I did not write this story, but I could have. In fact, if you’re a woman or even a girl, you probably could have, too. It’s a story that is an integral part of our gender. One that is instilled in us at an early age.
No man will understand, no woman can deny…”The Stance.” Enjoy!
“My mother was a fanatic about public bathrooms. When I was a little girl, she’d take me into the stall, teach me 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 make contact with the toilet seat. By this time, I’d have wet down my leg and we’d have to go home to change my clothes.
That was a long time ago. Even now, in my more “mature years,” “The Stance” is excruciatingly difficult to maintain, especially when one’s bladder is full. When you have to “go” in a public bathroom, you usually find a line of women that makes you think there’s a half-price sale on Nelly’s underwear in there. So, you wait and smile politely at all the other ladies, who are also crossing their legs and smiling politely. You get closer and check for feet under the stall doors. Every one 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 new fangled “seat covers” (invented by someone’s Mom, no doubt) is handy, but empty. You would hang your purse on the door hook if there was one but there isn’t – so you carefully but quickly hang 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.”
Ahhh, relief. More relief. But then your thighs begin to shake. You’d love to sit down but you certainly hadn’t taken the time to wipe the seat or lay toilet paper on it, so you hold “The Stance” as your thighs experience a quake that would register an eight on the Richter scale. To take your mind off of 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 would have 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 your reach for the door, dropping your precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle, and sliding down, directly onto the insidious toilet seat. You bolt up quickly, 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 the time to try. You know that your mother would be utterly ashamed of you if she knew, because you’re certain that 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, sending up a stream of water akin to a fountain that suddenly sucks everything down with such force that you grab onto the toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged off to China. At that point, you give up. You’re soaked by the splashing water. You’re exhausted. You try to wipe with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket, 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 a line of women, still waiting cross-legged and, at this point, no longer able to smile politely.
One kind soul at the very end of the line points out that you are trailing a piece of toilet paper on your shoe as long as the Mississippi River. (Where was that when you needed it?) You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it in the woman’s hand and tell her warmly, “Here, you just might need this.”
As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has since entered, used, and exited the men’s restroom, and read a copy of War and Peace while waiting for you. Annoyed, he asks, “What took you so long, and why is your purse hanging around your neck?”
This is dedicated to women everywhere who have ever had to deal with a public restroom. (Rest??? You’ve got to be kidding!) It finally explains to men what really takes us so long. It also answers their other commonly asked question about why women go to the bathroom in pairs. It’s so the other woman can hold the door and hand you Kleenex under the door.”
Just one more of the many mysteries that make us women explained for the world to understand…and if they don’t, it’s really not that big a deal.