I confess. I squeeze the toothpaste tube from the middle, not the end. For those who are avid bottom squeezers, especially those that go to the lengths to twist up and curl the end of the tube for toothpaste optimization, I know I am your nemesis.
This is something I only ever noticed because, when growing up, my brother made it a domestic issue, complaining constantly about my family’s heinous toothpaste squeeze technique. Much time has passed since those terrible years sharing a roof with my brother and, since then, I hadn’t given it another thought—that is, until a week ago.
My boyfriend and I were preparing to turn in for the night, and in doing so, were bonding over the sink by brushing our teeth together. With over 6 months into a full-fledged leave-my-toothbrush-at-his-and-he-leave-a-toothbrush-at-mine relationship, we know each other well enough to have uncovered a few quirks and faults with one another.
But never did I anticipate this being revealed.
As I placed a dollop of paste on my toothbrush and handed him the minty, cavity preventing tube for his brush, I noticed that he squeezed it from the bottom. I looked at him and said, “Does it drive you crazy that I squeeze from the middle?” Without hesitation, he replied, “Yeah.”
Shocked. I was shocked. Firstly, by his candid reply. Secondly, by the fact that we’ve often practiced healthy, dental hygiene together and this had never come up before.
Thoughts ran through my head: “Can this work? Is this a sign? In a few years are we going to be fighting about something else and he’ll bring up a hurtful ‘yeah, well why can’t you squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom?!’ comment? Is this the first sign of relationship fail?”
Perhaps it’s because I remember the aggressive nature my brother pursued the toothpaste squeezing issue in our house: hostility, whining, tears, threats. It got to the point where he had his own toothpaste and toothpaste squeezing tool to best gather the paste residues from the end without us intervening in his obsession.
Those were rough year’s in the Gingermermaid household. When my brother finally went to college, we could all breathe a sigh of relief—for the first time.
I guess you can tell a lot about a person by the way they squeeze their toothpaste. I’m a free spirit with a solid right brain thought process, I just grab the Crest or Colgate and squeeze haphazardly shouting, “Toooooothpaste! Let’s clean my teeth because last visit to the dentist I had 5 cavities!”. My boyfriend is a civil engineer, and carefully ensures that he maximizes the use of the structure, pushing the paste from the bottom, flattening it so it doesn’t go backwards, and has little, probably no, stream of consciousness while he brushes his teeth.
I guess this is a good relationship sign. If we both were middle squeezers, we’d buy a lot more toothpaste, never getting full use of the full 4-ounces or so. If we were both bottom squeezers, well, he wouldn’t be able to fix the tube when I mess it up. It would defeat one of his great purposes in life and that would make me a less than optimal girlfriend.
I know this won’t be the last time he and I have a “discussion” about toothpaste squeeze technique, and I also know it’s probably one of many other quirky habits he has either not acknowledged or still finds precious about me (for now).
At least I know one thing that he and I agree on and is pivotal in any relationship but rare to find between two people–we both believe in the same dishwasher-loading techniques…