An Ouroboros Society: Ripples and Restrooms
We only dictate the stone being thrown into water, never the ripple. The ripples inevitably push out to all possible boundaries and what tends to start off as a simple disruption turns into a brief shaking up of the surfaces followed by a calmness that looks similar, yet is different than before. This is what much of social change mirrors in that it always starts with a specific instance, and ends with a settling of new ideas and understanding. The stone being thrown? Dudettes in dresses, chicks with dicks, and genderless gentle(people) needing to take a tinkle.
I feel as the overstimulated and jaded model citizen that I am, I gotta' throw my two pennies into this pile. So from what I understand, the argument boils down to transgenders, transsexuals, androgynous beings, ze's, zir's, cisgenders (which, I think is the opposite of being transgender in that societal norms of your gender align with what you choose to be, or were born as...?) - basically if you identify as a woman, you should be able to use the women's restroom. Vice versa with the guy-folk. North Carolina would want you to legally change your gender so that you have, essentially, documentation showing how dedicated you are to flipping the script. The counter arguments range significantly; spanning from the generic fear of the queerpocalypse which will result in the sky falling in a fabulous way, to people being genuinely accepting yet afraid that the unfavorable freaks of society will take advantage of such acceptance laws and molest the vulnerable in stalls. Which route do you go? Equality for all? Keep it old school? Add a transsexual or/and a transgender restroom? That gets costly for businesses. How do we differentiate between a man who identifies as a woman yet looks like Zach Galifanakis, or a person that looks womanly yet is androgynous and wants to be able to float freely between urinal and toilet? Do we just have too many fucking options for our own good at this point? Or have we finally reached a point where we can attempt to realign ourselves with any sort of genetic discourse?
My table caught me off guard the other day. It was the end of the night and I had sufficiently pleased all tables, so the dormant auto-pilot task oriented side of my brain kicked on to finish shit and get out. Reptilian with the cause and effect. And while on my way to unset the patio, I held the door open for one of my guests as they looked for the restroom. I pointed him in the right direction. I look over at his wife and do the necessary small talk. How was everything, oh that's great, I love that too, yeah nice weather, yeah we still have separate restrooms.
I smiled and nodded through something I did not understand. Why is she mentioning that she's happy that we still have separate bathrooms? My first thought was uni-sex bathrooms that you lock once you go in. It wasn't until I was already eight seconds into this uncomfortable exchange that I realized this lady was seriously going into a hot-political debate with me. How dare you lady. I gave you excellent service, I was nice to you, I put up with your bullshit, and you're going to dump this final nugget on my head and ask me whether it smells good or not?! Yeah, we keep shit real O.G. around here and if you're one of those willy-slinging purty' fucks that sit when they pee, we got a bucket-o-shame for you out in the courtyard. I wasn't prepared. But what I took from this was that there are seriously people who cling to the sanctity of a men's room, and a women's room. Like that sacred stick figure symbol wearing a triangle really stops creepy dudes from going into that bathroom. We already make allowances for parents taking their child, of opposite sex, into the restrooms. It's the equivalent of calling a time out where we will for a brief moment, forgive pissing in the wrong square footage.
You're going to fall in love with a person, hopefully, and feel that they can do no wrong. And then one day, you're going to witness in some capacity, them taking a shit. That is called a milestone. If the relationship exists past that, congratulations. You've passed go. This, as simplified as it sounds, is what I want for society. Puritanical in it's bullshit, separate sex restrooms do not hold a place in today's society for multiple reasons. People are constantly, whether you like it or not, diverging away from the norm. Hacking through the bush until they reach a path that makes sense to them. This is most likely a symptom of easier times where we are allowed to sit back and contemplate, but you can't reasonably be intolerable toward a person who was presented with the same 16GB iPod as others, yet needs 32GB to express themselves. Apples to oranges, iPod's to transgenders. Societal norms attempting to keep up with our tumultuous, wanderlust of identity and acceptance.
To play devil's advocate, I'm sympathetic to the economical issues with transgender bathrooms. It really isn't feasible to install a third bathroom in every business. Who funds this? The government? Good fucking luck. Imagine the government trying to fund new bathrooms for our public schools when teachers still have to buy hand-me-down crayons to write lesson plans. Plus, where do you stop designing specialized bathrooms? People are naturally fearful and cannibalistic toward differences. Sure, we would be content with a separate bathroom. For now. Until we come up with a whole new bracket that requires something else. We're morphing constantly and exploring ourselves and every inner identity possibility. It's not that this plight is a small issue. We're talking about a slew of ideas that go into this social representation niche. We spend a decent portion of our lives trying to form an identity and if we're lucky, we wrap it up in a nice, neat bow before we die. My first thought would be just to have same-sex/gender bathrooms. Expand this to larger populated business entities akin to schools, restaurants, public businesses, et cetera. Volume is the surface problem here. Too many people to rotate in and out with locks on doors and the whole wait your turn standard. No, this gets infinitely complicated which is a shame when the idea is just to make people feel comfortable.
We have, for better or for worst, been raised in a system that believes it is necessary to have separate bathrooms and showers for both sexes. I don't know if it is necessary or not, but it is a hard norm to try and change. Other countries obviously have less fear with this issue. It is akin to the idea that if a child is allowed to sip on some wine occasionally for dinner, by the time they are of age they are less likely to go on crazy alcohol binges. You grow up going to the bathroom next to one another, and it just becomes second nature. Is this another example of our puritanical basement that still lies under the floorboards on this country? We have a fucking reality show where the basic premise is that people are on an island together naked. We claim to care about privacy, but most of our actions don't necessarily preach it.
All right, so basically we've reached yet another social paradox where we have a complicated equation being solved by a bunch of outdated, reactionary, popular-vote seeking suits. To put it simply, our culture is outdated. Understanding and appreciation of thy' neighbor went rotten a hot minute ago, if it ever really existed. We treat every individual growth as a national debate, because otherwise how could we tuck every nuance into it's own special box? Intelligence is just the computing of data. Everything is possible, given the right circumstances. Society is sometimes too slow for it's own good. I've always hated this particular stereotypical canned question that pops up on CNN every month, "Is America ready?" We may just need a more laissez faire approach to stalls. My girlfriend was in Italy ten years ago. You entered one door with eight toilets and ten community urinals. She didn't see dick, she didn't see ass, it just never seemed to be...(a hot spot for rape?) Yes. She will say that she has been assaulted way more times in a friends house than a public space. We are misappropriating heinous acts with the misunderstood rectifying of hormones. The result is as always a series of knee-jerking reactions. We are a little too scared of one another. That, scares me.
There's a lady that throughout the last five years or so, has been a regular at the restaurants I have worked at. At Chili's she loved the Cajun pasta. At Taco Guild, she'll order a bowl of soup and one frozen margarita - if she's feeling frisky. Lemonade if she's with a business client. Either way, she is as low maintenance as a guest can be, sincerely likes to know how you're doing, and tips far more generously than required. She owns her own business, and appears to be by all means a model citizen. She is also transgendered. Full op, from what I understand but that is neither here nor there. If you saw her in the men's restroom, because that is what her birth certificate dictates, you'd be confused as fuck. She is the obvious case. Not all will be so black and white. I don't have the answers. I do hope though that she starts frequenting our new restaurant and hopefully doesn't have to hear snide comments from others about it.