I have an embarrassing and sometimes traumatic syndrome. It can strike at any moment and I have suffered from it for years. To others it’s a source of hilarity; to me, just shame and bemusement.
I suffer from what I’m going to call “Public Toilet Dyslexia”. I suspect most have accidentally suffered from this on at least one occasion. Sadly for long-term sufferers like me the bouts of Public Toilet Dyslexia (PTD) are all too frequent.
What happens is I might be out at the cinema, restaurant, anywhere where there are ladies and gents toilets. I feel the urge to powder my nose. I walk up to the toilets, really fixate on going into the correct toilet, in my case the ladies, the one with the picture of the lady in the skirt on, then a switch goes off in my head and I stroll confidently into the gents.
My first real recollection of a PTD episode was at a small independent cinema about 18 years ago. I strode nonchalantly into the empty gents, wondered why there was only one cubicle, but settled myself in there; mid-stream a little voice in my head murmured “why are there urinals out there?” I finished, washed my hands, looked in the mirror and watched my cheeks getting redder by the second, then ran out with the howls of laughter from the cinema staff ringing in my ears.
Since that shameful incident, I regret to say that similar impromptu visits to the gentleman’s facilities have occurred on a depressingly regular basis. Just today I needed the loo and was followed up the corridor to the toilets by a mother and daughter. The mother helpfully, and rather too loudly for my liking, shouted after her daughter, “don’t follow that lady, she’s going into the boys toilets”. I promptly turned on my heels and headed for the hills.
I honestly don’t know why it happens, but it happens too often for anyone’s liking. As I approach the toilets I now really focus on going into the right one, you know, the one with the lady on it. Nine times out of ten it’s fine, but there’s always that one time when my brain goes rogue and sends me into the room where they stand up to pee.
Maybe it’s because I don’t own a skirt, maybe my brain is subconsciously rebelling against the sexist nature of public toilet signage. Maybe, just maybe I just don’t pay proper attention. Who knows? But if you are a gent enjoying the standing up facilities in a public toilet, please do not be alarmed if I or any of my fellow PTD sufferers stroll in, realise our mistake and dash out. We can’t help it, we’re the real victims here.
Disclaimer – Public Toilet Dyslexia probably isn’t a real thing, but it’s something I genuinely suffer from and I wanted to write a silly blog about.