DON WINSLOW: Men's Room and Powder Room Are Not Same
Everyone knows men and women are not made equal.
Men grow beards and facial hair while women (most of them, at least) do not. Men are strong and rugged while women (most of them, at least) are fragile.
Men don't cook or sew while women (most of them, at least) usually do. Men don't get weepy at the movies while women (most of them, at least) need six handkerchiefs to get through "Love Story." And it has been proven by study after study that men, worth it or not, make more money than women.
But there is one area where the sexes are similar. They both have a need to use the facilities now and then. And that leads to the question you always hear when you're at a concert, a sports event or an evening of entertainment: "Why is there always a line at the ladies' room?"
Though the answer might be obvious to most of the human race, the female member of the species always insists she is shortchanged. And that may well be so.
Ladies' rooms are usually no bigger than men's rooms. The facilities in the female lounge may differ from those in the adjacent loo, but invariably the fixtures in each are appropriate for the occupants that will use them.
The problem is that a men's room might have two stalls and two urinals while the women's room will probably have just two stalls and a couch. Even if the ladies have three stalls in their facility, they still are one fixture short of what the men have to use.
On top of that, there never are enough ladies' facilities to meet the needs of the group. If a stadium has 24 men's rooms, it probably has 10 ladies' rooms.
I remember attending a football game in the old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore a few years back when my wife and daughter left for the restrooms when the third quarter of the game began. It was the fourth quarter and there were just 10 minutes left in the game when they returned. When I asked why they took so long, I was warned by both ladies my conversation shouldn't "even go there!"
On another occasion, again at a sports event with tens of thousands of fans in the stadium, the line to the female facility had more than 100 while the only thing you had to do to get into the men's room was push the door open.
The females were getting unruly until one decided there was a solution. She headed to the men's room and soon there was a charge of women that effectively converted the male facility into a unisex bathroom. It solved the problem and the round trip to and from the rest room, at least on that day, no longer took twice as long for the ladies as it did for the men.
And, by the way, guys, have you noticed that women usually accompany one another when they head off to powder their noses? Men, on the other hand, rarely need company when they find it necessary to visit the head, as we ol' Navy vets call the place. Any explanation?
While on the subject of classification for the toilet facility, why is a women's lounge sometimes called the "little girls' room" while the adjacent men's water closet is never referred to as the "little boys' room"?
Clearly there is a double standard when it comes to bathroom facilities. Architects and builders design structures and pencil in the restrooms to meet the needs of occupants and visitors, but too often they shortchange the feminine side of the equation.
This point was emphasized when the Berkshire Hills Country Club in Pittsfield, Mass., began planning to upgrade its club a few weeks ago. A female member of the building committee told the club President Connell Boyle that there was a layout problem in the plans.
"There are only three toilet stalls," she pointed out.
Boyle, who didn't see any problem with that replied: "so what?"
Informed that when a golfing foursome of ladies comes off the course and heads to the clubhouse, "there are three stalls and four of them. You're gonna make one of them wait?"
Boyle revised the plans.
So if the women of Whispering Pines rise up in complaint about the facilities they have available, their gripe is legitimate. And I am ready to march with them to assure they get what they need.
After all, I don't want to see the men's room at the Country Club of Whispering Pines turned into a unisex facility. And neither do my golfing buddies!
Don Winslow can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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