Cleaning My Way to His Heart

For many weeks, I’d been successfully fighting this growing temptation that’s been brewing. It’s something that I’ve been guilty of with boyfriends in the past, so I am proud of myself for at least recognizing the cycle now before it begins.

Don’t get me wrong. It always stems from good intentions, but it inevitably becomes a habit that’s hard to break. And then it becomes an expectation that I sometimes resent when going through the inevitable couple’s rough patch where my brain decides to compile a list of my partner’s faults or the not-so-rosy aspects of our relationship. Even when somewhere down deep I know that it all began with that first time I acted with my own free will:

I’ll remember that first time I cleaned his blasted bathroom.

Ever since I took my first shower at The Warrior Poet’s place, I couldn’t help noticed the grungy shower shelves where I was expected to rest my soap container and razor. Other than the time he almost caught me as I had just finished quickly wiping down his toilet with a sponge I found underneath his sink, I shrugged at the familiar bachelor idea of “cleaning up.”

With only a couple exceptions, the majority of guys I’ve dated adhered to surface-level cleanliness when it came to bathrooms. The top ring of the toilet, the bowl of the sink and maybe the bottom of the shower—The Warrior Poet seemed to miss the memo on the latter, but I think that’s mostly due to the fact that his shower has been clogged for the last two months. This past weekend was the first time my feet weren’t submerged for most of a shower.

It amazes me how many men are facing the toilet every time they ‘take a leak’ yet miss the fact that a whole mess of grunge collects behind the toilet seat. And I have evidence that every guy I’ve seriously dated has spent more time on the toilet than I. But when it comes to setting my lady bits down on their toilet, I just can’t keep my mind from thinking of what else might be keeping them company while I daintily pee on something that probably hasn’t been cleaned in months.

At least, he cleans his dishes by hand and doesn’t leave a pile until the end of week for me to clean, knowing I’ll offer, like the V-Man would do. He also regularly cleans his bed sheets. But when I heard him repeating to friends that (at 35) he has never actually cleaned a bathroom in his life, that he’s always paid his sister to do so in the past, I had to take matters into my own hands.

“Guess what? I washed the shower this week,” he proudly had told me the day before. “Well, I mean, while I was in it, I wiped down the shelves and all.”

Sure, I knew he’d still be paying his sister to clean up after him—if he was still on speaking terms with her. Yet I gave him credit for the effort, even while it wasn’t exactly the best work I’d seen.

Yet after he’d suffered a really bad injury to his leg on Friday, barely able to walk around and unable to drive over the weekend, I felt terrible for being unable to do more to help him out. I couldn’t help him run errands as I am still not technically allowed to drive right now—though I did take us less than a mile to grab dinner on Saturday. He refused to let me help him with laundry, though he could barely bend over to put things in the dryer. Even when we made cheesecake together one night, he insisted on limping back and forth across the kitchen.

So when I wound up staying an extra night later, getting a ride home while he was at work the next day at noon, I really wanted to do a little bit to help out around the place. I picked a couple of things off the floor so he had a clear floor to navigate around. Before my own shower that day, I decided to tackle the bathtub floor, which had more grime than I had even realized. Bleach and scrubbing got up a great deal in such a satisfying way that is was completely worth it. With the type of surface in my own tub, you can’t really see a dramatic difference after cleaning, which is always demotivating. The toilet was a bit gross, but definitely not the worst I’d seen. The sink was mostly good. I wiped down the floor a bit, and I was proud of the difference when I was all finished.

Normally, he meditatively does the dishes in the morning, but we’d stayed out late, and we can never go to bed without talking for a while, even when both exhausted. Still I was surprised going into the kitchen to see the sink stacked with dishes. He really must be feeling miserable this morning, I thought.

The Warrior Poet forced himself to drive into the office, as his boss was not in to explain how he couldn’t even sit properly in a chair. When I asked him how the drive in was, he replied how he dangerously had to use the other (wrong) leg to accelerate to drive into work that morning.

I do NOT want to be sitting here. I’ll probably be leave after half the day. I can tell it’s bad for my leg sitting here. I want to lay flat and ice it.

He wound up getting back home maybe an hour after I left it. I wondered how long it would take for him to notice that I’d done most of the dishes—I’d left some in case he got antsy and restless after he’d been home resting for a while. I’d also washed and sprayed down his attached dish rack holder as well as I could because we’d just discussed how grungy it was the night before.

Five-and-half, anxious hours later, he finally sent the message:

Did you wash dishes and the dish holder?? Thank you :)

Ah, beautiful! I wonder if he’ll even notice I did anything to the bathroom. Speaking of which, I suppose I should take care of my own tomorrow morning.

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