Thursday, May 08, 2008

Where you draw the line

If I am close to you, I am remarkably share-y. What's mine is yours, pretty much. But I think everyone has their lines.

I haven't shared gum since high school, and now the idea makes me throw up a little in my mouth, but I'm fairly cavalier about germs. I use the 5- or even 10-second rule for things that fall on the floor. I have bought food from street vendors in all kinds of places. The kinds of places where you are likely to wind up with parasites.

On a side bar, my current boss is a serious germaphobe. She talks about it very candidly. She bought a new fridge because she couldn't stand the idea that the previous owners of their house had stuck their heads in the fridge at some point.

When she says things like this, I like to mention that by contrast, I grew up doing things like licking the walls in Bangladesh. Which draws a visceral reaction every time.

So anyway, the lines you draw may be arbitrary, but they're still your lines.

I reached toward the toothbrush holder for my toothbrush the other morning and it wasn't there. Because it was in Nick's mouth.

He'd left his in the shower, and as we were in a hurry, he'd grabbed the one in the holder. Which was mine.

And I did a little squirmy icky dance and got all, "That's mine! MY toothbrush!"

The sharing of a toothbrush is something I'm rather opposed to and, it turns out, something Nick is fairly casual about.

His argument is that we could not be closer, and that toothbrush sharing between us is not actually all that intimate in comparison to so many other things.

My take, however, is that nothing compares to scraping bacteria off your teeth. And my toothbrush is mine, and his is his. And the twain shouldn't really overlap.

I asked my friends in the Quangle (which is next to the Quad). What if their boyfriend or husband used their toothbrush? They were horr-i-fied.

One said she'd throw the toothbrush out. Another said she'd probably use it again but only after running it under very hot water. The third wasn't sure between the two.

Bob, who overheard the entire exchange, was more interested in the shower aspect of the entire thing. I tried to get him back on the toothbrush sharing, to get a guy's perspective, but that wasn't the part that got him.

He was all, "Why? Why would you do it in the shower?"


  1. I love love love to brush in the shower. But I have five toothbrushes, one for each and every possible toothbrushing need. Shower, sink, purse, car, office. I love to brush. And I DO NOT love to share toothbrushes.

  2. This made me giggle. Nick loves it as well. I don't understand the shower brushing at all.

  3. Yes! The shower brushing is baffling!

    Though, here's my thing. I hate brushing in the shower, because I like my showers HOT. Toothpaste is minty, and psychosomatically lowers the temperature of my shower.

    Guys prefer cooler showers than women, in general. One wonders if the two phenomena are related.

    Look, if the powers that be wanted us to brush in the shower, they would have made shower tootbrush holders, and caddies with space for toothpaste. That's all I have to say about that.

  4. My line has moved. I used to think sharing a toothbrush is gross, but now, it happens on occassion out of conveinance. I brush too hard and the bristles get squishy so I use Luke's with straight bristles. Usually I'm the one who uses Luke's brush.

  5. Growing up, we had a coffee cup in the bathroom, filled with toothbrushes. You basically used whichever one was dry that morning - because, once it was dry, it was no longer gross.

  6. Growing up, we had a coffee cup in the bathroom, filled with toothbrushes. You basically used whichever one was dry that morning - because, once it was dry, it was no longer gross.

  7. i'm with Bob. i don't get it. i've known a few people (all male) who have insisted on this action, and they use convenience as the excuse. to me it's gross.

    and i'd be throwing my toothbrush away. i can't let that slide.

  8. I can be pretty casual about things, but toothbrush sharing? No. Well, maybe if I were on a deserted island somewhere, but generally no.

    But then, I won't drink after my kids but I will kiss my cats on the lips.

    It's pretty arbitrary, isn't it?

  9. I DO NOT share toothbrushes. I'm absolutely not germaphobic at all, in fact I'm sort of the opposite, but the scraping of the bacteria? and then sharing it? No thank you.

    This post made me a little queasy, that's how much I do not share toothbrushes. I would buy a new one ASAP. Ick.

