinks/vanity and shower, but the throne itself is enclosed separately. We keep the door closed not so much for privacy but for my wife's high standards for air purity.

On preview: what JeffK said.
posted by mikewas at 8:13 AM on November 30, 2005

Why the hell would someone want to hang out with someone who's excreting, anyway? And why doesn't she know that your right to privacy trumps her need for forced, weird intimacy?

closed door 4 lyfe
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:14 AM on November 30, 2005

Closed-door here, by mutual agreement. Peeing while other is the shower is totally okay, though.
posted by desuetude at 8:16 AM on November 30, 2005

JeffK's solution is the one we use in our household.
posted by terrapin at 8:22 AM on November 30, 2005

My familly is very opendoor-y. I even remember one time when, one after the other, we came in the bathroom for one reason or another, while one of my borther was #2'ing, and chatted just as if we were in the living room. Granted, my brothers and I were around 16/18, but still.

Today, we have separated toilet/bathroom with my g/f, but I wouldn't want to come in while she's in. I think I think of us as more private. Go figure. Where is Freud when you need him ?
posted by XiBe at 8:26 AM on November 30, 2005

I've established a personal rule. #2 is personal time. No work/school related thoughts are allowed, and it is a Zen-like time. This was established after reading an article about a MMORPG gamer that died on the toilet after a marathon session. If my body wants me to leave whatever I'm doing behind, I'm going to allow it a signal: the need to go #2.

By being closed door, you're just looking out for your safety.

(Am I the only one who misread deseutude's post as "Peeing *in* the shower is totally okay, though." and did a double take?)
posted by adamwolf at 8:27 AM on November 30, 2005

Open door? No. Never.
posted by cribcage at 8:30 AM on November 30, 2005

I'm with the group here, #2 time is private time. #1 time is no problem, I still at least pull the door closed on my way for a #1 (too many nightmares of my father leaving the door open).
posted by Pollomacho at 8:31 AM on November 30, 2005

Believe it or not, we talked about this a while back.

adamwolf writes "(Am I the only one who misread deseutude's post as 'Peeing *in* the shower is totally okay, though.' and did a double take?)"

And peeing in the shower is okay (it's sterile!).
posted by fionab at 8:33 AM on November 30, 2005

With previous girlfriends (and the current one), the women have always wanted an open-door policy while I find it generally weird. When I'm pinching off a loaf, generally *I* don't even want to be around that smell, so I can't imagine that anyone else would appreciate being privy (pun intended) to it. However, it's not a case where I *can't* go if someone else is in the room... I don't suffer from a shy bladder or anything like that, so as long as she can deal with it, so can I. I prefer not to be in the same room while she's dropping some kids at the pool though, because I *don't* appreciate the smell. :)

This leads me to another question... farting in a relationship: how do you know when the right time arrives to fart in front of your S/O? My girlfriend and I are totally past that stage, to the point where it's a "Hun, come and smell this, omg!" kinda thing... but I understand that some people would never fart in front of their s/o, EVER.
posted by antifuse at 8:34 AM on November 30, 2005

Interestingly enough, our bathroom door doesn't even have a lock on it! That being said, I don't care if my boyfriend/best friend is in the room or if the door is open while I'm peeing. It annoys the hell out of him though, and he always closes the door when he's in there and sometimes will mention that it annoys him when I leave the door open.

We haven't really reached a consensus on it... I do my thing, he does his.
posted by booknerd at 8:35 AM on November 30, 2005

Open door for all but #2 and that's my b'friend's caveat, not mine. I grew up in a house without locks on the bathroom doors, so bathroom privacy isn't something I think about much. We close/lock the door if other people are in the house just because I know other people have different levels of decorum. Plus if we leave the door open my slightly-deaf landlady who we live with may walk in and not notice we're there brushing teeth until she's got her drawers down. Then again I pee in the shower.
posted by jessamyn at 8:37 AM on November 30, 2005

antifuse - the great askme farting thread
posted by andrew cooke at 8:37 AM on November 30, 2005

How to get over it? Have kids.
I'm sort of joking here, but really, I'm not.

