The Unfortunate Task of Taking a Daughter Into the Men’s Bathroom

We’ve all had it happen. A group of women gather together and eventually one of them brings up something gross that a man has done recently. A guttural choir then utters “Men!” in disgust. As a stay-at-home dad, I am usually the lone man in this group. My eyes betray how I feel as they roll around in my eye sockets. This tends to be the point where I pick up my kids’ bags and say, “Wow! Look at the time. I’ve got to get moving.”

On occasion, though, I do share their sentiments and disgust with men. In fact, every man that has ever raised a daughter also has encountered this moment.  It’s called The Men’s Restroom.  Now, the men’s bathroom is a disgusting place and I shudder every time my daughter says, “Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom.” I’ve often lamented that it is really too bad there isn’t enough room in my backpack for a power washer.

If you haven’t encountered this dilemma, I’ll lay it out for you. You are in a public place when your daughter informs you that she must use the restroom.  You do everything you can to convince her that she can hold it until you get home, but she insists that she must go “NOW!”  You guide your daughter past the urinal in an attempt to find that one clean toilet. After failing in your quest to find that one clean toilet, you try to discern which toilet is the lesser of the evils. Once inside the stall, you begin to scour the seat with toilet paper, hoping that nothing splashes up on your face. As soon as the toilet is suitable for sitting once again, you carefully place your daughter on the potty, all while trying to keep anything from bumping the sides of the stall. While she is doing her business, you try to distract your daughter from seeing the many disgusting drawings on the wall (and you are secretly glad that her reading level is not advanced enough to read the scrawl of the racist who last sat on the throne). And all of this is done with a shirt pulled up over your nose and mouth and a wish that the little lady would have had to go when you were walking by that fancy bookstore.

Being a dad has its many challenges and the bathroom is just one of them. It would be great if we could all come to an agreement to monitor our streams a little better and participate in some post relief cleaning. Until then, I’ll occasionally join in with the women when they bemoan our disgusting habits.


  1. I totally relate as a father of three little girls. When my oldest had to go at a part with nothing but a port-o-jon nearby, we held our breath and went for it. I was balancing myself and her, trying to keep any splashing blue water from getting on us. About the moment when we were probably both ready to pass out, she says, “Daddy, I’m so sorry I made you do this!” Priceless.

  2. Nice post… I have a son and won’t have to share this exact scenario but in response, I constantly heard the women I (used to) work with complain about the state of their bathroom and how disgusting and dirty it constantly was, so it may not just be men.

  3. I live in Florida, and the women’s bathrooms here are not any better than the men’s. Especially at any of the tourist destinations. I have often wished it was acceptable to let him pee on a tree, I feel like that is much more sanitary. :0)

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