The answer is….Never.
Never, ever, ever. You hear me?
My friend sent along this humorous piece on Jezebel (and when are they not humorous?) in which the author maps the long, downward spiral of physical intimacy, starting with Level 5: Stepford Lady (who is willing to show her feet and some light eye crust) to Level 1: Nuclear Threat Imminent (explosive diarrhea and hemorrhoid cream). This is entertaining and fun and we will all laugh at it.
But the minute you start leaving the door open, you haven’t taken a step toward intimacy, but away from it. To something no one wants. And no one, I repeat, no one, wants to see you take a shit. (Unless you’re dating some kind of fetishist, and I leave that to you to deal with.)
Here’s why: The moment you start letting go of bodily functions and leaving the door ajar in the name of intimacy (“We share everything!”), you’re not saying yes to love; you’re saying no to privacy, and “see ya” to self respect.
Not because it’s not “ladylike,” and not because you should uphold some outdated illusion that women don’t have bodily functions. You are not gross, your body is not gross, and shit happens. But barring the 2am leap out of bed with food poisoning that has you spouting out both ends, he or she never has to be part of your life behind the door. Period amen.
It’s natural for couples to become habituated to each other, and for the early fireworks and nerves to give way to a comfort, ease, and deeper intimacy. The excitement comes from making the unfamiliar familiar. At first. But you only need glance at any one of the hundreds of magazines touting “how to keep things hot” to realize that what couples need is not more familiarity, but, in a way, less.
You can dress up, do all manner of strange kinky things, sure. But the most basic thing does not require a rubber suit: It requires closing the fucking door. Because the idea that there’s something unknowable and separate about that other person whom you know so well is the VERY thing that keeps you desirable.
Desire comes from yearning. It needs space and air to breathe. In the beginning, your desire is sky-high because you can’t wait to cross that distance and see him again. But when you’re TOO close, you risk snuffing it out. And by too close I mean: too familiar, fraternal even. If you’ve ever had a partner go from lover to roommate, you know what this is like.
A closed bathroom door is a reminder that you are two separate people, entities. If you quash that critical separation, you won’t want him anymore.
But there’s another inherent problem here: Because if you cannot bear to have a door closed between you, that tells me you can’t and won’t respect privacy, and you won’t tolerate separateness. And I’m willing to bet that the girl who proudly voids her bowels in full view of her man is viciously jealous when he goes out without her. The woman with an open-door policy demands to be seen and accepted at all times.
And by the way, maybe YOU think it’s cool to do, but show me a woman who thinks it’s great, and I’ll show you a man who’s yearning for the days when he didn’t know quite so much.
That is the mistake. The death knell. Once you open that door, you cross a line. You can’t un-see it. And you, or he, may wish you could.