1) You won't have bathroom privacy for years. Kids don't know and don't care about the boundaries, and anyway, it's hard to potty train if they've no example shown to follow.
2) Once you see your partner give birth/once you give birth in front of your partner, peeing and pooping is no big deal. (In fact, it's normal to poop while working on pushing the baby out, so that'd give you quite a view of it; it's not like you SEE someone poop while they're on the toilet.)
3) Cleaning poop off baby butts all day, well, here again, at least you don't SEE someone's poop coming out when they use the toilet, nor do you have to help them poop or help them wipe it off.

If it really bugs you, I find lack of eye contact helps. I mean, if she's brushing her teeth, she's focusing on her own thing, not watching you, after all. Sharing the bathroom during pooping kinda squicks me, more for the smell and the straining, but I wouldn't bar the door over it. I just insist on no lingering, or, if you really HAVE to and the bath is in use, pulling the curtain to and turning the fart fan on.

I'd love a bathroom with the potty in a separate closed-door area, but that's more for the ick of flushing leaving a fine spray on your toothbrush. Yick. Closed lid, always.
posted by Melinika at 8:38 AM on November 30, 2005

antifuse, that's been asked before, too.
posted by amarynth at 8:38 AM on November 30, 2005

Heh. Weird how it's the girls here that are more comfortable. My girlfriend's the opposite, and I've worn her down over the years through my awesome lack of concern. I drop the deuce on my own, and I leave her to her business, but I don't mind carrying on a conversation. I'm like LBJ! Pissing? Well, if that's your problem, mate, I advise you to relax...
posted by klangklangston at 8:44 AM on November 30, 2005

Kinda of off topic but relevant, I think. How many 'open door' people came from large families? I adhere to a strict closed door rule at all times, except if I'm brushing my teeth or shaving or something like that. I'm also an only child. When I think about it, the most open door people I've known have come from families of 3 kids or more. Anyone else see the same pattern?
posted by Kronoss at 8:48 AM on November 30, 2005

With JeffK here, and Melinka. We generally keep the door closed for #2, though with kids even that rule is sometimes broken
posted by poppo at 8:53 AM on November 30, 2005

Okay, that wasn't off topic. I meant to say tangentical, if that makes sense.
posted by Kronoss at 8:53 AM on November 30, 2005

How to get over it? Have kids.

That's the damn truth.

I've actually always been open door, and maybe this is a corollary to Kronoss's theory of Big Family Openness--I grew up with only my mother and sister. Single gender households definitely have an altered set of privacy mores.
posted by padraigin at 8:53 AM on November 30, 2005

I come from a family of five kids, and my alone time in the bathroom is sacrosanct. That goes for peeing and pooping, both. I haven't gone to the bathroom in the same room as another person since I learned to wipe myself.

Some of this may be because I'm the only girl, and was surrounded by boys. My brothers seemed to bond over bodily functions, whereas I treasured my privacy.

I'm so uptight about this that when my boyfriend came into the bathroom soon after we moved in together, I clenched up and stopped peeing and couldn't bring myself to talk until he left. He used to be a little more free about his own functions, but I guess my uptightness rubbed off on him. We still pee in the toilet while the other is in the shower, though.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:54 AM on November 30, 2005

Re: the size of families and the open door policy...

I am an only child, and my family (ie, parents + me) was 100% open door the whole time I lived at home.

Somewhere around the time I left for college, I decided that open door was not my game, and I've been closed door (for myself -- I don't mind other people's open-doorness) ever since.
posted by tentacle at 8:57 AM on November 30, 2005

Jeffk nailed it. If anyone insists they be in the same room while you're dropping the kids off at the pool, I say that's grounds for instant annulment. One key to a successful marriage is respecting one another's shame.

Now, taking a pee, that ain't no thing.
posted by xmutex at 9:05 AM on November 30, 2005

I can't imagine telling my husband he had to change his bathroom habits for me, or having to change mine for him. The preferences of the person on the toilet wins: she should respect your need for privacy, and you have to ignore her open door.

