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Over or Under (part 1)

November 3, 2010

Every couple who joins their lives in marriage must work out how to compromise on certain living conditions. The first issue in my marriage that ended in compromise is something I should have seen coming because it actually started before we were even engaged.

When we were dating, my boyfriend at the time had just closed on the purchase of his first home. I went with him to do the first walk-through as a new homeowner. He took with him paper towels, cleaning supplies and the most important and as it turns out controversial item…..a roll of toilet paper. We walked through the starter home, he admiring his purchase, me picturing myself living there if he would actually propose to me in the near future. I needed to use the facilities and since we were dating and I was purposely putting my best foot forward, I took the sole roll of toilet paper and excused myself.

Coming from a home where the roll was NEVER on the dispenser, but always somewhere in the bathroom, I thought I would make a good impression and put it on the dispenser, something I never did at home. We were getting ready to leave the starter home when he also used the facilities. He came out of the bathroom, stopped, looked at me and said, “I thought better of you than that.”

Somewhat uneasy, I replied, “What? What did I do?”

He sadly shook his head and said, “You put the toilet paper on backwards.”

Puzzled, I replied, “No I didn’t. I put it on the right way.”

“No,” he said, “it’s supposed to come off the front of the roll. You know, so you can have easy access to it.”

To which I said, “Oh no. It needs to come off the back because you need leverage for tearing action; otherwise, if you try to tear it, it just keeps rolling and rolling off of the front.”

Okay, so the issue was not severe enough for him to break up with me. Eventually he did propose, we did marry and as soon as the honeymoon was over, literally, we established one of our many household rules:

Rule #1—The person who finishes a roll of toilet paper gets to put the new roll on the dispenser any way they want. No one has the right to switch it…it must remain that way until the roll runs out.

Just last week, after 32 ½ years of marriage, I walked into the bathroom to find the roll not only on the dispenser the wrong way (you know, coming off the front of the roll), but the first sheet was also neatly folded to a point, as in hotel bathrooms. I chuckled because I know that was my husband’s non-verbal celebration that he got to put on the new roll his way.  I, too, take my opportunity to support my case whenever—on very rare occasions—my husband must ask through the door for me to hand him a roll of paper. I stand at the door with roll in hand and say, “Okay, I’ll give this to you, but you have to promise me you’ll put it on the right way.” His response is always, “Don’t worry; I will be sure to put it on the right way!” We laugh and tease each other about our differences, but I must admit, the best thing that has resulted from Rule #1 is that the paper always gets placed on the roll. Never again have I had to search the entire bathroom to find it. It may be put on the dispenser backwards…but at least it is on the dispenser.

~Terri

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