“Whoa, Man!”

This week I did several lectures at the Hartford Convention Center and being the professional that I am, I always arrive early and ready to go long before my scheduled time. Trish, my VP of Marketing & Special Promotions, joined me on this excursion. As we were off-stage preparing my introduction, I excused myself to wash some dirt off my hands. I left the lecture area, turned a wide corner and noticed the restroom sign up above. Just past it was the familiar sign on a door that clearly indicates the entrance to the woman’s room (as seen in this photo.) You would expect the door facing it would be the entrance to the men’s room.

As I entered I noticed how clean and roomy these facilities were. I washed my hands and just as I was ready to walk back out the door I realized that the men’s and women’s sides were actually connected. Between the men’s room side and what had to be the women’s side, was a wonderful open sitting room with full-length mirrors. Intrigued, and since I was alone in the place, I walked over, took a good look at myself in the mirrors and thought “Wow, just like the that TV show Ally McBeal. Cool.”

I returned to the lecture hall only to brag about how fabulous the bathrooms were. “Trish,” I said, “You won’t believe just how progressive this place is.” “Whatever do you mean?” she replied. I took her hand and rushed her to the lavatories to see it for herself.

She took a look around, thought about it for half a second, and quickly commented, hands up and waving: “Oh no, I don’t think I like this.” She began to rattle off dozens of reasons why she hated the idea, mostly about the mirrors being in the common area. She lost me after a while because it was something about needing privacy to hike one’s underwear out of one’s skirt, apparently a problem that happens to many women after using the loo. This was too much information as she began to mime the process, so I could see her point. I agreed: I would not want to see that from the men’s side. Maybe I was not the progressive integrated type after all?

We walked out, Trish happy to never go back and me quite puzzled that a convention center would try something so daring. In the hallway, I turned around to look one last time, and then it happened. I noticed, tucked away, hidden a few steps further down the hallway was a separate single door clearly marked MEN. “Yikes!” I yelled out loud. The woman’s room had two adjacent doors – that explained why the restroom was so clean and huge. We fell into giggles, practically collapsing with laughter.

Going forward, this “MAN” now knows how to tell if he’s accidentally in the woman’s room – no men’s room has anything remotely comfortable or relaxed about it. Thank goodness there were not any women in sight that day. Can you imagine bumping into the ladies that were joining me for my lecture? I could have opened with “Hello, I’m Mar Jennings and you might have met me in the LADIES ROOM!” So please, my friends, be prepared to say “whoa!” and stop me before that happens again. I may be a lifestyle expert but when it comes to finding a men’s room, apparently I’m no expert at all.