The bathroom is entirely sacred in my house. We might both use the mirror at the same time, and the animals respect no door or preference, but we don't bother each other on the toilet and in the shower. I'm an only child, he's an only son, it's how we grew up and how we prefer to take care of our business. We even use air freshener, and I still don't think we're losing out on any intimacy.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:08 AM on November 30, 2005

Anonymous: Your wife should get over it, not you. If you feel intruded upon, she should respect that and wait five minutes to brush her teeth, or brush them elsewhere.

I grew up with three brothers, but our house was totally closed-door. I had this issue with an ex-GF, who totally didn't get the closed-door thing. She actually felt it was romantic and cute to watch me pee! That freaked me out. There were a LOT of boundary issues in that relationship.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 9:15 AM on November 30, 2005

If the door has lock, use it.

There's nothing, NOTHING, for you to get over. This is how you like things done and she should respect your privacy.

But is that the real problem or are you worried/scared about giving up a personal boundary? Specifically are you holding back something just to hold it back because of concertns of high levels of intimacy?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:20 AM on November 30, 2005

Also, and this doesn't speak to bathroom privacy per se, but bathroom habits in general... I grew up in an old house with low water pressure and I live in one now. If anyone pees while anyone is in the shower, everyone else has to not flush or use the water in the house or the drop in cold water pressure will scald the person in the shower. I'm only adding this because if you came to my house and heard me saying "Stay the hell out of the bathroom while I'm in the shower!" to my roomates, you might think I meant one thing when I meant another.

Also, I agree with everyone else that you're entitled, on my planet, to have the level of privacy you are comfortable with in the bathroom. However, it's also good to have a real world reality check if there are extenating circumstances [both need to get ready for work at the same time, g'friend has teeny bladder and you are a bathroom hog etc] and something has to give.
posted by jessamyn at 9:54 AM on November 30, 2005

I was a closed door and my wife was an open door, she won and now I don't really care either way so much.

But I think I know where you're coming from. It sort of dispells the magic if you hear and see your better half grunting one out while you're brushing your teeth.

If I make it clear that I want some privacy then I'm all but guaranteed to get everyone in the bathroom with me, wife, baby and dog.
posted by fenriq at 10:00 AM on November 30, 2005

It cracks me up that the consensus of the parents of the group is 'have kids, you'll get over it'. Part of the reason I'm so insistent on having privacy in the bathroom is that for years I had a kid who wouldn't let me go in peace.

Now that I have the option, it's closed door all the way baby.

What's interesting about anonymous' problem is - why is this suddenly a problem after 5 years? If I was having this difficulty in a long-term relationship, I'd start asking questions there and see where it leads.

Good luck - FWIW, I think this sort of compromise needs to favor the person with the greater need for privacy.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:03 AM on November 30, 2005

Closed door when anyone else is home, otherwise open door. The only person (?) allowed in while I'm using the toliet is my dog, and I figure hell, I watch her use the bathroom every day, I shouldn't mind if she wants to intrude on my time.
posted by KirTakat at 10:15 AM on November 30, 2005

I think its all about what you're comfortable with.

I'd add a corollary to Kronoss' tangent. I would be more inclined to believe that it has more to do with number of bathrooms in the house while growing up than number of people in the house. I had a marginally bigger family than my wife (3 kids vs 2) but I was a complete closed-door person no matter what kind of business I'm doing and she's the one who doesn't care. I grew up in a house that 2.5 bathrooms (a "throne" on its own in the basement with a curtain around it) so there was no real need for more than one person to be in there at a time. My wife only had one throne-room for 4 people.

