In a previous article, I talked about some of the big questions men ask about women, about relationships and communication and all that boring stuff. But in focusing on the serious man/woman issues of our time, I missed out on other less dramatic, yet equally pressing issues, like why girls go to the bathroom together.
Well, here it is. I hope you're happy.
A lot of men seem to think there is a kind of secret, like the women have some kind of coordinated plan or traditional ritual, when it's really a case of everything looking mysterious when you're not in on it.
A lot of the time it's as simple as trying to find an appropriate break in the conversation. When we watch TV, we all wait for commercial breaks to go to the bathroom, so we won't miss anything. In a dinner conversation, there aren't any designated "commercial breaks," but if half the group is taking off, chances are the other half will save their good stories and such until they get back.
Ladies are traditionally known for being more relational than men, so they sometimes can see dinner conversation as being as important as a good TV show, and look for unimportant "breaks" where they can cut out and pee. If one lady decides to go, another lady might notice it, think about where the conversation is at, and realize, "Oh yeah, this probably is a good break." By the time you get to lady No. 3 or 4, she's not only thinking that, but, also that with a bunch of ladies gone, there might be a lull in conversation -- or at least lady-appropriate conversation -- and this is as close to an official break as you're going to get.
When it comes to ladies on double dates or in large prom groups, they might see it as a good time to catch up with each other and how they think their dates are going. Maybe say what they think of each other's dates. Just like men enjoy the play-by-play in sports, ladies enjoy a play-by-play on dates, but it's very rude to do it right in front of the guy.
And a large number of ladies don't do it at all. I don't usually go to the bathroom when my friends do, but that's because I don't care about other people. Also they are going to take all the good stalls.
Basically there's a bunch of different common-sense motivations depending on the situation and the individual women involved. There's no universal ritual or secret plan.
Obviously this varies from place to place, but a lot of men who have had to do janitorial work complain that women's restrooms are often filthier than men's restrooms. I don't want to go into too much graphic detail here, but I've heard anecdotes of women apparently making a mural of used tampons on the wall.
This is understandably bewildering, since women are traditionally brought up to hate dirt and germs. And while a lot of women like to break the stereotype (CDC doctors, mud wrestlers), a lot more definitely fall into it to some degree.
This is why a lot of women don't play Fallout. Just because the world has been destroyed with nuclear weapons doesn't mean someone couldn't sweep once in a while.
The thing about this upbringing is that it's kind of intended to encourage women to clean, since in the past, that was a woman's job. If you instill fear and hatred of filth in a woman, the thought went, she would get upset about dirty counters long before her man would, and automatically clean it up before he had to give the order.
Once upon a time, we took the same approach to raising girls as we do to programming Roombas.
As we all know, fear triggers a "fight or flight" response, equipping you to either fight the danger, or flee it. If a classically-raised woman runs into a nasty poo-encrusted toilet, she suddenly gets the visceral urge to either clean it or run away. If it's in her own house, she's got no choice but to clean it, at least eventually (or ask someone else to). If it's in McDonald's, she will pee hovering over the seat with her breath held, fling her toilet tissue in the general direction of the toilet and run like the wind.
So if you're wondering why someone wouldn't flush a toilet that obviously needed a second flush, the answer is that she was probably a block away by the time that became evident.
Again, there's probably a bunch of things that cause this. Some girls probably actually do want to make a man wait in order to play hard-to-get or whatever, just like in the jokes. Someone has to keep stand-up comedians in business.
A more innocent answer could be that she's trying on clothes. As you probably know, women usually like to wear new outfits to special events. While most women aren't wasteful enough to buy a new dress every time, she's probably going to want to combine the dress with a different pair of shoes, or a different shawl, or maybe drape it with meat -- I'm not going to judge. So she's got a really awesome new outfit combo planned for the big day.
I said I wasn't going to judge.
The downside of a new and exciting outfit is that it's an untested outfit, which means that even though those boots theoretically should have gone with that skirt for a smart, modern combo, once you put it on, apparently you look like a goth. It's bizarre.
Then you swear and start grabbing other pieces that you think will fix this, which as you can imagine, consumes a lot of time, since a lot of nice going-out clothes are both flimsy and tight, so getting in and out without tearing them is an ordeal.
When are Inuit fashions going to catch on? That's what I want to know.
Obviously, the logical solution is to test the outfit ahead of time, which some women do. However, women, like all human beings, procrastinate, so this happens about as often as anyone actually studying for a test early or doing their homework before the last minute.
And this is all before makeup. You don't even want to get me started on makeup. Mainly because I don't know anything about it. But I heard it takes a long time.
In general, men's fashions go along a one dimensional axis from casual to formal, like so:
And they just need to pick where on the line they need to be, depending on the situation. Sure, there are a lot of different styles (preppy, yuppie, guido, skater, hipster, etc.), but most guys usually just go with one style, and move along a single axis in that style. Here is an example of a guido axis:
Women's fashions have multiple axes. For example in addition to casual and formal, there's also slutty and dowdy, like so:
Guys fashions have some hint of a coolness spectrum, from smooth to dad-like, but it's not nearly as wide and obvious as the women's range from hijab to miniskirts. It's a very rare guy outfit that would cause someone to point out its wearer as a man-whore, based on the outfit alone. Even if a guy was wearing no shirt in the workplace, he wouldn't get called out for being slutty so much as for being way too casual.
And there's more that just those two axes. There's also a seasonal one, which I don't completely understand, but apparently a white purse is a summer purse and you're supposed to swap to a black one in the winter or something, or so I have gathered from my mom's yelling. So you could have an outfit that's just the right amount of formal and slutty, but it's the wrong season. And the more fashionable you are, the more axes you have. So that's why a simple decision like what to wear today can get so complicated.
Nefarious marketing by the fashion industry or inevitable result of the nature of woman, that's beyond me to say. You all go ahead and get into a fight about that if you want to.