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Ladies, here's what we really fear inside a public bathroom

Avital Norman Nathman is a freelance writer whose work places a feminist lens on a variety of topics, including motherhood, maternal health, gender, and reproductive rights. Her work has been featured in Bitch magazine, Cosmopolitan.com,...

This will make you think twice before using a public bathroom again

North Carolina's discriminatory bathroom bill has angered people on both sides of the debate and has even prompted the Department of Justice to get involved. Bottom line: There is nothing wrong or scary about a transgender person using the bathroom of the gender they identify with. Even Target understands that people should use the bathroom they're most comfortable with.

Heck, there isn't anything wrong with unisex bathrooms. (Spoiler: You have one in your own house!) However, that's not to say there isn't anything worth worrying about when it comes to public bathrooms...

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What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you in a public bathroom?

"I once ripped my skirt by trying to pull it up without lowering the zipper first. I was so embarrassed and was about to start crying because I couldn't imagine going out showing my butt to everyone. Then this lady came over, pulled an entire sewing kit out of her purse and made me sit down on a toilet lid, in my underwear, while she meticulously sewed my skirt. It took her, like, 30 minutes to finish, and we just sat there talking about the weather and airport horror stories. I never even caught her name." — Patricia Valoy

"You know the stereotypical, old school 'Dallas,' enormous Texas hair? Once I saw two women with that hair fight each other for the remaining open mirror in a Dallas/Ft. Worth airport bathroom. Everybody pretended not to notice." — Megan Larkin

"After Halifax changed its smoking law from people being able to smoke in bars to requiring that bars have a designated smoking room, one of the downtown bars sort of unofficially made the men's room their smoking room. So if you wanted to smoke, no matter what your gender, you went into the men's bathroom and had dudes, like, peeing in the urinal next to you. As I type it out, it sounds like a nightmare, but at the time I found it very funny, and definitely all the dudes were more uncomfortable than me and my friends." — Anne Thériault

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"When I was a young girl, maybe 11, my mother, father and I took a road trip from New York City to Canada. We went to a truck stop to use the bathroom in upstate New York. Not surprisingly, the bathroom had a terrible odor. We could hear someone screaming, panting and moaning from one of the stalls. It sounded like she was giving birth on the toilet. I went into the same stall as my mother because I was uncomfortable. I was terrified to even put my head in the same direction where the sound was coming from. My mother and I were looking at each other totally confused and a little scared. We remained silent. Neither one of us had any idea what had just happened. I haven't used a truck stop bathroom ever since." — Amanda Lauren

"Back when I was working as a waitress, I was going to the bathroom when a man barged in, screaming at the top of his lungs that he was 'going to kill that bitch' when he found her. He and his girlfriend had apparently had an argument, and she had left the restaurant. But he thought she was hiding from him in the bathroom. Luckily one of the cooks heard him from the kitchen and came running in to force him to leave before he bashed down the door to the stall I was using." — Seraphina Ferraro

"I was out at a bar/restaurant and had my cleavage ALL the way out. Boobs up to my chin. A hetero (she made sure to tell me a lot) cis woman who was very drunk face-planted in my boobs. She laid [sic] there and sort of cupped them around her face, then she straightened and asked me where I got them done, who paid for them and if she could see them, all while not taking her hands off of my breasts. It drew a crowd, and then there were her friends all also trying to get a grab and debating the realness of my boobs. My date came in and rescued me, but it was really pretty terrible and so weird. " — Shannon Barber

"A friend was in a stall and heard a surprised exclamation from the woman in the stall next to her and then heard her say, 'Corn? When the hell did I have corn?' We still laugh about it!" — Natasha Chiam

"I once had a guy corner me in a unisex bathroom and ask me if I was male or female. When I told him I was a woman, he said, 'Good. If you were a man, I would have to beat your ass, because I'm attracted to you.' This happened while I was at work. My boss promptly kicked him out." — Li Johnson

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"Inside the bathroom at a university-area diner, I once had our waitress start singing a song that she had made up about me. It was so long ago that I can't remember the specifics, but the content of the song was clearly intended for me — as in, she knew I was in the bathroom with her and wanted me to hear her sing her love for me. I'd never even seen her before that night! I waited her out inside my stall until she left the restroom, and the group I was with left the diner not long after that." — Sara Habein

"I was 19 and out to breakfast at an IHOP when for some reason I got emotional thinking about my late grandfather, who used to take me for breakfast as a kid. I excused myself from my table and went to the bathroom to get hold of myself. Next thing I know, the waitress (who I had never met) is barging in and throwing her arms around me, telling me, “It’s OK about your breakfast. I’ll go get you another one. Don’t cry!” I was shocked, and it took me a few minutes to figure out she thought I was upset over some snafu she’d made with my crepes, but I could not get this strange woman to stop hugging me! The good news is I got over feeling sad about my grandfather REALLY fast." — Jeanne Sager

"Just walked into a Target bathroom behind an older woman who pulled her pants down as soon as she walked in the door to the bathroom, and I followed her bare ass into the room. I'm currently hiding in the stall next door until she leaves so it's not awkward." — Normandie Wilson

"I was on my way to a meeting with an administrator at a university and was super nervous because I knew she didn't like me. I stopped off for a bathroom break on the way. As I entered the stall, I watched the person next to me flush, then stride out the door, bypassing the handwashing sinks altogether. It was the person I was on my way to meet. My anxiety was dampened by my disgust." — Cynthia Boaz

"Well, I mean I accidentally walked into the wrong one for like 38 years. So. That was weird." — Seranine Elliot

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