Several years ago, I don't even remember how long ago, I was shopping at JcPenney. Now, that in itself isn't remarkable-I've been there several times since then, but I always avoid the restrooms there. My husband and I were shopping, we may have had our daughter with us, I don't recall, but I needed to take a quick trip to the ladies room.
I quickly walked into the restroom, which was very quiet and peaceful. I went into the stall, and..well.. you know, took care of business. While I was there, I noticed how quiet it was-there were no little children asking their Moms if they needed to "go potty too", and no friends chatting about the bargains they had acquired. I could tell that I wasn't alone in the room, yet there were no sounds of "shopping busy-ness" like one usually hears in the ladies room of a department store.
Having taken care of business, I left the stall and went to the sinks to wash. This place was so clean, and white! I washed my hands with that institutional, pink soap with the distinct, "I just washed with institutional hand soap" smell, and reached into my purse for my lipstick.
This lipstick was awesome, by the way-I really need to look for some more. It was green "mood" lipstick that turned to the perfect shade of pinkish red on my lips. I know, it doesn't sound very classy, but this stuff was great!
Anyhow, as I puckered up and began to apply, I happened to catch a glimpse of something to my left in the reflection of the mirror. "Oh, crap! What are those things? Those aren't urinals, are they? Oh, no. But I looked at the sign on the door..." Cold, horror crept up my spine, up to my cheeks, where it burned like fire. My head began to buzz with that "This is wrong! Error! Error! Does not compute! Error!" warning sound. Deciding to play it cool, (maybe they were just bidets. Sure, bidets at Penney's, why not? Clean, rich people like sales, too!) I finished applying my lipstick, which turned to an unusually vibrant red.
Glancing in the mirror, I looked at the stalls behind me. I saw a pair of white tennis shoes under one door-those looked fairly unisex, a little dowdy for a woman, but you never know. I relaxed a tiny bit as I turned to leave. As I got halfway to the door, I heard a flush, and came face to face with a very surprised........middle aged.....man! I scurried out the door as fast as I could, feeling the man's eyes burning into my back as I left.
Horrified, shaking and blushing like a teenager at the Ob/Gyn for the first time, I hurried out to my husband and explained that we needed to leave. Now. Before I get thrown out and banned from Jc Penney's for life.
Since I'm never ready to leave a store before he is, I had to explain why I needed to leave. Of course he thought it was hilarious, and I still get teased about it to this day.
I now double and triple check the signs on restroom doors before entering, sometimes even going back out and looking again. I do still shop at Penney's, but my pace picks up considerably when I pass the restrooms, even though we now shop at another location. I still blush when I think about this, even years later (judging by the mood lipstick, it must've been in the nineties.)
But ladies, if you want to....relieve yourself...in a peaceful environment, choose the men's room. Just don't try to use the bidets.
This post has been part of Mama Kat's weekly Writer's Workshop. I couldn't get the button to work, so please click on this link to visit her blog and play along.
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