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Public Restrooms: I Waited in Line for This

By Dorothy Rosby

With all due respect to Mr. Freud, the only time women really envy anything about men is while we‘re waiting in line at a public restroom.

I'm carrying a very large purse and three even larger shopping bags as I stand in a line twelve feet long. From here I have an excellent view of my husband going directly into the men's room. Then I see him coming out. My line hasn't moved. This is ENVY.

When I finally get my turn, I haul my purse and shopping bags into a stall the size of a pencil box. Did I mention the door opens IN? Soon I'm pinned against the back wall, snug beside the toilet, attempting to swing the door by my body and my belongings in order to close it. That's when I discover the latch doesn't LATCH.

I put my purse and shopping bags on the floor—the FLOOR of a PUBLIC RESTROOM. Then I disrobe while holding the door closed—with MY HEAD!

I'm relieved to find there's paper. And I wouldn't mind that it's so thin as to be nearly transparent if the dispenser would release more than one square of it at a time.

toilet paper

There's a wide variety of flushing mechanisms in public restrooms these days. And I've come across the most challenging system of all; the one that flushes while the user is still seated. Unfortunately, I startle easily, and this is NOT a good time to jump.

I redress while balancing on my left foot and holding the door closed with my right knee. I force myself and my belongings back into the corner in order to open the door wide enough to LET ME OUT! Then I set my bags down on the floor in front of the sink. It's wet.

I've heard one should wash one's hands for as long as it takes to sing a relaxed version of Happy Birthday. Unfortunately the faucet shuts off after three seconds, having been designed to save water and prevent women from singing Happy Birthday in the bathroom.

I'm determined. I lean on the faucet with my left elbow while I wash my right hand; then I lean on it with my right elbow while I wash my left hand. I don't feel like singing.

When I finish, my hands may or may not be clean, but my pants are soaked. I use the air dryer on both. Then, because dryers aren't as fast as towels, I wipe my hands on my shirt.

I pick up my wet purse and soggy shopping bags and stumble from the restroom feeling anything but rested, only to have my husband say, “What took you so long?”

Copyright© 2005

Dorothy Rosby is a contributing writer for Fabulously40 and a syndicated humor columnist and entertaining speaker whose column has appeared in newspapers in ten Midwestern and Western states since 1996. (The area is home to more cows than people, so the reader should not be overly impressed.) Dorothy grew up in Buffalo, South Dakota, a town of fewer than 400 people in a state that was once left out of the Rand McNally atlas. A former radio announcer, she was once asked by an employer to change her name on air because, "No one will take you seriously with a name like Dorothy." All of this has led to self-esteem issues that can only be dealt with by a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor. Read more 

Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Wald Guarino wrote Jun 12, 2008
    • So true and written so well.
      I laughed with tears.
      Great read.

      Lisa G.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kim McAllister wrote Sep 11, 2008
    • Ah, the joys of womanhood....

      Believe it or not, the best public bathroom I ever used was at Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte, North Carolina.

      In the hospitality area, the “bathrooms” looked like trailers on the outside.  I hesitated to even go in, but when I did, I found a wood paneled, carpeted, air-conditioned luxury suite!
      Okay, there were two tiny “stalls“, but still - never judge a bathroom by its cover.... : D

      Kim  ; )

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Perl wrote Sep 12, 2008
    • only because I am not in a pencil box sized stall at this very moment... i can say that this is all so true and it is sooo funny i could just cry with relief that I’m not the only person that thinks like this. thanks for sharing so eloquently!

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