I peed next to a man today.
Yes- you read that right… and ya know what? He was a stranger too! Yep! True story. Funny thing is, I did the same thing a few days ago too…
In small Berlin coffee shops (well I am in a pretty big one right now) there isn’t a lot of room for toilet space- so there is a single unisex bathroom. With two stalls. If I am in there and a man comes in- (or vice-versa) you can’t tell, necessarily, the gender of the person already in there- and even when they can tell- guess what?
NO ONE CARES
So here’s how it went down: Walked in, guy right on my heels. I went into the right stall, he went into the left… and tinkle tinkle little stars… we both came out… and HE even washed his hands too. We smiled at each other, a little awkwardly maybe, and went back out to our tables.
The only people I have seen refuse to go into the “toiletten” at the same time as the other gender, are… (drum roll please…) North Americans!
I don’t want to start a debate… I just find it ironic that the Europeans are just going about their business, no matter who else is in the room with them and it seems like such a stress point for us North Americans.
By the way- the proper word for a bathroom here is “Toilette or Toiletten” (GASP!) If we say it in English, we say the word toilet! Toilet Toilet Toilet! LOL
If I ask for the” bathroom” or the “rest room,” I get a funny look and it takes a few seconds to process- Oh she means toilet! (This is pretty much all over the world- though some places DO call it a WC or Water Closet- which is still closer to what it really is than bathroom or restroom!)
Why do we call it a bathroom or a rest room anyway? There is no bath, and generally no place to “rest” either- but toilet is just not a polite word in the US… It took me a few times to say Toiletten without whispering, but I’ve got it now!
I mean if I can pee next to a strange man, then I can certainly say the word toilet out loud!
Have you ever used a toilet in a public place at the same time as someone of the opposite gender, who you don’t even know?