Water repellant towels

If Terry and I could isolate our occasional heated moments into one example, it would be towels.

Specifically, these moments involve what I call water repellant towels.

(The fact that I’m saying an example of heated moments would involve towels should tell you things are pretty good between the two of us. And when it comes to the description of the towels, some of you are nodding your heads with understanding and sympathy already. For those that aren’t… a water repellant towel is one that doesn’t absorb any water. At all. When you use a water repellant towel, you basically just spread water around.)

Terry has a habit of buying water repellant towels. And then, when I notice, she has the nerve to try and use one of two excuses as her defense against my complaints.

The first excuse is that once washed a few times, the towels will be fine. And this is just a flat out lie. The strange thing though, is that I don’t mind this one. It’s an attempt to get me to be quiet. I get it. But the reality of the situation is simple… for a few runs through the laundry, the lint filter gets quite the workout… when it comes to drying a person off however, the towels -- after one trip through the washer or fifty -- continue to work about as well as a sheet of Saran Wrap.

The second excuse is the one that troubles me. In this one, the consistent theme is that the purchase was a smart one, and simply too good to pass up. Terry tries defending her actions because they look so lovely. Often they match something… a shower curtain, toothbrush holder, or bathmat. Occasionally they were on sale. Once they were an amazing bargain for such a terrific brand.

I’ll stop there… because, let’s face it… how many of us can actually provide a brand name for quality bath and body towels? And to clarify, I’m not talking about a favorite store. No answering me with: “I like to buy my towels at fill-in-the-blank.” A store name is not a brand of towels. I mean that you read the question and said: “Well, there’s Artthur Frank. I’ll always buy Artthur Frank towels.”

(Artthur Frank… I didn’t make that up. I hopped on the inter-web-thingy and did a search for “quality towel manufacturer brands” and Artthur Frank was the first response. That’s not a spelling error. I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of Artthur Frank before the search engine of choice pointed me in that direction. Can’t tell you I’ll ever hear of Artthur Frank again. The point remains… few people know the best names in towels, and even fewer have a need for such knowledge. Now back to the story…)

My problem with the excuse could be even more detailed, but we’ve shared enough to get to the main troubles. And I’ll move over to that with a question…

How many different ways can you decorate your bathroom? I mean, right now. Without leaving your home or apartment -- just what you have available.

Today our bathroom is kind of formal. I guess you could call the decorations neutral colors, mainly browns and beiges, with fancy swirled handles on the accessories and basic but distinct patterns on the shower curtain rings.

That’s at this very moment.

In our basement is a container with another bathroom set. Sea turtles and dolphins and greens and blues. Cups and waste baskets and shower curtain rings and -- of course -- even a few color-coded hand towels that only come out on special occasions.

Next to it is another container with parrots and reds and palm trees and yellows and tropical jungle stuff.

And another with anything you could imagine using for a bathroom in either dusty rose or a color that matches up ever so nicely with dusty rose.

And then another… blues.

And… and you get the idea. Once we get past five possible bathroom themes, they all sort of run together in some way -- even providing interchangeable options -- and the grand total is no longer important.

Remember excuse number two though? Purchased because they were lovely or matched or whatever? A smart purchase. You do not pass this buy purchase. Well… just because something works when you have the whales and dolphins and sea turtles out does not mean it matches everything from the dusty rose container.

She claims these towels are bought for many reasons… function and décor… but that’s not true either. However, as opposed to being a pants-on-fire moment designed to find a possible momentary end to the debate, this time it’s a lie as an attempt to justify the purchase. And that’s just insulting.

Let’s gingerly tread into the differences of men and women debate for a moment here. (As if, perhaps, I hadn’t crossed that road already.)

Terry tends to avoid the larger towels in our linen closet. It has something to do with washing her hair and using multiple smaller bath towels instead of a single bigger one.

I am fine with this. It makes sense.

I normally reach for a larger bath towel though. Washing my hair does not necessitate an extra towel. And, I love the days after laundry has been washed and folded because -- yeah, you guessed it -- all of the best towels are available.

I don’t go for the smaller bath towels unless the larger water absorbent ones are gone -- she doesn’t go for the larger ones unless the smaller ones are gone.

So far, so good.

When the latest shopping has been done though, and the bags are entering the house, guess which style of bath towel Terry has bought? Absolutely -- the water repellant towels are just about always the larger size that she rarely uses.

This brings us to a nifty conclusion in the debate. When Terry buys more towels, she tends to buy the larger towels of the style that she doesn’t use and that I do, and she buys them in the water repellant style that I absolutely hate.

Somehow, that’s my fault.

Which wouldn’t be so bad… I can handle the blame, misguided or not. But what generally happens isn’t a case of whether or not I should buy my own darn towels. No… what happens is that even she avoids the water repellant ones.

Heck, can you guess what happens to make room for the latest purchases? Sure you can. The good towels -- those would be “good” in my opinion, and means the ones that actually absorb water and work like, you know, towels -- get removed from the linen closet and end up in some location that I have yet to find. Space is tight… new towels need a home… and suddenly water repellant towels have taken over the house.

With Terry also first using the few water absorbent ones.


I probably should have had a destination in mind for this essay when I began. Something more than it being an example of relationships. Perhaps a push to make an item that shows the friendly battles that are created when a house becomes a home.

But the inspiration for it came from a simple moment. This morning I woke up, made my way to the shower, and reached for a towel. The laundry is done, but still in baskets downstairs for now, and I was left wishing for something better than the towels available -- something like Saran Wrap.

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com