Hubby Dale and a guy friend sat on their boat knocking down a few beers and whiled away a lazy afternoon by listing body “ations”—urination, expectoration, perspiration, etc. I tried, but failed, to imagine doing the same with a girlfriend. We would identify the three most important “ations”—exfoliation, ovulation and menstruation, three these two geniuses missed—and then go shoe shopping.
Like it or not, “ations” are part of life. When you’re cheek by jowl it’s impossible to pretend, as you do in those early getting-to-know-each-other days, that you’re the only person on the planet who doesn’t experience them. At some point, one or the other of you will fart, belch, or leave the bathroom in need of fumigation. One bit of relaxed behavior leads to another and before you know it, you’re sharing—perhaps over-sharing—all those “ations.”
It’s not fair to stereotype but it seems to me that most guys never quite get over their middle-school fascination with body functions, especially flatulation and eructation (belching). There’s even a certain pride that some men take in “ations” as if the louder the belch or the more pungent the flatulence, the more manly they are. I. Do. Not. Get. It.
Okay, I admit it. I sometimes see the humor. Dale and I were at a Wednesday afternoon matinee, the favorite showing for folks from the retirement community. During a quiet moment Dale coughed so hard he ripped one. A really loud one. The elderly woman in front of Dale reached up and patted her head as if she feared the blast had dislodged her wig. We could not stop laughing and had to leave.
Then there’s grooming. In a perfect world, we’d all wake up as they do in the soaps—perfect hair, perfect make-up, no morning breath. You wouldn’t need to floss or brush your teeth, clip your toenails, exfoliate, mud pack, shave, or file your calluses. It’s soooooooooo not a perfect world.
I think most body functions and grooming should be done behind closed doors. Dale is more relaxed. I’m convinced he’d never seek privacy but for the fact that he reads on the john and doesn’t want to be disturbed. Oddly, the one thing that grosses him out is watching me put my contacts on. You may consider that as weird as I do, but it does demonstrate an important point. When it comes to body functions and grooming, it’s a good idea to know when you’re crossing your sweetie’s “that’s disgusting” line. We all have our quirks. Kathy is grossed out by teeth flossing, Elijah by ear wax on Q-Tips. I need complete privacy to groom my feet. Nail clippings make Rebecca want to hurl. Respect your sweetheart’s quirks and avoid the gross out.
It may be impossible to maintain the same level of propriety you would around a total stranger, but remember this: In an intimate relationship, there are times when less is more.