My Week 273: Positive Spaces and Two Vignettes

Recently, I did the training to became a Positive Space Champion at work, which means that my name gets put into a database of people in a variety of different workplaces who support the rights of LGBTQ people, and also that I have an identifier on my office door that tells people I’m someone they can feel safe going to for support. It’s very important to me, so last week, I also did the training to become a Trainer, which means that I can help other people at the secret agency become Positive Space Champions too. My vision is a sea of Positive Space posters everywhere, so anyone who walks into the secret agency knows they’ll be accepted for their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or what have you— and homophobes will know they can immediately f*ck off.

Anyway, at the training, we were discussing the bathroom issue, more specifically, how did we get so weird about who goes into what room, and why are we so hung up on it? It’s almost the second decade of the 21st century, and people are still aghast at the notion of all-gender bathrooms. And I laughed, because the week before, this happened to me:

Ken and I went to a concert, and I had a VIP pass to meet the band and hear the sound check. Ken didn’t care about that, so he went shopping until the Meet and Greet was over, then we went to a restaurant nearby for dinner before the concert. The restaurant was a Moxies, a fairly well-known chain here. I had to go to the bathroom, so I asked the waiter where it was, and he said, “Go to the front doors and then turn right.” So I did. I came to a corner where there was a door. Directly next to the door were two signs: a male figure in a square and a female figure in a square. “Cool,” I thought. “Milestones has all-gender bathrooms” and I went in. When I finished doing what I needed to do, I came out of the stall, and there was a guy at the urinal, also doing what he had to do. He was facing away from me, which was just fine, so I washed my hands, and went back to the table. When the manager came over, I said, “It’s so great that you have all-gender bathrooms.”

Manager: Pardon?
Me: The bathrooms. They’re gender neutral. Very cool.
Manager: Um…we don’t have gender neutral bathrooms. The Men’s is right on the corner, and the Women’s is further down the hall. Which one did you go into?
Me: The one right on the corner. That would explain the man at the urinal.
Manager: THERE ARE ARROWS.
Me: I didn’t have my reading glasses on. Meh. Whatever.

Then we all laughed, and I was super-happy that the man at the urinal hadn’t seen me, because I would have been fine with it, but who know how HE would have reacted, like “Get out of my space, woman!!” Then again, maybe he wouldn’t have—I asked Ken if if he’d ever been in a men’s room with a woman:

Ken: It happened once. I went into the bathroom at work, and there was a woman standing there, looking at herself in the mirror.
Me: What did you do?
Ken: I went over to the urinal and used it.
Me: Like, right in front of her?
Ken: We didn’t make eye contact or anything. What was I supposed to do? I went in because I had to use the bathroom, so I did. I didn’t know why she was in there, and I didn’t really care. I just wanted to pee.

In retrospect, I should have known Moxies didn’t have an all-gender bathroom—I mean, the urinals were a dead giveaway—because a couple of nights ago I was out with my team and the restaurant actually DID have all-gender bathrooms, which was just a long hall of single stalls with their own doors and sinks inside, which makes perfect sense. At the end of the day, we all have the same bodily function needs, so stop worrying about who’s in the stall next to you. Just make sure you wash your hands.

2 Vignettes

1) On Friday, I was on the subway and a woman got on at the same time as me. She stood in front of some other passengers, and then randomly, she said this to another woman sitting there:

Where’s Waldo is a lousy audiobook. ‘There he is!…There he is!…There he is!’ That’s all it is.”

And then we got to the next stop, which took about 45 seconds, and she went to get off, but not before waving and telling the entire packed car, “May the force be with you!” I was still laughing at the Where’s Waldo thing, and I still am. I will be on my deathbed, surrounded by my loved ones, and I’ll start giggling, and when they ask me what’s so funny, I’ll just whisper, “There he is….”

2) When I had my book launch, the local Heritage society gave me a bouquet of flowers. Last week, Ken and I went to their Christmas banquet, but I was running late, so I asked Ken to choose a thank you card from our box of “cards for all occasions”. When I arrived, I asked him where they were, and he said, “They’re in my bag over there. I brought two so that you could have a choice.” I pulled them out. One had a bouquet of flowers on it with the words, ‘Thinking of You’. The other had two champagne glasses clinking with the slogan ‘Cheers’. So, a sympathy card and a wedding card. Neither seemed appropriate under the circumstances, but then I looked at the notes on my phone later and realized that instead of “Ken Thank you card”, it had autocorrected to “Ken Thanos card”, so maybe the sympathy card wouldn’t have been too far off. For half of the people there anyway…

By the way, I’ve decided to stop using My Week… for my posts as of next week. There will just be a full title. I’m doing this (unless there are some serious objections) because I have the feeling sometimes that people who don’t know me don’t read my posts because they think it’s just some weird-ass diary of all the mundane things that happened to me during the week, like:

Monday: I went shopping. I bought eggs.
Tuesday: I watched Netflix. The weather continues charming.
Wednesday: There he is…

There he is…

66 thoughts on “My Week 273: Positive Spaces and Two Vignettes

  1. I never thought of it before, but after 273 weeks I suppose you’re right; it’s redundant now. I think if it were still around 250-or so I would seriously object, but I can’t imagine you carrying on about what week it is into the 280s. That would just be weird.

