A bearded man holds open the door of a public mens room and waves in a woman in a powered wheelchair

Just a Girl in the Men's Restroom

Last updated: January 2023

I can honestly say some of my funnier moments coping with spinal muscular atrophy have come from having to use public restrooms.

However, it wasn’t until I got married that I have even better memories and stories of using public restrooms with my husband's help.

Which restroom?

The infamous question is always “Do we use the girls' or guys' restroom”

I know that this can be a sore topic for some and let me just say, yes, I believe every public place should have a family restroom. However that’s just not the reality. So I’m gonna take life as it comes and laugh when I can.

Yes, when there is a family restroom it’s like Christmas. However, I would say only 10% of places we go actually offer a family restroom. (Thank you Target and most movie theaters!)

How do we decide?

The most common decision maker is typically for us to open the door and check to see who is in there. Sometimes we score and no one‘s in and we rush to the handicap stall and sometimes we have to wait outside for it to be completely emptied out.

Another thing we do is we scope out the place we are in. If we can tell there are more females in the store such as a clothing store for women, then we will shoot for the men's bathroom. And vice versa.

So we have grown accustomed to Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine if we’re going to use the men's or women's.

Usually less awkward in the men's room

We have found that about 75% of the time we choose to go into the men’s restroom. We have personally decided that it’s less of an awkward thing for a guy to see me in the restroom then for a woman to see a grown, bearded man in the women’s restroom.

The funny situation that we always find ourselves in though is when we use the men’s restroom. He opens the door, checks for by standers, then we sneak to the back stall. My husband then helps me by transferring me to the toilet, and we hope to make a quick exit however if someone walks in the door, the whole game changes. We immediately feel the need to be silent and start whispering. I don’t know why but it just seems like the right thing to do to talk quietly so they don’t hear my female voice inside the bathroom.

Even more awkward

The other most awkward part is when men are using the urinal. We typically try to wait it out in the stall until the bathrooms cleared out but there’s been scenarios where we are stuck in there for a very long time and I just have to make a run for it. There has been accidental times that I have left the stall thinking there was no one standing at the urinal when, sure enough they’re standing there and I’m just zooming past them with my head down.

My hope after that is to not make eye contact with them in the restaurant or store.

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