What do Firefly, Eleven Nightclub and Boulevard3 all have in common? If you said they're all LA hotspots you'd be correct. They're restaurants, clubs and lounges respectively. But that's not the similarity that I was thinking of. What really links these places is their unisex bathrooms. It seems that in LA there is nothing more chic than men and women washing their hands together after emerging from their side-by-side stalls.
Granted the stalls in these bathrooms are similar to walk-in-closets in that the door to them are floor-to-ceiling, they're roomy and, for the most part, no noise or smell can easily emit from them...until you open the door. But the fact is the men and women are still in the same line together, they vie for the same mirror space and sometimes they have to share the same very long sink with a faucet that looks more like a waterfall than anything else. It's sort of hard to wash your hands well in these waterfalls but it does look cool and apparently that's what's important.
The weirdest part is that in the many LA establishments that have embraced this new trend the bathroom has actually become a hotter pick-up spot than the bar. Bathrooms are very intimate places and when you're standing in line inside their ecru walls waiting to do your business the guy behind you is more likely to start a conversation with you than he would if you were standing next to him ordering a cosmo. While at a bar they can easily hide behind a cocktail or limit their conversations to only include the friends they came with. But men don't go to the bathroom in pairs the way women occasionally do and since a unisex bathroom means that guys actually have to wait in line to pee (not an experience they're used to) they frequently choose to pass the time by talking to a stranger. The stranger has to be a woman because guy-code says that men can't talk to other men they don't already know in bathrooms. Don't know what that's about but apparently it's a rule. The ice-breaker these men choose to use on the women in the room is usually (and predictably), "What do you think of these unisex bathrooms?"
And my answer to that question is, "I'm not into it." I'm just not all that receptive to being picked up when I'm in desperate need of a toilet. And if I'm at a bar and I don't like the guy who's chatting me up I can move but if the guy is in line behind me as I wait for a stall to open up...well there's nowhere for me to go now is there? The truth is that when it comes to public bathrooms I like keeping the sexes segregated. If I wanted to fix my make-up in front of a room full of people I'd have done it at my table. Plus I like knowing that if I do want to adjust my bra in front of a mirror I can do it without a mixed audience. I don't want the guy who has been flirting with me to take note of how long I was in my stall and I certainly don't want to smell what's coming out of his stall when he swings the door open. Call me a traditionalist but if a guy wants to pick me up in a restaurant/club/lounge he should do it by pushing alcohol on me at the bar and I don't want to share a mirror with him before the third date.
But with unisex bathrooms popping up in all the best spots in LA it's clear that I am now forced to face a new world order.
I guess I'll have to start getting salt on the rim of my margaritas so I can increase my water retention. Going to the bathroom is just a little too stressful these days.
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