Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Tonight husband is watching Once Upon a Time in Mexico. It has Johnny Depp in it, so I am not complaining.
Husband says: "Wifey, I am sorry, but I would"- (talking about Salma Hayek of course, not Johnny Depp) and I nod in appreciation. Oh, and William Defoe is in it too- this movie is exciting on so many levels.
This might seem like a bizarre topic for a blog. But then again, you know me by now. I like bizarre topics.
During my (younger and fitter) years I was a member of the university dancing group.
We would occasionally get invited to visit international youth festivals hosted by other universities abroad but our uni of course, could not afford to send us in style.
So, our very first trip to Turkey had to be in a bus, via Georgia, for about 2 days. The Soviet Union had just collapsed and it was a dodgy time to be traveling across the neighboring borders in anything other than a tank. But we were young and brave, and eager for adventure.
In the end, my worst memory of that long journey was not the fact that we had to be escorted to the Turkish border in the pitch black of the night by a convoy of two Georgian police cars (one in the front of the bus and one behind) And not the suspicious guerrilla types with Kalashnikovs who stopped our bus in the middle of nowhere to check who we were…..But the toilet experience.
I remember us taking a toilet break somewhere between Azerbaijan and Georgia. Please don’t test my geography here- I have not got a clue where we were, or whose territory (technically) that was. It was a wooden cabin in the middle of nowhere. Holding my breath, I glanced inside and ran right out. My brain was telling my body I had to consider using the facility while I had a chance. My body said: No, thank you. I am fine, honestly.
My dislike of public toilets goes back to the nursery summer camp when I was about five years old. A few days after my parents had dropped me off, they received a phone call. I would not do a poo in the camp toilet. It was one of those Asian style toilets- the squat type, with no toilet seat and a big open hole where, if you looked down, you could see stuff no civilized human being should ever get to see.
The Soviet teachers tried everything. They threatened me with an enema (quite commonly used on constipated children back home, which still horrifies my husband) but- nope, no poo. My parents had to take me home.
But it is not just the dislike of the filthy public loos that is the issue for me. I have always had this worry of needing to go to the toilet somewhere else but my own house. I do not like to do it anywhere where other people might suspect what I am up to.
Which creates a lot of uncomfortable situations in life. A weekend away with a new boyfriend, for example. Hotel rooms have bathrooms separated from the room by a flimsy little door and a very thin partition. Not my idea of a romantic atmosphere.
Or the western house layouts.
Back home in my Baku flat we had a corridor leading into a bathroom lobby, where another door was separating toilet from the bathroom. So if you were in there, you could enjoy some proper privacy.
In the UK, it is pretty normal to have one or more bathrooms upstairs, one of which is normally on suite of the master bedroom. Sometimes, it has a proper door. Sometimes- a symbolic folding type, which does not close properly. And a friend of mine bought a house in the states, where there was no door at all between their master bedroom and the toilet. I mean-no door at all????
So we were discussing whether it is a cultural attribute, or more of a personal choice and attitude towards bodily functions. Is it a sign of intimacy soooo advanced that it is just beyond my grasp? Does it depend on how long you have been together? Do you reach the stage where you are happily brushing your teeth whilst your partner is on the toilet?
If that is sign of a healthy relationship, then I am in trouble. But also lucky that even though we were brought up in such different cultures, I had never had to explain certain personal boundaries to my husband.