Thursday, September 29, 2005

Women in the men's room

Here's a typical Taiwan experience that I never get over -- ambling into a public bathroom and discovering that a cleaning lady is mopping the floor while a long line of men does what must be done at the urinals. It's just... odd. It invariably surprises and puzzles me.

The cleaning ladies certainly exhibit no obscene interest in the men, so maybe I'm just prudish for feeling that a cleaning man would be more appropriate, or even that the bathroom could be briefly cordoned off while the cleaning lady works.

By way of comparison, I recall trying to use a restaurant men's room in Mexico and being turned away by a cleaning lady. I innocently asked her if it would be okay for me to use the women's room -- a single-person unit, then unoccupied -- and she looked at me as if I'd grown a second head, with a third one sprouting out of it. Now there's prudish for you.

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