by Nancy Bestor
Ninety-six percent of the time, I like being a woman. I like talking about my feelings. I like romantic comedies and chick lit. And I like the fact that I don’t like football one bit. But there’s about 4% of the time that I really wish I were a man. Ladies, I’m sure you get where I’m going with this. It’s when I have to use the restroom that I wish I was a man. You know, the whole peeing while standing up thing. Men are fortunate that they rarely have to sit or squat on a toilet. And they have little idea of just how good they have it. Am I right ladies or am I right?
I think of this when I’m using a cold restroom and the toilet seat is freezing on my behind. I think of this when I’m using a public restroom where the toilet is disgustingly dirty. I think of this when the line for the ladies restroom is five times as long as the line for the men’s restroom. And I think of this when I’m traveling in a country that still uses squat toilets. (I also think that I should have done more core workouts when I’m using a squat toilet, but that’s best saved for a blog about how I don’t exercise enough.)
I was reminded of this when Bob and I were in Amsterdam this past winter. You see, we were drinking beer in the afternoon. Now I don’t know about you, but when I drink beer in the afternoon (well actually when I drink beer anytime) I have to pee, quite frequently actually. And before we left the bar I did use the facilities. But then there we were, walking around the beautiful city, and I had to use the bathroom again. Bob too needed to use the restroom. And guess what we found? A public urinal, right in the middle of downtown Amsterdam. That’s right, Bob, being a man, was able to relieve himself just when he needed to (see the urinal in action in the photo at left). I, on the other hand, had to find a restroom in a grocery store. I don’t begrudge Bob. I don’t even begrudge the city of Amsterdam. The design of the urinal was quite ingenious, and it obviously didn’t take a lot of effort or money to install it on the city streets. I’m just taking this opportunity to complain about something loosely travel related that I can’t change, because what is a travel blog for if not an opportunity to share interesting travel stories complain?
There’s one country, and one country alone, that knows what women need when they’re using the restroom, and that’s Japan. Every time we’ve visiting Japan, I am happy to be a woman 100% of the time, and I thank my lucky stars that I can sit down on a public toilet and take advantage of the seat warmer, the music, the cleaning spray, and the blow dryer for the bum, to name just a few things. Surely Japan’s toilets were invented by a woman. If only every country, including my own, could adopt these toilets, then I could move onto more important travel blogging topics like who in their right minds would hang their toilet paper roll under vs. over?