Funny side story(maybe): we have a cat that likes to join us in the bathroom. I tend to leave the door cracked just a little. The cat will push the door wide open on her way into the room to visit me. That actually helped cure some of me hang-up (I still prefer it closed but don't throw a fit if its not).
posted by srw12 at 10:21 AM on November 30, 2005

My wife and I have discussed this a bunch. We have a closed door policy. We think this behavior stems from the gender of you siblings growing up. Same sex siblings = open door policy. We tested this theory on friends and it's held true so far.
posted by rschroed at 10:29 AM on November 30, 2005

We were closed door growing up because of the gag-potential of gaseous emissions. Best to let the anemic fan try its hardest.

My wife and I are OK with peeing, but pooping we don't really do in front of eath other. It's also nice to give your partner at least a heads up when you come in while s/he's in the shower. In some places I've lived we'd also warn of impending flush.
posted by plinth at 10:30 AM on November 30, 2005

Space Kitty, I meant more in the sense of getting used to the idea, not so much LIKING the idea, heh heh.

Also, point being that when you have kids with your cohabiting partner, A View to a Pee sinks a fair bit lower on the list of "intimacy detractors". It's hardly a "last final boundary" as the questioner states.
posted by Melinika at 10:31 AM on November 30, 2005

I also follow the JeffK rules.

Oddly, I don't mind peeing with the door open when my girlfriend's around, and I don't mind peeing with the door open at my best friend's house, but I close the door when my girlfriend and I are at his house or he's at our house.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:45 AM on November 30, 2005

Now they're "the JeffK rules"? I don't think I want crapper rules named after me!
posted by JeffK at 10:56 AM on November 30, 2005

Personally, I think peeing in the shower is okay too, but I only do it when I'm alone in the shower.

And I totally take the blame for a very misreadable comment. I misread it myself while re-scrolling through this thread.
posted by desuetude at 11:11 AM on November 30, 2005

Open door, always, for everything. I don't like feeling all closed up in there, I worry that I'll miss out on something fun happening in the rest of the house.

Drives the gf a bit crazy, esp. during particularly odorous sessions.

She does not share my enthusiasm for open door bathroom use.
posted by davey_darling at 11:41 AM on November 30, 2005

Hm. After 8 years of dating and 7 of marriage the only rule my wife and I have is that you don't wipe in front of each other. With a single bathroom there just isn't a lot else you can do. We somehow silently agreed that this was the line we would not cross.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:42 AM on November 30, 2005

(Plus the cats get really freaked out when we close the door - they think they can go anywhere in the house and are damn confused when they find out they can't get in to see what we are up to.)
posted by caution live frogs at 11:43 AM on November 30, 2005

MetaFilter: hillbilly meditation
posted by hardcode at 11:44 AM on November 30, 2005

I don't feel strongly about this one way or the other, but I've had boyfriends at both extremes.

One guy barged in on me while I was peeing, fairly early in the relationship, and said "I'm invading your personal space!" Another guy treated the entire bathroom as private and sacrosanct to the point that he wouldn't even talk through the door. Most have been somewhere in between. It's all been okay with me.

I think this is just one of those domestic preferences that can take some negotiating. If I were in your situation and looking for middle ground, I'd probably argue that the first person in the space should set the door policy. (When you go to the bathroom, shut the door since that's your preference, but don't insist that she do the same when she's in there.)
posted by tangerine at 11:46 AM on November 30, 2005

Both respect the most comfortable denominator of each. If both are comfortable with it open, cool. If one wants it closed in whatever situation, both respect it in that situation. Duh.
posted by mumeishi at 12:13 PM on November 30, 2005

I can't imagine telling my husband he had to change his bathroom habits for me, or having to change mine for him. The preferences of the person on the toilet wins: she should respect your need for privacy, and you have to ignore her open door. -Lyn Never

Jeffk nailed it. If anyone insists they be in the same room while you're dropping the kids off at the pool, I say that's grounds for instant annulment. One key to a successful marriage is respecting one another's shame. - xmutex

This is exactly what I was going to say. Intimacy isn't magically conferred simply by being forcibly present for another's bodily functions. It's great she's so open about herself, but there is nothing for you to "get over" because everyone has certain things they just prefer certain ways, and since having the room to yourself doesn't hurt anyone in the slightest she should be able to respect your wishes.

