Showing posts with label restrooms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label restrooms. Show all posts

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Restroom Etiquette

Early women's room photo
Jessie Hart

Every now and then I feel the need to share my learning time using the women's restroom. 

Even though I had exactly no experience of using the "room" as a novice transgender woman, I had plenty of experience with women being totally inappropriate when using the women's room. I can't tell you how many times I cleaned up messes, tried to repair broken stalls and even had to remove feminine hygiene products from toilets. All of this occurred when I was a restaurant manager so you can probably imagine the problems I encountered.

So before I even started to have to use the "room" on my way to playing in the girl's sandbox, a couple of preconceived ideas I had about others (women) who used it were destroyed. Women were definitely not always the cleaner or well behaved gender when it came to rest room usage. An example was how quickly I learned to check the toilet seat before I sat down.

Many other "rules" were self explanatory such as sitting down when you pee. Other not so evident rules include trying to direct your pee stream into the bowl to mimic the sound a cis woman makes in the next stall over. I even went as far as carrying a tampon or pad in my purse if I was asked to provide one by another woman. 

Truthfully the one thing I had to get used to was being greeted eye to eye in the rest room by other women. Of course I was so used to the exact opposite in macho men's rooms I sued to frequent. Early on I became used to it and often tried to speak first. 

Another hard and fast rule I couldn't forget (no matter how quickly I was trying to finish and leave) was to always, always, always stop to wash my hands which was a great time to check my makeup and hair. Another surprise was I rarely heard any of the super secret conversations I thought women were supposed to have when they head off together to use the restroom. So called girl talk became boring quickly. 

Even though it has been years since I have been challenged about using the rest room of my choice, back in the day when I was first coming out of my gender closet that wasn't the case. One night I had the police called on me for just having to pee, all the way to some cis woman calling me a pervert. To this day I still carry the scars of those long ago encounters, 

I am sure you all may have your own restroom etiquette experiences such as never putting your purse on the floor. Plus some of you are lucky enough to live in a state where it is legal to use the restroom of your choice. Sadly we have to go through all of this to do what should come naturally. You shouldn't have to hold it in all day just because narrow gender minded people still exist. Just don't forget to follow a few simple rules in the room to help yourself along.     

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

From Both Sides

 Fairly recently I wrote yet another rest room post. This time though I sought out experiences from Transgender men. I often wondered if trans men felt the same anxiety as many transgender women when using the restroom which fits their authentic self. From several comments on my Medium writers format I found out they did. 

Here is the first comment from Jamison :

"I started at a new school, I'm a teacher, this past fall. Only 3 people knew I was a trans man. No one knew any different. In fact, there was this one teacher that was on my college softball team. Even with my same, rarely seen last name, had no clue I was AFAB!

Photo from Unsplash 

The first time I used a public restroom. I was terrified. I was so sure I was going to get clocked, because I had read where urinating sitting down from a vagina sounds different hitting the water than from a penis. Therefore, I would only pee when someone either flushed or washed their hands. When I would walk into the RR, I would take a quick look around to find the stalls. Once they were located, my line of sight went back down to about 6 foot in front of me while I made my way to the toilet. One of my worst fears was the possibility of my packer falling onto the floor. It actually happened once, at an airport. Luckily, the stalls next to me were empty!!"

And all this time I thought I was the only one paranoid about how my urine hit the water when I peed! Thanks for the comment. The second comes from Norm:

"On the whole, I would say that the transgender male experience is far less socially difficult than I thought (although my self-esteem loves to remind me otherwise), though I am also autistic and may not be picking up on negative nonverbal signals about how I move through the world. I don't perceive (so far) much change in how I am treated at work (I am a software engineer who came out and stayed at the same company), but I would be very interested in how I would be perceived as a stealth man elsewhere, should my career ever take me elsewhere. I theorize that right now, since most coworkers knew me as female for almost a year (and likewise know me as openly autistic, which opens the ableism can of worms), they just don't subconsciously read me as a 'real' man and hence don't subconsciously treat me like one."

Again, thanks to both of you for bringing another aspect of what should be a very simple aspect of our lives (the rest room) into focus.

Monday, May 3, 2021

When Nature Calls

 Amanda not so long ago wrote into my email describing a few of her experiences using the women's room when nature calls and she has to simply go to the bathroom.

She also asked for some of my experiences. First of all, I haven't used a man's restroom for over a decade now but my introduction into using the women's room wasn't an easy one. I have written before when I had the police called on me several times when all I was trying to do was relieve myself of excess beer. 

Looking back, realistically, I brought on most of the problems I had upon myself.  As I explored the feminine world in the early days, primarily I fell victim to ill fitting wigs which were poor fashion choices. Until I was able to grow my own hair, was I able to present more effectively as a woman. Which in turn enabled me to have my own female rest room "pass". No pun intended.

Other factors which helped me immensely were how I viewed and adapted myself to the new rest room etiquette I was being exposed to. I made sure I was neat and tidy as I took care of essential business even to the point of trying to duplicate the sound of women peeing in the toilet bowl as close as I could. Plus, just to make sure I was prepared years ago, I always carried a feminine hygiene product in my purse in case anyone asked to try me. 

The rest was relatively easy.  I had to learn to adjust my urges to the normally longer lines to the women's restrooms. Plus I had to learn to make eye contact and not be afraid to converse with other women in line. 

Finally, I had to make sure I quickly checked my hair and makeup as I always washed my hands and quickly (or efficiently) left and returned to my seat. To this day though, I still retain the scars of my early experiences in the rest rooms. I always check to see if anyone is going out of their way to stare at me or even glare. 

I must say though, along the way, similar to the rest of the transgender journey I have chosen, I have been exposed to a number of humorous or even surprising rest room experiences. The most interesting one was at a Cincinnati Pride

Picture from Pride

event a couple summers ago when one of the few free standing restrooms available was half closed due to a hornet infestation.  All the men were forced to use the women's room and the response was comical and classic as toilet paper was passed along the line. The most surprising experience I ever had was when I was at a concert one night and was waiting in the woman's room line. Once I finally made it close enough to the room itself, I observed a woman swinging from one of the stalls trying to break the lock off the door. My ideas of women respecting their restroom more than men was forever shattered. 

Overall, I think attitudes over restroom usage have definitely lightened up. Plus the number of gender neutral restrooms have increased.

Thanks Amanda for the question.