It’s weird but we’re all really good at freaking out. Perhaps it’s our disenchantment with our current global situation as well as with our romantic options. Or maybe, having grown up watching our parents’ generation and their enthusiasm fall apart, we don’t want to get too excited too quickly. Why get attached when it’s all doomed anyway? So our reaction is to constantly be reluctant and careful when it comes to relationships. At the first sign of trouble, it’s easier to just make a quick exit.
You’re probably wondering where the toothbrush comes in. But I have a feeling you already know. After all, even if you haven’t had a particular situation happen between this item and your romantic status, you’ve seen it in movies and TV shows, or most likely you’ve hear one of your friends talk about this experience. While I like to believe that a toothbrush is just the thing you use to clean your teeth, the truth is that any item can become a sign or symbol. And if one person in the relationship is not ready, it can definitely change everything.
Okay, picture this scenario. You’ve recently struck up with someone you like. Sometimes you go to their place, and other times they’re over at yours. You might’ve even started actually staying the whole night at each other’s. So at some point, for personal hygiene’s sake, one of you suggests the other can leave a toothbrush. I mean, morning breath and cavities are gross, right?
But to make this kind of suggestion raises questions of another nature. If neither party has started the conversation of labels and exclusivity, this simple act can bring it on. However, to jump to any conclusions is more a sign of each person’s own baggage and experience. If you’re worried about finding yourself jumping into a new relationship after a breakup, you’ll be worried that your casual hookup/date is moving too fast. On the other hand, if you’re feeling like the other person is not moving fast enough, you might bring your own toothbrush to theirs, as well as offer the courtesy to them when they visit your place. But to do that so blatantly is a clear call-out to the other person about defining your status as a couple. It’s a gamble that might pay off or not.
But what happens when you don’t want to turn this into a big deal? What if you're happy with the way things are going and want to continue the same? Well, you have a couple of options. Either you carry a travel brush with you or have a conversation with this person about how this is just a health measure that is devoid of expectations or pressures. Because even when you don’t want to change the course of how everything is working out, a small chat to clear it all up helps.
That way both you and the other person –if you feel that saying "partner" is too formal– know you’re on the same page regarding your relationship. Speaking these out early on will save both of you from conflicts and misunderstandings that might come up later on. So is it just a toothbrush, makeup wipes, or deodorant? Yes, but they still carry a meaning. Rather than freaking out, voice your concerns to avoid any confusions.
Images by Jordan Bauer