You know raising a teenager has some serious issues. Most of them, apparently, are my issues. Take guest towels, for example. Our family has long had problems with guest towels. Specifically, I love them. I am a sucker for pretty towels hanging in a bathroom. I cannot walk into a store and resist them. (I also cannot resist throw pillows, but that’s a whole other addiction and sadly, one that has no cure.)
Now, most women on the planet are aware of the guest towel rules. That is, the guest towels exist so that guests may look upon them and tell us what beautiful towels we have hanging in the bathroom. Under no circumstances are these towels ever to be used or even touched. They are for gazing purposes only.
Sadly, my husband and son do not understand this. In their minds, if a towel hangs on the rack, it must be available for drying. In my mind, if you hang a pretty towel on a rack it must never be used and must only be admired from afar. Honestly, this is that whole “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” thing rearing its ugly head again, folks. On Venus, we don’t use the guest towels. On Mars, they do.
But since we are on planet Earth and since I am the one decorating, cleaning and otherwise in charge of the bathrooms - not to mention that I have the loudest voice to yell with, the guest towels are treated as though they were from Venus. Nobody touches them.
Unfortunately, I did not send the entire planet that memo. Because now I have the added issue of several teenagers who spend lots of time at our house. (Side note: Many of them are here every day; shouldn’t I be able to use them as tax deductions? Also, I suspect the draw to our home lies in the Xbox, bottled Coca Cola and Cheetos, which are apparently staples in the teenage diet, so probably I should stop buying this stuff and they may stop living here.) Anyway, at some point, all of the teenagers use the bathroom.
And that is when my guest towels are violated.
Now, I know I’m crazy. I know this is a stupid thing. But it’s driving me bananas. I have tried everything to dissuade guest towel usage. I have provided pretty paper towels that match the bathroom décor. When that didn’t work, I tried pretty paper towels that said in large, bold letters “For the use of our friends.” For Pete’s sake, how much more of a hint do they need?
Wait. I’ll answer that. They need a much larger hint.
So then I decided to tie the guest towels up. Yes, I am a desperate woman and clearly I am in desperate need of a hobby. But I tied my pretty towels up using curtain tiebacks. Now if you must know, this looked awesome, if I do say so myself. And I thought this would make the guest towel issue a thing of the past.
Um, no. I guess having the guest towels trussed up like Thanksgiving turkeys made no impression whatsoever on anyone who has ever stepped foot into my house. Because they still managed to use my pretty towels.
At this point, it may, just may, have crossed my mind to make a big sign that said “DO NOT USE THE GUEST TOWELS.” And it may, just may, have crossed my mind to hang said sign on the towels in question. And it may, just may, have happened to come to the attention of my husband, who may, just may, have said to me, “Are you crazy? You should just be happy they wash their hands.”
Well, that certainly puts it into perspective, doesn’t it?
And that is why if you ever visit my house, I cordially invite you to use my guest towels. Because now I understand what truly is important in guest towel etiquette. Also? This frees me up to indulge in my other addiction: throw pillows which nobody should ever sit on or use as a pillow device behind their heads while watching TV.
Laurie Sontag is a Gilroy writer and mom who wishes parenthood had come with a how-to-guide. You can contact her at Laurie@lauriesontag.com.