My Girlfriend and I Don’t Share Clothes — or Health and Beauty Products

Photo credit: Rexxaka, CC BY 2.0.

There are lots of stereotypes that come up when people find out you are a woman in a relationship with another woman. Commonly heard: “Oh, that’s so nice! I bet your wardrobe doubles.” “Man, is getting dressed up to go out way more fun?” These questions and statements, however, are factually incorrect.

My girlfriend and I are entirely different people, just like most individuals in relationships. We fight over who used up all the butter or who has to take out the trash. We can’t wear each others’ clothes because we have two completely different body types. One slight difference between us and other types of couples is that we hold grudges if we think the other person used the last of the tampons, which happens…. every month.

The other morning, while showering, I glanced around the tub and couldn’t find face wash. I have face wash, I thought, so where is it? This tub is only like five square feet.

I couldn’t see it — but, as I did a scouting glance to all four corners, I counted the bottles. Four bottles were shampoo. Three bottles were conditioner. Nestled up on our hanger was my face wash… crushed behind yet another new bottle of face wash. What is happening?

I called to my girlfriend to come into the bathroom. Then I asked her where all the bottles came from. Without skipping a beat, she went into detail about each individual conditioner, wash, and shampoo. Some were for the days immediately after coloring her hair (a $150 expense), some were to tone it a few weeks later, and the new face wash felt better on her skin. “But don’t use any of the hair products,” she told me. “They’re only for people who color their hair.” I stood almost dumbfounded because I knew that each bottle cost approximately $22.

Four bottles of shampoo +

three bottles of conditioner +

one bottle of face wash =

roughly $176.

All contained within five square feet.

My girlfriend and I do not see eye-to-eye on a lot of financial decisions. She’s the “let’s go on a date” to my “let’s have a date at home so in five years we can have the passive income we want.” In some ways, we’re at the polar ends of the financial spectrum. But in other ways, we’re all too similar — especially in the way we prioritize “health and beauty” spending.

While my girlfriend’s version of health is more on the grooming side, mine is centered around food, nutrition, and working out. (I’m a self-defense instructor, which is how I justify a lot of these expenses.) She buys manicures, dresses, and wine. I buy running shoes, protein powders, and… more wine.

I also buy impulsively, thanks to Amazon Prime. It’s so easy to be writing at the computer and suddenly think “Oh, I need a new sports bra!” or “I need more X for my workouts.” I click to order, and within 24-36 hours it’s at my house. That is where my own “health and beauty” expenses can lead me down the slippery slope.

As I step out of the shower, toweling the hair that I washed with shampoo I shouldn’t have used, my girlfriend says “Another package just came. You need to stop ordering stuff. What is it this time?” I proceeded to gleefully explain that “THIS time I ordered a protein powder with BCAAs and no sugar so it’s a pre-made post-workout treat.” It costs $45, but now instead of the Frankenstein mess I concocted out of all the other supplements in our kitchen, I can get my nutrients from of a single large tub. She looks unamused, but that is when it happens.

It is the untold, born in silence, fully-understood truce between couples. When one can see the argument they are making thrown back in their face by the other not out of spite, but because as two individuals we have different sets of needs.

She spends almost $200 every month on hair “necessities;” I spend just as much on nutritional supplements and workout gear, and we both classify our purchases as “health and beauty.” We both get what we need and what we want, and it all equals out in the end.

Leigh Wright is a writer and explorer while working to creatively communicate and help people better understand other people. You can find her at

This story is part of The Billfold’s Clothing Series.

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