Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Thin Line: Eye Contact in the Public Restroom

Scene:You’re sitting on the toilet in a public restroom. The person before left the seat warm. You’re grateful for this, but at the same time, repulsed. You push the image of their warm hairy buttock out of your mind and focus on not touching anything. The walls are covered in penises and racists comments. You carefully pull out your Sharpie™ and add your own thoughts. Does BCH actually love JLR? Probably. The bathroom door opens and you look up, glancing through the thin gap between the door and the stall, accidentally making eye contact. You freeze. At this moment you are faced with options. Here is a list of things that you probably shouldn’t do, but if you did, you’d be my hero.

1.     Emit a high pitched scream.
2.     Wink (although it’s doubtful they’d even be able to tell. They’d probably misinterpret it as a blink)
3.     Stick a barefoot under the front door and tap the floor a couple times.
4.     Say “sup?” with head nod.
5.     Walk out fully naked.
6.     Request some quiet time.
7.     Ask for a high five.
8.     Stare (making your eyes bigger)
9.     Actually, just any sort of acknowledgement of the encounter would be pretty terrible (but awesome).

Here is a list of things that would probably end up happening instead.

1.     Try to quiet your loud farts.
2.     Feel uncomfortable.

For me, I’m uncomfortable because it’s a time that I’m most vulnerable. This stranger has literally caught me with my pants down. There is a reason why that is a saying. It would be the equivalent of sobbing on a stage while the entire audience watched you. It’s a level of intimacy that I’m not comfortable handing out to more than a handful of friends.

Why is this even an issue? It is 2014. We landed on the moon almost 50 years ago. We have a black president. We’re coming up on the 7th anniversary of the “wide stance” incident. This problem needs to be fixed ASAP. Put some sort of cover over the gap, like tape or some flowery drapes. Better yet, just don’t align the gap with my penis. It makes it hard to relax and depending on your diet, sitting on a toilet should be a time of relaxation, not intimidation.

Let’s all work together to fix this great American tragedy, and remember. Mind the gap.

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