Public Restroom Peeves (That Aren’t Trans* People)

Did you know that some people are very, very angry about having to share public restrooms with trans* people? It’s an American tradition to get ticked off about things that don’t matter, but I’m still kind of baffled. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of legitimate gripes to hold about public restrooms – but trans* people using them isn’t on the list.

But are we just complaining about public restrooms now ? Because yeah, I do have some petty complaints:

  • When a motion activated faucet won’t go off when I wave my hands under it. AM I A GHOST? In these moments, I think maybe.
  • Bar soap. Yes, I know that people used bar soap for centuries but I’m pretty sure they all got cholera.
  • When a person has a phone conversation when they’re on the toilet. Who are they talking to? Guaranteed, whoever it is knows what you’re doing. Who honestly thinks “you know what would perk this pee sesh right up? Some chit-chat with the receptionist setting up my dog’s bordetella vaccine.” [Actual convo I heard, yes.]
  • Even worse: when you walk in, someone is talking on the phone, and they seem to expect YOU to leave. Not only will it stay, I will flush the toilet twice so the person on the other line knows what you’ve done. It’s the lavatory, not Sharon’s Phone Lounge.
  • A sign on the door telling me not to flush sanitary products. I just sort of feel like it’s 2016 and we should have worked this out by now. And don’t pretend that you know what we’re supposed to do with those tiny paper bags, either. Do I leave it in the metal box or carry it out to the garbage can?
  • Anyone who wants to talk to me while I’m in a stall. That’s weird. You’re being weird.
  • That moment when you use a turbo hand-dryer and your skin peels back from your bones and tendons, and you realize we are all but skeletons and suddenly you’re faced with a real existential moment at an I-90 thruway stop.
  • I know it’s cliche to say the long line at the ladies’ room, but good Christ: the long line at the ladies’ room. It’s been proven that anatomically, it takes women longer to use the bathroom. Plus you gotta figure that it’s a sit-down occasion every time, whereas probably 80-90% of the time biological men are standing up with their pants on. Plus there are more women assisting and accompanying small children or babies than men. So how about we make up for our 12% pay deficit with like… 12% more bathroom stalls?
  • While we’re at it, I’ve heard men complain about no changing tables in the men’s room so that should also be addressed.
  • And generally, when there are no changing tables in locations where people obviously bring children. I had to change my nephew standing up in a public park restroom, which he promptly reported to his parents. I also had him wear an apron that day while we were baking, and he told his parents that “Aunt Molly put a dress on me!” We have fun.
  • No mirror above the sink.
  • Non-flushers. I will never understand non-flushers as long as I live. If it’s an automatic toilet, and it doesn’t go off, push the damn button. In one stall at work, someone had to put up a sign telling users to make sure the toilet is flushed before they leave. And I work in legal publishing, not preschool.
  • Pee splatterers. Look, I’ve been known to do a hover move, too. Do I count it as part of my workout? Yeah, maybe sometimes. But do I sway to and fro splattering pee over the whole seat? No, because I’m a decent person. And if I DID get pee everywhere, I sure as hell would TP it up a bit.
  • Not realizing the stall is out of toilet paper until it’s too late.
  • Attendants, who are probably all lovely people, because they combine my fear of not tipping enough with my distaste for paying for things I can do on my own.
  • Any time the sign on the door tries to be cute instead of just telling me who’s supposed to go in there. In my dad’s Irish club, the doors say Fir and Mna and no, I do not speak Gaelic.  I believe I decided that Mna might be man since it’s an anagram, which was not the case because that’s not how languages work. And in Spain, I once went into a restroom where there was no writing on the door, just a photograph of a child playing baseball. I thought it was a girl. I was wrong.
  • Anyone who tries to bust open a door without doing the barest due diligence to find out if someone’s in there. I LOVE those doors that have that red light/green light thing, sort of like airplane bathrooms.
  • When basically the entire restroom is shut down for cleaning (with cones, caution tape and hurdles) and there’s nary a cleaning person in sight. I’m not saying that it’s always like this at Penn Station, I’m just saying I’ve encountered this every time I’ve had to use a bathroom at Penn Station.
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