Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Stance

Some of you will most certainly relate to this. I taught my daughter to do this very thing.

My grandmother was a fanatic about public restrooms. When I was a little girl, she'd take me into the stall, show me how to wad up toilet paper and wipe the seat. Then she'd carefully lay strips of toilet paper to cover the seat Finally, she'd instruct, "Never, NEVER sit on a public toilet seat.

Then she'd demonstrate "The Stance, which consisted of balancing over the toilet in a sitting position without actually letting any of your flesh, makes contact with the toilet seat.

That was a long time ago. Now, in my "mature" years, "The Stance" is excruciatingly difficult to maintain. When you have to visit a public bathroom, you usually find a line of women, so you smile politely and take your place. Once it's your turn, you check for feet under the stall doors.

Every stall is occupied. Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the stall. You get in to find the door won't latch. It doesn't matter. The dispenser for the modern "seat covers" is empty You would hang your purse on the door hook, if there were one, but there isn't--so, you carefully but quickly drape it around your neck,(Mom would turn over in her grave if you put it on the FLOOR!), yank down your pants, and assume "The Stance.

In this position, your aging, toneless thigh muscles begin to shake. You'd love to sit down, but you certainly hadn't taken time to wipe the seat or lay toilet paper on it, so you hold "The Stance."

To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser. In your mind, you can hear your mother's voice saying, "Honey, if you had tried to clean the seat, you would have KNOWN there was no toilet paper! Your thighs shake more.

You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday--the one that's still in your purse. That would have to do. You crumple it in the puffiest way possible. It is still smaller than your thumbnail.

Someone pushes open your stall door because the latch doesn't work. The door hits your purse, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest, and you and your purse topple backward against the tank of the toilet. "Occupied!" you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping your precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle on the floor, lose your footing altogether, and slide down directly onto the TOILET SEAT.

It is wet of course. You bolt up, knowing all too well that it's too late Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered seat because YOU never laid down toilet paper--not that there was any, even if you had taken, time to try.

You know that your grandmother would be utterly appalled if she knew, because, you're certain, her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because, frankly, dear, "You just don't KNOW what kind of diseases you could get." By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a firehouse that somehow sucks everything down with such force that you grab onto the toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too. At that point, you give up.

You're soaked by the spewing water and the wet toilet seat. You're exhausted. You try to wipe with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks. You can't figure out how to operate the faucets with the automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel and walk past the line of women, still waiting.

You are no longer able to smile politely to them. A kind soul at the very end of the line points out a piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe. Where was that when you NEEDED it?)

You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it the woman's hand and tell her warmly, "Here, you just might need this."

As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has long since entered, used and left the men's restroom. Annoyed, he asks, "What took you so long, and why is your purse hanging around your neck?"

This is dedicated to women everywhere who deal with a public restroom.

Oh, and let's not forget how to exit the bathroom without touching the door knob. You have two options. Either use the bottom of your blouse and wrap it around the knob and take a chance there won't be a man waiting for his wife on the other side, because sometimes you're showing more skin than you want. Or, wrap the paper towel you dried your hands on around the knob, open the door and leave the towel behind.

I did this once in a public restroom while on vacation and when I went back to the same restroom at the end of the day, the paper towel was still wrapped around the knob.

Hey, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!


Linda Henderson said...

We've all been there.

Jane said...

Yes, we have. I'm always hovering above the seat and trying to make sure I don't make contact with the seat.

Nancy Bristow said...

Amen Sisters! ~Nancy

Tory Richards said...

You'll love this ladies, when I went to Europe I'd already heard that there wasn't any toilet paper in some public bathrooms and that to get any you had to pay for it. So I brought my own.

I did my best NOT to use ANY bathrooms except when I was on the cruise ship. But alas, one day after lunch I just couldn't hold it. toilet paper and NO toilet seat, either!

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