by Greg Schwem

I gazed around the enclosure, wondering how such a small space could be the source of bullying, harassment, and a political maelstrom that shows no signs of abating.
Then I zipped up and exited the bathroom.
But not just any bathroom; a gender neutral restroom in a Chicago restaurant. Normally I don’t do so much thinking while urinating, but others are doing it for me, as evidenced by the increasing number of unisex bathrooms popping up in businesses and bars, and throughout college campuses. Not to mention the debates occurring in Congress.
I am 100% in favor of these facilities, as I feel sorry for women, or those who identify as female, who endure long lines in airports or concert halls while their male counterparts breeze in, do their business and leave, never once wondering if the art of peeing at a particular moment will cause them to miss their flight or the band’s encore.
Yet my question remains: Females, or those who identify as such, do you REALLY want to share a bathroom with us?
No, seriously, have you thought this through? I was in a college fraternity and, 40 years later, all I can say is, old habits die hard.
I’m not just talking about having to lower the seat when you enter the restroom after a male has used it. We’ve been leaving the seat up for years and we will continue to plead forgetfulness even if all toilet seats come with hand cranks to make the process easier. Not that it’s difficult now.
What about our aim? Or lack of it? Are you ready to see droplets, or puddles of urine on the floor and wonder how long they are going to remain there until somebody who is grossly underpaid cleans it up?
That’s what we look at. Unless we are the ones who misfired because, in our states of inebriation, we saw three urinals instead of one and chose incorrectly.
Now let’s move to the sink. Dudes consider it to be more than just a receptacle for handwashing. Quite the contrary. I’ve seen guys shaving in public restrooms or worse, brushing their teeth and spitting gobs of who knows what into that same area supposedly set aside for cleaning hands. Gals, or those who identify as such, you might want to turn off the faucet with your elbows, just in case.
Oh, and, if you think our bathroom habits are disgusting, please rethink the idea of gender neutral locker rooms. For I guarantee you, the restroom is a microcosm of what awaits you in a changing area.
Sure, you wouldn’t see our private parts, as unisex locker rooms are designed to ensure nobody has to change in public. But I guarantee you, we will still walk around in bare feet. Not just bare feet but fungus-addled, athlete’s feet. Is there a law against toenail clipping in a gender neutral locker room? Because I’ve seen guys do this as well. Just saying.
Our mouths have no locker room filters, so be prepared to hear conversations about topics ranging from our copious amounts of body hair to last weekend’s sexual conquest, which we are probably embellishing. We will also lie about what we plan to do THIS weekend and who we plan to do it with.
I applaud your right to identify yourself as “she,” “her,” “them” or “they.” Believe me, I do. I have attended numerous pride parades, in multiple cities, and love watching people celebrate whoever it is they want to be. Be loud, be proud.
Just remember that, when you enter that gender neutral bathroom, a dude whose idea of a perfect day includes a dozen beers and six street tacos may have just exited.
Nothing Congress can do about that.
(Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian and author of two books: “Text Me If You’re Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad” and the recently released “The Road To Success Goes Through the Salad Bar: A Pile of BS From a Corporate Comedian,” available at Visit Greg on the web at
You’ve enjoyed reading, and laughing at, Greg Schwem’s monthly humor columns in Senior Living News. But did you know Greg is also a nationally touring stand-up comedian? And he loves to make audiences laugh about the joys, and frustrations, of growing older. Watch the clip and, if you’d like Greg to perform at your senior center or senior event, contact him through his website at