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On Telling People I Share a Bathroom with Five Women

So, I just started grad school. I live in a dorm-like situation and share a bathroom and a large kitchen with five other female grad students. The thing is, every time I tell someone this, the reaction is pretty ridiculous.

“SIX girls? ONE bathroom? That must be AWFUL.”

Actually, it’s not that bad and that’s what I tell them, but no one seems capable of believing that. Their outrage goes on and on and on, even though I tell them that we have rules about bathroom use, people have been very considerate, and that I hardly even notice that I’m sharing my bathroom with so many people since we all have such different schedules.

At this point, they still don’t believe me! So I try to go into more technical details, such as the fact that the toilet and sink is in a separate room from the shower and more sinks, which gives us plenty of sink space and we have built-in shelves for products, etc. BUT NO, most people are still shocked and appalled. What do they imagine happens, anyway? We become rabid with anger from hair spray fumes and turn on another female that enters our beautifying territory? Is it really so hard for people to imagine that a bunch of women can think straight about being considerate around each other in a space that is dedicated to the oppressive amounts of grooming society says we have to subject ourselves to? Apparently, yes. That is really hard for people to imagine.

When my male friends who are in the same living situation in the same dorm tell someone about sharing a bathroom with five guys, the other person usually asks if it gets gross or if it’s tough to share a bathroom with so many people. They back off if they’re told that it’s not so bad. I have never seen such a prolonged and resilient outrage and questioning being directed at the men.

So at this point, when I can tell this conversation is about to happen yet again, I’m basically like this on the inside:

A gif from The Office.

5 replies on “On Telling People I Share a Bathroom with Five Women”

I don’t get the whole “Ladies spend soooo much time in the bathroom making pretties” thing myself. Other than showering and teeth caring for, I do the vast majority of my prettifying (which google spell check recognizes as a word what) in my living room or bedroom. It just seems like a waste to do it in my bathroom, and a pain in the butt- It’s easier for me to multitask prettifying with email or show watching than standing leaning over my sink.

Ah yes, because all women spend hours primping in front of the mirror every day… I’ve never had trouble sharing a bathroom but only because I never lived with anyone whose schedule clashed with mine. I’m the kind of person who only leaves exactly the right amount of time to get out for work in the morning so delays are Not Acceptable :) Currently I’m staying in my mother’s house by myself so I have two bathrooms for just me, which seems quite self-indulgent.

Speaking of which, I’m with you on the classism thing. I recently called someone out for being massively snobby that someone we were visiting didn’t have a guest bathroom. Excuse you.

My main problem is sharing kitchens, though. I mean I’ll do it because I have to, but it drives me insane. I read those passive-aggressive post-it notes you see posted online and I’m all ‘Yes! This!’. I may have a problem…

I hear ya. I shared a bathroom with 5 other woman during my senior year of undergrad. One sink. One toliet. One shower. One room.

It killed any sense of modesty I had left, but it also really wasn’t that bad. We were all great friends (and still are) so we made it work…like most humans do when they’re put in a less than ideal situation.

I may be wrong, but I really believe that many of these reactions are coming from a place of sexism and, to a lesser extent, classism. As you covered well, obviously women cannot share a space dedicated to grooming ourselves without it becoming some Lord of the Flies type of situation. Haha. And, having grown up poor, I’ve shared a single bathroom with a LOT more than five people at a time, most of whom were women in fact. That may be the case for many people who grew up poor as well. Anyway, this made me chuckle. Thanks for sharing.

I completely agree on the classist undertones! Not having to share a living space is a luxury, but people also forget that sharing a living space doesn’t have to be so bad. On top of the classism, people think that women can’t handle emotions and that they spend all day grooming. You put those things together, and I end up in this same conversation all the time. Thanks for reading!

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