I know there are much bigger news stories at the moment but this has been bugging me.
I get the intent about gender- unbiased bathrooms but while clever corporate MBAs, lawyers and COOs were figuring out that changing signs cost less than building new bathrooms or remodeling existing ones to squeeze in a new space, my rights were violated. And I know it isn’t PC to complain about this but I call them like I see them especially after I dragged my wobbly, elderly father out for a night on the town- Mexican food and home to have the lights out by 8. You can imagine the bathroom issue was a little confusing to explain. He didn’t know which one to use—not enough choices. And yes I digress, as my good friend John would say, because this isn’t about politics or being a consumer advocate; the supposed focus of my blog.
But in a way it still is. I eat out a lot. I work at home with my husband and we need breaks. Eating out while running corporate errands, is sometimes deductible and always cheaper than renting office space. So yes, I use public restrooms- a consumer service.
So anyway, in a rush to be ahead of the ball, sorry no pun intended, somebody forgot about my right to privacy. I do not like sharing public bathrooms with men. Yuck! I will spare you the details. And I know women are no saints either but there is a difference.
I feel like Erica Jong who wrote a chapter on the idiosyncrasies of international toilets. After having marveled at the self-cleaning toilets in the sparkling Hong Kong airport and freaking out about the hole in the floor with the two painted feet at Club Med in Korfu, I am somewhat knowledgeable in this area too. In fact I think it’s clearly a better way to measure civility, travelability ( yes I made that up) and hell GNP. It’s true people. You CAN judge a nation by its plumbing—but not people by their’s.
I don’t care if women who are changing into women want to use the same potty space, different stall please, but guys who think they’re still guys, could you go back to the old way? I live in fear that the next time I duck into Starbucks and I don’t know if the lock works well, that some guy is going to accidentally push open the unisex door. (If you have dealt with man spread in public, you know men tend to be a little more aggressive about things, including apparently knocking first on a closed door as opposed to brutely pushing it in ). Hey I know it’s sexist that I don’t care as much if it’s a pushy or desperate woman, even if that’s embarrassing anyway. If it’s a strange guy I would be mortified until my dying day.
In the world of public restrooms sometimes there are family bathrooms and that’s a cool invention, although my kids are grown and the only way I will personally benefit is I ever have grandkids. Human ones, because I don’t take the grand-bunny shopping at Macys. But I don’t begrudge families that improvement.
I agree that we shouldn’t worry about people transitioning and which bathroom they use in public in general. I would however be uncomfortable if I was a middle school girl asked to share my locker room with a boy who is contemplating changing his sex or is it gender?
I’m so confused. When did this get to be such an issue? I mean people had this angst when I was coming of age right? What did they do then??? Read that with empathy because I really do wonder how they managed.
Then there’s the norms in TV land. Where do the firemen and women change in Chicago Fire because it looks like they share a locker room and that freaks me out? It literally gives me anxiety.
Also, why was there an eight -year -old boy running around the ladies room yesterday in that aforementioned Mexican restaurant? You know men designed ladies rooms, halfheartedly and without much consideration. We don’t have urinals next to each but there are always huge gaps in door jamb hinges in public women’s bathrooms and I’ve never understood it. They couldn’t make the stall doors and the frames FLUSH? ( You can laugh now). At some point young boys do not belong in the ladies room. Eegads! I want a little privacy please.
Digressing again, I must share that my daughter laboriously wrote out a whole chart for me about genders, binary and sex and I really am mystified. She said people needed it spelled out so they could identify and be identified correctly. Now I am even more mystified. Honestly I don’t care if people are bi gendered fluid whatever. Just be neat, clean, honest, fair; the things that matter. Have a good solid handshake and wash those hands in whatever public restroom you use. What you do in your bedroom or your own bathroom with whomever you choose is your business as long as it is between consenting adults who understand that chart a whole lot better than me.
So I ask you, if people don’t want to be boxed in why are they putting themselves in boxes?
Maybe we just need a ton of partitions everywhere. It’s kind of like our all-encompassing use of social media, unrestricted and unfiltered. How can we be our best selves in public if we don’t have a little private space sometimes? Oh yes, that is definitely a metaphor. So happy public rest-rooming! May yours be single sex, er… gender, uh ….clean.