Recently actor and dad Ashton Kutcher and his 5 month old daughter Wyatt Isabelle were in the news. It seems that doting dad Ashton was rightfully miffed at the curious lack of diaper changing facilities in men’s restrooms. It’s 2015, people – dads change diapers! So what’s a dad to do when faced with a diaper changing dilemma? Will Koala answer the call and outfit men’s rooms across the nation with changing tables, or will desperate dads everywhere start storming the ladies’ room to avail themselves of their diaper changing facilities?
While it would be rather startling to walk in and see some guy in the ladies’ room (especially if it’s Ashton Kutcher!), having recently made my own foray into the men’s room, I’m hardly one to judge.
Allow me to explain.
I’m at a point in my life where hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and yes, a fussy bladder have become a fact of life. A quick search over at WebMd bore this out:
During and after the process of menopause, levels of the female hormone estrogen drop significantly. In addition to controlling your monthly periods and body changes during pregnancy, estrogen helps keep the bladder and the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body, healthy.
Lack of estrogen may also cause the pelvic muscles responsible for bladder control to weaken, resulting in urinary incontinence.
While I haven’t started cruising the Tena aisle at the drugstore yet, lately the sense of urgency I feel when I have to pee is, well, pretty damn urgent. When I have to go, I. Have. To. Go.
And here comes the part about the men’s room.
I was shopping for my husband at Macy’s one afternoon when the urge hit. Having learned the hard way not to ignore it for too long (my first ever UTI a few months ago taught me well – thanks again, menopause!) I made my way to the ladies’ room only to find a burly plumber at the entrance, who informed me that it was closed due to a burst pipe, and that I should use the ladies’ room on the 1st floor. I was on the 4th floor. The men’s room was right next door. My brimming bladder felt like it was knocking against my uterus and ovaries, threatening to make a break for it.
I made, what seemed to me, a perfectly logical, rational decision. I was going to use the men’s room.
I have three younger brothers. I have a husband. I have a son. I know what boys look like. There was nothing in that men’s room that I hadn’t seen before. After all, I wasn’t going in there to look. I was going in there to pee.
The plumber watched me turn, make a right and start walking into the men’s room.
“Hey, you can’t go in there!” he called after me.
Now, I’ve always been a calm, reserved person; I play by the rules and don’t like to make a scene. But this stage of life has flipped a switch in me where my tolerance level for just about everything is at an all-time low – so dude, there is no way in heaven or hell that you’re going to tell me that I can’t go pee!
I turned to face him and replied sweetly, “Oh, really? Watch me.” Head down and eyes averted, I scurried into the men’s room (I think I caught a fleeting glimpse of some boots standing at a urinal, I can’t be sure) and plunged headlong into the first stall I came to. I locked the door, and stood there for a second, listening. Was the plumber going to call security to come hustle me out of the bathroom? Was there a guy wearing boots standing at the urinal ready to curse me out for invading this sacred man-space? Was I going to make it through this without peeing my pants?
All I heard was silence. I yanked down my Lululemon’s, squatted over the toilet, and mercifully, gratefully, peed. And peed. And peed. When I was done I slowly opened the stall door, stuck my head out and looked around. The men’s room was empty. I rushed out, quickly washed my hands at the sink and glided out triumphantly, the plumber nowhere in sight. But there was an elderly couple standing in the hallway who saw me exit the men’s room. They looked at me, looked at the “out-of-order” sign that was now in front of the ladies’ room, then quizzically looked to me again.
“It’s okay, go ahead – it’s empty” I whispered conspiratorially, nodding over to the men’s room. The woman gave me an amused little smirk and, shrugging her shoulders, walked in to use the facilities while her husband stood guard outside.
And, not that I was looking, but I don’t think there was a diaper changing table in that men’s room, either.