I’ve been in a relationship that’s lasted through 12 rolls of single-ply toilet paper.
That may not seem like a huge landmark, and it is clearly not a typical milestone one would judge a relationship by. But it sums up my relationship perfectly.
Because like single-ply toilet paper, when I first got together with Jack, I thought this would probably disintegrate soon. It was my first-ever Tinder date. He’s never been married. He has no children. He is as single as they come. I have two ex-husbands, two teenagers, two jobs and two-ply toilet paper. I wasn’t sure he was ready for all the twos in my life.
We hit it off quickly. We have similar senses of humor. We come from similar backgrounds. Most important, we’re both fans of the Oxford comma.
But like single-ply toilet paper rolling endlessly down the freeway, we hit a few road bumps, the largest of which was that he actually bought single-ply toilet paper.
Unless you’re supplying all the bathrooms on a college campus, you should never, ever buy single-ply.
He claims, to this day, that it was a mistake, but he also doesn’t like to waste things, so with the stubbornness of an ass (no pun intended), he announced his intention to use it all up.
I thought, well, how long could that take?
It turns out that one roll of single-ply is ridiculously long. Every time I used it, I felt like a rhythmic gymnast with trails of ribbon swirling all around me. I’d smush it into a ball, and it would end up the size of a gumdrop.
Meanwhile, my Tinder date went from a fling to a full-fledged relationship. He gave me a key to his apartment. It doesn’t work. I know this because one time while he was at work, I tried to break in to steal the single-ply monstrosity with the intention of burning it in the world’s biggest, and probably shortest, bonfire.
But the key didn’t work.
I asked him about it. He said, “Wait, did you want a key to both locks?” (I still have the “key,” but I don’t mention it without using air quotes. But I guess it’s the thought of a key that counts?) In response, I told him I would think about giving him a “key” to my house. That was three months ago.
By this time, the rolls seemed to make like rabbits and procreate. The pile actually looked larger.
At one point, we put full rolls outside his apartment on the stair rails, hoping someone would find free toilet paper useful. But there were no takers. So we brought them back inside shocked, because who would pass up free toilet paper out of its original packaging, balancing precariously on a stair rail?
We made the joke that our relationship would be a success if we could last longer than the toilet paper. We stopped making that joke when it seemed like too much of a commitment.
Still, our relationship continued to progress. He accompanied me when I had to go to the doctor with a wrist sprain, because, he said, that’s what boyfriends do. The front office quoted me a flat fee of $119 for the visit. I asked if that included the X-ray. They said it did. Little did I know that the X-ray was included, but getting a doctor to read it was extra.
Anyway, enough about the general state of our health care system.
To sum it all up, two days ago, we finished the last roll. We burned the final square in ceremony. I’m pretty sure in some cultures, that means we’re married.
All said, it took five months. Now we are at a loss as to how we’re going to measure our future success. Maybe it will be when I get that second key.