Recently I went for coffee with a friend and naturally at one point needed a wee. Went to the loo (through a door, with a row of cubicles and hand basins), came out and stood in front of a man washing his hands.
Now, my first thought was fuck, I've walked into the mens toilets. It then got weird when I realised there were other men in there, and none of them seemed to notice me.
I went out, and the sign on the door said toilet. I went and asked the baristar if they were unisex, they said yes, and this struck me as odd.
It also struck me as progessive. I mean, I didn't really mind at all, when I found out no one would laugh at me for being in the wrong loo!
They were all cubicles. So no chance of seeing an errant penis.
I share a house with a man (my husband) so I am used to sharing a loo. My flat is not a female only space.
I go to AA meetings and the centre we use for one, well it gets busy and I have also been known to use the mans loo, it's just a small lockable room with 1 loo, I usually laugh at the fact there is always wee in the loo (not flushed) but as long as there is no seat pee I sit right on it and go. Then wash my hands, obvs.
But why do I have this niggly feeling, of 'I don't like the idea of unisex toilets'.
And I can't articulate why. Am I being 100% irrational?
I don't know why I can't pee in earshot of men but I just can't! It's not something I have concious control of. I personally wouldn't have a problem with the tampon dispenser but I know some women would. It is different from buying in a shop as you don't immediately go and use them in a shop with the sounds of unwrapping etc. Don't forget not all men are above making sexist comments in the street- some will undoubtably comment on a womans cycle if they know it. 'He's out of luck this week she's on' is a comment I've heard directed at women. Do you really want to share a public toilet with 'white van man' and his mates?
I have no wish for public unisex toilets for the simple reason that the men's always stink. Yes you sometimes get splashes on the women's seats, but I can't imagine what you'd find in the men's, judging by the smell!
As for queues at the women's - surely that's simple. It's a well-known problem and so there should be more space allocated to the women's toilets than the men's, maybe 2/3 to 1/3.