I was at my boyfriend's house helping him hang curtains in his daughter's bedroom. The curtains were going up in place of the lovely bedsheets that had been hanging in the windows. I was happy to see the change; however, I was unaware of something hanging in his house that was even worse than bedsheets on the windows. In the master bathroom--HIS bathroom--there was a filmy, pastel, floral shower curtain. I turned to K and said, "I LOVE your shower curtain." Without even blinking he answered, "Yeah? Me too." RIGHT!
This shower curtain was the last in a long line of neglected remants that had survived his divorce. In the living room there were empty picture hangers left on the wall above the fireplace; the labels his wife had needed to know which switch did what were all over the house, the turquoise blue she had painted the entire house still glared from the walls. I was overcome with a compulsion to exorcise the ghost of marriage past. I was not threatened by or jealous of these remnants, I just didn't understand why a single, attractive, seemingly well-adjusted man would choose to shower each day behind rows of bright flowers when no woman was requiring him to do so.
"You have to get a new shower curtain," I said. "I will not come into this bathroom until there is a different shower curtain."
I didn't mean for it to be an ultimatum, but in retrospect, I think it was. I proceeded to continue my tirade; citing the picture hangers, labels, and blue walls--not to mention the wonderful fireplace that he has NEVER ONCE USED in the six years he has lived in the house (the majority of those without the wife). I had to wonder what his previous girlfriends had thought. Did they say something about it? Did they just ignore it? Why was there still a flowered shower curtain hanging in this man's bathroom?
I was obsessed. Over the next few days I checked out shower curtains wherever I could: Target, Smith's Marketplace, Ikea. I asked my daughters and friends for their input on the manliness quotient of each one. I debated actually buying a few and taking them over--letting him pick the one he liked best, but a part of me thought that might come off as creepy. As my obsession continued I began to wonder if I was the one with the problem. Maybe it didn't matter if he liked to shower behind a girly swath of fabric. Maybe I really did feel threatened and/or jealous. Perhaps I should take back my comments and just let it go. Then, like Spiderman swinging in on his web, K saved me from having to admit anything: he bought a new shower curtain. It was a map of the world, and it was the most beautiful, manly thing I had ever seen in a bathroom. Granted, it wasn't even close to any of the shower curtains I would have chosen, but I think that is, after all, the whole point.