After spending the better part of the last ten years single (I refuse to consider a couple of months here and there spent with bar tenders, art directors, younger men and men who barely speak a word of English as relationships), there are certain things a girl learns how to deal with.

For example, I’ve learnt how to change light bulbs, fix plugs and take out the garbage. I can arrive at any bar/restaurant/party alone and be fabulous and confident. I can change a tyre and get rid of any variety of bug or spider. I can make a fire, even braai at a push. I’ve even learnt how  to get up in the middle of the night to investigate odd sounds or banging blinds. That’s the beauty of being single.

But I recently discovered that there are some things I haven’t learnt. Like how to be in a relationship for example. Some months ago I met MrM. It happens when you least expect it. I met him on a blind date. (I hope you’re sitting down when you read this, otherwise the shock might be to great to handle) And it actually went well. I mean that’s almost as rare as having a spare tampon lying around when you get your period.

Anyway a couple of months in and I found myself staying over at his place quite frequently. Now there’s a funny thing about a woman in the beginning of a relationship. We will go to great lengths to make our man think we’re superhuman. That we wake up looking fabulous, that we don’t have morning breath, that we never sweat, or fart or heaven forbid do a smelly number two!

In fact by some miraculous feat of human biology I managed to go three months without ever going at his house. Until one fateful Friday evening, when I arrived at his place for the weekend straight from work, with the urge to go. With dismay I realised I would be at his house till Sunday and there was no way I could wait till then.

But as a seasoned single girl who can deal with spiders in the bathtub and flat tyres with her eyes shut, this should be a cinch. So I came up with a cunning plan. I would quietly disappear to the spare bathroom, the one at the very back of the house that nobody ever uses and do my business in peace and quiet. And then by the time anyone went to that part of the house again any trace would be long gone.

So I disappeared into the bowels of the house and actually thought I would get away with it until I tried to flush. Apparently there’s a very good reason nobody ever uses that spare bathroom at the very back of the house. As I pulled the handle it made a feeble clunk and gave way. There was no satisfying flush. No rush of cleansing water. Just that feeble clunk!

My heart sank, and jumped into my throat at the same time. Now I’d really done it. No single girl obstacle had prepared me for this.

I had a couple of options. Sit there and wait for a hole to appear in the ground and swallow me up. Get so embarrassed and red in the face that I actually spontaneously combust, Call a plumber, secretly sneak him through the house and get him to fix the loo without my man ever being any the wiser. Or be a big girl and own up to the fact that I’m actually human and every now and then I have to use the toilet.

So I tried to spontaneously combust.

And when that didn’t work I crawled red-faced to my guy who was sitting behind his computer in his study. “Where’d you disappear to?” he asked me. Oh well, going out with him had been fun, pity I would have to break it off out of sheer embarrassment.

And so I confessed… “I’ve done something very bad.”

And that’s when I learnt something new. Something much more important than how to change a light bulb. I learnt that body functions don’t bother men half as much as they bother women. And so we went and fixed the toilet together. What can I say, it was very romantic.

Since then things at his house have changed a little. I still pop to the bathroom to brush my teeth if I manage to wake up before him. But I no longer have to wait till Sunday afternoon to do my business, which I must admit is a huge relief (both physically and mentally). Because now I know how to work the spare loo at the back of the house, and I can disappear whenever I want.

By: Paige Nick

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