One of the great, unifying places in Western Civilization is the public restroom. It doesn’t matter if you are standing with feet firmly planted atop the fiscal cliff watching everyone else in the country go over the edge. Eventually you meet up in line at a public bathroom with those same people. The common design of every public men’s room in America obviously originated from the mind of someone with severe inadequacy. The urinals are generally placed strategically at a height to ensure maximum splash potential. For women, the old adage reminds them not to wear white after Labor Day. You don’t normally see men in white at any time of the year, because we’ll inevitably end up in a public splashing room sometime during the day. For the most part, men are the forgotten gender when it comes to public restroom amenities. Oh, sure, some restaurants and arenas that boast both fanciness and schmancy-ness place television sets or Lucite encased newspapers on the walls directly over the urinal (to entertain our belly buttons, apparently). These same places don’t tend to give us extras like paper towels. Or soap. If we’re lucky, the genius restroom gods assign us hair dryers attached to the walls. This makes sense, I suppose. Floor level urinals and hair dryers that only a three-year old could fit under. Sometimes, the designers see fit to install a changing table on the wall. Every man knows that if he is a loving parent, he mustn’t put his child on this device. For one, there are usually dirty diapers still in the thing. The other issue is the more than likely outcome of having one’s beloved offspring dumped onto a men’s room floor by a broken, diaper filled changing table. There is yet another issue. We don’t actually change babies. Sometimes we pretend to and then bring the dirty child back to his or her mother (Which leads to the conclusion that women are sneaking into men’s rooms and leaving diapers).
One of the strangely considerate items found in lots of public places is the unisex restroom. I’ve noticed that it’s often located smack dab between the men’s and women’s rooms. In case we find ourselves at a crossroads one day and out of confusion need a third option. “I’m feeling uni today. Maybe I’ll try that middle bathroom. I wonder if they have paper towels?” The secret of the unisex bathrooms is that they have cleaner changing tables and sometimes a couch. All in the name of comforting the confused. I could just enjoy the bathroom sofa and let the dryer breezes waft over me. At least until somebody asks what in the world happened to my white pants.