My mother was a fanatic about public toilets. As
a little girl, she'd bring me in the stall, teach
me to wad up toilet paper and wipe the seat. Then,
she'd carefully lay strips of toilet paper to
cover the seat. Finally, she'd instruct, "Never,
never sit on a public toilet seat.
And she'd demonstrate "The Stance," which
consisted of balancing over the toilet in a
sitting position without actually letting any
of your flesh make contact with the toilet seat.
But by this time, I'd have wet down my leg. And
we'd go home.
That was a long time ago. Even now in our more
mature years, The Stance is excruciatingly
difficult to maintain when one's bladder is
When you have to "go" in a public bathroom, you
find a line of women that makes you think there's
a half-price sale on Mel Gibson's underwear in
there. So, you wait and smile politely at all
other ladies, also crossing their legs and smiling
politely. And you finally get closer. You check
for feet under the stall doors. Every one is
Finally, a stall door opens and you dash, nearly
knocking down the woman leaving the stall. You
get in to find the door won't latch. It doesn't
matter. You hang your purse on the door hook,
yank down your pants and assume "The Stance."
Relief. More relief. Then your thighs begin to
You'd love to sit down but you certainly hadn't
taken time to wipe the seat or lay toilet paper
on it, so you hold The Stance as your thighs
experience a quake that would register an eight
on the Richter scale.
To take your mind off it, you reach for the toilet
paper. The toilet paper dispenser is empty. Your
thighs shake more. You remember the tiny tissue
that you blew your nose on - that's in your purse.
It would have to do. You crumble it in the puffiest
way possible. It is still smaller than your
Someone pushes open your stall door because the
latch doesn't work and your purse whams you in the
head. "Occupied!" you scream as you reach out for
the door, dropping your tissue in a puddle and
falling backward, directly onto the toilet seat.
You get up quickly, but it's too late. Your bare
bottom has made contact with all the germs and
life forms on the bare seat because YOU never
laid down toilet paper, not that there was any,
even if you had enough time to. And your mother
would be utterly ashamed of you if she knew,
because her bare bottom never touched a public
toilet seat because, frankly, "You don't know
what kind of diseases you could get."
And by this time, the automatic sensor on the
back of the toilet is so confused that it
flushes, sending up a stream of water akin to
a fountain and then it suddenly sucks everything
down with such force that you grab onto the
toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged
At that point, you give up. You're soaked by
the splashing water. You're exhausted. You try
to wipe with a Chicklet wrapper you found in
your pocket, then slink out inconspicuously
to the sinks. You can't figure out how to
operate the sinks with the automatic sensors,
so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry
paper towel and walk past a line of women,
still waiting, cross-legged and unable to
smile politely at this point.
One kind soul at the very end of the line
points out that you are trailing a piece of
toilet paper on your shoe as long as the
Mississippi River! You yank the paper from
your shoe, plunk it in the woman's hand and
say warmly, "Here. You might need this."
At this time, you see your spouse, who has
entered, used and exited his bathroom and
read a copy of War and Peace while waiting
for you. "What took you so long?" he asks,
annoyed. This is when you kick him sharply
in the shin and go home.
This is dedicated to all women everywhere
who have ever had to deal with a public
toilet. And it finally explains to all
you men what takes us so long.