You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat their pets. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat their subordinates. Personally speaking, you can also tell a lot about a person's nature if you pay particular attention to their bathroom etiquette.
I don't mean hygiene habits, though god knows you can tell an awful lot about a person based upon those. I mean things like how considerate they are of others if the bathroom is shared, and so on.
The bathroom has become a much-loved place over the last three years. I’ve discovered wonderful, relaxing, sensory pleasures. Bubble baths, fizzes, soaks, milks, powder, grains, soaps — you name it. And oh! The delicious scents that emanate from a bathroom after such things are employed! Vanilla, jasmine, chamomile, lavender, honey, angelica, rose petals, milk powder — they not only do things for the nose, but also for one's well-being.
Before I started dabbling in bath luxuries, my use of the bathroom was strictly practical. Make sure those pigtails are symmetrical, and that school tie knotted properly. I often joked that my brother was plenty vain enough for the two of us. He’d spent a good deal of the last thirteen or so years preening in front of the mirror. One has to look good for one’s public, after all!
In the golden age of our bathroom's fascist regime, coinciding with that damn nuisance called puberty, we could call my brother the dictator. He would completely lose it over important issues such as toilet paper, as one does.
What the hell? He would accuse me of leaving only enough paper on the roll to avoid changing it for a new one. Or of forgetting to replace a used-up roll (which only happened when I was in a rush!) and – my personal favourite — going ballistic over the paper hanging down too low for when he was standing up.
And I thought I was a nutjob.
Thankfully, Il Duce’s reign chez moi passed quickly (thank you, end of teenagehood). Zip ten years forward, almost to the present day. A certain famous Marxist spectre began to haunt our bathroom.
One might recall the previous mention of my brother making fun of my love for all things stereotypically girlie, and of my recent bathroom splurging habits as a recent development. One thing I would like to point out is that, while I might spend more than one should on these silly things, I am also willing to share them.
My brother, who works full time, isn’t the most generous of folk. Well, unless you beg. Ironically, he was much more generous when he was unemployed. Perhaps now he feels the world owes him something because he's a working man (more like a chav in a business suit, says I).
Not all of my indulgences are exclusively for females. I was pleased to note that upon visiting a male friend's bedsit a while back, said friend had a jar of Aesop body moisturiser. Ooh! Same brand as my night cream. It was this very night cream my brother and I were sharing. It ain't cheap, but it's bloody good stuff, so I fork out willingly.
Naturally, the jar emptied at a considerably quicker rate than when I was the sole user. So I very tentatively suggested we go halves on the cost of the next jar:
ME (very timidly): Uh, I was wondering…would you mind going halves on the next jar of the Aesop moisturiser? I mean, it's not cheap and, um, seeing as we're both using it…
HIM (in grunt-like fashion): Oh well, I suppose I'll have to, won't I?
(Which really sounded like: Uh-wol-ahs'pose-I-ah-to, wooo-I? Sorry, I don't understand 'grunt' all that fluently, I doubt many of you will either.)
In classic passive-aggressive 'I-think-you're-a-selfish-bastard' mentality, I removed the products I'd been so willing to share and put them on my shelf space in the bathroom cupboard. You might be thinking "what an immature cow!" but please note I’d been choosing to ignore the fact he was consuming, at a somewhat colossal rate, one of my favourite shower gels. He used up more of my Lush 'Flying Fox' than I did! Sob. It’s not quite as dear as the facial moisturiser, so I hadn't minded as much.
But the money wasn't the only issue here, it was more the distinct lack of consideration. A part of me feels he should be moved to contribute towards the cost of something jointly consumed, but apparently not. My mother suggested I order him to cough up, but that would be very mean-spirited, even for me.
There are other things that really piss me off about his bathroom etiquette. The list is extensive, and I’ve confirmed with third parties that some of it is just plain disgusting. But I can happily ignore those as long as he doesn’t start using up my lovely stuff. Until he’s willing to chip in, my stuff stays on my shelf.
So apparently, the bathroom is now in a 'user pays' zone. How wonderfully capitalist of us. Rather sad, but, alas, very much reflecting the state of the developed world.