My mother said to me once or twice that I would know I was ready for marriage if I was okay sharing a toothbrush with my intended.
This pronouncement was always met with an expression of wrinkled disgust.
Clearly, I am not ready for marriage.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I stayed with some medical school friends overnight. On their bathroom counter sits an electric toothbrush in a cradle. One toothbrush. For both of them.
I shall now spell this out in case you have not fully understood the implications: They share a toothbrush.
Honestly, the thought of sharing a toothbrush with anyone – including my beloved husband, who knows everything about me and has, you know, KISSED ME on occasion – still grosses me out.
One time I accidentally used my husband’s toothbrush instead of my own, and I didn’t die.
But there was this other time. The time which I refer to now (well, to you anyway) as The Toothbrush Incident.
And I blame The Toothbrush Incident for my toothbrush-sharing disgust. You know what? While we’re at it, let’s go ahead and blame The Toothbrush Incident for all my issues with germs.
Anyway, I was in elementary school? I think? Or middle school? No later than that, because the friend I’m going to tell you about was not my friend in high school. Or middle school really, come to think of it. Let’s say that The Toothbrush Incident occurred in fifth or sixth grade (not that you really need that much pinpoint accuracy here, I understand).
Anyway, I went over to this friend’s house to stay the night. Let’s call her Dee. It was the first – and last (foreshadowing!) – time I’d ever stayed at her house.
As we were about to get ready for bed – although honestly, what pre-teen/early-teen girl actually SLEEPS at a sleepover? – I discovered that I’d forgotten my toothbrush.
No biggie. I was fine just gooping my index finger up with toothpaste and using it as a makeshift brushing apparatus. Doing so for two brushings (one that night, the other the next morning) wouldn’t destroy all my years of good oral hygiene.
But Dee’s mom was NOT okay with this plan. Oh no. I had to brush my teeth with an actual toothbrush!
Okay, I agreed, picturing the top shelf of my parents’ pantry, where they stored extra toothbrushes that they’d bought a bundle of on sale, and the “free” toothbrushes you get at the dentist’s.
So Dee’s mom disappeared… And then reappeared, holding a toothbrush.
It was a USED toothbrush, Internet. So very used, in fact, that the bristles were all splayed outward as though they were too exhausted to remain upright.
Turns out the toothbrush belonged to Dee’s smelly older high school brother.
Oh, nevermind, I’ll just use my finger, I assured Dee’s mom.
Oh no you won’t, Dee’s mom said. And she put her foot down. By which I mean she stood behind me, hands on hips, and watched as I loaded up that tired old toothbrush with toothpaste, shoved it in my mouth, and worked it around in my mouth, thinking with every motion of my hand that Dee’s brother had operated this same tool! In his own smelly high school boy mouth! Coating it with his own smelly high school boy saliva! Using it to remove bits of food from his smelly high school boy teeth!
I almost died, Internet. I’m still surprised that I did not vomit all over Dee’s bathroom.
Is it any wonder that I am now averse to toothbrush sharing? IS IT?