A friend emailed me some time back about her daughter's stay at a New York hotel. She had been surprised that such a high-priced hotel would have such a teensy tiny bathroom. I'm certain the room's teensyness (is that a word?) was due to the price of New York real estate.
However, her comment reminded me of the stalls in women's public restrooms all across America...where when you wish to exit, the door swings inward, barely clearing the front of the toilet seat by a scant three inches.
Nobody has knees that skinny. Nobody, I say! And so, one must stand to one side of the toilet in order to open the door wide enough to safely exit the stall. This makes for an awkward and clumsy exit.
One can avoid those inward swinging doors by using the handicapped stall. But that can be done only when it is obvious that no handicapped person will need the stall. Even if the room is empty of other occupants, totally empty, I feel vaguely guilty, as if I am breaking a rule and need a "handicapped" sticker around my neck in order to participate in the use of the handicapped facilities. I don't have such a sign that I can just hang around my neck. And I don't look handicapped in the least unless you count my chemo baldness and my slightly steroid puffy face. But I don't think they count in this instance.
Men design those rooms. I know they do. Any fool woman would be cognizant of a woman's needs. Imagine wearing a skirt and perhaps a coat, carrying a huge handbag and perhaps a shopping bag or two. Most restrooms have no hooks. They used to have hooks...you can see the holes where they used to be. But someone, for whatever foolish reason, removed them. In 98 percent of public restrooms across America. It's as if those hooks were needed elsewhere and were salvaged for elsewhere at our expense! What other explanation can there by?
This shortage of hooks means that you are fortunate if your purse will hang on the door hasp. Said hasp is always quite small and so even if you're successful in hanging your purse there, it may fall before you finish your visit. Fortunately my favorite purse has very thin straps and the hasp will do where the hook is non-existent.
On the other hand, where can you hang your coat? This is not a frivolous question! It really, really is a whole lot easier to use the facility if you can take off your coat.
And shopping bags? Where can you put them? The floor? After someone, ahem, er, um, peed on it yesterday and the janitor came in with a dirty cotton mop and sopped it up, not bothering to rinse with soapy water? You know he did. Because the soles of your shoes are sticking to the floor.
When I first noticed the ridiculous design of women's public restrooms we were on vacation in Canada. And I thought that perhaps it was because they were on the metric system and we were not. (To my Canadian readers...I jest!) But when we returned to the states I noticed that we women of America have the same problem that Canadian women have. Men design our bathrooms, too, just as they do in Canada.
The remedy? Institutions of higher learning should provide classes in public restroom design. All instructors should be women. Graduates could be licensed and only licensed architects could design women's bathrooms.
Just sayin'. Nobody else seems to be sayin' it. I'm filling in for all the women of America.