  10. um, brushing in the shower saves time. you turn on the water, start to bruch, get in, enjoy the hot water while brushing, and then rinse. It's two fold, because you know you would waste at least 30 seconds just enjoying the hot water when you first get so why not brush?

    it's really efficient.

  11. Dagny - Not surprisingly, we have this in common. I like my showers practically scalding - too hot for any man I've ever dated. I hadn't thought about the minty coolness - for me it's more, what's the point? As for the toothbrush shower caddies, I bet someone has made one. I might google that, actually.

    HKW - Interesting. You're the first woman I've heard with that perspective since I started this conversation last week.

    FreckledK - I could see that, especially for kids.

    Notsojenny - I don't think it's gross, fortunately, but I SO don't get it.

    TBFKaDCup - OK, that is super arbitrary. I'll share sips with anyone but wouldn't kiss a cat in a million years, even if I weren't allergic.

    Nicole - Eee. Sorry to make you all queasy.

  12. Slightly Disorganized - I hadn't thought about the water aspect. That helps me!

  13. my husband brushes his teeth in the shower as well. i have no idea why and have never really gotten it either. he says it saves him time so whatever. but the thought of his toothbrush in the shower (because he leaves it there) definitely skeeves me out.

    but that worm post- fascinating stuff! to read of course. i'd probably die if i had to twist a worm coming out of my body around a stick to pull it out.

  14. I have to say i've never understand the brushing the teeth in the shower thing...but i'm all for sharing a toothbrush, doesnt mother me at all. which, kidna sounds gross?

  15. So, I also brush in the shower but when I am finishes brushing, I throw the brush into the sink across the room. Leftover germs strewn on the whole bathroom floor I guess, but it saves time, water, I love it.

  16. I saw D.L. Hughley a few months ago and he did a bit about sharing toothbrushes.

    I was disgusted by the thought until he brought up this very interesting point: If you're dating someone, if you're in a serious relationship with them, just think of all the places your mouth has been...

    And while it was a bit, um, of a vivid picture, you have to admit that the man did have a point.

    That said, I still don't think I'd want to share a brush.

  17. MrsMac - I have a lower threshold for the toothbrush in the shower, particularly because Nick keeps his shower cleaner than mine ever was. As for Guinea worm - you're safe in Switzerland!

    Chelsea Talks Smack - It's gross to me, but I don't care if other people do it.

    Anonymous - Whoever you are, I love this. I love that you chuck your toothbrush across the room when you're done in the shower.

    East Coast Teacher - This is exactly what Nick says! And I still contend that no matter where your mouth has been, it doesn't compare to the scraping of tooth bacteria.

  18. The thought of sharing - no. Sorry, not going to happen. Except for the aforementioned desert island scenario, of course. And when I shower, shampoo and conditioner goes flying everywhere, so assuming the toothbrush were kept in the shower caddy, wouldn't it end up tasting like hair product? Ick.

    Lisa - I have to ask. Could you please provide more detail on the Bangladeshi wall licking incident? Because for the life of me, I can't think of a reason to do so, and that means the story must be a good one!!

  19. had to comment on this one! I too am guilty of brushing my teeth in the shower. To me its an efficiency thing. It saves water, time, and it gives me something to do while enjoying that extra minute or two of warm water before I step out of the shower.

  20. I think I'm with #2 in that I would run it under very hot water and maybe dip it in a cup of Listerine. While bodily fluids may be being exchanged regularly, I don't want my hubby to be scraping his onion-scented tongue with my brush. I love him, but that's the line.

  21. It's like sharing underwear. Yeah, all his parts have met your parts and shared fluids and all, but it's still not a pretty thought. Sorry to gross anyone out, but the point had to be made.

  22. I brush my teeth in the shower all the time. It's a multi-tasking thing. Shampoo with one hand, brush with the other.

    I look at a toothbrush as something whose usage has to be casually monitored for replacement purposes, so I don't want it being used without my knowing.

    My wife, on the other hand, just thinks sharing a toothbrush is kind of gross.


  23. I brush my teeth in the shower as well - multi-tasking at its best.

    Thinking about it, I'm okay with the idea of using someone else's toothbrush, but it really does skeeve me out to think offering my toothbrush to someone else. Strange.


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