Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Attention single women! Does your prospective pass The Toilet Bowl Test?

I bet when you saw the title of this post you were hoping against hope you had found the holy grail of housekeeping: How to get your man to improve his aim or, at least, not drip on the floor. Alas, nothing can help that. But I do offer The Toilet Bowl Test.

When I was single, I heard countless stories from female friends about husbands who don't do housework. I decided then the make or break point in household cooperation was bathroom cleaning. So I created The Toilet Bowl Test. To pass it, the person in question has to clean the toilet without being asked, and without comment or complaint. I vowed to never marry a man who could not pass it.

I started dating a guy from Sweden. Since he lived there and I lived in the United States, we didn’t spend a lot of time together and communicated through letters and phone calls. (No internet in those days!) One time, he came to visit over Christmas.

We had been busy all week and had not spent much time at home. It was now New Year’s Eve and I had friends coming for dinner. There was a lot to do, including cooking and cleaning. I didn’t have time to do it all.

This posed a problem. He was my guest, and I don’t usually ask guests to help with housework! On the other hand, since we didn’t see each other often, everything in our relationship was accelerated. My dilemma: Do I treat him like a guest to show good manners, or do I treat him like family and ask for help?

I mustered my courage and explained the situation. I gave him a choice of starting dinner or cleaning the bathroom. He chose the bathroom. I showed him the cleaning supplies and, without a word, he set to work.

A few minutes later I checked on him and found him kneeling in front of the toilet wiping its base. I asked if everything was okay. He said “Fine” and continued working – no wise cracks, no smart remarks, no complaining. That’s when I decided “This one’s a keeper!”

Twenty years and two children later, he still cleans the bathrooms.

I once told a friend about The Toilet Bowl Test and bragged about my good fortune. She listened, then smiled, “But does he polish the chrome?”

She does know men!


  1. You were smarter than me. Mine didnt (and still doesnt) pass the toilet bowl test. I never gave one - probably shoulda. He doesnt do chrome either. sigh...

  2. That was an interesting conundrum you faced (guest v. family) and your sweetie’s response was admirable.

    I learned long ago that it was easier to choose from a list of chores than to play rock-paper-scissors for the “worst” jobs. (It doesn’t help that my wife kicks butt in rock-paper-scissors!) But along the way, I've also learned that our temperaments and skills cross traditional gender lines anyway, and I truly enjoy being the Laundry & Grocery Guy.

    Pat (SPA!)

  3. "But along the way, I've also learned that our temperaments and skills cross traditional gender lines anyway" - kinda works that way for us, too.
    The problem with a list is who gets to choose first!


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