Tuesday, May 2, 2023

My unwanted adventure inside the women's restroom


(757 words)

I mistakenly found myself on the culture war front lines Saturday at an otherwise innocent golf bash..

And, yep, my penis was partly to blame.

It by mistake led me into the ladies' room.

It’s where conservatives believe the about 1.4 percent of Americans who identify as transgender are massing to present temptations that likely would have sent Adam & Eve scrambling all over Eden searching for some sort of early owner’s manual.

The conservatives don’t want even a single penis in the ladies room. After Saturday, I can relate.

I’d been invited to sign Arnold Palmer books (primarily) at the Somerset Golf Bash at the vast Bakersville Banquet Hall. I’d have a table set up right by the entrance guaranteeing heavy foot traffic. Plus the emcee/host is a friend of mine and an articulate advocate of my books. 

And this is all in front of 300 golfers there to spend money to win golf equipment, trips and memorabilia. How many books under those advantageous circumstances do you think I sold: Twenty-five? Fifty? More?

I sold eight. I’m aware many writers would view this as yet another career humiliation. Not me.

Here’s how I did the math:

I was there from 11 to 4. Walked in with nothing; departed with $160; spent time laughing with old friends and made some new ones. Ate free and was given a little yellow wrist band that meant I was master of my sobriety.

I could drink as much or as little as I wanted — For free! I decided to err on the side of getting a little shitfaced.

Yes, I gave in to a good long guzzle. It was fun. My table mate was a recent Pitt graduate. He’d read the Palmer book and was a fan. I wasn’t driving.

Sticking to sobriety under the circumstances would have felt like a criminal betrayal of all the drinking buddies who’ve stood, er, swayed unevenly by me through so many unforgettable times neither of us will ever remember.

So I’m having fun and am just a bit north of tipsy. That’s no excuse. I’ve been having fun and been north of tipsy since the 4th grade and don’t remember missing the restroom sign. 

But this was the first time I had the guy in the mustard-stained sweater on my mind.

The stranger reminded me of my Dad, as sweet a man who ever lived, albeit one whose every garment looked like it had been worn smock-like to paint the pantry with French’s yellow mustard.

But he appeared to be so happy, being out with golfers anticipating the season. Again I thought of Dad.

The stain was on his lower back on the side that if he were a car it would be referred to as the passenger side. 

Some careless hotdog eater had perhaps brushed up against him and smeared the condiment on a sweater you just knew he cherished. The spineless assailant then just slinked away, too cowardly to confess.

That’s just what I would have done, too, by the way.

I was left with no good options. Tell him and it ruins his day. Don’t tell him and he may be ridiculed. Then there was the third option. Say nothing, do nothing and walk straight into the nearest restroom like you own the place. I don’t know how I missed the signs, but I was consumed with helpless thoughts of this dude’s mustard-stained sweater

I remember noting there were no urinals. I didn’t care. There were no women either, and an abundance of women are a telltale sign in any womens room.

I found an open stall door, entered, used my foot to lift the seat and then began to  contribute depth to the bowl contents.

It didn’t get interesting until I opened the stall door. . There were five or six women. It was like the ladies room had been invaded — by ladies!

One woman, the aggressor, asked what I was doing in there. 

I bit my tongue when I came close to reflexively answering, “My name is Chris Rodell and I’m here to tell you all about Arnold Palmer!”

She was scowling. There was an edge in her voice that let me know she was deciding whether or not a tasing was justified.

I apologized — it was sincere — and made a hasty exit. 

It was an innocent mistake. And like so many others that came before and will surely come again, assigning blame was a cinch.

Yes, it was all the fault of yet another man being careless with his wiener. 

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