85 Days ’til 40: Unisex Bathroom Prude

28 Nov

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Yes, today I am breaking from my self-help norm to go into more of a rant mode (albeit, a very small rant).  I must confess, as evolved as I would like to think I am, I have not yet arrived.  I am a unisex bathroom prude.  “What,” might you ask, “is a unisex bathroom prude?”  I am so very glad that you asked!  A unisex bathroom prude is someone who just cannot wrap their heads around the idea of a unisex bathroom.  (As a side note, I am referring to a unisex bathroom with multiple stalls and men and women using private stalls, side by side).

I watched Ally McBeal – I LOVED the show.  They made the unisex bathroom idea look so cool, so hip, so easy.  I work in a school, given that I work in a school, our unisex staff bathroom is most often frequented by women.  We do not have the space to create a separate bathroom for the handful of men on staff, so our three stall bathroom is integrated for the adults.

I cannot do it (yes, literally and figuratively).  When I am sitting on the toilet (pardon the details) I find it most disturbing to look down and find shoes pointing in the opposite direction in the stall next to me.  I become frozen in the moment, unable to go any further (yes, literally unable to go any further) until the man in the restroom, whomever it may be, has completed their mission, washed their hands (I hope they washed their hands) and has left.  Only then can I finish my business – the psychology of it all just kills me!

I like to believe I am highly evolved, so this prudishness came as a bit of a shock to my system.  I find myself sneaking into the single bathroom stall in the nurses office so as to not have to worry about anyone of the opposite sex making their way into the restroom when I am there.

I have also personally made men jump when they walk into the unisex bathroom and see me (no, I am NOT that scary!)  They jump for the same reason I do, they are not really psychologically prepared to meet a member of the opposite sex in the bathroom.

I am not sure this is a large enough problem to address, and there is little we will be able to do at work to fix it (due to budget and facility restraints I am all too aware of)… but, in the meantime, I work to scout out the entire area that surrounds the bathroom and find times to sneak in when the men in our midst are busy teaching and cannot possibly steal a moment to come in and use the restroom.  If I walk in and see shoes in the stall in the “wrong” direction, I immediately leave and make a beeline for the private toilet in the nurse’s office.

Perhaps one day it will not matter to me, perhaps one day I will no longer be a unisex bathroom prude…… then again, is this something I want to get over?

Today, 85 days ’til 40, I am thankful for segregated bathrooms, even though I consider myself progressive!



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37 responses to “85 Days ’til 40: Unisex Bathroom Prude

  1. Naia

    November 28, 2012 at 00:09

    I find myself completely in agreement with you. I don’t think I could find it in myself to “do my business” with a member of the opposite sex in the next stall.

    Don’t you find it just a little hard to “accidentally” fart or have to poop with other ladies in the bathroom? With a man there, tha’d be the ultimate humiliation!

    🙂 Naia.

  2. doubleinvert

    November 28, 2012 at 00:17

    Being a trans person, unisex restrooms are ideal to me. Maybe after I have SRS it won’t be as big of a deal, but such places can actually provide a measure of safety for persons like me.


    • 400daystil40

      November 28, 2012 at 07:59

      Very good point! I can see where there are people that would be more comfortable in a unisex bathroom!

  3. buckwheatsrisk

    November 28, 2012 at 01:32

    oh my gosh i had no idea they exsisted! that’s just wrong! i wouldn’t be able to handle it either!

  4. Michelle Proulx

    November 28, 2012 at 01:53

    I have never been in a unisex bathroom, and hopefully I never will. I dislike doing my business when anyone is around, even women, so adding men to the mix … yuck. No way.

  5. saymber

    November 28, 2012 at 03:57

    I guess I’m a unisexbathroomaphobe too 400. Don’t feel bad. I don’t want strange men listening to me tinkle either.

    • 400daystil40

      November 28, 2012 at 07:59

      🙂 – not even strange men, familiar male colleagues!

  6. sakuraandme

    November 28, 2012 at 04:22

    I have only ever been in 1 unisex toilet! NEVER AGAIN! *laughing* xx

  7. Marie

    November 28, 2012 at 05:46

    I never knew!! At first I thought you were rather silly and I was going to let you know that I have actuallly used the mens washroom when the womans was too busy but I was talking single stall washrooms with doors that lock behind. I am not sure how I would feel about these washrooms you speak of – maybe a quick pee but definately not the other!! I think…..

