Intersections – Peeing in the boys’ bathroom
By Nicki Salcedo, contributor
Being a woman is awesome. It’s why society tries to control us. We are great. We are strong and silent. We are loud and evocative. We mother. We work. We create. I love men, but I feel sorry for them. I don’t mean to sound sexist. Men are only better than me in one way. I don’t envy the penis, but the pee.
Men can pee anywhere. Men can pee standing up. Most importantly, men can pee without waiting.
I was in Boston the first time I was almost bounced out of a bar. True story. A line of ladies stood along the dusty hallway that led to the restrooms. There was one toilet specifically for women. There was one toilet specifically for men. I stood with the ladies. I felt rage. Men waltzed by and took 30 seconds to pee and not wash their hands. The women waited in a long line.
Women walked into the restroom, peed, scrubbed their hands like surgeons, rearranged their perky bits, and then reapplied a face full of makeup. That took 7 minutes per woman. My bladder and I made an important decision that night. I would pee in the boys’ bathroom.
I would bypass the ridiculous line to the women’s restroom.
I would pee fast.
I would still wash my hands like a surgeon.
I would be in and out in under a minute.
When I emerged, a six-foot tall Southie bouncer blocked my path. I’m a girl from Georgia. It takes a lot to make me feel nervous. He tried to use his Boston brawn and incoherent accent to put fear in me. It didn’t work. My bladder was empty, and I was happy.
“You can’t go in there,” he said, sounding like an extra from “Good Will Hunting.” I’d already gone in there and done my business.
I pointed to the line of women. Still waiting. There were six minutes left before Becky with the good hair, Boston-style, emerged from the toilet.
“Look at that line. It’s not fair. The boys’ bathroom was empty.”
“It is against the law for you to go into the men’s restroom.” He said. If I did it again, I’d be banned from the boys’ bathroom and the bar. Try saying that with a Boston accent.
“Do you know how badly a woman needs to pee before she’s willing to go into the boys’ bathroom?” I shouted. “All this means is that I’m not going to drink anymore.” Boom. I wanted the bartender to hear that.
But I found no solidarity with the other women.
“I wouldn’t go in there,” one lady said. “It’s disgusting.” Wicked true. The men’s room is nearly always a pig sty. Women actually clean up after themselves. I’ve been known to wipe down the sink after I’m done washing my hands.
At best, men project their bodily functions in the general direction of the corner closest to the toilet. Anything that makes it in the toilet doesn’t get flushed. Liquids of unknown origin drip from the ceiling. If the sink is wet, I worry it isn’t from water. I wasn’t in the boys’ bathroom by choice, but it is a choice I’ve made again and again.
I make a point of peeing in the boys’ bathroom when I can. I’ve been doing it undetected for years.
When the Georgia Dome first opened, they allowed public tours. We were allowed into the visitor locker room. While everyone else was oohing and aahing over the size of the lockers, I walked over to the bank of urinals and flushed one.
A lot of people shook their heads at me that day. I’ve been making toilets gender neutral for half my life.
On several occasions, I’ve attended conferences that are dominated by women and the male restroom is temporarily converted for female use. I love these conferences. The staff covers the urinals with curtains. It’s a nice gesture, but why? It’s not like I’m going to accidentally use one.
Oh, sorry officer. I thought this mini toilet was a sink.
Urinals are weird. Maybe I’m weird. I don’t care or judge who pees next to me. I’m not fixated on bathrooms until I have to go. I don’t have any sexual feelings when my bladder is about to burst. Going to the bathroom is a private thing for everyone. I like stalls with doors. I like locks that line up with ease and that secure my privacy without whacking the hinges. I like single occupancy gender neutral toilets.
I wish I could pee in any bathroom I choose. I’m a married heterosexual black Christian woman with children. I have a son. I have daughters. I monitor their safety in every situation, not just within the toilet stall. We all have to pee. I will pee with anybody. I glance at the door marked “Men” when the line for “Women” is too long. I should be able to pee without waiting. I promise I won’t bother you at the urinal, if you don’t bother me at the sink.
“Intersections,” the book, is a collection of columns from Decaturish.com and beyond. It is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Nicki Salcedo is a Decatur resident and Atlanta native. She is a novelist, blogger, and a working mom. Her column, Intersections, runs every Wednesday morning.