“Unisex Soliloquy”

A woman exits the unisex restroom, and I begin my ritual wipe of the bowl before sitting to find a strangely even series of urine pools on the left front curve of the seat.  How could a woman pee on the seat, I think.  And how could she pee so precisely?  I picture her climbing up, feet on the rim, training her spurt, filling each circle perfectly before pinching the stream.   Does she look like the type to do this?  I try to picture that type, but all I remember are her white pants, how carefully she must have pulled them down, bunching them up at the knees, even the smallest brush against a tile or shoe or seat most certainly a stain.  I’ll bet she twisted up her face like a lemon eater at the thought of those toilet germs’ catching a ride on her legs out into the world and didn’t even get near the seat, standing instead in front of the toilet, calm and confident, perhaps even absent, thinking of dinner or the smell of suntan lotion, how it turns the dreariest of days into a memory of the beach, as she sent a perfect stream towards the bowl, having learned this in a class at a liberal university in the woods that promised equal rights if only women did absolutely everything as well as men: close the urination gap!  Yes, it is coming clear, she is sneering, thrusting out her hips, thinking to herself, that’s right boy-o, this is my brag as big as yours, maybe she even pets her belly, digs lint from the button and despite an almost military control, waggles a bit, thinking yeah, this is freedom, because how many times has she had to enter a unisex bathroom to find some man’s inept attempt to control his shriveled prick’s spattering just because it’s clogged from shoving it into some woman whose greatest crime was to have believed he would let her spend her life sitting on a beach in the sun only to find she couldn’t even enjoy it because there he was, growing fat and hairy, lying on his back in the surf as if everyone wants to see it nosing up out of the water from between his legs.  How disgusting, she thinks, refusing to pee on the seat, thinking that these pools mean all men are careless just like him, and she sees that she can go nowhere and be free of him, that even the bathroom, that purely female world is filling with some man’s refuse pooling on the imitation ivory, and what can she do but refuse to use the place at all, cursing equality or the economy or whatever brought about unisex restrooms, and say to herself, what does equality matter if we still clean up for men who can’t control their parts.  And so she returns to where he waits, to where he taps his foot in that way that makes her want to kill him, and oh how she had  wished to breathe for a moment, to look at herself in the mirror not because she is vain, though she cannot help but think that her hair would be perfect if they hadn’t rushed around all day and missed her appointment, but because she remembers that once this was an adventure, and that once she looked at her face and wondered what bright future it would bring, what prince would press her close, and though this makes her sad she stares a little longer thinking maybe stalling will give that man time to decide that yes he will buy her the summer house, she deserves it, hasn’t she wiped up his mess every day and lain there every night on her back, eyes glazed into the smooth indifference of low tide, and once she saw a sleeper wave rise up out of nowhere and almost drown her best friend and her mother ran out and grabbed her friend by the hand and her mother was so strong and it was almost like a god when she plunged into the wave and plucked that child out from the ripping foam and she wishes she could be like that woman, but either the wave is larger or she has not grown enough, and the water creeps up over the beach to engulf everything, and she puts on suntan lotion twice a day trying to find some way back into the past, and the wave rolls over her so that she barely even notices one more man staring at her, one more man who, despite the mess he will blame on her, knows absolutely nothing about her.

Allen Jones

About Allen Jones

Allen C. Jones has an MFA in poetry from University of New Mexico and a PhD in English from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. He has taught in Mexico, Korea, China, Spain, Louisiana, and presently serves as Associate Professor of English Literature and Culture at the University of Stavanger on the wet coast of western Norway. His work has appeared in Razor Literary Magazine, Blackbox Manifold, b(OINK), Moss Trill, Slipstream, Bird’s Thumb, Whale Road Review, Pilgrimage, Third Wednesday, The Deus Loci and the Lyrical Landscape, The Bitter Oleander, The Louisiana Review, GSU Review award edition, The Southern Anthology: Louisiana, Ekleksographia, Two Hawks, The American Journal of Nursing, Flaming Arrows, Korea Lit, Maudlin House, and various other journals.

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