I had to use the bathroom.
So I left the roof, went downstairs, passed the bar, and walked into the only hallway of Berry Park that could conceivably house its bathrooms. I’d been there many times before, but never long enough to use its facilities. I would meet a friend, drop by for a few minutes, and run away. Friday night was the longest I’d ever stayed, and after a couple beers, I needed release.
Two doors. I chose one without thinking.
My first thought was, “Weird! A bar bathroom without urinals!”
My second thought was, “Good! No urinal-decision anxiety!”
I entered a stall and locked the door behind me.
My third thought was, “I love this stall! The door goes all the way down to the floor!”
My fourth thought was, “Look at this cute little in-stall garbage can!”
The bathroom door opened and I heard two female voices chatting by the sink.
My fifth thought was, “Why are two ladies chatting at the sink?”
My sixth thought was, “Oh my god there are tampons and tampon wrappers and tampon applicators in that cute little in-stall garbage can, aren’t there?”
I stood for a few minutes and waited for the two female-sounding voices and their presumably female bodies to finish using the sink and exit the bathroom. My heart pounded, and I began to work through my options.
Option 1: I could wait until the bathroom was empty and bolt to the men’s room to wash my hands.
Option 2: I could casually exit the stall and initiate a serious-yet-slightly-humorous conversation with the women about gender/cultural norms – amplifying all my conversational affectations to a level RIGHT on the border of charming and over-the-top.
Even as the only man in the bathroom, Option 2 required far more balls than I could claim at the time, so I waited until the ladies left. As my hand approached the lock, another person walked in. I removed my hand and she entered the stall adjacent to mine. After hearing her door lock, I unlocked mine and ran into the men’s room, where I washed my hands and stared at the mirror while two men conversed at the urinal.