A Warm Place to …

Now the big Conservative Bugaboo is whether transgendered children can choose their place to pee. A school in Oklahoma had decided that a “boy” who identifies as a girl may not pee in the girl’s “bathroom” because… maybe he is a regular boy who is pretending that he is a girl so he can watch girls pee? Whatever…

All this while I am still processing all the marvels I beheld on my first trip to Europe last fall… including the rules for where you pee. Among the excellent local customs are these:
• When you are in a bar and want to pee you ask the waitperson for the toilet (OK “la toilette” which you ask with your best French accent which you have studied for minutes using the translator on your phone… so he/she will not think you are some dunderhead American). None of this bathroom stuff, or restroom nonsense. When was the last time you took a bath in your local bar? Or bothered to pause to rest in the toilet?
• There are no annoying cute designators on the doors… no “Does and Bucks” no “Sitters and Standers.” In fact there is usually only one toilette and if it’s big enough there could be girls in there peeing.
• Many towns have public toilets, usually on the town square, which cost about 20 cents. The better ones include showers in case you are biking and camping. When you are finished and close the door, the place locks up and is automatically sprayed down to make it nice and clean for the next person.
• The best town toilet was in Soissons (where an ancient local cathedral once boasted of having the Blessed Virgin’s shoe). There is a trough along the back wall so that guys who don’t want to spend the 20 cents can just pee in public.
• At a highway rest stop in Belgium there were long lines for the toilettes, which were operated by a British company and thus called “loos.” (Oddly enough the Europeans have commoditized pissing.) They had segregated pissers. Travelers who preferred not to pay were perfectly comfortable pissing on the lawn… backs discretely turned to the parking lot. I did not see any women watering the lawn and presume they chose to pay.

When I was in about the 6th grade there was a peep hole carved between the bathrooms at St. Rose School (which I was, in fact, too timid to use) so I recognize our long standing … concern regarding separate facilities… confusion regarding sex and peeing? I suspect they don’t have that problem in France. And ask yourself, if you desegregated toilets in the USA would people begin to hook up in the “restroom”?

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