The women’s bathroom is a sanctuary. A place to primp, indulge in a bit of trash talking and generally say and do things you wouldn’t within earshot of non-members. (In many ways, a sorority house is much like the women’s bathroom. A male’s equivalent might be the golf course.)
So it was a shocking discovery, when I was out for a YP happy hour last week at Fox Hollow, to discover that the bathroom I had been led to believe by separate and sex-specific entry signs was the women’s restroom was, in fact, coed.
There were no urinals revealing its gender ambiguity, nor was it especially dirty. An assortment of floor-to-ceiling doors stood where swinging stalls should have been, and I remember thinking that although the setup made tampon-tossing impossible, the multicolored exterior doors and long trough sink were über cute.
Our pee posse divided into four consecutive stalls and were indulging in some ginger-bashing when the conversation came to a stuttering halt. I kept right on, still ensconced in my little stall of presumed privacy, until I opened the door to find a man waiting to pee on the seat I’d just left.
The interaction wasn’t pretty. The boys knew they’d trespassed on our conversation, and we’d shared much too much — specifically insulting one of their red-headed own.
As the move-in date with The Boyfriend looms ever closer (his transfer has now been expedited, and I need to find somewhere for us to live, like, yesterday), the confrontation of the sexes made me wonder — how do we negotiate shared space?
We've got alone time covered, but how do we protect the sanctity of our same-sex platonic love fests?
I can’t imagine the men in our lives would want to listen in as we dissect text message intonations, and I don’t care quite enough about sports to argue about what actually happened in last night’s game. (Google it.)
I know it’s presumed that women just bitch about boys and each other, while men have crude conversations about sex, bodily functions and the freaky intersection of the two, but it’s just as often the reverse. And we don’t need to see those sides of each other.
I recently hosted a day-long hangover recovery session at my apartment that consisted of lots of junk food, lots of Crystal Light and lots of E!, and I think the few menfolk lounging on our futons were appalled by the girls' conversation. (It should be noted that sexual orientation played no factor. Everyone with a penis was equally embarrassed, and asked us to "stop, please, just stop" with commensurate urgency.)
When false eyelashes were casually removed and temporarily adhered to the coffee table, I believe we may have hit the low point; they'd never seen us like that. It's not to say that men and women can't waste a Sunday together, it's only to say that we all need our time to set the filter aside and exist amongst our own.
So to that funky little feminine bar off Washington, kindly update your signage. Next time we'd like to know we're in mixed company before any of us drops a deuce.