The idea of whom ever gets there first sets the rules is perfect, because unless you're going for ill-timed marathons there can't possibly be anything so urgent she can't wait 5 minutes to brush her teeth. Similarly, you can quietly skoot by when she leaves the door open.

FWIW, I'm a gal with one close-in-age sister and one much-younger brother. We (my parents included) thought nothing of using the facilities while someone else was in the shower, but I would never dream of going with someone brushing their teeth next to me, much less with the door wide open.

For me, it's respectful to not share my waste expenditure exercises with the people I love. I don't know what higher levels of couplehood intimacy are beyond "Shared Pooping" but I'm honestly okay never finding out.
posted by nelleish at 12:17 PM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]

I also follow JeffK's Rules of Order.
posted by I Love Tacos at 12:25 PM on November 30, 2005

You people who take shits in front of your girlfriends actually take shits in front of your girlfriends? That's insanity.
posted by jon_kill at 12:51 PM on November 30, 2005

Peeing I don't much care but definately door closed for #2. The last girl I dated didn't even want me in the room next to the bathroom when she pooed.
posted by 6550 at 12:54 PM on November 30, 2005

I follow the JeffK rules, but I have a question about shower use. So I think most people agree that it's okay to piss in the shower, but what if you're not the only one in the shower? What if you're not in the shower but someone else is? What if you've been eating asparagus?
posted by The Monkey at 1:14 PM on November 30, 2005

I also think it's interesting that ladies seem to be the ones more comfortable. Men are the ones who pee next to each other in public bathrooms, and shared common showers in locker rooms and such.

I agree with Lyn that the person using the toilet should choose. You both kind of need to get over it. She should understand if you want to keep it closed, and you shouldn't care much if she doesn't. If you're in there, and she knocks, it's up to you to decide what to do. As long as you're both reasonable people, she'll understand.

I don't know how to say this right, but what's private to you is fine, but it doesn't have to be private to everyone FROM you as well. For instance, if I'm not feeling like I want to share details about my sex life, it still won't really bother me if a friend wants to tell me hers. You know? And the opposite is also true.
posted by lampoil at 1:24 PM on November 30, 2005

Girl here, and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD I don't want to see anyone take a shit on the toilet! Ever. And I don't want anyone to see me doing the same. Never, never, never. Jesus.

As for peeing... well, it's okay I guess, if it's someone I've been close with for awhile, and if there's some truly pressing necessity for us to be in the bathroom together. So a long-term significant other or my sister or a close friend can walk in on me while I'm peeing if their contacts are falling out or something. But under normal circumstances, I can wait the 30 seconds to let them pee before I come in to brush my teeth, and I figure they can do the same for me.

If I'm going to get in the shower, I'll ask my roommate or my boyfriend if they need to use the bathroom before I shower (and they both do the same for me). I'm certainly less bothered in general by someone walking in to pee while I'm in the shower, though I'd prefer that they didn't. Similarly, I wouldn't walk into the bathroom to pee if someone else was in the shower unless it was an "I gotta pee right this minute or my bladder is going to explode" moment.

As for peeing in the shower: I have no problem whatsoever, as long as we're not in the shower together. (Unless it's also an urgent, potential bladder-splosion situation.)
posted by scody at 1:39 PM on November 30, 2005

Married almost five years, and the only time we are both in the bathroom while one is using the toilet is if the other is in the shower and it's a potty emergency. In which case the urinator announces their intention and waits for an okay before proceeding.

I wouldn't mind him seeing me urinate, but he minds. And he minds if I see him urinate. And the pooping is never, ever to be shared.
posted by rhapsodie at 2:07 PM on November 30, 2005

I'm thinking it would be interesting to cross reference the Sex whilst on her period answers with these.
posted by Chuckles at 2:12 PM on November 30, 2005

Another follower of JeffK rules.

Peeing in the shower is just fine (as long as you aren't aiming it into the corner or the ceiling where it's not going to get rinsed away).

