Author: Doug Mortimer
The current brouhaha about bathrooms and genders reminds me of an experience I had with same many decades ago. Oh, it has nothing to do with trans people or gender dysphoria, but it is relevant to the discussion.
When I was in college I had a summer job at a hotel in a major city. Among the tasks I was assigned to perform was collecting dimes from the pay toilets (like I said, this was decades ago) in the public restrooms. This was easily the least favorite of my duties.
Once a month I would bravely set out with a heavy canvas bag sufficient to support the weight of all the dimes. I donned a white lab coat with the hotel logo sewn on the breast. Supposedly, this made me look official while I made my rounds.
Within the hotel itself, my task was not terribly daunting. The hotel guests had their own rooms so the public facilities in the banquet rooms, meeting halls, and lobby were not busy unless there was some sort of event going on. It was easy enough to knock on the door of a women’s restroom to ascertain if anyone was in there. If so, one waited outside. If not, one opened the door, propped it open, collected the dimes, and went on one’s merry way.
Unfortunately, the hotel was connected to the terminal of a busy network of commuter trains. I’m not sure why, but the hotel was responsible for the public restrooms in the terminal. Because there were so many people coming and going, there was never a time when the place was empty or even close to being empty. So I just went in and went to work.
Scooping dimes out of a receptacle on a stall door is not something that can be done quietly and discreetly. Even in the men’s room it was a distasteful chore. No real man would want to be disturbed during this most private of moments when he is posed like the Thinker and contemplating the Zen koan of whether one is making a deposit or a withdrawal when dropping a deuce.
Of course, it was even worse in the ladies’ room. Imagine a woman in a stall quietly taking care of business when she hears the stall rattling while I’m cleaning out the dime box. She looks down and sees a man’s shoes and trousers underneath the stall door. Reeeeeeeeeee!
Now I wouldn’t have blamed women for demanding a female attendant to collect the dimes from the distaff crappers. And I certainly don’t blame contemporary women for complaining about wannabe females penetrating their private spaces (har har). I realize that women have made countless inroads into male spaces, but I have no desire to return the favor. Admittedly, it is tempting to assert that trans men will leave the women’s bathroom when women sportswriters leave male locker rooms. But I suspect that ultimatum would fall on deaf rears…uh, ears.
In truth, the act of excreting is a private but vulnerable moment regardless of one’s sex. It is not a situation where one can react quickly in the event of an invasion. Literally, one is caught with one’s pants down.
Excretion is not a spectator sport. Even in your home, you close the bathroom door, unless you live alone. It’s meant to be a private performance (guess we could call it water closet drama). Note that “privy” is a longtime synonym for bathroom. Surveillance cameras are everywhere these days but they are still taboo in public restrooms…I think.
And it’s not just an opposite sex thing. If you’ve ever been in a latrine or a public restroom with a row of toilets but no stalls, you know what I mean. Single-sex or unisex, it’s just wrong.
I am reminded, however, that President Lyndon Baines Johnson was given to holding meetings while he was in the act of defecation. Yes, LBJ was into multi-tasking before that was a thing. You have to hand it to him. Any politician can talk out of both sides of his mouth, but LBJ could express himself from two orifices simultaneously. Surely that deserves a shout-out in Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
But there are even worse possibilities. A quick Google search reveals there is a term called “copro toilet voyeur.” That might be a bridge too far even for OnlyFans.
Should the unisex bathroom become the way of the future, let’s take a hint from the Buc-ee’s chain of convenience stores. Their squeaky-clean bathroom policy is one of the key reasons that the Buc-ee’s is so popular. People on the road actually go out of their way to make pit stops at Buc-ee’s. Naturally, while they’re there, they will probably buy a drink, a snack, or a souvenir, and maybe gas up the car. Pretty smart marketing – and I’ll bet it didn’t require a team of MBAs to come up with it.
But there’s more to it than that. The bathroom stalls at Buc-ee’s seal the occupant off from the outside world. Even the most rip-roaring performance is completely private. The occupier of a stall could have trans people on either side and never know it.
Whether or not public restrooms of the future will be unisex is anyone’s guess. Once upon a time, separate but equal was acceptable, but that concept doesn’t have many advocates these days. Equality has even come to mean installing sanitary napkin dispensers in men’s restrooms. No urinals in women’s restrooms…not yet.
The sticking point is gender identity. Restroom signs typically say “Men” and “Women” or “Gentlemen” and “Ladies.” There are cuter variations: “Guys” and “Gals,” “Dudes” and “Dudettes,” “Roosters” and “Hens,” or whatever. These, however, do not go to the root of the problem, as they are just variations on the more conventional signs.
So we need to avoid gender and be more specific. Instead, how about “Convex” and “Concave”? Or “Persons Born With Penises” and “Persons Born With Vaginas”? How about a Freudian twist: Persons With a Penis; Persons With Penis Envy? Don’t care what you identify as. Don’t care what clothing you wear. Don’t care what hormones you take. It’s a strictly anatomical distinction. Take it or leave it – no dickering!
Rather than consolidate all public bathrooms, why not subdivide them further, from two to four? In hipster hangouts, for example, we could have not just cats and chicks, but cats with pussies and chicks with dicks.
Even so, grey areas abound. Is a biological female clutching a dildo or wearing a strap-on a chick with a dick? My guess is you could probably find a shyster who would be glad to argue that…for a price.
Now if you are a trans woman who has been so bold as to undergo a penectomy, whether by a board-certified surgeon or a Lorena Bobbitt copycat, I will concede that you are qualified to enter the vagina restroom. Once you’ve lost the ability to write your name in the snow, you have crossed the Rubicon.
And if you are a trans man with some sort of artificial appendage, circumcised or otherwise, you deserve access to the penis restroom. Welcome to the sausage fest! Bone appetit!
Of course, no matter what sort of solution one offers, someone somewhere will be offended. If you don’t like the traditional “men” an “women” setup and you think my suggestions are lacking in merit, I have one final suggestion, and this is my last word on the subject:
Go shit in your hat.
Original Story on AVFM
These stories are from AVoiceForMen.com.
(Changing the cultural narrative)