I was on a road trip a few weeks ago with my boyfriend.  We were in an area of California that was desert like with very few stops.  So when we found a gas station on the side of the road, we were filled with excitement.  It had been four hours since we had been able to use a restroom.

Every other traveler must have had the same idea, as the lines to the restrooms (both men and women) were extremely long.  I grabbed my spot in line, about 15 other women in front of me, and waited patiently, the pain on my stomach growing with every second.

Finally, I was next in line.  I watched a thin, dark haired woman exit the handicapped stall.  “It’s all yours,” she responded with no hesitation in her voice, and I headed in with relief.  But as I approached the toilet, I knew there was no way this was going to work.  The seat was covered in various colors of yellow dribbles.  And the only toilet paper in the stall was on the floor, half of it soaked in what I can only presume to be someone else’s urine.

I left just seconds later, telling the other women that there was no toilet paper.  But you see, for them, it wasn’t a big deal.  They would go in, pull their pants to their knees, spread their legs far apart, and straddle the toilet.  They might have to do a quick shake when they’re finished, but they would essentially walk out of that stall never having to touch anything, not even to wipe their own bottoms.  I’ve seen this hundreds of times with my girlfriends, and I tell you what, not a single female on this planet can pee into a toilet seat hole without getting a few dribbles on the seat.  It’s just not possible.  My god, men have a hose like appendage and they can’t even do it!  But unfortunately, I cannot stand, and thus straddling-the-toilet is not an option for me.  I have to put my bottom, my bare skin, on the toilet seat.

So after my twenty minute wait to use the restroom (unsuccessfully), I rushed out and across the street to the Jack in the Box fast food restaurant, hoping the restroom situation would be better there.  Wrong!  There was an equal amount of pee on the seat.  But…there was toilet paper.  Knowing I had a few more hours in the car ahead of me, and that there probably wouldn’t be a stopping point for a while, I grabbed as much toilet paper off the roll, wrapped it around my hand, and began wiping.  I did this three times before I felt that the seat was clean enough for me to sit on.  And then finally, relief…

The whole experience is very typical for me.  It happens at restaurants, at movie theatres, at the airport, and at work.  And it’s disgusting.  It’s disgusting that I have no other option but to consistently wipe dribbles of pee off a seat.  It’s disgusting that other women would leave a stall knowing all too well that they left it a mess.  It’s disgusting that women will walk out of a stall, look me in the eyes knowing what they’ve done, and just walk past me.  In recent months, I’ve been carrying a pack of baby wipes in my purse.  It’s been working well, and my toilet seats are now as clean as a baby’s butt!

But there’s still one more thing I just can’t get over – the people that feel they need to use the big stall (the handicapped stall) when there are three or four open stalls.  It happens to me daily.  I go into the bathroom to find that the big stall is occupied while the other stalls are wide open.  I wait patiently (what else am I to do?) while trying to make it obvious to the occupant that I’m outside, waiting on them to “finish their business.”  And then there’s the classic exit routine.  The door unlatches, they look at me quickly and then suddenly to the floor, a little bit of shame overcoming their face.  They know they shouldn’t have been in the big stall, but they didn’t think they’d get caught.  Now they have to decide if they should say, “Sorry,” or just ignore the awkward silence.  Awkward silence is how it usually ends.  But every now and then, I get a justification.  Here are some classic examples of what ‘big-stall-users’ are doing in there.

“I’m sorry.  I just like the big stall.  It makes me feel like I’m at home.”  That’s interesting .  I’ve never seen a home bathroom with cheap tile floors and drab, tan metal doors.  But okay, if you feel like you need to be at home in a public restroom, I guess that’s a legitimate excuse?!  I’m curious what the rest of your house looks like though…

“I’m sorry.  I was doing my exercises.”  There’s a gym across the street.  Walking up a flight of stairs or down the sidewalk might be better options too.  Also, how much of a workout are you actually getting in a bathroom stall?  And it’s a BATHROOM STALL!  Gross!

“I’m sorry.  I like to use the big stall because it’s cleaner.”  No, it’s actually not.  I know this from random surveys I’ve done.  And if everyone likes to us the big stall, how can it possibly be cleaner?

“I’m sorry.  I like to have more space when I go poop.  I’m a shy pooper and I don’t want people to hear me.”  Well thank you for the extra information.  But is it really necessary to have a bigger stall to go #2?  And guess what?  We can hear you if you’re in a big stall or a normal stall.  Sound and smells travels equally as well.

I guess at the end of the day, I really don’t care how many people are using the big stall.  But please be quick so I don’t spend my time waiting on you to exercise, or feel at home, or read a book.  I know what you’re actually doing in there and it’s gross.  And ladies, please stop peeing on the seat.  Or at least clean it up when you’re done!  How would you leave your bathroom at home?



Add yours

  1. I think public restrooms are gross in general, but being in your situation makes it even worse. If everyone would sit their bottoms down on the seat there wouldn’t be dribbles for anyone to sit on, and women wouldn’t need to straddle the toilet if they just sat down. Then people like you wouldn’t have to deal with that bullshit. Maybe there should be big, bright signs on the stalls designated for people who need more room. I feel for you. It would really make me mad.


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