Female Bonding Ritual

If you've ever left your own house in a dress you've probably encountered the classic dilemma: to go through the door with the stick figure with a triangle that is supposed to be a skirt or the door with the stick figure without that silly triangle. Have you ever stopped to consider that there is absolutely no way to tell if the stick figure without the skirt is wearing anything or simply the outline of a naked man, reduced to it's simplest skeleton? If you're unlucky the decision can have repercussions just as bad as those you have constructed in your head; if your luck holds up you can cease holding and quickly relieve yourself with no one the wiser. In either case it is rather hard to relax and let nature take it's course.

The problem with either of these course is you will be denied one of the quintessential feminine experiences, something forever denied to mankind: standing in the endless line before the women's room. You've all seen it wherever humanity gathers en mass; the results of shoddy architectural training that makes the facilities for men and women the same physical size in a building. Perhaps it's the vaunted egalitarianism of American Society that requires this unequal equality, perhaps its the male chauvinist pigs who don't care that urinals take up less room than toilets and thus you can put more of them in the same physical space. Perhaps all architects are unmarried and have yet to realize that once a woman has had children she needs to use the bathroom more frequently. Whatever the reason, there is a complete subculture that has developed to cope with this phenomenon.

I was recently fortunate enough to participate in this female bonding ritual, not because I was able to pass well enough to insinuate myself in the line, but because I am a member of the only other group in society that will casually bend gender rules, The Folkies. One of the strange rituals of Folkies is to gather once a year at some out of the way site and spend the weekend slogging through mud (it invariably rains) in the out of doors listening to folksingers do their thing, eschewing sleep and other mortal needs in order to hear one more song or one more hot guitar lick. This is caused by the same urge to gather that makes crossdressers attend conventions, but is very informal and much cheaper. At the latest gathering there were two buildings with bathrooms at either end of the site. The first year we designated one male and the other female as per standard practice, but it soon became clear that the proper toilet was always on the other end of the park. Within hours a sign appeared reading "Folks Room" and the gender barrier was smashed for the weekend.

So it was I found myself about #8 in the line, the only male in the group, and thus for a short time I became one of the girls. Conversation was already lively when I joined the group, so I offered my opinion on how to keep kids away from the poison ivy that had been spotted, agreed that Trout Fishing in America was one of the finest groups in the world, offered a tip on getting laundry clean, and wisely kept my mouth shut when the subject of breastfeeding was brought up. I was having a great time, not even worrying about missing the music to much when my foray into femininity came to an end. I was rushed to the head of the line to occupy the stall with the door that doesn't close all the way, on the theory that those of us who stand would be less embarrassed to use it than those of us who sit. Which says something about women in general: they are a very practical bunch.

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This story is 649 words long.