Friday, March 27, 2009

drawing the line

There are some places where men and women just don’t mix.

Some years back I worked in a place where they had a common loo for men and women. It was a nightmare. Not just because we were three women to thirty guys but because I learnt that holding your pee till you get home is pretty torturous.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a pee trooper. I have peed behind a solitary rock in the hills. I have sneaked up and peed behind people’s tents, homes and once even got caught doing so. I am also proud to say I peed in the men’s loo at the manali bus stop. And at every halt on road trips to Nepal, Bakhali, Manali, Mc Leod Ganj, Goa, Coorg, Pondicherry... I held my breath, I squatted, I peed.

But, the office loo. That’s a different story. First of all, like every other woman I’m a pro at the hover over the toilet seat, with your bum in mid air and pee technique. But what if you feel crappy in office? How can you get your bottom to rest on the same spot that countless men have liberally sprayed and splashed?

And ya, I tried what you are thinking. Put up countless posters and send numerous mails asking them to please try and pee into the pot. Begging them not to consume too much beer in the afternoon, because a frothy toilet is not an indication of a clean, shampooed toilet. But no, men will be men. And the drizzled loo, with soggy shoeprints and little bits of curly hair sticking to the toilet rim continued. And we lost the only seat that matters in men-women politics – the toilet seat.

So it is possible that the experience has left me scarred. Which is why I so dislike unisex parlours.

Really, how can it be soothing or relaxing? The same towel that fat man is using to steam his pimple and white heads off, will sooner or later land up on your face. And is the cutter they are using to cut some black toes with nails that have turned green and warped going to be used on you?

And do you really want to get your hair oiled while the man on the next seat is getting his. Because he’s snoring louder than the TV, and little bits of sleep spit are collecting on the corners of his mouth.

Okay, so now I know what you’re thinking. Hey, this doesn’t happen in fancy places. All the guys are tony in Toni and Guy. And they’re all metrosexuals who don’t snore and drool and have pedicures all the time.

Still. Imagine...a hot dude is getting a pedicure next to you. I mean what? Can he smile and say something funny. No, he can’t. Because he’s getting his little toe buffed. And he knows he’s looking like a wuss. And which woman wants to have a flirtatious conversation with a man whose feet are being filed?

Okay, now suppose we overlook that. And you are a strong girl who can stomach the sight. So you settle down in the chair next to meterosexual cutie. And get ready for your pedicure. But guess what your legs are in that stage when you still have to wait a week before you can wax properly. Tan tan tan. What happens now? You flash hairy legs and even though he’s pretending to talk on his blackberry, he’s taken a quick look and in his head he’s thinking, “ Oh my god, my achar breath wali masi from Patiala is sitting next to me.”

See. It is a bad idea. Men must have their own parlours. And we must have our own. They must have their own loos. And we can comfortably rest our bottoms on ours.

The business of doing your business must be kept separate.


doingmything said...

I completely agree...having had the unisex office loo experience...yup, scarred for life.
And "achar breath wali Pataial ki masi :-)))))))))).....your writing kicks ass.

Dr. Rupa Shah said...

I agree 200%...

This is that said...

eeeewwwwww, ughhhhhhh, so know this that you were talking about. Sp real, I want to make a film on it.

Jenna said...

When I was in Udupi (yes yes I know) I had to get some threading done.

Fortunately, next to our hotel was a tiny beauty parlor - Aishwarya Parlour for Men and Women. It was, thankfully, separated. Men on the ground floor, women upstairs.

Now, in the USA, haircutting can be unisex or separate, but other than that beauty parlors for men are few and far-between. American guys just can't bring themselves to wax and buff as much as we do.

Here - not only was the men's parlour bigger than the women's, but it was obviously busier and had large windows looking out into the shopping arcade. My first thought: "There are seriously men, even in small-town India, who will get freshened up at a place called 'Aishwarya'? Wow."

The women's parlor was a tiny room with two chairs, one of which was already taken up by the copious folds of a woman who's daughter was about to get married, so the mother was, naturally, getting a facial.

The men's parlor was also open longer hours than the women's.

How on earth is it that there are more men in Udupi who want beauty treatments than women?!

agent green glass said...

jenna, have you seen wwhat the men look like in udipi???!!!

okay, jokes apart,i'm actually wondering why. one is maybe coz the women just get the stuff done at home.

the other could be that some of these unisex beauty parlours do double up as parlours. if you saw any signs that said Full Body massage. Enjoyment Experience. and so on and so forth...then maybe the men were getting more than a facial!

btw in kerala and tamil nadu, more men use fairness creams than women. : )