I have heard much public debate on whether or not women thrive in a pack and are quick to support one another, or if we are more solitary creatures and will easily throw each other to the wolves for survival. Sociologists have likely spent millions of dollars and hours in the lab attempting to study this question, but they need look no further than this one place to find the answers they are looking for – the women’s restroom.
Ladies, how we treat each other in there is a great indicator of how we would take care of each other on the outside.
For instance, I recently attended a semi-formal luncheon at the Georgia World Congress Center, the majority of attendees being women. I headed to the restroom before going to my table and got in line. The first thing I noticed is the cleaning lady sweeping with her equipment and no one saying a word to her. I talked to her when she passed me by, and she seemed genuinely appreciative. We also stood in line for awhile before the stall doors began to open. Knowing there was a line, do you think the women inside were making sure to efficiently go to the bathroom and get buttoned back up so others could get in there quickly? I assume they were taking their time to check an email or see how well their Facebook post was performing.
That is if they were sitting down. Making my way into a stall, I saw the remnants of the last woman’s trip on the toilet seat and had to make sure to clean her mess before I could begin. If you can’t straddle and aim, why leave it for the next woman to take care of it? Not quite an argument for the pack mentality some hope we have.
Once I was done and ready to wash my hands, every single sink was occupied yet no one was washing their hands. Every lady was in the mirror primping at the sink, unable to miss the image of my reflection in their mirror staring at them to move so I could have my turn. I literally stood there for at least a minute before anyone budged. Frustrated, I made my way out of there, making sure to once again thank the cleaning lady as I tossed my paper towel in her trashcan.
Women are usually deemed the social ones in our society. We gaggle together at gatherings talking over one another to catch up on the latest news or gossip, and are expected to easily break down barriers with one another over a glass of wine. But behind closed doors, when no one is watching, we aren’t as comfortable with each other as we would like to think we are. It’s every girl for herself.
Maybe my friend was right, maybe we weren’t ready. I just hope we figure it out so I can have a Madam President in my lifetime.
Originally published in the GA Voice.