It may be surprising to know that sometimes men do not understand women and the things we do. It’s true. Women are complex creatures who have come a long way in the last fifty years. But we are also creatures of habit who, for centuries, have been flocking to the public restroom in groups. While this practice both fascinates and annoys men to no end, it also causes them to warily ask the women when they return to the table, “Why, pray tell, do all of you need to go to the bathroom together?” For centuries, women have done everything in their power to avoid answering this question for fear of revealing too much to the opposite sex, but today, I am ready to defy tradition for the sake of curious men around the world.
Women hate public restrooms. We abhor everything about a claustrophobic room with twelve tiny stalls with nowhere to hang our purses, several thousand strains of bacteria lurking everywhere, unflattering fluorescent lighting, and the kind of toilet paper that should be used for exfoliating our dry skin instead of for its intended purpose. For the same reasons why we don’t enter dark alleys alone at night, we don’t enter public restrooms without a companion who we trust will gently whisper in our ear once the door closes behind us, “You have a chive in your bicuspid,” or “Your control top pantyhose has taken your skirt hostage,” or “Your lipstick is smeared all the way to your right earlobe.”
A women’s public restroom is a place of refuge where brutal honesty takes control and saves females of all ages from one embarrassing moment after another. It is also where we stand in front of the mirror and discuss bad eyebrow waxes, great pedicures, the miracle of push-up bras, and you. That’s right. We talk about you—our boyfriends, husbands, boyfriend wannabes, and soon-to-be-husbands. We laugh about the time one of you thoughtfully brought us flowers from the clearance aisle of the grocery store, not realizing they were already half-dead. We talk about how you hate to go to the doctor, about how well you mow the lawn, and about how loud you snore in the middle of the night. And even more remarkable yet is that we manage to hold all these introspective conversations while applying lipstick, smoothing our hair, and washing thousands of strains of bacteria off our hands.
Behind the door adorned with the little triangular woman who looks nothing like a woman at all, we reveal secrets, mistakes, and regrets over the hum of the hand dryers, running water in the sink, and the flushing of the toilets. Not only do we share insecurities, funny stories, and makeup tips, but we also embrace each other when one of us is heartbroken, scared, or worried. We wipe away tears with scratchy, transparent toilet paper and offer gentle encouragement for anyone who needs it, even perfect strangers. In short, the public restroom is where we hold our best therapy sessions without the benefit of a psychiatrist, a couch, and a box of lotion tissues.
Men, we love you. We really do. We love the fact that you are not like us in many ways. With that in mind, we want you to understand that we go to the public restroom in groups not because we want you to feel left out, but because we need to be there for each other in a place where women are simply allowed to just be complex creatures.
So, the next time you see us flock to the restroom like a pack of wild coyotes racing toward an animal carcass, just know that for us, visiting the restroom is not just a destination, but an experience that makes us stronger, chive-less, and even more beautiful than you remember.