A room of our own

Is it wrong to hide in the bathroom if you are stuck at a party you really didn’t want to attend? Asking for a friend.

We had a long layover at Charles de Gaulle airport. I wanted cold water to fill my water bottle but all I could get was hot. I asked the other woman in the bathroom if she knew if there was cold water or not. Me: Vous savais si il y a d’eau froid ou c’est tout chaud? Frenchwoman: What language are you speaking? Me: Umm. French?

I feel as if I write about bathrooms a lot.

I guess I do.

But – they are a big deal. The ability to find a toilet when I am not at my house? It matters. If there isn’t a public restroom for me to use, I drink less water. When I drink less water, I get dehydrated, which can cause either a migraine or an irritated bladder or both. Yay.

Or there is a restroom but the line snakes out of the room and into the hall and I spend the entire intermission waiting. (Looking at you, Tom Jones concert when there was a guard by the ladies who would not let anyone use the separate handicapped restroom even though nobody else was using it at the time.)

And I am concerned only for myself. Add children or another person I might have to care for and it would be even worse.

So yes – potty parity is a big deal and I care about it because without it, I am literally in pain. And because other women are also in pain and are greatly inconvenienced.

So that’s the main reason I want more women’s rooms.

Not more restrooms.

More women’s rooms.

Because there is a social component to this as well. I don’t think men have the same sort of experience in the men’s room. At least, based on Mr T’s reactions to my stories, Mr T does not and does not know of others striking up conversations with strangers in the restroom.

But it’s pretty common for women, I think. We bond over our shared experience of waiting. And of our mutual frustration at the state of the restroom world. And you know – just being women in a space that is women only. There are not many spaces like that in the world.

I don’t want to share my bathroom space with men.

So today, I don’t feel like complaining about potty parity. I am just going to tell you a quick story about an encounter that baffled Mr T but made perfect sense to me.

Mr T and I went to an art gallery for a guided tour with a curator. The tour was about to start but I thought it would be wise to run to the ladies first as one does.

When I came out, I reported to Mr T, who was concerned I was late and that the tour would start without me.

But I knew better.

Me: I knew there was no toilet paper in the stall next to me, so I handed some to the woman who had gone in there.

Mr T: Without even waiting for her to ask?

Me: I knew she was going to need it. I had tried that stall first but there was no paper so I changed.

Mr T: Men don’t work like that.

Me: She said, “Thanks! I’m about to give a tour and I thought I better pee first.” I told her, “I’m about to go on your tour so at least now I know I won’t be late!” She said, “I’ll wait for you! You’re my guardian angel!”

Mr T: Men really don’t work like that.

Me: We often admire each other’s shoes, too.


One thought on “A room of our own

  1. Went to the movies yesterday – Regal Cinema, in case you want to go to one sometime. There were at least 20 stalls in the ladies room. Enough that at the intermission (HD opera from the Met, so intermission) way more than half the women who came in could be “seated” immediately – and two handicapped stalls! Now, if they would just put HOT water in the hand-washing area …


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