of love and toothbrushes


in the glass beside the sink
my toothbrush
kisses yours

Having come across the above snippet in an old notebook, I was reminded of a definition of true love.

I couldn’t quite remember it, though, and it’s taken me nearly an hour to track it down; it wasn’t Shaw, as I had thought, but Somerset Maugham, in The Constant Wife.

Maugham’s works are presumably still in copyright, so not so easy to find on-line, and although I have the complete short stories and a couple of novels, I don’t have the plays. Finally, though, I have found the piece I was looking for.

The dialogue is between Constance and her mother, Mrs Culver:

Mrs C.: Are you in love with Bernard?

C.: To tell you the truth I haven’t quite made up my mind. How does one know if one’s in love?

Mrs C.: My dear, I only know one test. Could you use his toothbrush?

C.: No.

Mrs C.: Then you’re not in love with him.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

8 thoughts on “of love and toothbrushes”

  1. You’re a pink toothbrush, I’m a blue toothbrush
    Have we met somewhere before?
    You’re a pink toothbrush and I think toothbrush
    That we met by the bathroom door.


      1. Unmusical as I am, I am now very confused.
        Cwm Rhondda is *not* Ar hyd y nos and you did *not* mean this:

        In the glass beside the sink
        my toothbrush kisses yours
        as we lie together sleeping
        all through the night;
        Come the morn, the sun will wake us,
        gladly shall we brush our teeth…

        Ah well.


      2. I was referring to the words of your favourite song as quoted by the aptly named Mr Evil.

        Guide  me, O    thou   grea-  eat Je- e-   ho-    vah
        You're a   pink tooth- brush, I'm a   blue tooth- brush



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