    Weirder still is that I almost wrote a day-to-day report of this past week on my latest post because I was on vacation and that happens so rarely lately I figured it wouldn’t be redundant. A day-to-day report would actually be a digression from my usual meandering digressions. But, then, once I started it became a meandering digression about my car and that became that. I ended up summarizing my entire week in one line later just to make the damn thing make sense.

    But I still kept the title I came up with because f*ck it.

    I never seem to be able to find Waldo. I tend to look at all the other people and wonder if anyone, anywhere is looking for them. 😏

    Liked by 6 people

  2. ONE of the bathrooms at my work turned all-gender last year. There was an enormous uproar because of course they converned a women’s washroom, of which there are never enough and now there are less and the gesture was pointless because no matter what the sign on the door says, no woman uses it because men have just decided it’s the ‘men who have to poop’ washroom and so it’s really no safer unfortunately.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. A few years ago I did the training to become the Safe Space person for my office because the previous person left and I felt there should be someone. I also felt it was important because when the Safe Space program was first announced where I work a homophobe in my office discreetly came to me and said, “It’s for people like us, right? Because we’re the ones who don’t feel safe.”
    And I was shocked that the person was that stupid, and that they obviously didn’t know me. I didn’t bother sharing the story of how I stood outside the restroom for a transgender friend.
    Or how I used to have really long hair and in public restrooms guys would sometimes say to me “oh, you’re in the wrong…uh…” That’s in no way comparable to what transgender people put up with on a regular basis, but I still don’t understand why it mattered.
    Anyway that woman on the train is a great counterexample: someone who made peoples’ lives better. And that’s true of Ken too. He’s such a card.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Exactly! One of the trainers was a trans woman who described her terror at going into a bathroom while she was transitioning to the point where she would drive home where it was safe. And yes, I wish that woman had been on the train longer–I was dying to hear what else she had to say!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. When reading bits out to my wife I had to re-word the “North American Englishisms” to “British Englishisms” because I have an English accent & it sounds weird otherwise & I wasn’t sure she knew about Waldo:
    – Waldo = Where’s Wally?
    – bathroom = gender neutral toilets / unisex toilets
    – stall = toilet cubicle
    – subway = underground / tube
    – car = carriage (but only for trains)
    But it was the French words that made me stop & think. Banquet and Bouquet are pronounced Bankwit and Bohkay but not Bankay and Bohkwit.
    Languages, eh?
    😉

    Liked by 5 people

  5. As someone with shy bladder, I hate anyone of any gender being in the same bathroom as me…

    I used to draw a comic strip on my blog just as messed up as the stuff I currently post, and this is one of the cartoons that gets me hits from search engines most frequently…

    Liked by 3 people

  6. At the university where I work they turned all the bathrooms in our building “unisex” so now everyone can use them. I wish I’d run into someone like that woman, it would definitely make my day!
    There he is, there he is……classic!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Where’s Weirdo? More fun were the knick/knack pictures where you had to find the 5 thimbles, 3 fire engines, 9 paper clips, 2 prophylactics, 666 swastikas, etc. I’d marvel at the composition, usually old-timey crates, desks and store fronts, nostalgic paraphernalia. Kinda like what American Picker’s bedrooms must look like.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Haha! Love the idea of a “Where’s Waldo?” audio book. Never woulda thought of it.

    As for public washrooms, I love the ones with one toilet, like in coffee shops, so there’s no shared space, no waiting for someone to finish using a sink or hand dyer, and no overhearing conversations between people 5 stalls apart. I admit it: I’m a Bathroom Snob.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Remember the show Ally McBeal? I premiered in the late ’90’s.

    They had an all-gender bathroom. I seem to remember lots of problem solving in that bathroom and I don’t think anyone thought it was weird. I do remember one of the characters liked to flush before every use because -“I like a fresh bowl,” he said.

    It’s only a big deal because we made it one.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Always a good laugh. It was your blog title that first got my attention and after reading a post I knew I had to follow. Title can be a good way to draw people in. Do you ever use tags? I get hits from search engines because of tags I use. Perhaps tags such as “humor” or “the funniest thing ever”.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Good on you for becoming a Positive Space Champion!
    As for the bathrooms, I’ve never given it much thought. My main gripe is that when we’re out and about as a family, I’M the one stuck changing nappies because there’s never a changing table in the men’s room!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Hey, maybe I could organize my blog into weeks like you do! Like week one of my challenge: If I continue to walk the same amount each day, I might get my 10,000 steps in my next week. I still feel crummy. I did clean out my desk and now have a giant box of stuff that doesn’t really belong on a desk but I don’t know where it goes. So – it’s hard to explain to husband that I accomplished something. But I sure did use that paper grinder – bzzzz.

    I do love it when people come onto your humor blog expecting something normal. Especially when they don’t speak sarcasm. It messes them all up. Then I turn around and throw in a serious post just when they think they have it down. Maybe that’s why I’m not Top Blog. Hmm.

    Liked by 1 person

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