There’s one thing I don’t ever want to see in a women’s room — a man.
Ever since “Ally McBeal” hit it big on Fox, talk around the water cooler has centered on two things: the brevity of our heroine’s hemline and the uncomfortable concept of the coed bathrooms that the attorneys share on the show.
I can live with the hemline, which has gotten even shorter this season. But I can’t live with a coed bathroom … anymore.
During my undergraduate years at the University of Chicago, I lived in a coed dorm that was coed right down to the washrooms.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not so Type-A that I can’t share my bathroom at home with a visiting relative or a boyfriend. But let’s face it.
Communal bathrooms are iffy to begin with. Throw in members of the opposite sex and you’ve got the recipe for a truly gross situation.
Actress Marilu Henner said that during her U of C days in the ’70s, she was the only one in her coed dorm who voted against a coed bathroom. I know that to incoming 17- and 18-year-old freshmen, the thought of fraternizing with the opposite sex in your pajamas is inviting.
But neither my roommate nor I realized when we signed up for the coed dorm that we’d be showering next to boys (in separate stalls, of course). And the first few days were a little unnerving.
Besides the privacy issue, there are some sights best left unseen to members of the opposite sex. For instance, I know I scared at least a couple of the XYs when I walked into the bathroom one morning with toothpaste dotted all over my face. (Don’t ask. Suffice it to say that whatever I was supposed to be doing didn’t work.)
That’s why Miss Wisconsin (she made it into tbe Top 10 in the Miss America pageant that year) was smart enough to reside in an all woman dorm where boys wouldn’t see her sans makeup.
The reality is that after debating the merits of Descartes or comparing calculus notes with the guys sitting in the stalls next to you, you don’t really think of them as sexual beings.
You end up regarding them more as pesky brothers. And remember what sharing a bathroom at home with just one or two of those was like? Multiply that by a dozen or three and then your horror begins.
I did learn a few things from the experience that served me well later in life, though. For instance, when I was assigned to go on the road with an all-male rock ‘n’ roll band, I knew enough to put on shoes before heading into the tour bus bathroom.
This isn’t just a guy thing, either. Women are just as guilty, especially in public bathrooms. What’s with all the wet toilet seats? You ladies know what I’m talking about. Your aim can’t be that had.
Or how about the folks who don’t wash their hands atter doing their business? And don’t even get me started about the non-fiushers…
Which brings me back to “Ally McBeal.” The eccentric attorney “Biscuit” carries around an automatic flusher to ensure that he has a “fresh bowl” prior to using the facilities.
Ah, to dream.