Bobbie's Beat: The tissue issue — part two

I figured last week’s toilet paper subject would cause reader response. In regard to preferring the roll over the top instead of under, my mail is running (so far) 31 to zip for the “overs.” Several women admitted to changing the roll in other people’s homes if it wasn’t “hung right.” Maxine Bahr of Newport called to say she grew up using an outhouse and Sears catalog pages for you know what. Then came requests to repeat “that funny bathroom thing,” so here it is.

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Bonding in the Bathroom (author unknown)

When you have to visit a public restroom, there is usually a line of women, so you smile politely and take your place in line. 

Once it’s your turn, you check for feet under the stall doors. Every stall is occupied.  Finally a door opens, and you dash in. You get in only to find the door won’t latch. It doesn’t matter. You have been waiting so long you are about to wet your pants. 

The dispenser for the modern “seat covers” is handy, but empty. You would hang your purse on the door hook if there was one, but there isn’t. So you quickly drape it around your neck. (Mom would turn over in her grave if you put your purse on the floor). 

You yank down your pants and assume “The Stance.” In this position, your aging and toneless (I knew I should have gone to the gym!) thigh muscles begin to shake. You would love to sit down, but you have not taken time to wipe the seat or lay toilet paper on it, so you hold “The Stance.”

To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be an empty toilet paper dispenser. In your mind, you can hear your mother’s voice saying, “Honey, if you had tried to clean the seat you would have known there was no toilet paper!” Your thighs shake more.

You remember that tiny piece of tissue you blew your nose on yesterday — the one that is still in your purse. (Oh yeah, the purse around your neck that now you have to hold up trying not to strangle yourself at the same time). That piece of tissue will have to do. You crumple it into the puffiest way possible. It is still smaller than your thumbnail. 

Someone pushes the door open because the latch doesn’t work. The door hits your purse, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest, and you and your purse topple backward against the tank of the toilet. 

“Occupied!” you yell, as you reach for the door, dropping your precious, crumpled tissue into a puddle on the floor, lose your footing altogether, and land directly onto the toilet seat. It is wet, of course.

You bolt up, knowing all too well that it’s too late. Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ on the uncovered seat because you never laid down toilet paper — not that there was any even if you had taken time to try. You know that your mother would be utterly appalled if she knew because you are certain her bottom never touched a public toilet seat.  

By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes a stream of water like a fire hose against the inside of the bowl, which sprays a fine mist of water that covers your butt and runs down your legs and into your shoes. At this point, you give up. You are soaked by spewing water and the wet toilet seat. You are E-X-H-A-U-S-T-E-D. You try to wipe with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks. 

You can’t figure out how to operate the faucets with the automatic sensors, so you clean your hands with spit and a dry paper towel. You walk past the line of women still waiting, but you are no longer able to smile politely. A kind soul at the very end of the line points out a piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe. Where was that when you needed it? You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it into the woman’s hand and tell her warmly, “Here, you just might need this.” 

As you exit, you spot your hubby who has long since entered, used and left the men’s restroom. Annoyed, he asks, “What took you so long and why is your purse hanging around your neck?” 

As for the men who wonder why women go to the restroom in pairs, it’s so the other gal can hold the door, hang onto your purse and hand you Kleenex under the door!

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To my female readers, I suggest you show this column to the man in your life. It just might make him more patient and understanding the next time he has to wait for you outside of the ladies room.


Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor” (Dancing Moon Press). The book (with all proceeds going to Rotary International) is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]

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