My friend Paula, in a recent e-mail, asked me to talk about my experience with bathrooms while out. Happy to (although it took me a few months to do so)!
First of all, I have no idea what Ohio law is regarding the use of bathrooms and could not care less. When I am dressed, I am a woman and I use the ladies room. Here are a few common sense rules I follow.
- Minimize the use of the bathroom when out. I know I use the restroom less frequently when I am out dressed for a number of reasons. I am aware of it so I consume less liquid. And I’ll be delicate here, when tucked, I cannot operate as easily as I would otherwise. So I am able to hold things longer than usual.
- Be smart about it. Get in and out. Don’t linger. We all like to touch up our lipstick or fix our hair before leaving the restroom, getting that female experience. The restroom is not the place to take risks. If it’s crowded, just wash up and leave. Get a feel for the others there. I have had other ladies engage me in conversations, I have even had a conversation with a young lady while she changed her dress in front of me. But I never assume anything. I act like I belong, but do what I need to do and leave.
- When I am in a public restroom and young children enter, I stay put. If I happen to be in a stall, I stay until they children leave. If I see them entering before me, I wait. If they enter while I am washing up, I quickly finish and leave. It’s all about being smart here as well. Nothing good can happen in this situation with children involved, it will only be nothing or something negative.
- I always carry Purell in my purse, which allows me to skip the hand washing process when needed. Depending on the situation, I apply my Purell in the stall and simply exit when finished.
- Focus on what you need to do, not who is in there with you. When using the mirror, I tend to my business and leave. I’m not in there trying to make friends or watch what someone else is doing. There is a big wide world out there to do that.
- Walk in, lock the stall, do your business and get out in an appropriate fashion.
- I spend quite a bit of time at the art museum. I know a ladies room in a corner of the building that is not often used due to its location. I’ve probably been alone in there at least 20 times. That is my bathroom as I know the odds of an issue are minimal. Use the more isolated facility.
- For goodness sake, do not take selfies in the ladies room. Do I need to explain?
- Act like a woman, look like a woman. Women, shall we say, make noise when they pee. They use toilet paper. You get the point. Keep your feet pointed straight and together as many women have their panties and/or hose down around their legs forcing this stance. And NEVER stand to pee.
- Pay attention to where you are. Read the room. There are establishments where I might be hesitant. There are other places where I am just one of the girls. For example in a volunteer situation, I have already been accepted as a woman, so I am more comfortable. At a play in an upscale theater, I’d be more careful. That is more of a general public situation, caution is advised in those situations.
- Using the ladies room is not a bucket list item. It is part of being a human being. Treat it accordingly.
This all really boils down to simple common sense. Act like you belong and the odds are pretty good that no one will pay you any attention. For me, it’s no different than my rules for going out in general, be smart, appropriate and confident. Just remember, everyone is in the restroom for a reason. Take care of your business and get out of there.
One editorial comment. We all want to get to that place where out attire is not an issue. Behaving in the ladies room is the first and biggest step to that day.