Lady Not Waiting
Yesterday, I read a post in some male's blog (I have tried to remember whose, but I just can't, dammit) that described him being in a men's bathroom when a woman walked in, looked neither to the right nor the left, entered a stall, did her business, and walked out again. The blogger could understand what made the woman do this, because the line outside the WOMAN'S restroom was about a mile long, and the interloper didn't have the time or the bladder capacity to wait.
Being a woman myself, I could certainly sympathize with all the women in that line. And this story reminded me of the one time in my life when I decided to say, "Fuck the line! I'm going in!" This happened about ten summers ago, when I was attending an outdoor music festival in upper NY state. I don't remember where, but it was in some meadow somewhere and it was not Woodstock. A couple girlfriends and I were sharing a tent and a campfire, but all restroom activities depended on a row of outdoor, unisex johns, and for bathing purposes there were two trailer-type structures, one for each gender, with showers and dressing areas inside. The men's trailer never had a line, but the women's ALWAYS had a long line. For the first two days, I was able to hold off on the showering, telling myself, I'm here for the music and the dancing, not to wait in line for an hour. But after two days of dancing, in very hot, humid weather, it was clear that if I expected to get any kind of dance partner, I would have to take the plunge. My favorite band, Skylines, was going to take the stage at 1:oo pm, so I headed for the shower trailers at 11:45. As usual, the women's had a line from here to Timbuktu, and the men's had none. I stood in that goddamned line, clutching my soap, towel and change of clothes, for an hour, as the line inched up at a snail's pace. In the meantime, dozens of men darted in and out of their showers, as though they were on greased skids! There was never a line, because all men have to do is slip off their clothes, jump in the shower, soap quickly, rinse quickly, dry barely, throw on their clothes and leave. The whole process takes about 45 seconds.
Women, on the other manicured hand, screw around washing their hair, putting conditioner on their hair, shave everything south of their chin, use different kinds of soap for each part of their bodies, rinse everything for several minutes, trim their toenails, irrigate their sinuses, contemplate their navels and THEN, when they finally get out of the shower, they have to dry every crevice of their bodies, while STILL STANDING IN THE SHOWER STALL, then finally get out and spend another 1/2 hour in front of the fucking mirrors, drying their hair, putting on makeup and who knows what else. In the meantime, I had started talking to the woman ahead of me in the line, and we managed to work ourselves up to a fever pitch of indignation over the unfairness of the situation. We were angry with the women ahead of us, for their lack of consideration for their sweaty sisters still in line, and we were angry with the men for being so lucky as to be men. Then...with time running out, and fueled with anxiety about the possiblility of missing my favorite band, I got the brilliant idea that we (my new friend and I) could just run over to the men's trailer, which seemed to be empty at the moment, take a quick, man-style shower, and run out again, taking care of any details back at our tents. She would stand guard while I went in, and I would do the same for her. So, we dashed over, I entered the door, ran to a stall and started showering. I heard a commotion outside, so got out of the shower, just as my friend was yelling, "You can't go in. Zelda is in there." Then a male voice said, "Like hell I can't! This is the men's shower." Then more male voices, "We're coming in, ready or not!"
So there I was, naked as a jaybird, while four burly young men stormed the gate, and looked me up and down as I tried to pull my clothes over my still-wet body, while apologizing profusely for my rash behaviour. It did occur to me that they might wish to detain me, so I was frightened, as well as embarrassed. I dashed for the exit, and saw my "lookout" skittering back to the now-even-longer women's line. As I was hurrying to the pavillion, I saw some friends coming toward me. One of them said, "Oh Zelda! You missed the Skylines! Where were you?"