Is this the right toilet?

When I was 19 I asked my dad to shave my head. I wanted a new hairstyle and decided a shaved head was the style for me. It wasn’t a huge statement, or a form of rebellion, I was just experimenting with my style and at the time, I quite enjoyed not having to do my hair in the mornings.

From the moment I shaved my head I was treated differently. Sideways glances, comments under people’s breath’s and even comments directed right at me. But something that always stuck with me most from that time, was the moment a woman shouted at me in the toilets. In fact there were several toilet moments just like this within a few years. But this one made the most impact.

I was on my lunch break at work and had nipped to Boots for a meal deal. On my way back to work I decided to visit the public toilets (because retail staff toilets were always gross). I’d used the toilet and was just washing my hands when a woman exited her cubicle and just started shouting…. “GET OUT…GET OUT!!!! THIS IS THE WOMEN’S TOILETS, GET OUT GET OUT, YOU SHOULDN’T BE IN HERE” I continued to wash my hands for a few seconds before I realised she was directing her anger at me.

I said “pardon?”, when she began her tirade again. I calmly told her I was in the right toilet thanks and walked out. It took me a few minutes before I grew angry at how she’d taken it upon herself to police the toilets. That she had made some assumptions about my gender and decided to publicly berate me without apology.

Over the years I’ve had the odd remark about being in the wrong toilet, but none quite as aggressive as that afternoon. Once M came along the remarks seemed to die down and using a public toilet wasn’t an issue…..

Until last month, when M and I nipped to the toilet in Asda whilst C was shopping. We’d both finished washing our hands and were making jokes across the room as we both stood at the hand driers. When a woman walked in, looked at me in disgust, then marched back to the toilet door, opened it, pointed at the sign, huffed and walked back in. She was obviously not happy I was in the toilet, yet she did manage to bite her tongue and chose to non verbally gesture at the symbol on the toilet door.

But it had been noticed by M who asked me why she was angry I was in the toilet. It prompted a conversation on gender, how nobody has a right to police the toilets that way and how if he ever has any questions about the way people are towards me then just to ask. He found it hilarious she thought she’d walked in the wrong toilet, but was also confused why she would think that from looking at me.

I am always total open with M on a level he will understand and he knows we can discuss lots of topics he feels comfortable asking us about. It’s just a shame that a 4 year old can grasp decent behaviour a lot better than most adults.

Feature Photo by Gabor Monori on Unsplash

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Jaime Oliver Reply

    WOW .. as much as I would love to say i cant believe people … When i took my son to the toilet last year i was faced with a similar thing when she told me ‘boys go in the toilets with their dads’ – I told her in no uncertain terms she was a D**k

    So sorry you and M were subjected to some idiot πŸ™

  2. Stephs Two Girls Reply

    Actually shocked this has happened to you. Am a bit lost for words to be honest. But great that you could have that conversation – and I know whose child I would rather spend time with πŸ™‚

  3. Stephs Two Girls Reply

    Actually shocked this has happened to you. Am a bit lost for words to be honest. But great that you could have that conversation – and I know whose child I would rather spend time with πŸ™‚

  4. TheBrickCastle Reply

    What has happened in this world that people think it’s fine to behave so rudely to other people. If I found a genuine bona fide 7 foot tall 18 stone bearded bloke in the toilet I’d just smile and assume maybe the bloke’s loo was disgusting. What was she planning to do? Strip off? Pee in the sink? Examine her genitals in the mirror? All toilets should just be unisex – then trans people and anyone who looks androgynous wouldn’t have to suffer – and maybe we’d reduce the chances that anyone vulnerable is in there alone with someone much bigger or nastier than themselves.

  5. Amy Treasure Reply

    What an absolute idiot that woman is and indeed all the people that have treated you badly over the years. I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with that. Your son is very lucky to have you and your wife and although this may be the world he’s living in right now, I don’t believe it’s the world he’s growing up in. I have seen from watching my teenagers and their friends that gender, race, sexual orientation; it just isn’t a big deal anymore. Amy x ps. I always use the men’s loo when I’m in a club (the queue is so much shorter!) it’s just a bloody loo

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