I don’t consider myself an expert at anything. I mean, I’m good at a bunch of things, really good at a few other things, even really, really good at one or two things, but a true expert at something? Probably not — unless you count my extensive familiarity with public restrooms. As the owner of a small bladder, a sufferer of an autoimmune disease, leaky gut and IBS, a cardholding member of the “childbirth-ruined-my-pelvic-floor” group and someone who drinks over a gallon and a half of water daily, I make it my business to know where the best public bathrooms are at all times.
While incontinence is one of the joyful gifts of motherhood and aging, my small bladder issue has been around since I was a kid. Case in point: Each summer, my sister, parents and I would pile into the car and drive from New York to Massachusetts to spend a few weeks with our cousins. Apparently, my sister and I requested frequent pee stops along the way, resulting in a family “joke” that the Dewey girls know where all the good bathrooms are between NY and MA. As a child and definitely during my wilder (read: intoxicated) college days, I’m sure I was less discriminating than I am today. Thankfully, I’ve matured — even though my bladder hasn’t.
Over the summer, my Facebook feed was flooded with articles about public bathrooms: How you can’t catch STDs by sitting on a public toilet; how toilet paper over a soiled seat isn’t helpful; even a plea from another blogger for everyone to just sit down already. Ummm, NO. As a frequent public urinator and opinionated blogger myself, I stand firmly in the squat camp. Or rather, I squat firmly. Either way, you get my point.
Yes, sometimes I experience a rogue stream that has a mind (and aim) of its own. Sometimes when I’m rushing, my squat is too high and I splatter a bit. Sometimes on leg days or double workout days, my toilet hover is shaky and so is my stream (I blame my trainers, Kim and Mike, for this). And yes, sometimes there’s even an unfortunately timed need for a public bowel movement. But none of this means I’ll be sitting on a public toilet seat anytime soon, despite what a fellow blogger and various columnists recommend. The solution isn’t to sit on a dirty, public toilet (even though studies prove many other surfaces carry far more bacteria than a public toilet seat). The solution is simple: LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE STALL. Turn around, face the toilet and make sure you didn’t leave a mess in, on or near the bowl. And if you did, CLEAN IT UP. Wipe the seat. Flush the toilet. Pick up your tampon wrapper and toilet paper. It really is that simple, ladies. Basic hygiene + proper bathroom etiquette + common courtesy = PROBLEM SOLVED.
You’re welcome, America.