Why I no longer use the bathroom on the first floor

It happened again.

I went to the bathroom downstairs. Outside I thought I heard movement–I should learn to trust myself on this. But I went in anyway, and walked into the worst case scenario: one in a stall, one at the sink. When there are multiple women at the sinks you run a lower risk of getting called out because they don’t like to make a scene, but a woman alone has no problem yelling at you. It’s worse with a woman in the stall because then your little humiliation has had an audience.

I moved quickly and with purpose, attempted to just walk into the stall–she moved as if she was also going for it, though she’d clearly already been at the mirrors–and this woman started to say “You’re in the wrong…” she trailed off and switched to “No, you’re not” as I curtly cut in with “Yeah, I’m a woman, thanks.” Then she started laughing.

Nervous laughter is one thing. Laughing at yourself is one thing. Continuing to laugh at the woman you just called a man as she tries to pee in the stall behind you is entirely another.

I was frozen with anger and shame. I couldn’t pee. I waited, because there was no way in hell I was leaving that stall with that blonde bitch still in the room.

This is my place of work. I cannot even go to the bathroom in the place where I earn my living without my gender being misidentified.

I hate this.


5 Responses to Why I no longer use the bathroom on the first floor

  1. lindsey says:

    i swear, no one would take issue with your obviously female demeanor if you weren’t, like, six feet tall.

    from personal experience, i think these restroom paroxyms are best handled in the style of Put-Upon Gay Man: strident and/or incredulous laughter and razor-sharp comebacks.

    me, i prefer the incredulity and killin’ ’em with kindness: “oh, don’t worry! you’re in the right place!” {genuine hearty chuckle}

    and i am not making light of your problem, and i *have* experienced this problem before, emkay. i’ve been screamed out of a bathroom – right after that episode, i developed a sense of humor about it. you should, too.

  2. While I appreciate your advice, right now I’m much more drawn to severe dismemberment as a response than humor. Besides- calm but firm corrections, in my opinion, make a woman more likely to think for two seconds. Humor diffuses the situation, yes, but it also makes it forgettable.

  3. lindsey says:

    i disagree – mistaking a butch woman for man in the ladies room is never forgettable to those who make that mistake. especially when you leave them with a smile – i really feel that most women are thinking “gosh, i should pay more attention” when i smile and say something friendly/tolerant about being Mistook.

    then again, there are always the crazy people who freak out on you. we don’t care about them.

  4. little light says:

    Granted, my issues are different, as a trans woman, but I totally sumpathize with this freezing and anxiety. I do it all the time.
    Once, on my way into a bathroom, some teenager actually ducked around me in line and shouted, to the whole crowded place, “Boy in the girls’ bathroom! Boy in the girls’ bathroom!” After a couple minutes of my humiliated, silent taking-care-of-my-business, we ended up next to each other at the mirror. She goes, “So what are you doing in here, anyway?”

    I just arched an eyebrow, and, with as much calm as I could muster, flatly said, “Peeing. And checking my makeup.”
    Her quiet, deflated little “oh.” really shut the whole place up, anyhow, and she left without another word.

  5. Antibush says:

    Bush is forever saying that democracies do not invade other countries and start wars. Well, he did just that. He invaded Iraq, started a war, and killed people. What do you think? How does that work in a democracy again? How does being more threatening make us more likeable?Isn’t the country with
    the most weapons the biggest threat to the rest of the world? When one country is the biggest threat to the rest of the world, isn’t that likely to be the most hated country?
    What happened to us, people? When did we become such lemmings?
    The more people that the government puts in jails, the safer we are told to think we are. The real terrorists are wherever they are, but they aren’t living in a country with bars on the windows. We are.

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