Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Still Looking For The Ladies Room

It has become apparent to me that no matter where you go in the world, one fact remains true: when it comes to restrooms, women are disgusting.

I've had reason to be in the men's restroom on occasion. Mostly for innocent reasons, and I'd probably need another blog for the few non-innocent reasons lurking out there (keep wishing. It's not gonna happen). I can vouch for ninety nine percent of men's restrooms: they are clean. They stay clean. Ignoring the occasional drop of misdirected pee, the men's restroom doesn't make you wonder about the underlying health of the male state of mind.

The ladies' room, however? Go into any woman's restroom, and unless it was recently cleaned, you will find at least two the following:

A) A used, gloppy, balled up paper towel on the countertop
B) A mix of paper towels and toilet paper on the floor
C) The remnants of a sanitary device wrapper sticking out of the special sanitary garbage can in the stall
D) An unflushed toilet
E) A flushed toilet, with bright amber pee greeting you from the toilet seat
F) A stopped up toilet filled with things I wouldn't dare describe to you before you've had your dinner
G) Worse

In every building in the world bearing a woman's toilet, there is at least one woman who believes the rules of restroom etiquette do not apply to her. We are all buying the same sanitary products, but hers are the ones exempt from the no flush rule. The fact that she stops up toilets every other week does not concern her: it flushes most of the time doesn't it?

I once worked with a woman who believed there was no difference between her bathroom at home and the restroom at work, despite the presence of forty other women having to share the stalls. She entered and spent significant amounts of time emitting smells and noises which, really - should just be reserved for the privacy of one's own home. When you're single and living alone. She was also fond of forgetting to lock the stall door. Twice I walked in on her (you can't always see feet in the luxury suite/aka disabled stall). Twice I went running back to my office near tears.

What is it about women and the public bathroom? Why are men able to handle their business in relative neatness, while women, the patron saints of tidying up, reduce the restroom stall to filth? Some would argue that the abundance of tissue paper usage among women is the culprit. Others say that there are more disgusting home bathrooms than you can imagine, they are simply spruced up for company.

I am personally a bathroom neatnik. My commode is cleaned daily; I can't bring myself to sit on porcelain that hasn't had a nice bath of its own in Pine Sol. I probably have butt cheeks which are slowly eroding due to chemical overload, but they, and my toilet seat, are clean.

I live with two men. Just as I can testify to the cleanliness of the men's public restroom, I can vouch that male bathroom habits at home are lacking. We can't afford to live in separate houses, so I stock up on Pine Sol, remind them that 'sometimes, flushing twice is better', and adjust.

I should not have to make this adjustment outside the home, for people I neither know well or much like. For once, I'd like to walk into a woman's restroom and find it pristine, and not immediately on the heels of the exiting cleaning service. I'd love to see a world where the toilet stopper-upper simply finds a maintenance person and confesses, rather than scuttle away from the evidence, leaving squirmish me to know way too much about some strangers bodily functions. I'd be more than satisfied to be able to walk around the bathroom at work without looking down to dodge stray pieces of tissue.

And if things don't improve, I'll be finding more reasons to enter the men's restroom. Who says I can't pee standing up?

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