It all began with the toilet paper. It was not, as you might expect, a disagreement over whether the roll should come over the top or go underneath. It was the realization, some twenty years ago, that I had no clue what women are really like.
I had been a single man, blithely using maybe a roll of toilet paper every couple of weeks. I'd get a four-pack, and when the last of the four went on the roll, I'd remind myself that I needed to pick some up the next time I went shopping. After all, how many times do you use toilet paper in a single day? I was soon schooled by my newlywed wife. One never buys JUST a four-pack. In fact, if you're down to four rolls of toilet paper, you need to drop what you're doing and rush to the store to re-supply.
Jane, I realized, used lots more of the stuff than I did. My use of it was limited. I used toilet paper in the way that my ancestors used the Sears catalog or a random corn cob for. Jane, on the other hand, went through the T.P. like no one I had ever known.
In addition to, shall we say, its traditional use, Jane used it to take care of a runny nose. She also used it to assist her in removing make-up. I don't know how. She used it to clean the mirror, to wipe down the counter and, for all I know, to brush her teeth. Usage of this particular product had gone way, way up once a female was added to the household.
And then there was the closet. When we bought our house, I was impressed by the size of the closet in the master bedroom. I had never had a walk-in closet and couldn't imagine how we would use all of the space that it afforded us. I mean, how much room could a couple of dozen shirts and pants take up? Once again, I was clueless.
I had some clothes. Jane had a wardrobe. She had summer outfits, winter outfits, spring outfits, fall outfits, formal outfits, informal outfits, clothes that used to fit but were now too small, clothes that used to fit but were now too big, clothes she bought and then decided she didn't like and clothes she had not worn in several years but just couldn't get rid of because of some sentimental attachment.
Our spacious closet became crammed (and cramped) with her stuff. If I added up every single piece of clothing I have ever owned, it would be still be less than the number of red shirts that Jane has right now. And she doesn't particulary like red. She also has masses of blue, green, brown, purple, black and white shirts. And pants. And shoes. Oh, the shoes.
I came into our marriage with a pair of tennis shoes and a couple of pair of dress shoes. That's what I have today. Jane has hundreds of sandals, heels, flats, running shoes, walking shoes, dancing shoes and, at least count, five different colored pairs of Chuck Taylor sneakers. Her wardrobe now takes up ninety percent of our very spacious closet.
I have a nugatory nook for my stuff, some of which I decided to move out of the closet so Jane could have adequate space. It's what you do when you're married. If I've learned anything in twenty years of marriage (and that's a debatable point), it's that when your spouse is happy, you are happy. And if it takes a few gross of toilet paper to keep her happy, I'll certainly oblige.