Scroll To Top
Women

A Butch Guide to Public Toilets

A Butch Guide to Public Toilets

Public loos - one of the manybanes of butch lesbian life.  When we short haired butches walk in the terrified natives think a man has entered the inner sanctum of female-only spaces. Being mistaken for a man may induce feelings of awkwardness, embarrassment, irritation or even amusement, but when nature calls the last thing you want to receive from the other patrons is the horrified ‘wtf’ stare as you make your way to the cubicle, or worse, to be threatened with expulsion from the premises. 

Public loos - one of the manybanes of butch life.  When we short haired butches walk in the terrified natives think a man has entered the inner sanctum of female-only spaces. Being mistaken for a man may induce feelings of awkwardness, embarrassment, irritation or even amusement, but when nature calls the last thing you want to receive from the other patrons is the horrified ‘wtf’ stare as you make your way to the cubicle, or worse, to be threatened with expulsion from the premises. 

Some of us negotiate these societal hurdles head on: chin up, shoulders back, ‘I have a right to use these toilets’ attitude.  Some of us take the path of least resistance: wait till the loos are empty.  Regardless of which camp you fall into, at some point – either by volition or chance – you will have to face the straight women.

So, how best to handle the situation?  Here are a few suggestions designed to confuse and/or shock the ever so accepting patrons and to amuse the hell out of you (at their expense)...

If they stare at you:

Stare back at them as if it is they who are in the wrong toilet; laugh heartily inside as they reassess their surroundings.

Enquire as to the location of the urinals.  Regardless of the response, shrug your shoulders and say, “I’ll use the sink instead.”  Wait for them to run away and then enjoy the solitude.  

Ask if you can borrow their lipstick and then watch the furrowed brow of confusion make short work of their anti-aging cream.  If by some miracle they comply, save yourself from their germs -- and the prospect of wearing lipstick -- by saying “it’s not my colour”.

Ask if you can borrow a  -- insert feminine hygiene product here.  If they offer the pad variety: whip it out, stick it to your forehead and proclaim “Take me to your leader.”  If they offer the applicator kind: slap the base and launch it into the air and then proceed with the aforementioned diplomatic proclamation.  (Trumpet tooting optional.)

Launch into a feminist monologue.  Sadly, in my experience, straight women tend to be bemused by the subject.  Use any topic you deem appropriate, such as the constrictions of heteronormative gender presentation, the infantilisation of femininity, the patriarchy dividing the lesbian, bi and straight sisterhood...you get the picture.  Basically bamboozle them with thoughts they rarely/never entertain.  

Use the opportunity to work on your stand up comedy (e.g. “A dyke walks into a public toilet...” or “a straight chick/bird/chavette walks into a dyke bar...”).  You’ll never have a more captivated audience, albeit for all the wrong reasons.

more on next page...

\\\

(continued)

Break into song.  If you want to simultaneously serenade and freak them out then I recommend The Fleetwoods’ ‘Come Softly to Me’ (note: only to be attempted if you have friends who can provide backup vocals).  If, however, you simply want to freak them out then perhaps Tribe 8’s ‘Wrong Bathroom’ would be most apt – it is the punk rock anthem of this entire subject.  Alternatively, Nirvana’s ‘Territorial Pissings’ would also be sufficient, especially the lines “Just because you’re paranoid, don’t mean they’re not after you”.

If you’re in the Mediterranean, beat them to the punch: contort your otherwise sweet countenance, act as if they’re the devil incarnate, make the sign of the cross and then scurry away under your magic cloak of holy protection whilst muttering superstitious incantations under your breath.

Tell them their make-up is smudged.  The immediate access to mirrors makes this a tactic of short-shock duration, but for one exquisite moment-- for you -- they’ll think they’ve suffered the ultimate feminine ‘humiliation.’

If all else fails, use a classic: “If the wind changes your face will stay that way permanently.”

If you are asked to leave:

Respond in a fictional language; react as if they’ve just told you that you’ve won the lottery (and not a measly £10).  Amid their confusion proceed to enter the cubicle with your newly found ‘I could buy this if I wanted to’ smug mentality.  

Or take a philosophical approach:

‘My dear lady, I fear I am unable to carry out your wishes.  You see, as I do not have direct access to your inner thoughts and feelings I have no reliable justification to believe that you possess thoughts and experience feelings.  It would thus be foolish of me to comply with the potentially groundless presentation of your ‘wishes’.  Therefore, I must act in accordance with my own.  Now, I must take my leave of you.  However, should you wish to discuss this epistemological quandary at a later date, I will be at your disposal.  In any event, I think you will find that I fulfil the prerequisites for admittance, much as your good self.  Good day to you.’  She won’t recover from that one, I promise.

In all seriousness, the world doesn’t make life easy for us butches.  I’ve been struggling with the reception I get in women’s toilets on and off since I was nine years old, depending on my haircut.  We are required to be a resilient breed and that is no mean feat – so above all be proud of yourself.

Follow SheWired on Twitter!

Follow SheWired on Facebook!

Be SheWired's Friend on MySpace!

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories