Saturday, June 28, 2008

Powdering My Nose

I'd like to take you on a little journey with me. We're going to the land of euphemisms, which by the way is a mini-tribute to one of my heroes, George Carlin. He enhanced my love of language in all its glory and its failings.

These euphemisms are probably only exceeded by the ones for death. We're visiting the ladies room, the W.C., the loo, the restroom, going to powder our noses, the little girl's (or insert occupation) room, to spend a penny, Damas/Sheilas/Chicks (depending on the theme of your restaurant), or the bathroom although it holds no bath. Frankly, my dear, we're headed for the public toilet. Even that's fun, because let's face it, this is not something you do for the public's entertainment, but it merely indicates that anyone may void themselves there IF they are the right sex to pass through the door.

Okay, yes, I've entered a men's room. I was desperate, it was a one-person facility, and you all won't tell on me, right? I've also, in my distant youth which seems more distant daily - but then it would, wouldn't it? - cleaned a men's room, and exercise in humility THAT is. BTW, much of what they do is open to the male public, but stern macho rules dictate thou shalt not peek at another's pecker. More euphemisms.

But our point today is a visit to the women's side of things, more precisely, the women's side of things once it is built. I open to your perusal my theory that there is not a women's toilet facility that I have been in in multiple countries that was designed by a woman.

"Oh, surely you jest!" I hear you cry. I do not jest, and don't call me Shirley. (rim shot) Let's pay our little visit and see if you don't agree.

First, you push through a door you need to be able to bench press 95 lbs. to move, just to be slapped in the face with blistering heat or freezing cold, depending on the time of year. If it's summer, there goes your makeup...and men wonder what takes us so long. If winter, well, there are parts of my body that I must expose that are deeply resentful of me baring them to the elements. You rush into a stall, praying the former occupant has been tidy (okay, not a man's fault, but geez, ladies! I'm just sayin'!) and turn to close and hopefully lock the door.

To what end, I know not. The stall door has a huge credibility gap between it and the divider walls. Anyone wishing to can see right in. And then there's the huge under-the-door space. God forbid you didn't wear your best underwear, because if you really need to drop 'em to do what you need to do, everyone will be noticing you wore your holier-than-Sunday drawers.

You complete your action(s), and reach for the paper. Assuming there is some, it's usually locked behind the secondary section of the dispenser, and moving those is akin to Sisyphus pushing his rock up a keeps snapping back. You finally get a few flimsy squares, and try to adjust your position to use it. BAM! Your knees slam into a) the sanitary disposal unit, b) the paper dispenser or c) both. What idiot thinks it's a good idea to place these right at seat level about a foot in front of your throne? Only a man who's never dealt with those sharp metal corners gashing his beefy thighs, that's who.

Wincing and biting back unladylike comments in case children are present, you go to wash your hands. The soap dispensers are mounted at the back of the sink, which cuts into your pelvis or stomach as you reach heroically for the skin-drying crud they provide. You look down to find that you would appear to have had an accident before reaching the toilet, because the sink is, of course, wet everywhere. You wash your hands like mother taught you, and look for the towels/hot air. They're almost always several steps away, leaving you dripping on the tile floor for others to break their necks. You reach them, and realize you have to reach UP to use them. Water runs down your arms inside your sleeves. So much for drying off!

You attempt to adjust your clothing and makeup in the appalling fluorescent overhead lighting that makes you look like you just joined Dracula's harem, and give it up as a lost cause. Turning, you realize that the same stupidly designed door stinks for leaving, too. You just washed your hands, and now you have to grasp a door handle and yank on it, knowing full well that it's crawling with germs.

I dream about a restroom designed by a could really rest there. Several cozy chairs in front of a softly lit makeup mirror. Stalls with doors that show no more than your shoes, and lock securely. Sanitary disposal units behind the seat level. Soap dispensers mounted at the front of the no-splash sinks and towels/dryers below elbow level. Proper climate controls, and air freshening.

You may say I'm a dreamer. But I am willing to bet - I'm not the only one.


Ruth said...

You've been tagged for a meme. Do not lob knitting needles at me. You know you want to do this!

Anyhow, I love your blog and want others to love it too.

MMario said...

the whole point of public restrooms is to discourage people from using them.

Rosemarie Buchanan said...

How many times have I said that the jerks who design toilets are NOT the same jerks (of the female gender) who hafta clean the suckers???? And that goes DOUBLE for bathrooms, sans bath or avec bath, of any kind!

I just love the washrooms that are designed so that once you're in the stall, you have to turn around, back over the toilet and straddle it, facing the door, just to CLOSE THE @#$#$@$ DOOR!!!

Oh, and let's not forget about the great honkin' toilet paper dispenser, placed so that the poor (full-bladdered) soul who's backing in, takes out the back half of her left hip on the @#$#@$@#$ dispenser!!

My dad has some hilarious plaques in his workshop. One is of a (clearly unworldly) woman (with the price tag still on her hat) looking at a service station sign that says "RESTROOM".

She says "RESTROOM? Hell, I ain't tired ... WHERE'S THE CAN?"

Oh, and don't even get me started on the gender-neutral public washrooms ... yes, those wonders of public hygiene which sport copious puddles of male-generated urine both on and around the terlet, and many times, IN THE SINK ... because god knows, it would be a shame to only use the sink for washing one's hands! (oh is THAT what they're for??????? )

End of rant.

Diana, you really must stop inciting these riots I have in my head after reading your rants.

But I do love 'em!