in which carrots discusses the role of bath towels in her marriage

Danny and I are engaged in an ongoing cold war over a bath towel.

I used to believe that all bath towels should be luxurious and deep.  I imagined that one day, when I owned a beautiful bathroom, I would go nuts at one of those department store displays of pastel Egyptian cotton bath sheets stacked vertically from floor to ceiling.  Sage green.  Brilliant white.  Pale yellow.  I could even go more primary: a bold, cobalt blue hand towel inches thick.  Imagine the possibilities.

But one day, on the way to a friend’s lakeside barbecue somewhere outside of Killeen (shudder), Danny and I stopped at Target to pick up a towel.  This is when we discovered perfection in towel form.  And, surprisingly, it was not the soft towel that I always knew that, someday, I would love, but a harsher variety.  As I swabbed off the lake water that afternoon, I fell for the tough love of this new towel.  I felt so refreshed!  And so dry!  No rogue lint sticking to my legs!  This towel — it was invigorating!

Don’t misunderstand.  This is not the scratchiness associated with a Holiday Inn Express towel.  This towel’s coarseness  is sophisticated and intentional.  Danny has always enjoyed textured towels, and I never understood it when he picked up what I assumed were thin, harsh excuses for bathroom luxury.  (I also never understood his penchant for the strangest, most unappealing colors for bathroom linens.  Who wants to step out of the shower and wrap up in a gray-brown towel?  The man I married, apparently.)  But now I understand, and we are in constant negotiations as to who gets to use this towel.

Now, I do the laundry in our household.  If I were not the honest woman I am, the towel would always be mine.  But I play fair.  Post-dryer I fold it carefully and arrange it in the linen closet, and then the maneuvers begin.

We tried to solve the problem by simply buying another, identical towel.  Unfortunately, some yahoo at Target decided to discontinue selling this particular towel, and we have not been able to find an adequate replacement.  The situation only grows more dire as the original ages, fraying at its hems and threatening to give out at any moment.  The towel is dying, and then all will be lost.

But I write at such length because I believe there is a moral in the towel.  This towel is a reminder of the simplest of lessons.  It is kind to share.  This is, of course, something you learn in kindergarten, when that annoying little snot across from you is wearing down the carnation pink crayon like some sort of madman — to color a dog!  a pink dog! —  when all you want is one moment with said crayon to gently tint one blushing rose to complete your perfect landscape.

The towel has taught us that it is not only kind to share, but it’s hard.  And that’s why it’s kind.  It’s easy for me to share the remote control when I know that Danny wants to watch America’s Next Top Model as much as I do.  (If he says otherwise, he’s lying.)  But it’s harder to hand it over when I know in my gut that he’s going to cruise his way to an hours long golf tournament.  It would be easy to hoard the towel away in some secret corner of the closet until my next shower, but it’s harder — and kinder — to put it in the linen closet, knowing that Danny has had a long day at work dealing with people who are inconsiderate and demanding.  (I suspect they are all grown-up, pink-dog-drawing crayon wasters.)

Of course, I don’t mean to be self-righteous about the towel.  We certainly have not yet learned this lesson of hard-but-kind sharing.  As I type, I can sense the newly-laundered towel in the linen closet.

It is calling me, with its sweet roughness.

He probably wouldn’t notice if I stashed it under the sink.

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3 thoughts on “in which carrots discusses the role of bath towels in her marriage

  1. When it was time for Allison and me to fill out our wedding gift registry we wanted to finally relegate our budget friendly college era towels to the rag bin.

    So we went to a variety of stores which both offered towels and easily accessible registry service for our long distance relatives. During this quest many towels were fondled and I came to a notable observation. There is ‘fake soft’ and there is ‘soft’ – there seemed to be towels which claimed 100 percent cotton content, but had a sheen and a lack of surface friction that implied some sort of polymer based doping to try to win over the towel fondling masses. I suspect it also is the cause of those towels which I have experienced now and then which try to equate soft feel with dryness but only serve to relocate water droplets rather than wick them away properly.

    Instead, I used a different pseudo-scientific technique: compression testing. I figured towels with a denser weave and perhaps more water wicking loops per square inch would, when squished, yield a greater percentage of their volume than the imposter-soft towels, and still spring back to their as-stacked height. This test produced a small pool of contending brands, from which Allison dictated a winner because they came in both brilliant bleachable white and the ever so fashionable brown. (which yes, following the trend, was placed against a medium-light blue bathroom wall paint color at the house in Charlotte)

    At least the theory has since been supported by positive results – after 2 years the towels still wick effectively. Nautica is the brand, they’re noted as Made in India. (Country of origin seems to be at least as important as the brand these days)

  2. Pingback: running with carrots

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