Monday, November 19, 2007

What Happened, Ladies?

Through the years, I have been many incarnations of The Baroness. When I worked for an environmental lab, I was Baroness von Analyses. When I had cancer, I proclaimed myself the Baroness von Chemotherapy. This very day, I despair, I am the Baroness von Crankypants.

Why, you ask? I respond to your question with a question - what happened, ladies?

I have always believed (and with profound sadness I see now that it truly was merely belief) that by and large, women were the cleaner of the two sexes. And I was proud to be counted among them. Very proud. Girl power, and all that. Yet today I tell you of a discovery so vile, so upsetting, that I almost not dare bring up the subject. But I steel myself and proclaim - Ladies, you are PIGS!!

And upon what do I base this brazen accusation? Public Womens' restrooms, that's what. The last straw was last week, when not only did I find that the only available stall was unflushed with oh-so elegant beadlets of urine on the seat, but someone had SPIT ON THE FLOOR!! I am now daily scanning the news for outbreaks of tuberculosis in the Pacific Northwest. Welcome to modern times. Ugh.

Ladies, what happened? Aren't we the ones who keep our children relatively clean? Who taught them the multi-stepped process of hygenically going to the washroom? Then why, oh why, are you not practising what you preach? Do you somehow feel entitled to leave YOUR mess for someone else to clean up? Unfortunately - what you may not realize in your self-important haze - is that the next person in is the one cleaning up after your mess, once they've gone to all the other stalls first, and found that this one is the best-case scenario of a worst-case situation.

Or, perhaps, if I were to be kinder and less accusatory (and here please note that this is a strain for me, given the subject matter), I could admit that I appreciate the fact that we live in an increasingly fast-paced world. That we are rushing here, rushing there, always in a hurry to get to the next activity. That we are list-driven crazy people. That we need to buy books to tell us all the things we need to do before we die. So for you, here's a new list. A very important list. Ensure that each item is checked off prior to exiting the stall and leaving it all behind for the next person.

3 Things You Can Do to Make the Public Restroom Experience a Globally Pleasant One:
1) make sure your goodies got flushed away. If not, repeat as necessary.
2) leave the premises free of all your extras - urine, feces, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper origami creations festooning the seat [to protect you from the potential germiness you yourself threaten to leave behind], and
3) wipe the spit off the floor that obviously catapulted itself out of your mouth before you had the chance to use a tissue.

My hope is that all you beautiful women out there will take a moment to assess your surroundings before you leave. There is a lot of talk right now about minimizing carbon footprints - how about we all do our part to minimize our washroom footprints? Or do away with them all together so that the soles of my shoes aren't sticky?

An addendum to all my lovely women friends who are upset I've painted us all with the same huge brush. I remember once going to a meeting where we were all, as a entire staff, lambasted regarding a reckless incident that had occurred. Our boss knew full and well which individuals had done the misdeed, but felt it more effective to dress them down in the presence of all - that their knowledge he was indirectly talking about them would make them burn with shame all the more, and do something about it. When I later went to my boss privately to say that I was insulted by the accusations he made, he made the very valid point that the people who would react with the most indignation were probably the ones that had nothing to do with it.

'Nuff said.


catbregman said...

Dear Baroness,

Welcome to cyberspace! Your quirky, witty, opinionated view of the world is the most entertaining thing I've read in a long time. I can't wait for the next installment.

P.S. I always wipe the faucet in the bathroom sink before leaving - so that it will be shiny and clean for the next person.

Lisa said...

You hit the nail right on the head. I'd rather have to put the seat down after a man than see pee, hair and every other unmentionable all over the place. Yuck!

Anonymous said...

And I thought the South African girl I roomed with in university was paranoid, carrying her bottle of Dettol everywhere - so now I keep antiseptic wipes in my bag and flush with my foot, regardless of where the handle is. I have also become very adept at opening door handles with my elbows. Knobs escape me, leaving me with that extra piece of paper towel to dispose of once back out in the restaurant, office etc.

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