I get a little political here in the front end of this, but I promise, eventually the rant turns funny. Save your outrage until you've read to the end.
Much has been made lately about some states passing laws regarding who is an is not allowed to use the ladies' bathrooms in stores and restaurants. My first thought is that if this is what we're screaming at each other right now, wow, we must have solved all the other big stuff like poverty, homelessness, and world hunger.
Well, then certainly if we're passing laws and yowling at each other and ending friendships and family ties and cancelling concerts in protest (And BTW, I noticed that the musicians who have been cancelling concerts are mega wealthy folks whose bottom lines really aren't touched if they don't perform a concert or two. I mean, it's not like the sort of discrimination they're protesting now wasn't around when they were trying to make it big, and you know, NOT cancelling concerts. I'm not cynical about rich people's motives...I'm just pointing out that moral outrage is way easier when you've got multiple millions in the bank.) then we MUST have gotten all the other problems taken care of. I mean, every single child must now be reading at their current age level and college must be super affordable so no one has to spend 40 years trying to pay off student loans and everyone must be employed in a job with a living wage and good health benefits that actually cover health issues.
No? We haven't?
So we're just going to ignore those issues because this is now the time when we really pay attention to whose going into which public restroom. Okay. Well, then my rant about public restrooms can begin.
Who goes into a what public bathroom is an issue I feel I can weigh in based on my many foibles and terrible experiences in that arena. And let me say up front that no one from the LGBT community has ever given me one second's worth of discomfort in a public restroom. Just because there's a stick figure on the door with a triangle representing a dress that doesn't automatically make that place a sacred pool of perfection that's now going to be marred because someone who isn't the perfect ideal of stick figure feminity is in there. And if we're going to get up in arms about silly things, how about if we talk about eternally representing "woman" as a stick figure in a dress? I mean, I haven't worn a dress in probably five years. I certainly don't identify with that image. Does that mean I get to use the men's room? YAY! No waiting in line! No disastrous messes in and around the feminine punctuation waste can in the stalls. No CHILDREN RUNNING AMOK
And that brings me to my issue about public bathrooms and what laws I think SHOULD be passed.
I believe we need to ban CHILDREN with INATTENTIVE MOTHERS and ANYONE USING A CELL PHONE from the ladies' room.
Yep, there, I said it. if you've got kids that aren't strapped in a baby carrier when you walk into a restroom then I say you don't go in there. WHY?
Let me tell you a story.
I was at Sam's Club a couple weeks ago. (Why do I always run into these issues at Sam's? I have no idea, but it's proof that just because you have to pay a membership fee to be someplace, doesn't mean you're know how to behave in that place.) I needed to use the ladies' room. Against my better judgment I went in there. While in there, two mothers with about six kids between them walked in. The mothers used the stalls and while they were taking their own sweet time (no doubt a blessed break from the banshees they'd born) the gaggle of wild animals in their care where banging on stall doors, running around, splashing in toilets, playing with the hand drier like it was an amusement at a science museum, and yanking paper towel out of the dispenser and tossing it in the air. It was like some sort of sick mash up between Disney World and New Orleans on Fat Tuesday in there and these mothers were sitting in their stalls just chatting with each other while their precious little hellions were tearing the place apart.
Then the mothers finally finished their stall conversation. They flushed and then spent the next long span of time chatting at the sinks. (Where was I? Sitting in my stall mentally writing this blog.) Having their mothers actually seeing them was no deterrent to this preschool pack of delinquents. It just meant there were two more stalls to play in. After a couple more minutes I couldn't take the noise and the grossness of the splashing anymore. I left the shelter of the stall and while I was washing my hands I mentally gave these two women the stink eye. (Oh yeah, that stopped them.)
Now I'm not unsympathetic to mothers who have small children. I have two of my own and when they were small I babysat which means when I wanted to go to the store, I had four, five, six children of different ages in tow. What did I do when I had to use the bathroom?
WE LEFT THE STORE AND I WAITED UNTIL I GOT HOME.
That's one of the sacrifices moms have to make. Doesn't matter how well behaved the kids are, or how many times you've told them to "Stand right here and don't move I'll only be a minute" the second you're out of sight they're going to turn into cage free chickens and hunt and peck all over the place. And if you can't leave them standing right outside the door, if you bring them into the ladies' room...well, then give me a heads up so I can avoid your kids' circus performances.
And you know what? Businesses have tried to fix this particular restroom situation. Ever hear of the "FAMILY RESTROOM?" Yeah, those
popped up once my kids were a little older. Restrooms where parents with kids of either gender can go in and use them, no worries.
Guess what? THOSE RESTROOMS ARE ALWAYS EMPTY.
Why don't I use them? Well, the toilets tend to be...very short. And I'm not exactly as flexible as I used to be. If I sit that close to the ground I may not get up any time soon.
Oh, also, I don't have a pack of kids with me anymore. So I'd feel bad if a family actually came in to use it and I was hogging it.
Of course, my experiences elsewhere have proved that mothers with kids don't use family restrooms. (Yes, Sam's Club has one.)
As for people who use cell phones in public bathrooms, well, you should be banned too. Why? Because not all of us are as confident about ourselves as you are and we feel that certain noises that happen in bathrooms shouldn't be broadcast to people outside the restroom. That's just nasty and it makes me feel uncomfortable. Do I feel violated? Well, if it means no one's allowed to use their cell phones in public restrooms, then YES! I feel violated. My civil rights are violated and I don't feel safe in this public place when you are in the stall next to me, chatting away with your friend on the phone.
I'm not saying any of this to diminish the pain I know those who struggle with gender identity issues have. I'm saying this point out that having someone who doesn't look like a woman in the women's room is not even remotely the biggest problem in public restrooms. How about if we worry less about who is in the bathroom with us and worry more about making sure there's actually toilet paper and soap in there so we can all leave the bathroom without carrying 18 different diseases out with us?
But for now, since I don't identify as a triangle and I certainly don't identify as a cellphone-chatting-children-ignoring-rude person, I'm just gonna go ahead and use the men's room.
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