We talked at length about ladies’ rooms, the best ones we'd ever been in, and the worst, which places around town had bathrooms we liked, the faults of the bathrooms we didn’t like.
As our discussion progressed the thought hit me that what we had to say about this or that ladies' room was less interesting than the fact that we found it a discussion-worthy subject at all.
Men don't talk about bathrooms. Most men don't even notice the state of a bathroom
unless it's on beyond disgusting, and chances are they won't even notice it then.
But women do notice, don’t we? When we’re out with other women in a restaurant or some other venue that we don’t generally frequent and one woman uses the bathroom, don't the rest of us invariably ask upon her return, “How was it?”?
Don't women always have some comment, positive or negative, on every public bathroom we use?
The thing is, for women, using a public bathroom really is different than it is for men.
Maybe this is because there are situations in life in which women are more vulnerable than men; and in what situation are you more vulnerable than when going to the bathroom?
I wonder if our strong feelings about bathrooms, then, are somehow rooted in instinct. An instinct for seeking safety and avoiding danger.
Maybe for a woman a bathroom that looks unsavory could be setting off subconscious alarm bells that it could also be unsafe. So perhaps our collective desire for and willingness to wait for a big, well-maintained bathroom like the one at the Goasis where we can have maximum space and privacy behind a locked door is something for which we're genetically wired for our own safety.
And in truth, while women in this country don't generally have to worry about our physical safety every time we make a trip to the bathroom, there are 3 billion women on this planet with no access to a private toilet for whom the situation is very different - and dangerous.
To be continued..