But, really, this is between you and your SO. If you don't feel comfortable about it, tell her - although if you do you can probably expect to be mocked.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 2:14 PM on November 30, 2005

Agreed - it's between the two of you. I am a closed-door person, although in our house it's not so much an issue because the toilet is separate to the bathroom. I have lived in homes where they were all in one, though, and I'd still be closed-door no matter what - it would disturb me if someone wanted to come in while I was on the loo. I think I got it from the fact that when I was an adolescent, my mother was always coming into the bathroom to use the toilet while I was showering or in the bath. At that age you're a bit fussy about your privacy.

The thing that really bugs me is that sometimes visitors to my home don't close the door when they are in the toilet! An ex-friend's husband always did this and it drove me nuts. I don't want to be faced with the sight, sound and possibly smell of someone's excretion when I'm walking down the hall in my own home. Surely there's some kind of basic visitor etiquette that should come into play here?
posted by andraste at 2:33 PM on November 30, 2005

I wouldn't care if we both peed in the shower, but I'm not yearning so much for a couples-pee that I feel the need to bring it up spontaneously. How would that go? Me: "Hey, SO, you know, you can pee here if you like." Him: "Um, thanks. [pause] But I don't have to go right now. [pause] Anyway...yes, the water is hot enough?"

Strangely, I'm otherwise somewhat pee-shy.
posted by desuetude at 5:31 PM on November 30, 2005

Your wife should respect your desire for privacy. Marriage is about sharing and compromise but in those areas where there is no special need for compromise, none should be expected. If you feel the need for privacy in the bathroom it should be granted for the simple reason that it's absolutley no skin off your wife's nose to grant you it.

If she persists in expecting to ride roughshod over your sensibilities I'd ask her directly: "Why are you trying to make my personal preference seem prudish? Why are you trying to make me feel small when my preference doesn't inconvenience you in any significant measure? What is that about, exactly? Do we have a problem here?"

That oughta do it.
posted by Decani at 7:46 PM on November 30, 2005

My wife & I have an open door policy - when we need privacy we just ask for it, and we respect each other's wishes. The only time I crave such privacy, as previously noted, is for the meditative twos.

I don't understand your argument in the initial post, though - this particular personal boundary has absolutely nothing to do with the, intimate stuff, you dig?
posted by sluggo at 8:15 PM on November 30, 2005

I'd say Steve nailed it in the BBC series "Coupling":

[Susan has removed the lock from the bathroom door, and doesn't understand why Steve is so upset about it]
Susan: Men and toilets, the love that dare not speak its name. What's that about?

Steve: [slams hand down] We are men! Throughout history, we have always needed, in times of difficulty, to retreat to our caves. It so happens that in this modern age, our caves are fully plumbed. The toilet is, for us, the last bastion, the final refuge, the last few square feet of man-space left to us! Somewhere to sit, something to read, something to do, and who gives a damn about the smell? Because that, for us, is happiness. Because we are *men.* We are different. We have only one word for soap. We do not own candles. We have never seen anything of any value in a craft shop. We do not own magazines fill of pictures of celebrities with all their clothes *on*. When we have conversations, we actually take it in turns to talk! But we have not yet reached that level of earth-shattering boredom and inhuman despair that we would have a haircut *recreationally*. We don't know how to get excited about... really, *really* boring things, like ornaments, bath oil, the countryside, vases, small churches. I mean, we do not even know what, *what* in the name of God's *ass* is the purpose of pot-pourri! Looks like breakfast, smells like your auntie! Why do we need that? So please, in this strange and frightening world, allow us one last place to call our own. This toilet, this blessed pot, this... fortress of solitude. You girls, you may go to the bathroom in groups of two or more. Yet we do not pass comment. We do not make judgment. That is your choice. But we men will always walk the toilet mile... alone.
[audience applauds]

Susan: Would you like me to put the lock back on the toilet door, dear?
Steve: Would you mind?
Susan: You should have asked.
posted by Akeem at 3:38 AM on December 1, 2005 [2 favorites]

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