Waiting for the Stall

Getting used to the French practice of restrooms is taking…well, some getting used to.

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The train station where this all went down…

I have NO problem paying 70 euro cents (to which they frequently refer as “centimes”, which I find really delightful… before we left, my mother sweetly produced French francs for us, in case we needed to piddle, forgetting about the euros… my dad had saved francs, lira, marks, etc from their travels and she wanted to make sure we were prepared.  Centimes, for those who might not remember, were the French form of change for francs in pre-euro Europe).

70 cents seems to be the standard to pay, but here’s the weirder thing… in at least a few situations (regardless of pay or not) the loos are non-gender.

The Republicans would lose their minds.  Not only are the trannies potentially piddling next to them, but (gasp!) our esteemed Vice President might actually have to USE A STALL NEXT TO… YOU KNOW… one of THOSE.

A WOMAN.

Oh dear god.  He can’t handle meeting with one of us sans lachaperone.  Imagine using la toilette dans la femme.  And.  Not.  His.  Mother.

I mean, wife.

Okay, okay, I’ll get offa the political bent.

So, anyway, at the train station this morning in Reims, about to head back to Paris.  Went to pee.  Forked over my 70 centimes.  It was a men’s and women’s room, both doors wide open, with the attendant directing people.  I’d walked up just after a man, and she directed me into a men’s stall.

Um…really?  Didn’t want to seem like a stupid, unsophisticated Brit/American, but equally, it still went against the grain.  When it’s just a single room of stalls and everyone uses them, well, that’s one thing, but when it’s actually entering the gents’, y’know, that’s something else again.

“Oui, oui.  Alors.”

Ooookey dokey.  I headed in, turned the slight corner for the intended stall…

And scared the bejesus outta the poor man using the urinal.

Not sure who was more embarrassed.  When I came out, he was long gone.  And, no worries, sir, I wouldn’t recognize you again if I saw you.

The attendant didn’t seem to see an issue with it.  Maybe she’d thought he was gonna use a stall, who knows.  But me… next time I’ll wait for a ladies’.

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