    • 400daystil40

      November 28, 2012 at 08:02

      hehehe! I thought I was so much more progressive than I actually am!

  8. knitxpressions

    November 28, 2012 at 11:37

    I’ve had one experience with a unisex bathroom and that one was enough to make me feel I can never get used to it, so you’re not alone in feeling the way you do!

    • 400daystil40

      November 28, 2012 at 21:17

      It seems many readers agree with me!!!

      • knitxpressions

        November 29, 2012 at 16:39

        haaa…always good to know you’re not alone =)

  9. kenthinksaloud

    November 28, 2012 at 20:00

    Yuck! No, not for me either! Would NOT like the idea of that! 😦

  10. knittingwithheart

    November 29, 2012 at 00:51

    Interesting point… I’ve only ever heard about these on the news and figured (as mentioned by doubleinvert) that they’d be a good fit for some, yet I’d automatically assumed these were single units. Blocking out sound ‘n scent is one thing, but seeing a guy in there just spells awkward!!!

  11. craftythriftydecoratingwifemom

    November 29, 2012 at 04:22

    If I in my wheelchair went into a unisex bathroom and the one w/c friendly stall were being used by a healthy man (or woman for that matter), I wouldn’t be happy. I realize the space constraints, but I wonder if I’ll ever get used to the “shoes pointing the other way”.

    • 400daystil40

      November 29, 2012 at 21:53

      Yes, I do not think I ever will get used to it!

  12. Katherine Toms

    November 30, 2012 at 23:34

    I totally understand your discomfort, but I have a feeling that in future people will think of gender segregated bathrooms the way we now think of race segregated bathrooms – they will find it shocking that we ever felt it necessary.

    • 400daystil40

      December 1, 2012 at 20:14

      Hmm, that would be very interesting indeed! I could certainly see it happening……. at least in some countries! 🙂

  13. Sid Dunnebacke

    December 1, 2012 at 00:35

    Heck, I don’t really like using the men’s room, so I can definitely understand your distaste for the unisex bathrooms. For me it’s just public restrooms in general. So well written!

    • 400daystil40

      December 1, 2012 at 20:13

      Thanks – yes, I must say that I also do have an aversion to public restrooms in general – but my aversion has more to do with the fact that they are often NOT taken care of and are incredibly dirty and stinky!

  14. Vulnerable Verbiage

    December 2, 2012 at 10:27

    I find myself at odds with unisex restrooms, as well. I never thought that I would. But, I do. As far as a public restroom, anyway. We have “family” restrooms around the city. My job, in particular, I’d hate to sue the same restroom as some of the men we bring in.
    However, when I do consider issues such as transgender awareness…that’s where I find a different ease. A silence falls over myself. Knowing that some people struggle over which restroom is the right one every time they need to “handle their business.” 😉
    Though, if there were the option on using a women’s restroom over a unisex one…I’d jump over to the women’s.

    • 400daystil40

      December 2, 2012 at 20:14

      Yes, you are so correct……. Another reader brought up this same point, and I agree with you both!

  15. Lucianus Mauricius

    December 3, 2012 at 09:13

    Oh sweetie, trust me I understand. I’m a man and can’t use the stall if there are other men using the other stalls. I freeze too. It’s so freaking uncomfortable.
    On hindsight, I do use the ladies restroom wherever I go, it’s so much cleaner and nicer to sit, and yes, I’m a gentlemen, I find it clean and I leave it that way 😀

  16. simon7banks

    December 3, 2012 at 20:02

    To us across the Atlantic, a bathroom is a room with a bath; but most of us know a little American.

    I tend to agree with your distaste, though I feel it isn’t logical (Captain). I do, though, welcome the spread of baby-changing facilities so parents who aren’t happy with their babies may exchange them.

    • 400daystil40

      December 3, 2012 at 22:15

      hehehe – I was waiting for someone to correct me for not using “restroom” or “toilet” 😛

  17. Bob Lee

    December 16, 2012 at 18:12

    Wow – what a topic to consider. I think if they put urinals and stalls in all bathrooms rather than just stalls, maybe that would “free” up the stigma. This really made me think. I used to run my own cleaning service and found that there are an equal amount of clean & unclean people using restrooms. However – there is a natural segregation when you stop and think of just taking a pee. Men have use of urinals or toilets. So – it kind of separates the 2 sexes right at the start. What an interesting thing to consider…. Excellent my dear 400 🙂


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