Women Are from Neptune, Men Are from Uranus

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Crimes to the Third Degree.

You learn the funniest things about men and women just from a morning at the mechanic’s. Like toilet behavior.

Flying By Night novelI hate the downtime of waiting in lines, especially when they can’t tell me if it’s going to be 20 minutes for the fix or 3 days, and somehow, the all-guy department still manages to botch the instructions. They graciously offered the women in line a ride to the mall to shop to our hearts’ content and seemed surprised when I said, no, but I need access to electricity so I can sit with my laptop and work. They pointed to the waiting room and offered me some complimentary coffee, which I don’t drink.

As usual, I had a list of 10 different things to work on, and I finished only one and realized I couldn’t finish one of the other tasks because I’d left my auxiliary drive’s cable at home—though it was very interesting to boot up and find that I could have had access to 3 unsecured wireless networks, including theirs and the radio station across the street. Now that should have been pretty scary, when you think of all things I could have gotten into, had I been so inclined. But no, I just worked my little heart out on edits and declined to entertain myself in other ways.

By the fourth time I’d heard the CNN story on how U2’s The Edge was helping musicians in New Orleans and the umpteenth asinine opinion poll on the latest Kennedy-alcohol-drugs-preferential-treatment-news-event, I was ready to scream at the TV, as was just about all the other dozen folks who were waiting. That’s when I struck up a conversation with the 2 closest women, as I pulled up a second chair to put my feet in and get downright comfortable with my laptop.

The men in the room all had magazines or newspapers to bury their boredom in. The women all sat and stared at spots on the floor, bored but in that sort of way I remember people in the Baptist Church sitting, when I was little, being very quiet and patient and just waiting for life to happen. While I hammered away on my laptop.

I’d join parts of the occasional conversation, then type some more, then look up and listen to the next tidbit. Yeah, I was bored, too, even if I was busy.

The woman closest to me had entertained herself by noticing the toilet behavior of the dealership’s service staff as well as waiting customers.

“Every single woman,” she said, “who’s gone into the women’s bathroom has locked the door. Every one of them.” The door had a vacant-locked sign that fell into place one you hit a certain knob inside the bathroom. “But not a single one of the men has locked the door.”

The three of us laughed and I mentioned the study that found that women’s room toilet handles break exponentially more often than those in men’s rooms—and all three of us knew exactly why. Because in public bathrooms, women flush with their feet.

“I’m not touching that handle!” the other woman agreed.

Then we laughed about women teetering on high heels, hiking one leg to flush, and how you have to be careful that your shoes have straps so you don’t lose a slide in the toilet. The men in the waiting room seemed genuinely perplexed by the conversation, but admitted it was better than another drunk-Kennedy story.

I’m still wondering why none of the men locked the door of the men’s room. Maybe they were all thinking, “I’m not touching that lock!”