I came across another WordPress blog late last night that mentioned problems a lot of FTMs have. At the top of the list was the bathroom. Yes, it can be a very intimidating and scary. However if you keep a few things in mind it’s a lot easier. There are also several other places to find similar information, but I’m going to try to put it all together.
I’ll put the ‘basic rules’ here then talk about my bathroom experiences further down on the page. That way if you don’t want to read it you don’t have to.
If you are worried about they guy next to you looking remember this: he doesn’t want you to think he’s looking. He doesn’t want the guy next to him thinking he’s a gay man that’s looking, just like you don’t want to look at the guy next to you.
Something to focus on: it seems like in every men’s bathroom there is some sort of line. Don’t get what I mean? Next time you go into the men’s room look at the tiles on the wall. I bet they stop just above the urinals. Why? That’s about average eye-level for most men. It’s kinda like a ‘don’t look below this line’ type deal. I’ve noticed it in every single men’s bathroom with multiple urinals.
Also, don’t waste time in the bathroom. Ever notice that there’s a line to get into the women’s bathroom but never one for the men’s? That’s because men don’t waste time. They don’t usually talk in the bathroom and definately don’t look at everything, and fix their hair and stuff lol. Keep conversation to a minimum if at all.
If you walk in and all the urinals are open, pick one on the end. That way it leaves the next guy with the choice of how close to be to you, and no guys have to pass you when they walk in unless they go to a stall. The next guy will go to the one farthest away from you =). If there is already a guy on one of the end ones go to the other end. Put as much space as you can between you and other guys. One urinal away is good enough if you have to, but usually that’s the closest you get. If you’re at a concert or a REALLY busy place then it doesnt really matter though (that’s what I’ve noticed).
Now my experience with it: The first time I used the men’s room was in an empty chinese restaurant, and I was still nervous. There was not a single person there… and it was a single bathroom. Y’know, go in lock the door and do your thing. But I was still so nervous. Thoughts like ‘what if the door didn’t lock’ and ‘what if my STP messes up’ (this was after I knew I could use it with my pants on and that I was proficient with it) and ‘what if when I get done there’s a guy outside waiting and he figures out im trans’? It was really stressful. But I went in, stood in front of the urinal, did my thing, washed my hands and STP and walked out… and no one was there still. It was amazing. I had officially used the men’s bathroom.
That was step one in getting over my fear of the men’s room I guess. Step two was to go into a bathroom that didn’t have a locking door. I chose the mall where my dad lived. There was no one in the mall and of course no one in the bathroom, but it was a step forward. A guy did walk in as I was walking out, he ran into me and muttered a quick ‘sorry man’, which made me smile. The whole being alone in the bathroom thing happened several times. I thought it was quite lucky but at the same time I felt like since no one knew I was there then it wasnt as big of a deal. Finally the chance came. I was in a busy place and I had to GO. Sadly, I quickly ran into the closest stall. I then kept pushing my luck, using the men’s room at school. However I never used a urinal anywhere near another guy.
Then I was at Wal-Mart one night with some friends. I walked into the men’s room, and after I got everything situated a man walked in and went right to the urinal next to me. Thankfully there were walls between urinals or I would have freaked. Anyway, when he walked up I realized I suddenly couldn’t pee. I just couldn’t get it to come out. After a few seconds though I was able to start the river that had been building up. I made sure to take my time and the guy was done before me. thankfully, he was also on to drying his hands by the time I got done so I could wash my STP.
There is only one other specific bathroom experience that I specifically remember. I had just gotten done with a Queers and Allies meeting and was going to ride with Jay and Jeremy to Country Kitchen. I told Jay I wanted to stop by the bathroom first. I walked into the mens room without pausing. After about 4 seconds later Jeremy came in. There was only one other urinal right next to me. I figured he would walk right up and that would be that. However he went straight to the stall. As soon as he closed the door another guy walked in. Instead of walking into the other stall he walked up to the urinal next to me. I started silently freaking out. I thought for sure he would say/see something. Instead he turned slightly so his back was closer to me and looked straight at the wall in front of him. I finished first and quickly washed my hands and left. Jay and I waited on Jeremy and he told me that during those four seconds before Jeremy walked in he apparently looked at Jay with a confused look that was priceless and then just shrugged and walked in. Later Jeremy said he tends to be a looker so he didn’t want to look and see nothing.
I think being right next to a guy with no walls was all I needed to realize that guys really don’t pay attention. Trust me, it ends up being no big deal.
I hope this helps someone!