Saturday, May 2, 2009

All-inclusive men's rooms

First off, I'd just like to say thank you to my respective fellow bloggers for their gracious awards and praise. I'll be blogging about that soon enough.

Also, in case you missed my previous post on restrooms, scroll down and check it out. I mentioned in there that I had wanted to write a longer blog about that, so here goes.


I enjoy almost everything about being around for my daughters during all hours of the day. I'm a work-from-home dad whose main job most days is to look after 5- and 3-year-old girls. But the one thing I despise is the public bathroom situation. In short, men's restrooms range from disgusting to vile, and having to take my girls into men's rooms can be troubling.

It's one thing for me to go; I can look out for myself. But taking my girls into some filthy sty of a bathroom and trying to clean as best as possible or minimize the possible damage... it can be a little much at times.

As many of you know, I go to Disneyland quite a bit. And you'd think that Disneyland would have clean bathrooms but that's not true at all. The Happiest Place On Earth can at times be The Smelliest/Dirtiest Place In Town. The odors can be foul and the stalls themselves just a mess overall.

I've got some bathrooms figured out, some favorites for lack of a better term. They're "favorites" not so much because they are clean but because the traffic is low. There's one by the trams, another outside the main entrance, one near the Astro Orbiters... those are the three I like to use if possible because they are not as crowded.

Now ideally I'd love to use family restrooms but the only two I know of at the Disneyland Resort are next to each other in a Bug's Land at California Adventure, and that's out of the way many times, even when I'm at DCA. Those are perfect, but very uncommon overall, not just at the Disneyland Resort.

One thing I used to fear was negative response. I was worried that some guys would be turned off by two little girls walking through the men's room. But if that's the case, the offended parties have kept quiet. Usually, though, guys don't give it another thought. I walk in, head straight for the largest stall possible and nobody says a word to me. I try to use the handicap stalls because they are bigger and there are usually three of us, and three makes for a tight squeeze in a regular stall.

I'd love for more family bathrooms. I'd love it if more places offered family bathrooms. I know I'm not the only male out there who has to take young girls into bathrooms. I've seen fellow dads in such situations, and sometimes I'll give them a nod or something. And there are women who have to take young boys into bathrooms with them as well. It works both ways. I know my daughters would like family restrooms too because they know there are bathrooms for the different genders and know that they are going into the "wrong" bathroom.

Anyway, I had been meaning to get all these thoughts out for a while now and Friday it seemed like I'd have the chance to do so until I got some ankle pictures and blogged about that instead. As it turned out, I was out of the house for a few hours and stopped by my local library. It wasn't overly crowded, which was nice, and the last thing I thought about was getting flak for taking my girls into a men's room.

Now, my girls didn't even have to go. But I like to make them go sometimes because otherwise I get caught with the girls needing to use the restroom somewhere with no bathroom nearby. So I was walking into the men's room of a nearly-deserted library when some older woman comes from out of nowhere and confronts me.

"You can't take them into the men's room."

"They're my girls. Of course I'm going to take them with me," I told her.

"That's the men's room. They can't go into the men's room. Here, I'll take them," she said, motioning to the girls to follow her into the ladies room.

"No. They'll stay with me."

"But they can't go in there."

"Well where do you suggest I take them?" I asked her. "I don't see any family restrooms here."

At that point, I started to usher my girls into the bathroom.

"They can't go in there. That's illegal."

"Whatever," I told her. "Arrest me then."

We went into the handicap stall and they didn't even have to go, which was fine. We all washed our hands and I tied the girls' hair up (they looked like ragamuffins). When I opened the door, two librarians were standing there, startled.

"Oh. Are they with you?"

"Yeah," I said and walked past them. I should have asked them if there was a problem with that, but I knew the only ignoramus who had a problem with that was gone.

I was so irritated, I can't begin to describe it. I was completely blindsided by that. Look, I get that some things are strange to some people. And I know that men's rooms aren't the best places for little girls.

But until there's some other reliable option or age takes care of the situation, LB is taking LB's girls into bathrooms with him.

Naysayers be damned.


5thsister said...

Oh my goodness, LB! How awful that the librarian jumped to conclusions. I would have been horrified. Unfortunately there's a stereotype here: Man taking little girls to restroom = molester. Women taking little boys to restroom = mom. I am truly stunned by what you went through and wish I could be more eloquent in my response but, as the British say, I am truly "gobsmacked"!

Lissaloo said...

My Hubby has said a lot of these same things, if he's out with the kids he dreads the girls saying they have to go because that means taking them into the mens room. There is definitely a need for more family restrooms! Even if for the fact that I can send my 10 year old son into one and he can lock the door behind him and I don't have to stand outside the mens room worrying while I wait for him, I'm a worrier.

Raoulysgirl said...

I know I posted on your "blog on the go" about this, but I'm still a little miffed by it. It absolutely burns my cookies that society has come to question the intentions of ANY man (even good daddies) who are showing even the slightest interest in a little girl. Now, don't get me the neurotic mother of 2 little ladies, I certainly understand why. However, there are situations (such as your restroom episode) where a good Daddy is just doing his "Daddy duty" without a thought and some TWIT has to go and make it look all suspicious and "dirty." RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!! What the hell is wrong with the world???

Angie Eats Peace said...

I think it is absolutely that you, or any dad, would ever have to deal with this.

Willoughby said...

Incredible! I can't believe that woman tried to keep you from taking your daughters to the bathroom. Even worse, wanted to take them herself! What kind of father would let a stranger take his kids to the bathroom? The whole situation makes me angry. I give you a lot of credit for staying calm, I'm not sure I could have!