I make the routine run down the bland hallway. So routine it is that when I swing through, into the chic demurely lit anteroom, accented by glinting chrome faucets I freeze, for a moment not realizing where I am.
Clashing starkly with the pallid and musty corridor, I am now enveloped by richly textured walls of rosewood panels, interrupted asymmetrically by beams of brushed steel and smokey marble.
I shrink back, meekly apologizing to the empty, off-limits chamber known as “The Ladies’”. A little destabilized, I rush into the “Men’s” and disappear behind the paint-worn door, self-shaming for my ludicrously minor act of perversion.
I slip into the airless 3’ x 2’ room and shift my trousers down to the filmy floor. Stale at the best of times, what air is usually present has been replaced by stagnating methane. Without venting, the fumes make round trips, in and out of my lungs and back again. These same vapours have seen the inside of many other lungs, and an equal number of rectal cavities.
My eyes briefly survey some illegible scrawl on the yellowing walls beside a dried patch of spat saliva, noticing too that both the tiles and toilet seat are chipped and stained. I recall the place of beauty I visited only moments ago and begin to strain.
No rank and soiled, roadhouse latrine for the womenfolk at this company. No chokingly cramped, thoughtless enclosure for the ladies. I shift my eyes around, sneering at my wan, loathsome surroundings.
Not usually one to feel cheated by slight inequities, at this moment, the decor disparity brings heat to my face. It isn’t that I begrudge women a nice space. It is the implication that as a man I do not need such consideration, do not merit this same benefit that now raises my hackles.
My face grows redder with indignation and concentrated effort. Holding my breath and gripping my now shaking thighs, I groan with the exertion of forcing my rectum inside out. My left side cramps and dark stains began to appear at my underarms.
Imagining this to be the latest installment of preferential treatment that I think I see everywhere, I feel my ire rise as the circumference of my anus begins to exceed the width required for any live birth on the planet.
Open-mouthed and eyes goggling wide toward the ceiling, I roar in an exaltation of pain and communion with life’s existential creative/destructive cycle. I pound my fists against my temples and madly accuse my mother of acts so vile they are incomprehensible.
Is it asking too much that this minor break in my day be pleasant, in equal measure, to that provided by the thoughtful decor found next door?
Management need not fear; I would certainly not waste my workday reveling in a spa-like vacation. On the contrary, the few moments taken to refresh in a more uplifting, if not regenerating environment would certainly add to my productivity.
I kick at the door ferociously as finally, the gargantuan mollusk crowns and bursts into the world with a tremendous, gaseous sigh.
Face in hands, I weep without reservation.
There is no conceivable reason that men should not too have a clean, bright, soothing, and restorative space for our eliminations. Nevertheless, as the urgency of the moment passes, so my rage subsides.
As I stand and slip on my pants, I stumble. Heh, I missed the bowl. Just like the last guy.
Back to work.