One Day I’ll Get Good At Using Public Restrooms


Today I experienced something that gave me the perfect answer to the ever-popular ice-breaking question “What’s your most embarrassing moment?” I’m a glass-is-half-full kind of girl, so I’m choosing to see this is a win rather than a loss.

As per usual, I desperately had to use the ladies’ room between classes. Like a woman on a very important and urgent mission, I smoothly strolled into the always-weird-smelling restroom, OWNED it by taking the coveted biggest baddest stall, slammed down my super-hip laptop case and various other belongings1, hurriedly took my seat, and finally felt sweet relief.

Just as the moment couldn’t get any better, I looked up, and to my dismay, the stall door was wide open, subtly swinging from the squeaky hinges of my private four-square-feet sanctuary. You know that moment post-32 ounces of fluid when you close your eyes for ONE SECOND, one precious second, where the rest of the world melts away as you open the floodgates and for just a moment, you’re invincible? Until you’re not. Until the rest of the girls in the fluorescent-lit flush factory are invading your personal twelve seconds of joy.

I had two choices—to let the door remain open and play it cool as it sounded like I was running a water hose in the toilet, revealing my identity as THAT girl who obnoxiously stomped into the restroom, hogged the big stall—hitting the good girls who were washing their hands at the sink with her purse and elbows along the way—and shamelessly scattered a whole junk drawer worth of items on the bacteria-infested linoleum floor … very loudly, I might add.

(You know, now that I think of it, those backpacks are kind of handy for hanging on the provided hooks in the stalls, avoiding the bacteria that carry all the fatal diseases that are so typically caught from using public restrooms.)

Or my second option was to rise from my throne and quickly scramble to lock the door, risking my own unique exposure (let’s just say I don’t use the bathroom with pants on).

As a final attempt to feel normal and erase the past minute and a half from everyone’s brains, I chose the latter. I finished my business behind a closed door, gathered my belongings and my dignity, and, as if I was in a makeover machine2, strutted out of the bathroom with all the poise of a twenty-year-old young professional who did not just behave as if she were in an outhouse (washing my hands could wait). I should take another stab at the whole privacy thing in a few hours. One day I’ll get good at using public restrooms.


1) My belongings included a water bottle, Pop-Tarts, notebook, sunglasses, and jacket. Backpacks don’t exist in my world. I have two very capable arms, and I utilize them to their fullest potential. I consider it somewhat of a challenge to push myself to the limit of how much one can carry without resorting to the fairly ugly bag used by the weak—SORRY, IT’S TRUE—with thick padded shoulder straps that free your arms to do other things such as awkward hugs or handshakes.
2) A “makeover machine” can be seen in the 1997 movie You’re Invited to Mary-Kate & Ashley’s Birthday Party, during which the Olsen Twins walk into the makeover machine after pulling the omnipotent lever and exit with a complete transformation, e.g. athlete to cowboy, dancer to robot, etc. In my case, I transformed from Bathroomzilla to a young Kate Middleton.