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From the Publisher’s Desk – Get the plunger before it overflows

By Keith Whitson

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a bit flushed, so let me just plunge right into the topic of public restrooms. It seems a lot is “trans”piring lately on who can go where to perform one of the most natural, but awkward, situations about being human.

Is there really ever  enough privacy? Stall doors, in public restrooms, are too short at the bottom and have cracks down the sides. For me, nothing is better than the privacy of my own home, in my own bathroom. However, we all have to face the public restroom dilemma more than we like.

I am not even a fan of the urinals. They make me tense up if someone walks up when I am ready to “start.” I wait a minute, hear them begin and just flush and walk away as if I completed.

And, what about that awkwardness when a father brings his little girl in because he is the only parent to care for her at the moment? She has to pass “Urinal Row,” which may be fully occupied. I must say I have never seen a father using one of the infant changing stations located in a men’s restroom. I suppose fathers are less likely to start out with a small baby.

There is also the situation you sometimes encounter at restaurants. There is a room for women and a room for men, with occupancy of one at a time. I have been known to give up on waiting and take over the wrong facility. It is only awkward as you walk back out.

I have had that happen a few times by accident. I got off a plane in Charlotte once and was rushing to the restroom. The main entrance showed signs for both genders. Evidently, the rooms forked off once you entered, and I was in too big of a hurry to notice. It did strike me funny that there were no urinals on the walls. On my way back out, I realized what I had done. As I was going out, a lady was entering. She turned quickly to do a double take at the sign.

I also judge restaurants by how clean their restrooms are. A disgusting facility makes me question the cleanliness of the kitchen.

Of course, nothing can compare to some of the older gas station restrooms, which you entered from the side of the building. Some required that you go to the cashier and request a key, which was attached to a chain, which was attached to a large object. Where did they think we were going with that key? I am surprised they didn’t make the person wait until the restroom was inspected before they could leave.

Regardless of where I go, I prefer paper as opposed to air for hand drying. The air dryer is fun at first but leaves no options for getting out the door, unless it could blow it open. I like paper towels. Before washing, dispense one or two feet of towel, wash well, rip off towel, dry hands, use towel to turn off faucet and then to grab door handle to leave.

Speaking of paper, there is also the dilemma with tissue. Is it two-ply, one-ply  or, heaven help, no-ply left? Is the roll attached for under or over rolling? Will I have to stand on my head to figure it out?

I don’t guess I’ve solved the current restroom situation facing our nation. I think if we all just stick to the task of doing our “business” we will be fine. I think all children should have an adult accompany them. As for us adults, I doubt that we will ever be molested in a restroom.

I am interested to watch the outcome for North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, as his state sues the U.S. Justice Department to defend a law that restricts public restrooms.

A lot of transgendered folks have gone to great lengths to fit the image of how they feel internally. Many females can pass for males through surgery, hormones and appearance. The same is true for male to female. Who is going to be responsible for doing all of this gender inspection before we can enter a public restroom? If a “changed to female” person comes in the men’s restroom because “she” was born a male and now has to use the men’s room, won’t that freak people out? What is to stop a man from going in the ladies’ room just to stalk, but claiming he was actually born a female?

How could bathrooms get so complicated? Make them all one gender with completely closed off stalls. As men, we promise to raise the seats and put them back down when finished.

This column is what happens when my brain is clogged. I’m on a roll. Another column flushed down the toilet. All I can say is I am wiped out.