Monday, August 4, 2014


A friend of a friend (legit) made the following announcement, circa 2006: “There are only two kinds of people – those who get walked in on while in the bathroom and those who do the walking in.”

I say there are three kinds: the former group; the latter group; and those who were put on this earth to represent both tribes.
There used to be a Mexican restaurant on the east side that had a $1 margarita night. That was where you could find me on Mondays after work. One night, about $3 in, I made my way to the bathroom, thinking I locked the door behind me before proceeding to the toilet. After less than a minute, the music and voices from the bar grew louder, as if the music and voices had moved inside the bathroom to join me. “Oops,” said a male voice. I turned, squinting up. A burly man-child squinted down. Although he later assured me he didn’t see anything he hasn’t seen before, I haven’t been quite the same since.

And so the phobia began. Today, there are few things I dread more than using a single-occupancy public bathroom. I never trust the lock. But something as manageable as a phobia mustn’t interfere with what a girl’s gotta do.  
I have now walked in on somebody in a single-occupancy public bathroom. A handicapped bathroom, no less. How jarring to sail through an unlocked door, wonder why the overhead light is already on, and see another person turn toward you, even if that person is just using the sink and seems to enjoy the company.


  1. It is interesting how the United States has changed in regard to allowing food and drink establishments to install unisex bathrooms. It used to be the law that separate bathrooms for men and women had to be installed. Europe was different--unisex bathrooms were allowed (assuming there were bathrooms in the establishment at all). We Americans looked down on Europe in this regard. I remember friends coming back from Europe and talking about the "bathroom situation." At the time, I thought "How uncivilized of Europe!" Now, I'm afraid, I've gotten very used to the unisex bathroom in New York,and I am very careful to lock that door, or, if necessary, to push my hand against the door to hold it in place. Thank heaven for Barnes and Noble, with their spacious bathrooms--separate for males and females. I dread the day they go out of business.

  2. My biggest fear related to restrooms is to walk out with toilet paper hanging out of my pants. The first time it happened was at a hospital and when I realized what had happened, just took the paper out and looked around, and of course, everybody had their heads down, so I just put the paper in a garbage basket and pretended nothing had happened. Now, before I leave the restroom, I look once, twice and three times. No seconds for me. Thank you!

  3. So now we're sharing two things humphappy neighbors and a particular restroom phobia. This is getting pretty scary.