I'm pretty broad-minded and I certainly am not in favor of discriminating against or harassing gays (nor lesbians, trans-gendered, transvestites, etc., etc.) Yet, I have to confess to a perverse pleasure watching yet another family values Republican get caught with his foot under the bathroom stall divider.
Despite my delight at seeing the discomfiture of the hypocrites, I also have to confess to feeling a little sorry for Sen. Larry Craig, who was arrested at the Minneapolis airport a month or so ago for "disorderly conduct." The "disorderly conduct," using the undercover policeman's version, was taking his rolling suitcase into the bathroom stall with him and placing it against the door, looking through the crack of the stall door when the policeman looked in at him, tapping his foot up and down, moving his foot into the stall next to his (by then occupied by the undercover policeman) so that the shoes touched and moving his hand along the bottom of the stall divider. Craig's version is that he is not gay, but he is fastidious about the tidiness of bathroom stalls, and that he has a wide stance. So, he says, he went into the stall, picked up his toilet paper lying on the floor and, because of his wide stance, may have let his foot stray into the next stall far enough to touch the policeman's foot. (The problem with Craig's version is that he has been forced to keep announcing that he is not gay for more than 20 years, while men keep coming forward claiming to have engaged in sexual encounters with him. I suspect that it's all in the definition of the word "gay." The sad thing is that we live in a society where gay politicians still get a political advantage in outwardly condemning their own sexuality.)
I may be oblivious, but in my half century or more of using public bathrooms, I have never encountered anyone who I thought was making a sexual solicitation. No feet into my stall; no tapping; no hands under the divider. I'm not particularly buff, so it may be just a matter of disinterest in me personally rather than proof of the infrequency of disorderly activity in men's restrooms. But why in the world is the Minneapolis police department assigning scarce resources to nab toe tappers at the airport? I just was not aware that this was such a problem that undercover police officers would be patrolling the bathrooms.
So, it was that I found myself at O'Hare Airport this weekend with a need to use the bathroom. And I found myself being reluctant to go in there, now that my eyes have been opened as to what's really going on in airport bathrooms. Might I discover that some of the noises I hear are not coming from the relief of flatulence but baser activities? And what if some undercover cop spotted me doing something that I didn't realize was a secret code? Maybe putting soap on my hands before I wet them is some kind of signal that I didn't know about. But the need to go finally overcame my reluctance, so I bravely started to go into the first men's bathroom I found that was open (several were closed for one reason or another.) What I saw when I got in there was a line of men (waiting to use the facilities, I hoped.) One appeared to be peering, or at least glancing longingly through the crack of what appeared to be an occupied stall. The man just ahead of me appeared to weigh about 450 pounds and I just could not envision the stall he would occupy to be very neat after he left it, and I knew I couldn't do any tidying up without the fear of arrest. The whole lot of them looked slightly disreputable and seedy; they might have all been cops.
So I just left. I told The Wife I would just wait and use the bathroom on the plane. Those plane bathrooms might be tiny, but I have a narrow stance.