let me kick this piece off with an explanation: i’m a woman.
ok, here we go.
recently, i went to hannaford, which is a local food store in my state. i had been driving around for quite awhile, slugging back large gulps of coffee between running errands and rocking out in the canyonero, so naturally i had to pee like nobody’s business (except for yours). i’m the type of girl who likes to walk briskly through the aisles of the store, just barely eking my way past your cart full of crap, leaving enough air between us for you to gasp it in, because *you* thought i was going to clip you. man (or woman), i know what i’m doing. you know how long i’ve been driving carts? forgetaboutit. i need to go pee.
this particular hannaford is the smaller of the two in my town, and was last updated several years prior to the other one. the other one is always crowded, so they have the multi-stall bathrooms. the smaller hannaford has 2 single-person bathrooms: you guessed it, one for men and one for the ladies.
now i don’t know if you know this is happening all around the country, but society has taught *me* that i don’t belong in one of those two bathrooms, despite their identical privacy and similar features. the outside of each bathroom looked the same, other than the sign on the door. both doors locked. both bathrooms had a sink, with soap and hot water, and fancy automatic paper towel dispensers. both had a toilet, which was really the hot ticket for me. they were in the same location in the store, and neither had a line outside. the only difference i could perceive, is that one was occupied and one was not.
so i went into the bathroom labeled MEN.
when i got inside, it was a world of wonder! you may recall that i mentioned the similar features inside. normally, i would have gone heavy-handed on the hyperbole and said they were “identical in every way” just to further serve my complaint, but this was not the case today. this bathroom had something the WOMEN rooms don’t have: a classy hole in the wall that you can pee into.
there’s a toilet, which you can also pee into, and a sink (which you could also pee into, if you needed to) and even if times get desperate, there is a grated drain on the tile floor. so many options! granted, women get most of those same options, but if we can’t aim our streams into a classy hole in the wall, who’s to say we’d be any more successful at peeing into a drain? that’s the MEN brain talking.
despite the seemingly endless possibilities, i went with the ol’ tried and true. not gonna lie; i was curious about the urinal (that’s that classy hole in the wall) and was tempted to test my own aim. i’ve peed in the woods and on the side of the road a TON of times, and i passed those life tests with flying colors! am i getting off topic? sort of. the point is, men are offered these special separate receptacles simply because they have dongs, but that should never limit anyone without a dong from using a urinal! if they’re able to use it, let them! some guys have tiny tiny tiny dongs, and they still manage to use the urinal, so i’m fairly confident there are women who could pull it off just as well (if not better!)
i’m getting to the point of my story, too.
i washed my hands, with the equally powerful soap and equally warm water. the equally dry paper towels dried my hands just nicely. i opened the equal-in-quality door to exit the bathroom, and there was a woman standing outside the door. as i moved past her, i say “pardon me,” and give her a polite smile and nod. at this point, i’m confident the interaction is over.
only it wasn’t.
anita (that’s what i’m going to call her, because she looked like an anita) turns around and says “oh no, why did you make me almost go in the men’s room?”
first of all, anita, i didn’t MAKE you do anything. if i had the choice to force you into action, i would have made you pay for my groceries. trust me. you *almost* walked into a perfectly legit bathroom, with perfectly legit facilities, that you could have peed all over. but you chose not to go in there, and instead turned around and projected your ignorance on me.
you should have gone in there, anita. it was magical.
it would be rude to ignore someone’s obvious cry for help, so i replied to her question.
“well the other one is locked, so… i used that one. there’s nobody in there, and it’s clean. go on in!” i encourage her.
i realize now that i am making her out to be an old lady, and she wasn’t. she was probably in her 50s, and that’s pretty young for today’s standards. i can assume she is aware of the stigma surrounding gender-exclusive bathrooms, so that was most likely what was driving her to distress, and it was showing. her face turned red. her tiny hand flew up to her mouth, in horror. she pivoted on a tiny foot and headed toward the tiny hannaford customer service desk, presumably to complain about my defiance. after a brief exchange, anita returned to the restroom area and stood outside the door labeled WOMEN.
i finished my shopping, and went through the self-checkout, which is located by the restrooms. it had been fifteen minutes since my interaction with anita, and i had all but forgotten about her, until i saw her *still waiting* outside of the door labeled WOMEN. a man walked out of the bathroom for MEN, and anita smiled at him as he passed her.
what the hell, anita??
need i remind you, that this is the 21st century?! we’re all pissing into the same pipes, we’re just a foot away on the other side of the wall (whoa, that was deep). it made me wonder if she has separate bathrooms in her house, as well? could her daughter face the same horrific reaction, after using the same bathroom as her (MALE!) brother?? we willingly eat from the same silverware as strangers have used when we go out to eat, but let’s lose our fucking minds over which side of the wall we piss on.
explain it to me, anita, because i’m having a hard time. you glared at me, and smiled at him. i can only assume you glared at me for using the wrong toilet, but did you know that he peed into a hole in the wall??? i could have done that too, but i didn’t, even though i totally wanted to use less water. maybe that’s why you smiled at him? i’ll never know.
another thing i’ll never know: how long did anita wait to use the restroom for WOMEN? she was still standing outside the door when i left, which made for an estimated wait time (as far as i witnessed) of about 25 minutes. she very well could have waited 45 minutes by the endt, for all i knew. i safely ruled out emergency status, because she would have used the other one in that case. this was a matter of preference, for which she was willing to wait. one for which she was willing to fight nature. morals and principles and shit.
well i have morals and principles too. for instance, i won’t pee in the middle of the road, only the side. i won’t pee in the top of the trees, but i will next to one. i probably* won’t use a urinal, but i will use a men’s toilet. that’s just how it works. complete exclusion is ridiculous, and only serves to drive apart a just-barely-functioning society. pick your battles.
takeaway messge: let people use whichever single-stall toilet they want! i’m not even trying to force the anitas of the world to share a bathroom with the opposite gender. it seriously is a choice. you can use whichever bathroom you want, and the world keeps on spinning. if you don’t like that there are other people using the bathroom you want to use, go use your own bathroom. i feel like this isn’t even a problem.