I’m waiting to use the urinal this afternoon in the men’s restroom at a busy central Phoenix restaurant. No big deal. I’m second in line, no urgency, just standing there thinking thoughts I no longer remember. And then out of one of the stalls pops a young girl led by a man I assumed to be her father.
This is not a baby girl. Not even a toddler. I know kids well enough to estimate her age at around 4, maybe 5. Another man, not four feet away, is using the urinal. The “father” holds the girl’s hand and seems to shield her from the urinal as they walk across the room to the door and out. There is a slender chance I could be wrong, that this child is a young boy in drag. But I don’t think so.
I would not mention the incident except for one thing. It is the second time this has happened in less than a month.
Just before the Cardinals last regular season game at their stadium in Glendale, I walked into one of the men’s restrooms behind a man and a young girl. She too appeared 4 or 5 years old. My head swiveled as I saw her as did the heads of several others. I think everyone was too stunned to say anything. The man got in a line to use the urinals and left the girl nearby at a wall where whe could see him at all times. When he went off to do his business, she peeked around the corner. Not more than six feet from her eyes was a man at a urinal. I have no idea what she saw.
But I do know this. It should not have happened. Girls have no place in men’s restrooms. And it’s not only little girls who find themselves in the wrong place.
Two weeks ago, Nebra was in the women’s locker room at the Downtown YMCA, preparing for a gym workout. She described how two boys, ages 6 or 7, passed through the room with a woman making their quick exit from the swimming pool.
I don’t pretend to know what these adults were thinking, if thinking at all. But I’ll bet they were thinking of only themselves. I know damn sure they weren’t thinking about me and my rights to privacy or anyone else’s.
I’m not a prude. Nor am I one to tell a parent how to raise a child. But if a young girl, say, who can not take care of her toilet business by herself or she is not old enough to be left alone while daddy takes a whiz, well, she should stay home. Or petition the venue to bring in a port-a-john expressly for such situations.
I can take it a step further. On a recent trip to Rome, I was using the urinal in the basement of the Termini, the train station. As I stood there finishing up, a crew of janitors came in with mops and buckets and began to work, chattering away. Everyone of the janitors was a woman. A European thing, I thought, but now I see differently. The unisex toilet apparently has spread to this isolated region in the desert.
If this is a trend, a new openness among the sexes, then I’m not ready for it. Make a law, put up signs if need be, levy hefty fines. I’m up to my ears with arrogant parents who think they and their kids have a right to stampede their personal values on everyone else.