Sacred spaces for ladies

The other day, I was at work, and, due to my incredible caffeine intake, I had to pee. Really bad, like if I sneezed there would be problems, bad. So, I grabbed the bathroom key and ran to the ladies room. When I got there, I noticed something was wrong, but I could not quite put my finger on it.

There was only one person, so I could have used the handicapped toilet. I still sensed something very, very wrong. For one thing, the woman in the stall was peeing very loudly. Women just do not urinate with this sort of volume. Then I noticed her feet were pointed the wrong way. It was at this point, I realized there was a man in there.

Now, I know that sometimes people make the honest mistake of going potty in the wrong bathroom. It happens and it can be embarrassing. But, I had noticed this particular individual had made this “mistake” a few times before.

I stepped out of the bathroom and waited outside for a minute, thinking that he would not be long. I heard him washing his hands and I figured it would be an opportune moment to walk in on him and point out his little mistake. After all, I really had to go bad.

I opened the door, and the guy turns to me and says, “I’ll be just a moment. I have to brush my teeth.”

My jaw made an audible smack as it hit the ground. “The men’s room is on the other side of the elevators.” I felt like a wounded animal, because I needed to relieve myself so desperately. “Well, I’ll just be a minute,” he says to me in that can’t-you-see-I’m-horribly-busy tone.

I went back to my office, my cheeks flaming and my bladder stretched way past capacity. He was in my territory. That is the LADIES’ room. It is for LADIES. He was not a LADY. He didn’t even have manners.

So I positioned myself at my desk and glared disapprovingly at the restroom waiting for him to come out. I waited 10 very long minutes. I got madder as each second ticked by. I wanted to do all sorts of nasty things to him and his belongings.

He finallycame out of the bathroom. He smiled and waved. Since he was not a patron of the business I work at, I gave him my special wave I reserve for people who have offended me. He looked crestfallen. I didn’t care. He was an asshole for crossing a boundary he should not have.When I got into the bathroom finally, I discovered toothpaste on the counter and the mirror. He also peed on the seat. Seat peers should be dragged out and shot.

Why am I so concerned about this particular boundary? When you work with men all day, you need a space you can go to, where you can be sure you won’t have to deal with them, for just a few minutes out of the day. I must tell you, when the football talk and the competing colognes get to be too much, the bathroom looks like heaven.

Sharing a bathroom at home, and sharing a bathroom in an office building, are two different things. When you share a bathroom with men at home, you know what kind of messes to expect, whether it is shaving cream on the sink or the seat being left up. You also know the men you are sharing the bathroom with and feel reasonably safe around them.

In an office building, it is a different story. I don’t know these men. Sure I know the men I work with, but there are certain things you do not share with your co-workers. I don’t know about the other men in the office building, or their clients. I think it is a reasonable expectation not to have to share a bathroom with strange men and put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation.

If this person had been transgendered, perhaps I would be more understanding, if that had been explained to me. However, I had only appearance to go on, and in my mind, this was a balding, bearded, highly inconsiderate man.

So, boys, if you have to go to the bathroom, look for the signs. Obviously, this guy missed the sign on the door, not to mention the prominently displayed (but never functioning) tampon machine and the fact that there wasn’t a urinal in sight. It will not kill you to walk down the hall to your own bathroom, where you can pee on the seats and get toothpaste on the mirror with all the joyful abandon in the world.