Through the years I’ve become very acquainted with toilets. Working in school maintenance, I’ve done everything from being the guy who scrubbed and plunged the toilets to fixing, repairing, replacing, and even writing the specs for new construction and new toilets. I’ve also had my share of personal time with toilets. I’ve spent many hours sitting on one, or simply standing in front of one practicing my aim. You might even say that our relationship has been very intimate. When sick, I have hugged my toilet as a cool and close friend and I’ve shared things with my toilet that I don’t share with anyone. My toilet has often seen a side of me that no one else has seen.
The mystery runs deeper than just the relationship with the toilet itself. What puzzles me is the various toilet relationships as it relates to gender. Here at the campground, I spend a great deal of time with toilets and with people; the same was true at the schools. People, young and old, male and female, all spend their own quality time working out their private relationship with a toilet… or that’s what it seems. However, I’ve begun to notice a pattern that troubles me… or maybe ‘trouble’ isn’t the word, ‘baffles’ might be a better term.
This isn’t about the massive quantities of toilet paper that are flushed without mercy down our ancient drainage pipes. Or even those weird items that seem to endlessly appear in the female toilets when they refuse to flush. This isn’t even about what appears to be failed surgeries that seem to plague the female gender. I know there are some repulsive explanations for those mysteries…. most, I simply refuse to hear. I’m satisfied just to know that, by calculating the number of rolls of TP by the number of visitors in our restrooms there is no question that our campground is occupied by hundreds of clean butts.
No, it’s none of that. Let me explain. Here at Castle Rock Campground our toilets are old ‘residential’ type toilets and frequently need to be plunged. This wasn’t a frequent problem at the school with modern ‘commercial” type toilets. In addition, on a busy weekend, we could have hundreds of people using our toilets throughout the day. So, during our busy times I find myself cleaning the toilets about every hour. In between the cleanings it is common to get a call that one or more toilets simply are unable to make the necessary pressure to purge the latest deposit. Upon arriving it is usually a simple matter of reprimanding the toilet with a rubber plunger until it resigns and swallows the ignominious load. On the men’s side of the facility this is usually a simple matter. I walk in, find the offending toilet, and do whatever is necessary to remedy the problem. But on the women’s side the problem is more sensitive. I can’t simply walk in, proper etiquette requires that I wait until all the female visitors have exited the room.
This is where the problem begins. As I sit outside the problematic facility I’ve learned something about the gender relationship with toilets. Men simply walk into the restroom, do whatever needs to be done and then exit, often finding themselves waiting for their female partner. There is little to no conversation inside a male toilet facility. A male toilet facility is not unlike an elevator where the uncomfortable close proximity of other humans makes conversation awkward. Don’t get me wrong, there is a prehistoric level of communication that conveys our personal satisfaction of our ongoing progress, but talking for the sake of building personal relationships is totally void.
Women on the other hand enter the facility and often do not emerge for significant spans of time. To make the mystery even more intriguing, the female visitors often enter the facility in large congregations, not unlike the harems of old. These woman not only actually speak to each other, they treat it like a social gathering that could rival many family reunions. Keep in mind in our little campground the woman’s facility has four toilets nicely arranged along one wall with typical toilet partitions and doors. Yet frequently I’ve seen as many as a dozen chattering friends enter the room and join other like-minded guests. Often while I wittiness this unusual human behavior there will be one or more toilets that have lost their ability to ingest the necessary contents. From outside I can hear the chattering of these women that sounds much like the cackling of a roost of hens. They talk, chatter, and laugh like old friends. They build relationships and life-long friendships. What troubles me is I can’t imagine, for the life of me, what happens in there. Do they stack themselves up? Do they have some kind of bucket-brigade? What is there to talk about that they didn’t discuss around the campfire or back at their RV? How many fit inside one toilet stall? I’ve tried to imagine all kinds of scenarios, but every possibility defies the imagination and even the laws of physics. I try to picture a half-dozen women arranging themselves around one toilet, but I know their aim is no better than a man’s and they simply don’t have the hardware to make the shot. Or maybe they have found some shared labor system….. no, this simply doesn’t seem right. Maybe you have some idea?
Worse than adult women are the little girls. We recently had a girl scout group that included about thirty little Damsels that found it to be a matter of pure entertainment to make frequent and regular visits to the facilities as a group. Who could imagine that in beautiful northern Michigan campground, situated along the sandy shores of Lake Huron, and only a short drive to some awe-inspiring sights and experiences, that a social gathering at the campground toilet would be the highlight of the adventure. It was as if they had never experienced the shared joy of expelling their small human waste as a social event. This is simply a matter that is beyond my limited comprehension.
I’ve asked this query of many men and they all give the same response; they simply hang their heads and shrug their shoulders. Then I’ve asked many women about the mystery of the toilet; they simply smile and make some gesture that tells me “you simply wouldn’t understand”. What is it that I won’t understand? What is going on in there? Men have engineered methods of traveling through space at speeds that bend the mind. We have set foot on the moon and have explored the depths of the oceans. Yet, there is a mystery here at home that baffles every man, it exceeds our comprehensions, and brings our skillful imaginations to a dreadful halt. What really happens in there?
Please use the space below of you have any insight into this baffling mystery.