From a male perspective, have you ever thought about what goes on inside a ladies’ restroom?  Why is it when women go to the bathroom they stay in there and talk?

Eric Y

What I learned years ago is that when women go to the bathroom, they stand around and talk forever.  They don’t necessarily leave the facilities when finished taking care of business.  For men, the process is pretty much “go in to do your business and get out as quickly as possible.”  It is an unwritten rule, no talking in the men’s room.  That is especially true when standing at the urinals.  Of course the question now may be “why do I know this about the ladies’ restroom?”   It’s not as if I ever spent time in a ladies’ room.  Or have I?

Once upon a time, I was on a date at a restaurant in Emeryville.  Who I was actually with at the time is not important to this story today since she is now a part of history.  While dining at the restaurant, it had actually been hours since I last used the restroom at work so after some time had past, I needed to excuse myself and make a quick run to the restroom.   As I made my way to the restroom to relieve my bladder, I remember running past someone who was talking on the payphone.  The problem that night was in my rush to the facilities, I went straight to the door and only saw the round head on the sign as I quickly scanned the door before entering.   At this restaurant, the doors didn’t actually have the words “men” or “women” written on the signs so in my hasty rush to the restroom I failed to make note of the entire sign and figured a picture of a woman would have longer hair.   So essentially, I went in the wrong door.

My first clue should have been the fact that the first thing I saw was a lounge chair when I entered into what was a smaller room leading to the actual restroom.  But instead, I remember thinking to myself, “nice place, most restaurants don’t provide the chair for men.  They only do this for women.”   As for my second clue, I ran straight to the stall without passing any urinals.   You would think that minor detail would be noticed.   But no, it did not trigger anything in the thought process.  When you have to go, you have to go.   (Now in case you’re wondering why I didn’t stop to find a urinal, that’s another story in itself because I hate the bounce back of urine from the urinals, which makes a stall the first preference.)

After completing the process of number one, I heard footsteps entering the room.  The thought at the time was the fact that it sounded like a pair of ladies’ heels.   As the sound of the footsteps got closer, I noticed the feet that entered the stall beside me were that of a female’s.  At that moment I realized what I had done.  I entered the women’s restroom.  Just then, the sound of additional feet entered the room.  Suddenly, I found myself in quite a predicament.  I was in the women’s restroom and there was no way out the door without walking past a group of women.  Despite the unusual scenario, I did have the sound mind to realize my feet were facing the wrong direction.   With one quick hop and a 180-degree turn, I pointed my feet towards the stall door.  This was just in case anyone might happen to look down.   I didn’t want to give myself away by having someone notice my feet were facing the toilet.   Never mind the fact that I was wearing men’s shoes.  But then again, this was the San Francisco Bay Area so it would not be too unusual to find a woman wearing masculine shoes.

Naturally, my initial plan was to just wait it out figuring everyone would be finished with their business and leave.  But this would not be the case.  The life lesson I learned that evening was the fact that when women go to the restroom, they don’t just use the facilities and leave.   The majority of women just stood around the sink to socialize and tell gossip about those they were with.   The bottom line was they would not leave.   For as long as they were chatting at the sink, I was stuck in the stall.  Albeit, the conversation about their friends at the dinner table was intriguing, I did want to get back to my date. 

Eventually, the socializing came to an end fifteen minutes later.  To my excitement, there was the sound of silence.   I was finally alone in the ladies’ room and I could make my exit unnoticed.  I carefully pried open the stall door to make sure I was indeed alone.  After checking left and right, the coast was clear.   I made a beeline for the door.   But on instinct, I couldn’t leave a bathroom without washing my hands so I expeditiously turned around towards the sink to quickly wash up while keeping an eye on the door.  For some reason, the thought never crossed my mind at the time that I could have just simply walked out the ladies’ room and into the men’s room to wash my hands.   So instead, I speedily rinsed up while making sure no one walked through the door.   Otherwise, I would have had to run back into the stall for hiding. 

I finally made it out the door and casually walked back to the dining room.  All the while, I passed the same gentleman who was still using the payphone.   I avoided eye contact for he was staring at me intensely realizing I was walking out of the wrong door.

By the time I returned to the table, our food had already arrived from the kitchen and was getting cold.  
“Where were you Eric?”
“I had to take a seat while in the bathroom,” was the best reply I came up with.   Not the best excuse because now she thought I was sick after sitting on a toilet for 20 minutes.  No matter what I would say, I pretty much could not avoid embarrassment one way or the other.   It was just one of those evenings.

Now I realize if a woman walked into a men’s room by mistake, she could likely walk past any man and no one would care.  In fact, I see it happen all the time at nightclubs.  If I had revealed myself to the women in the restroom that night, I could only imagine that I would have been mistaken for some sort of a pervert or Peeping Tom.

So getting back to my original question, why is it women stand around and talk in the bathroom.  Aren’t there better places to socialize away from all the plumbing?  Had it not been for my error that night, I probably would not have thought about this question.  But it is a valid question.  Does anyone have an answer for me?