Monday, September 12, 2005

Guilty Pleasures

I have to confess to a guilty secret pleasure. Two, in fact. It came about this past weekend, when Fran, Alex and I visited my Mom in Levack.

Confession number one: I’m a bathroom reader. I have been all of my life -- well, at least for as long as I could use a toilet and perhaps could read. There’s even a picture of me as a young boy, red of face (and likely with a red ring in a spot not visible in the picture from sitting there for half an hour), my pajama bottoms down around my ankles, a comic book splayed out in front of me. I’ve often wondered why my parents found it necessary to open the bathroom door and take a picture of me in that embarrassing setting -- but I wonder if it was to document a big part of my life -- after all, going to the bathroom wasn’t just about the natural bodily function for me. It was a big event, a time to read, a good chunk out of my day.

I blame my parents for this, naturally. When I was potty training, they often sat me down in the potty in front of Mr. Dressup. So from my very first post-diaper pooping experience, I was already hard-wired to equating the toilet with creative expression. As I grew older and could use a real toilet, given the fact that there wasn’t a television in the bathroom (something I’m surprised hasn’t been done yet, at least in any bathrooms I’ve visited), I started reading in there.

It reminds me of a scene from Frasier actually, where Frasier is bemoaning the loss of his study, the room where he does his reading, his most profound thinking, and his father Martin responds: “Oh, why can’t you just use the can like everybody else?”

Over the years I’ve done all kinds of reading in my favourite room -- I even tried writing in there a couple of times when I was struck with inspiration and a bowel movement at the same time. But the few bits of writing I’d done in that room were, fittingly, pieces of crap that I tossed (or flushed to follow the pun) a long time ago.

It’s this lifelong obsession with reading in the bathroom that leads to this second, more recent confession.

Confession number two: I enjoy reading Good Housekeeping. In my parent’s home there was always a couple of reading options in the washroom. (I think I failed to mention that my father was also a washroom reader -- so rather than my elaborate explanation above, I could more easily say that I inherited this habit from him) When I was young we’d often kept The Star and The National Enquirer in the upstairs bathroom in our home.

Even in the years after I’d left home, whenever I returned to visit, I got caught up on all kinds of Hollywood gossip and happenings with a simple trip to the restroom. Even for a few years after my father died, my mother kept buying these weekly tabloids to keep in the washroom. It was only recently that she discontinued the habit.

So on my most recent visit, I had two other choices: some monthly Hollywood-gossip type slick magazine and Good Housekeeping. From the moment I first cracked open the cover and skipped past the full-page colour ads that were obviously geared to the female gender, I was hooked. It's a fascinating magazine with all kinds of great housekeeping tips and articles. It's awesome. So why is it geared towards women? I mean, c'mon -- this isn't 1950, with the men sitting in the library wearing smoking jackets and having sipping Sherry while the women sit in the kitchen and exchange recipies. Why can't they include men in their marketing and advertising? And, oh, I haven't yet seen this month's issue, but it's likely going to contain all kinds of find Halloween decorating ideas. Man, but I love those. (Fran usually buys the Martha Stewart Living Halloween issue every year and I find myself enjoying that one as well)

So, in the way I used to sneak under cover of night into a corner store when I was a teenager and buy a copy of Playboy, I find myself now struggling with the urge to do the same with Good Housekeeping -- yes, despite the fact that I can easily claim I'm buying the copy for my wife.

Maybe I'll not bother with the hassle and just get a subscription. In Francine's name, of course.


Pete Mitchell said...

You do realize you have to post that cherished picture from your childhood now.

And that's a great idea about a TV in the bathroom. Surprised no-one has done it before. And a beer-fridge. Stick a TV and a beer-fridge in the bathroom and we'd never have to leave it again.

Kimberly said...

well there is the whole telephone in the bathroom why not the rest of the gadgets?...laptop, tv, beer fridge...course you'd want a bidet too...I mean if you're going luxurious, go all the way...

hey maybe you could install a comfier know, with like a padded seat...and a nice tall padded back...almost like a first class airplane seat with a hole in it...I think making it reclining might go a little too far!

Franny said...

I totally agree with you there about the bathroom reading. Can't live without it. We have installed a basket with an eclectic selection of reading materials next to the throne. Brief visit? Pick up the TV guide. Longer visit? We have Reader's Digest. And for the "day-after-you-ate-taco-bell-for-the-first-time-in-six-months" visit, we have the Sears catalogue.
Helpful tip: always visit Taco Bell a couple days before you go Christmas shopping - your friends and family will thank you for it.

Mark Leslie said...

Wow - you guys take the whole bathroom reading thing to a whole new level. With all those toys, I'd never leave the throne. Francine would be sending out search parties looking for me.

Pete Mitchell said...

Or she might be using it as a way to keep you from getting under her feet. I saw her buying "War and Peace" the other day; just before she bought the "Ring of Fire Party Pack" at Taco Bell.

Anonymous said...

How about converting your lazy boy chair into a toilet. You can recline and flush - multitasking at it's best.
Go Homer, Go Homer.