Gender Swapping Toothbrushes

The Boyfriend and I have never conformed well to gender stereotypes. While he cooks and fusses about cleaning, I program the television and fix our computers. He squeaks about bugs, I get the hoover. His favourite film is Little Miss Sunshine, mine is Aliens.

This non-conformity has always been interesting and amusing in the past, but recently a whole new problem has developed. Our toothbrushes.

People who know me usually learn pretty quickly that I am not squeamish about many things. Blood, guts and gore in general phases me no more when it’s on an over the top action flick, a hospital documentary, or right in front of me in the form of a slashed palm or bleeding nose. I am, however, squeamish about mouths.

I really don’t like them. I won’t eat off a plate someone else is using, unless it belongs to certain family members or the Boyfriend. And even the Boyfriend took a long time to get used to (heavily aided by his amusement at trying to make me put things in my mouth that had been in his. Sweets, ice cubes, partially chewed mouthfuls of dinner… he’s disgusting like that.) My rugby playing cousin once took great delight in grinning at me with his gum shield in and watching me gag at the sight of it. And don’t get me started on those horrible fake vampire teeth.

I’m heaving just thinking about it.

Therefore, the idea of sharing a toothbrush, or using someone else’s toothbrush even accidentally horrifies me. I had a green toothbrush until the Boyfriend came into the study while I was working with my toothbrush in his mouth to tell me (with a mouthful of spit and toothpaste – also disgusting) that he was using it. If he’d never said anything, I’d never have know, and could have continued brushing my teeth in blissful ignorance. As soon as I knew, the poor green toothbrush had to take a premature nosedive into the bin.

We bought new toothbrushes. They are pink and blue, and therein lies the problem, for the blue one is mine. And the pink is the Boyfriends.

His and... hers?

There was a logical reason for this. The Boyfriend likes softer bristled toothbrushes, while I prefer firm. The toothbrushes were buy one get one free, and the soft version was only available in pink. There were only pink and blue of the firmer version. To avoid having identical toothbrushes, the gender role-reversal was necessary.

And while I’m all for subverting the gender stereotypes, I guess there are just some things that are far to in ground to overcome. The colour associations of pink and blue are an example of this. Every morning I reach for the pink toothbrush, before stopping myself and switching to my blue one. I dread to think how many times the Boyfriend has used mine by mistake.

Here’s hoping he learned his lesson and doesn’t ever tell me about it.


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