My mother was
a fanatic about public bathrooms.
When I was a little girl, she'd take me into the
stall, teach me to wad up toilet paper and wipe the
seat. Then, she'd carefully lay strips of toilet
paper to cover the seat. Finally, she'd instruct,
"Never, NEVER sit on a public toilet seat.
Then she'd demonstrate
"The Stance," which consisted
of balancing over the toilet in a sitting position
without actually letting any of your flesh make
contact with the toilet seat. By this time, I'd
have wet down my leg and we'd have to go home to
change my clothes.
That was a long time ago. Even now, in my more
"mature years, "The Stance" is excruciatingly
difficult to maintain, especially when one's bladder
is full. When you have to "go" in a public
bathroom, you usually find a line of women that
makes you think there's a half-price sale on Nelly's
underwear in there.
So, you wait and smile politely at all the other
ladies, who are also crossing their legs and smiling
politely. You get closer and check for feet under
the stall doors. Every one is occupied.
Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly
knocking down the woman leaving the stall. You get
in to find the door won't latch. It doesn't matter.
The dispenser for the new fangled "seat covers"
(invented by someone's Mom, no doubt) is handy, but
empty. You would hang your purse on the door hook
if there was one - but there isn't - so you
carefully but quickly hang it around your neck.
(Mom would turn over in her grave if you put it on
the FLOOR!). You yank down your pants, and assume
"The Stance" Ahhhh, relief. But then your
begin to shake.
You'd love to sit down but you certainly hadn't
taken time to wipe the seat or lay toilet paper on
it, so you hold "The Stance" as your thighs
experience a quake that would register an eight on
the Richter scale. To take your mind off of your
trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover
be the empty toilet paper dispenser. In your mind,
you can hear your mother's voice saying, "Honey,
you would have tried to clean the seat, you would
have KNOWN there was no toilet paper!"
Your thighs shake more. You remember the tiny
tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday - the
one that's still in your purse. That would have to
do. You crumple it in the puffiest way possible.
It is still smaller than your thumbnail.
Someone pushes open your stall door because the
latch doesn't work. The door hits your purse,
which is hanging around your neck in front of your
chest, and you and your purse topple backward
against the tank of the toilet.
"Occupied!" you scream, as you reach for
dropping your precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a
puddle, and sliding down, directly onto the
insidious toilet seat. You bolt up quickly,
knowing all too well that it's too late. Your bare
bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ
and life form on the uncovered seat because YOU
never laid down toilet paper - not that there was
any, even if you had taken time to try.
You know that your mother would be utterly ashamed
of you if she knew, because you're certain that her
bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat
because, frankly, dear, "You just don't KNOW
kind of diseases you could get,"
By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of
the toilet is so confused that it flushes, sending
up a stream of water akin to a fountain that
suddenly sucks everything down with such force that
you grab onto the toilet paper dispenser for fear
being dragged off to China.
At that point, you give up. You're soaked by the
splashing water. You're exhausted. You try to wipe
with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket, then
slink out inconspicuously to the sinks. You can't
figure out how too operate the faucets with the
automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit
and a dry paper towel and walk past a line of women,
still waiting, cross-legged at this point, no longer
able to smile politely.
One kind soul at the very end of the line points out
that you are trailing a piece of toilet paper on
your shoe as long as the Mississippi River!
(Where was it when you NEEDED it??) You yank the
paper from your shoe, plunk it the woman's hand and
tell her warmly, "Here, you just might need this."
As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has since
entered, used and exited the men's restroom and read
a copy of War and Peace while waiting for you.
Annoyed, he asks, "What took you so long, and
your purse hanging around your neck?"
This is dedicated to women everywhere who have ever
had to deal with a public restroom (rest??? you've
got to be kidding!!).
It finally explains to the men what really does take
us so long. It also answers their other commonly
asked question about why women go to the restroom
pairs. It's so the other woman can hold the door
and hand you Kleenex under the door.