With author Rodney Strange
*Author's note: I wrote this last year during the 'Bathroom Bill' controversy in Georgia and with my home state of Texas tackling the issue in its current legislative session, I thought it was good for a rerun...enjoy.
I guessed it was probably around midnight as I pushed and shoved my way through the crowd toward the restrooms. The bar was packed beyond capacity, I was certain, filled not with the typical Saturday night wannabe cowboys and lonely women, but with rowdy football fans. Tension was high with a Texas Tech win over the Oklahoma Sooners and scores of fans sporting their teams' logos raised their voices over the blaring music, each determined to outdo the other. Me...I just wanted to pee.
As I approached the restrooms, my mouth fell open as I caught sight of a line of women stretching from the far side of the bar to the door of the women's' room. Women stood squirming in a never ending line waiting their turn. I forcefully pushed my way through the line after several polite attempts to pass failed, the frantic, fairly intoxicated females apparently fearing I would try to cut in. Once I had cleared that obstacle, I was relieved to find a somewhat shorter line leading to the men's' room. After a fifteen minute wait, I finally found myself inside the tiny room where at least thirty people were crowded against each other, impatiently waiting their turn. In the din of agitated voices, my ears caught several shrill, screechy voices above the rest. Women! A dozen or more drunken chicklets had taken their stand inside our restroom, giving up hope of ever making it into the women's' room. It would be a new experience for me, but I needed to pee, having reached my limit of two beers.
Another fifteen minutes later, I found myself face to face with a urinal. With a sigh of relief, I assumed my position. A huge Sooner fan at the urinal beside me squirmed his way back and a cute little blonde suddenly appeared in my peripheral vision, quickly squeezing her little hiney into the urinal, her stare stoically focused on the floor beneath her. I froze. I mean, literally froze.
'I can't do this!' I thought to myself, 'try...you need to pee!'
I glanced over my shoulder as a petite brunette began goading my rear with a half empty beer bottle.
Sweat formed on my forehead. Relax, I told myself. Still nothing.
"Why aren't you peeing?"
It was the blonde beside me, intently staring.
"You're watching me?"
That's about as far as I should go with that story. Restrooms are a sore subject right now and I don't want to get into any trouble. Folks are losing their jobs over restroom talk. It may come to beheadings and crucifixions and I'm really not ready to lose my head over potty talk. I'm just a storyteller and this particular story is the one that comes to mind in light of all the hoopla in recent weeks. But the point I want to make with this tale is...even though this event took place at least five years ago, it is still fresh on my mind. Out of all the times I peed in that particular restroom in that particular bar...it is this memory that comes to mind. I am a full grown man. A smoking hot twenty-something-year-old intoxicated chick dropped her britches and peed not more than twelve inches from me. And I'll never forget it. Perhaps I'm scarred for life.
But we can't talk about that. So, let's go this route. I personally don't believe that collectively we have the kahunas to stand up and protest this current fiasco. I don't think that we in mass unison, will refuse to shop at Target or use Paypal or terminate our business ventures with any of the other businesses who have risked everything for a man's right to pee where he deems appropriate. I believe Springsteen concerts will still sell out and I think millions will still tune in Nashville every week even thought Connie doesn't feel comfortable filming in Tennessee anymore because they're not 'potty friendly.' It saddens me to say this, but America has been steamrolled by dudes in skirts and tights.
Now, bear with me. If I sneak down to the lake and cast a line, knowing I don't have a fishing license, I know what my penalty is if I get caught...a fine. If the city cops ever catch me doing sixty out by the cemetery where the speed limit is fifty, I know the penalty...a fine. There's nothing wrong with fishing or driving sixty miles an hour. It's just that somewhere along the way, the 'powers that be' determined that if they said there was something wrong with it...we should all just go along. We all still go fishing and we still speed, and we know we'll pay the fine if we get caught.
If voicing our opinions about men using women's restrooms is wrong, then fine us! Don't destroy a man's career because he spoke his mind, a right afforded us under the constitution. Pass your damn laws! Make it a crime to speak out! Then punish us under the full extent of the law. Until then...shut up and let us be!
In the meantime, I firmly believe that any person who voices their opinion concerning restrooms, who is harassed, bullied, terminated from employment, and ultimately destroyed...is the subject of discrimination, every bit as much so as those some of you spend so much time fretting over about where they should get to pee. We cannot allow discrimination to be indiscriminate. If we don't stand on this...there will be no stopping point...none! It is absolutely ludicrous for anyone to think that something that has been deemed morally wrong by society since the beginning of civilization as we know it will suddenly be accepted with open arms, no questions asked...just because someone tells us it is now okay. Are we as a society really that freakin' stupid? Lord, I hope not!