What Happens in the Ladies' Bathroom

With the long lines, missing paper, broken door hooks, no wonder we bring a friend and take forever.

by Stacey Gustafson • More.com Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

“What took you so long in the bathroom? Jack Reacher is about to start,” said my husband, flagging me towards theater five. Oh, he wants to know what took me so long? Can he handle the truth? 


“I’ll be right back. Gonna use the powder room. Wait here,” I said to my husband. I paused outside the ladies’ room door.  Twenty women lined up like soldiers, purses holstered, feet tapping out an impatient beat.   


Memo to self, go before you leave home.


For men who haven’t been paying attention, lines to the ladies room snake out the restroom, around the corner of the building, past the exit and through the parking lot. Gals go in pairs to have someone to wait it out with, like standing in line for Madonna concert tickets.


“Can you believe this? When are they ever going to learn? We need more bathrooms,” said another lady in line.


“I bet it will be fast,” I said, not believing a word.


Once I entered the actual bathroom, I checked underneath the cubicles for legs. Crouching down, one by one I made my way past three stalls. Occupied. Busy. Locked. Drats!


“What’s the deal? Seriously, they need to fix this place,” I said in a booming voice to the other ladies.


Bingo, a door opened. A lady bolted in front of me. “Please, can I butt? Can’t hold it any longer,” she begged.


“Sure, why not?” I said.


What’s another hour and fifteen minutes?


I tilted my head at the sound of flushing. Me, me, my turn! The current occupant clutched her handbag and rushed the exit. Save me a seat!


Once inside the stall, I realized that the lock was broken. And the purse hook missing. And the toilet seat covers gone. 




I strapped my purse around my neck, held the bottom of the door closed and squatted. Mother warned me to never, ever let my butt touch the toilet seat. I could catch a disease, be struck blind, get pregnant!


This awkward position put a great strain on my thighs. I began to shake like an off-balance wash machine. My handbag slipped close to the commode. Then the unthinkable happened — it smacked the ground, the grossest place in the universe and as loathsome as a pile of manure. 


And I still have to pee.


Next, the automatic sensor started flushing. A fine mist of water hit my back end, dribbled down the pants and pooled up on my sneakers. 


“You’ve got to be kidding!” I screamed, banging my head on the stall wall.


“Are you okay?” said the lady next to me.


“Fine. Just fine.”


I bent forward to flush the toilet again and pushed the door open with my rear, exposing myself to the others in line. Avoid eye contact. Zip and flee.


Purse encircling my neck, I reached my hands under the automatic soap dispenser. Empty! I inched my way down the row of sinks. Empty. Empty. Empty. Water will do. I snatched the one remaining hand towel. This is not enough! I wiped my hands on my pants.


An elegantly dressed woman and I exited the washroom at the same time. She had tissue paper stuck to her silk shirt and wet boots.


“Out of toilet paper? Use old Kleenex?” I asked.


“Yep, what happened to you?” she said, checking me out from top to bottom.


“Broken door lock. No soap.”


By the time I tracked down my guy, half the diet Coke was gone and the gallon sized popcorn devoured. 


“What the heck did you do in there? Write a novel?”


“Not exactly.”

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