From My Ivory Stall

Pardon me for taking this conversation back to the toilet.  Ever since I wrote that post about accidentally using a public men’s room, I’ve been much, much more observant, probably a severe case of PMRS–Post Men’s Room Syndrome.

To reiterate, please understand that I did not walk into a single-toilet men’s room where I could lock the door and no one would be the wiser.   Nope, I breezed into a large restroom and marched into a stall without so much as a glance around me.  I had no clue that I was in the wrong place until I walked out to see three men standing in front of urinals.  Gave a very literal meaning to the phrase, “standing around with his dick in his hand.”

Now that I’ve become preoccupied with public restrooms beyond whether or not they’re clean and their toilet tissue is recycled sandpaper.   For instance, the neighborhood pub where my Dearly Beloved and I go for fish and chips has three bathrooms in a row– Men, Women, Unisex.   We’d never noticed that Unisex option before.  It’s obvious why it’s there: for overflow, so to speak, not to mention that no one has to certify their sexual orientation.

I had another unusual restroom experience recently, on our last return trip from Atlanta.  I was washing my hands in a ladies’ room when a white-haired woman of soft voice and gentle face peeked in and asked was the handicap stall empty.   It was.

She explained that she needed that one because she had to bring her husband in so that she could help him.   A  tall, frail, elderly gentleman waited just outside the door.  Of course  I knew that mothers take their sons into the Ladies’ Room, but I’d never considered that help may be needed at the other end of the life cycle.  Bathroom designers must not have, either, coming up with stalls so small that anyone of ample proportion may need to back in.

Image 1  (No wide stances, Joe Bender!)

Remember pay toilets and the terror when you didn’t have a dime or later, a quarter, before the days of change machines?   I’ve read that by 1970,  America had over 50,000 pay toilets.  Ten years and some lawsuits later, there were almost none.  However, just last year a a system in Midtown NY offered– for a membership fee and $24–a three-day pass to clean restrooms.

Talk about a stinky deal!

Ever been to a locked restroom in an establishment where the key had to be requested from the cashier at the front counter. . . and it was handed to you attached to a broom handle or yardstick so that you had to walk to the back of the store carrying the monstrosity?   Oh yeah, good times!

Rest areas along Interstate Highways in our area don’t have Unisex bathrooms, but they usually do have offer roomy stalls.  The nice ones have staff to keep them clean and safe.  That makes them a target of legislative budget cuts.

You’d think that a post about toilets would surely have an end.  This one doesn’t.  What do you think?  The public restroom situation could use a good cleanup, but I don’t have any answers.  Do you?  Think on it and then, as the sign on the inside door of a bathroom stall advises. . .  Rise, go forth, and conquer. 

  • You know an odd feeling? Sitting on the toilet eating a chocolate candy bar. – George Carlin
  • It’s not hard to tell we was poor – when you saw the toilet paper dryin’ on the clothesline.
    George Lindsey

12 thoughts on “From My Ivory Stall

  1. I can appreciate your ‘wrong door’ experience, having done the same thing myself.

    One time I also got stuck inside the stall – the door wouldn’t unlock. Fortunately there was enough room under the door to crawl out!

  2. ncmountainwoman

    I had some great comments but they went completely out of my head at the thought that I might ever have to take my husband to the bathroom! I think that would be the deal-breaker for future travel with him.

  3. Arkansas Patti

    Interesting about taking an elderly man to the bathroom. Can see it happening and you have to love that wife.
    Cracked up at the broom handle on the key. Brought back memories.I have only one wish. That those women who insist on hovering would at least raise the seat, then put it back down. Your problem should not be my problem.

    1. I’ve thought about that wife several times. She could have been changing an adult diaper, could have been . . . oh heck, I don’t know. I saw a cartoon today that said if you wonder why baby diapers have names like Luvs, and Huggies and with adults, they’re called Depends. They explained the difference is that when it comes to helping someone change their adult diaper, it DEPENDS on what’s in the will.

  4. At our local Walmart there are men’s, women’s and also what are identified as “family” bathrooms. (Those have a changing table.) So if a guy had to accompany his toddler daughter, or a woman her son, they’d at least have a place to go without embarrassment. That bathroom is just one big room with one toilet, but it does have a locking door. At least Walmart does something right…

    My mother was a “hoverer” and always encouraged me to do the same. Now, I don’t give a hoot.

  5. I would seriously try climbing OVER before I ever crawled under.
    Next time I am in one of those stalls I am going to inspect the door and see what kind of screwdriver I need to start carrying in my purse- just in case I have to dismantle the stall to get myself out. Anything not to touch the floor.

    1. I gave a thought to climbing over, too, but getting out of the bathtub is hard enough for me. I’d better look into the screwdriver angle, too, although the screws are probably caked with something gross. Would 911 respond?

  6. My growing up years are sufficiently different for me to have experienced what few in the U.S. know…using old magazines for toilet paper. I grew up in southern Africa in the 1950s–and toilets were outhouses, and toilet paper the aforementioned magazines. First you read them then you used them…

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