by Amanda Higgin
Xanda and I are queuing for the Ladies’ during the interval of the Rocky Horror Show (which is no longer showing at New Theatre, I’m afraid, but here’s a tip for if you ever see it: you’d think wearing more clothes than everyone else would make you feel less vulnerable, but if you’re not dressed up you stick out like a sore thumb). Of course, there is a queue for the Ladies’. There is always a queue for the Ladies’. To my female readers, it would be surprising if there were not a queue for the Ladies’. To my male readers, you are about to eavesdrop on a conversation surely every girl either has had or will have in some form, a conversation to be filed beside ‘Why don’t we get pockets?’ and the ubiquity of pink.
I have used the facilities in McDonald’s in the middle of the afternoon and had to queue. This particular queue is a little longer than that because, as it seems, 70% of the females in our section of the audience have been holding it for the last hour, and Xanda and I did not have the forethought to jump out of our seats the moment the stage went dark in order to beat the, admittedly civilised, stampede.
“What do you think of the theatre?” Xanda asks, trying to start a conversation. We’ve already evaluated the play and are both too bemused by the plot (or lack of it) to maintain any kind of discussion. The queue is so long that we are actually still in the auditorium and therefore have the vantage point to judge the interior design.
“It’s definitely a theatre,” I reply unimaginatively. “Could do with more toilets, though.”
“Agreed!” Xanda laughs as we stand aside for a lady with a child holding each hand and finally advance through the door out of the auditorium.
“I mean,” I continue, getting on the familiar complaint train, “why don’t they just build more ladies’ toilets than men’s? We always take longer.”
“Ah, but that would be sexist,” Xanda comments, checking her phone. “Hang on, is it not more sexist to make all the women wait longer than the men?”
“Women could learn to pee faster.”
“Oh, now we’re attempting the re-education of half of all humanity? That really sounds feminist. You know, I think the problem is actually that women have to go to the loo more often than men. We have to go when we actually need it as well as to cope with periods.”
“Maybe women actually get fewer toilets than men? After all, a urinal takes up less floor space than a cubicle.”
“I might test that hypothesis…” I ponder the possibilities as we edge forwards. “To add to that, women have to go whenever we can in order to pre-empt a lack of toilets in the future. If a guy is caught unawares then he can always go behind a bush or something. Or, as some Oxford partygoers have proved to me, in the doorway of another college.”
“That’s disgusting,” Xanda cringes. “I do think you’re taking this queue too personally, though.”
“Maybe,” I sigh. “Maybe.”