Gentlemen Only

Men's Room -- Gentlemen Only

It happens, from time-to-time, that I’m accused of being a “gentleman” – invariably by people who do not know me well. As a matter of fairness and strong personal bias, I am always quick to set the record straight. I bridle at the notion that my basic rules-for-living – which aim for awareness, compassion, and positive influence in my immediate, Heraclitian world – would be seen by others as elevating form over substance.

Still, we are creatures of habit, and “good manners” (even those producing questionable behavior) once ingrained are difficult to purge, even for us rebels. Much as I would like to, I cannot completely deny a degree of vestigial gentlemanliness. But I am delighted to report that, when it emerges, it is quite capable of producing deliciously subversive results.

Last night, at a Salt Lake City eatery, I used the lull between ordering and receiving my dinner to hit the washroom. (I use this locution because my mother and sister don’t like my usual charming phrase – “take a leak” – and I would hate to embarrass the family in such a public forum.) After a very satisfactory experience, which I will not recount in any detail, I departed the restroom and ran headlong into a woman in need of “a powder.” The latent gentleman in me politely held the door for her, and she hurried into the men’s room.

Once faced with a rather attractive pair of urinals, she realized that the ritualized etiquette of my holding the door for her had led her to act on quite the wrong impulse. Our Kabuki had turned into something of a burlesque. “Oooops!” she giggled.

“Please, let me get the door for you,” I said, shuffling across to the adjacent portal, clearly marked “Women”. She gave a wry smile, allowed me to push the door open, stand gallantly aside, and escort her into her customary washroom. “If you won’t be requiring anything else, I’ll take my leave,” I said. “Thanks,” she replied, “that will be all.”

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5 Responses to “Gentlemen Only”


  1. 2 Dee 10 February 2008 at 5:07 am

    Wow, yeah that better be- all! I can’t stop laughing.

  2. 3 Dee 10 February 2008 at 5:08 am

    BTW, you should send this to Reader Digest’s – All In A Days Work. Is that mag still around?

  3. 4 Kendall Mau 10 February 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Mark, I was at a conference in Geneva last year. You know how very non-visual and left-brained I am? I went searching for the mens’ room. I saw the women’s side and walked around the other side to enter the men’s room. On the way out, 2 ladies entered and glared at me as if I had done something wrong. Apparently, I had used the women’s room. With total embarrassment, I walked around to the other side of the wall again to look at the real men’s room. To me, I saw very little difference in the 2 symbols. Guess I gotta check for a urinal the next time.

  4. 5 Anita 11 February 2008 at 11:14 pm

    During one of our road trips in the US, I was in such a hurry that I ran into the loo outside which a woman was standing, at one of the rest-stops. The job done I stepped out to see Jai and another man using the urinals.. Jai was visibly shocked and the other man looked like he was in Mars. I still cant stop the embarrassment from coloring my cheeks when I just think about it. You rock for making that woman feel so comfortable! Ha ha ha


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