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HUCKABY: I now understand the restroom plight

Now I know how the other half lives.

I am not talking about Florida fans, members of the Democratic Party or Presbyterians. I am talking about women.

I am a man, you see. (Note the beard in my picture.) That makes me a minority, but only by a few tenths of a percentage point. After extensive research (I Googled it) I have determined that 49.2 percent of Americans are male, which means that 50.8 percent are female. I would assume that would mean that 50.8 percent of public bathroom facilities would be set aside for females.

They may or may not be. I cannot say because I don’t make it a habit of examining the facilities of the opposite sex. A fellow could end up in trouble doing that. If you don’t believe me just ask my friend Roy Lee Wilkes about Morgana Roberts, baseball’s former “Kissing Bandit.”

I am, however, a fairly observant person and I know that I can leave my seat at a football game, make a quick trip to the little boys’ room and make it back to my seat before the guy in the red hat signals for the game to resume. If my lovely wife, Lisa, heads for the women’s restroom in Sanford Stadium, I won’t see her again for a quarter and a half.

I also know that if I have to leave the table at a restaurant to “powder my nose,” that I can do so — alone — and make it back before the gum-chewing waitress returns with our drink orders. My wife has to have a companion to make that same trip, and when they get back the veal I had intended to order will have become aged beef.

Now I don’t know what goes on in the ladies’ powder room, but I know that it must take a long time because every time I walk by one at a public place there is a line out the door. It is usually a long line and the women in that line usually look frustrated and impatient — and often pained.

I walked past such a line on St. Simons last week and made the mistake of teasing a couple of young women who looked particularly put out. “Nobody ever said life is fair,” I said with a smile as I walked into the empty men’s room.

I shouldn’t have done that. I created bad karma.

On Wednesday night, we found ourselves in possession of tickets to watch “Menopause the Musical” at the Gwinnett Center. If you ever get the chance to see “Menopause,” take it. It’s funny. I think this was my third time, and each time I’ve seen the play I have been able to count the number of men in attendance without taking off my shoes. This time we invited our friends Clay and Holle to go with us, and as soon as we arrived, directly from a nice pre-theater dinner, we all headed for the restrooms.

As usual, there was a line out the door at the women’s, which was downstairs. Clay and I wished our wives luck, made a snide remark along the lines of “better thou than I,” and headed upstairs to the men’s room. To our surprise and dismay, it also had a line out the door. A line of women!

The women, who outnumbered the men in the building by roughly 100 to 1, had commandeered the only men’s room in the whole place — and had no intention of giving it up. There is strength in numbers — especially when most of those numbers are having hot flashes and estrogen surges. I was at a loss as to what to do and foolishly walked to the end of the line.

“Not tonight, buster,” said a demure redhead in a purple sweater. She was probably someone’s grandmother and a Sunday School teacher in real life. But when she looked at me and jerked her thumb over her shoulder, I didn’t ask any questions. I just beat it.

But I still needed to go. Like I said, now I know how the other half feels. We went downstairs and asked the usher, an attractive blonde in her 20s, what the contingency plan was for such an occurrence. She just smiled and said, “Nobody ever said life’s fair.”

Luckily, a young EMT rescued us by taking us through two locked doors and down three flights of stairs to a janitor’s closet that was equipped for such an emergency.

But I learned my lesson. From now on I will have a greater appreciation for the plight of the women I see standing in line to freshen up. And if you are married to the demure redhead in the purple sweater that was at “Menopause the Musical” on Wednesday night — tread lightly brother, tread lightly.

Darrell Huckaby is an author and teacher in Rockdale County. E-mail him at dhuck08@bellsouth.net.