Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Relationship With Public Restrooms

On my recent road trip on my own I started thinking about public restrooms and my, shall we say, relationship with them.  For those of you who don’t know or realize yet, I present as a man and am often (read as ‘daily’) mistaken for a man.  I have to admit that it has it’s perks but there are certain situations where it’s not really all that great, to put it lightly.

When I walk into a women’s restroom I am often greeted by my fellow restroom users with looks of fear and shock.  Honestly, I can understand their fear of a man walking into a women’s restroom because, you know, you hear stories.  Bad stories.  But, really.  Do I look like a threat?  All 5’7” and 170 pounds of me?  All I’m there to do is my business and leave.  I don’t even want to make eye contact with you.  I’m on a mission, dammit. 

My best story about public restrooms came from a road trip I took with my family seven or eight years ago.  I had to go really bad and had no other option than to stop at a truck stop and use the facilities.  We were in a pretty conservative part of Oregon so I knew there may be trouble but I did my best to stick out my breasts and suck in my gut so they were even more ‘out there’ and noticeable and walked in like I belonged there, which of course I did.  At any rate, this woman was in there with her 9 or 10 year-old daughter and immediately looked at my short hair and baseball cap and right past my breasts.  Then she yells at me, “You’re in the wrong restroom!”  

With a sigh of ‘oh lord, here we go’ I responded politely with, “No Ma’am, I’m not.”  Even with my voice she still thought I was a man and continued with her insistence that I was in the wrong restroom.  Luckily, my partner at the time was in there with me and she looked at the woman and said, “She is in the right restroom. She is a woman. Do you not see her breasts?” With that she pointed to my chest.  The woman shot her an angry and frustrated look then grabbed her daughter by the wrist and quickly left the restroom. 

All I wanted to do was pee! 

Ever since then I’ve had this fear that something like that would happen again so I started thinking about places where I could stop on road trips that had one of those one person restrooms.  Although I’m not a fan of their coffee nor their business practices, Starbucks is great for this.  They all seem to have those one stalled restrooms and no one says anything to you for walking in, using the restroom and walking out.  You don’t even have to buy anything.  So, I started looking for those along the way when I really needed to make a pit stop. 

The funny thing is, on this last road trip my hair wasn’t as short as it normally is so I didn’t really have any issues and had to stop a couple of times at rest areas.  The issues I had were mostly in my head.  But, still. 

I have to wonder.  When will the gender stereotypes be broken.  Are there not enough short haired, t-shirt and jean wearing women out there to realize that just because you have short hair and wear jeans and t-shirts it does not mean that you are a man? 

I realize that I have a choice to dress in a more feminine manner but, I’ve got to be honest with you, you really don’t want to see that.  I look like a guy in drag, which isn’t a bad thing, necessarily.  I just isn’t me.  At all.  It’s actually kind of scary. 

I guess until everyone can finally get over this gender stereotyping, I’ll just keep freaking them out by using the women’s restroom.  But, really.  Ya’ll need to get over it.  I’m just there to pee!

1 comment:

  1. I love this entry. I have, at times, gone through a few gender stereotypes. Now I sport long locks and so I don't face the questions. But, what I'm really trying to get at here is that I never realized what it might be like to be in your shoes. I'm glad you posted this entry because it reminded me to be kind when I don't understand something or know someone, which is always the hardest time to do that. Thank you!