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How to tell the Difference Between Men and Women? Go to the Bathroom!

Updated on April 22, 2015
Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy writes about family, home life, parenting, money-saving tips, and many other topics, as well as essays and occasional humor pieces.

Men are from Mars, and Women are from the Ladies Room

Sisterhood and the John: Women go to the bathroom in groups because it's a social event

If you’re trying to figure out the difference between men and women by reading books, you’re wasting your time. Researchers who have tried for decades (even centuries) to define the differences between men and women have been spinning their wheels taking surveys and studying monkeys. All they really needed to do was to take a potty break. Of course, to get the full picture, it’s important to have equal access to bathrooms, regardless of the gender assignment on the door.

At least two very clever hubs have been written on this site about men’s etiquette in public restrooms. Although I’m not sure men use the word ‘etiquette.’ Apparently, there are Man Laws for how you behave in a restroom. The laws for women, however, are quite different.

From the very credible reports in these hubs, it’s clear that the rule in the men’s room is ‘don’t talk, don’t look, don’t ask.’ Guys are missing out. Try the ladies’ room for a change and see what sisterhood and true socialization is all about.

The Doorway to Wonderful Things

Bathrooms are sensual experiences for women.
Bathrooms are sensual experiences for women.

Women's Rooms: Gathering Places for Help and Support

Women not only talk in the restroom, they help each other out and even make new friends. The Sisterhood is there for you; the minute a worried voice is heard from a closed stall asking whether there’s any toilet paper around, a few hands will reach under from either side with a fresh supply, or an unseen new friend will drop a roll over the top of the door.

Women know what it’s like, and they stick together in times of need. Like the Carole King song goes, "You've got a friend." I'm not sure what men do if there's no tissue in the stall - and I'm not sure I want to know, either.

Are you looking for just the right dress for your next important dinner? It’s okay to ask the complete stranger next to you at the mirror where she got that gorgeous outfit. She will not only tell you which store, she may even tell you what it cost on sale and give you the name of her favorite salesperson.

If your zipper is down, someone will tell you (guys just let each other learn the hard way).

In really nice restaurants and hotels, you'll find soothing lotions, facial tissues and even hygiene supplies tucked in cute little baskets. Why even go back to the table to finish your dinner? It's nice in here!

Weep No More, My Lady

Need a good cry? Go to the restroom; someone will be there for you

If a woman walks in and sees another woman alone in the restroom, crying, she will ask if she’s okay. Maybe she can’t help the situation, but she can lend an ear. And, more often than not, the person who is upset may actually unload a bit. Sisterhood is like that; reach out, and you've got a friend.

Afterward, they both feel better – the woman who shed tears knows there will always be someone around who cares (even if it’s a stranger in the restroom), and that it’s okay to let someone know you’re hurting because you just broke up, or you just found out some bad news, or whatever.

The woman who offered her help will silently give thanks that nature called at that moment and put her in a position to reach out with compassion to someone in pain. It’s all part of God’s Plan. In fact, God probably looked into the future years ago and declared the Women's Restroom a sacred spot of Sisterhood.

Broken bra strap? Wardrobe malfunction? You came to the right place!

Women know that if they can’t get a necklace clasped before they leave the house, the next woman they run into will help them out. They’ll readily ask the person next to them on the bus, someone at work or church, or the stranger who walked into the restroom at the restaurant where they’re dining.

Women in public restrooms do clothing repairs for each other, share aspirin or Tylenol, and offer a dollop of hand cream to complete strangers.

If you can’t hook the clasp in the back of your dress, just ask the next woman you see and she will happily do it for you.

No woman who spots a sartorial problem will let another woman walk out of that door if she’s dragging a piece of tissue or otherwise needs a bit of tidying. If there’s any sort of a wardrobe malfunction; even as much as a huge piece of lint on the back of her skirt, or if something is hanging where it shouldn’t be seen, someone will spot it and bring it to her attention.

Need anything? Look here!

Arsenal of emergency supplies in a typical handbag.
Arsenal of emergency supplies in a typical handbag.

Purses and Handbags: Portable Emergency Kits

Purses aren’t just fashion statements, they’re crucial survival packs to get through any emergency. If you need anything you didn't bring along on that date, hit the restroom; chances are, in a few minutes you'll find you've got a friend who will help.

If a woman in a restroom mentions she’s got a raging headache. Every woman within earshot rips open her purse and digs for her favorite emergency pain remedy. No wonder men are grumpier at times; not only do they fail to carry their supplies around, they don’t even ask for help when they need it. Remember the "men and directions" rule of behavior? It applies to everything else, too.

Women freely share hairspray, contact lens solution, lotion, safety pins, clear nail polish, sunscreen and other essentials the minute a new Bathroom Buddy mentions the need. If we did a thorough survey, we would likely learn that more than one woman has even sewn on a button or stitched up a hem for a complete stranger. I’m absolutely positive a few women have at least passed along a portable sewing kit or two, even if they didn’t pitch in and thread the needle themselves.

Need a helping hand? Ain't it good to know You've Got a Friend. Even if she was a stranger a minute ago.

Ain't it good to know you've got a friend?

Men are missing out - Sisterhood rocks, even in the restroom!

It’s a real shame that men have missed out on the socialization women get in public restrooms. Rather than spending time worried about where to cast your glance (or where to avoid), and making certain you don’t violate any rules, women get friendly ego boosts, advice to the lovelorn, a few aspirin tablets and many other things when they make a comfort stop.

A friendly potty encounter can send a woman out the door with more self-esteem, with the confidence to know she doesn’t have a wardrobe malfunction and the knowledge that Sisterhood extends to every part of life. Whether she’s headed for the dinner table, a funeral, a job interview or to meet a blind date, she leaves the restroom feeling better prepared to meet what’s ahead.

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  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Glad you got some laughs from the hub, Pinto! It's all true, too - which I guess is part of the reason we say truth is stranger than fiction. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Kathryn - I agree; we can learn a lot about preparedness from observing these things. Wonder what that says about the entire 'handbag' tradition women have?

  • pinto2011 profile image

    Subhas 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

    Hi Marchy! You have written a complete entertainer and I really enjoyed going through the incorporated ideas. Thumbs Up!

  • Kathryn Stratford profile image

    Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

    That was pretty cool! The title made me curious, and this is different than I thought it would be. I have found what you have said to be true in past cases. I am glad that woman have stalls, and don't have to worry about an accidental glance while the neighbor is peeing. I think there are some things about being a man that would be awkward. Thanks for sharing this with us! There are many differences between men and women, but the bathroom example is a great study in the social and preparedness aspect.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Jan! So glad you got a laugh out of this hub - I had fun writing it, and it still rings true. Every time I meet a 'new best friend' in the restroom, I think of it. It's just 'different' for women, isn't it? I will check out your hub on public restrooms - I can imagine what it can include!

  • janshares profile image

    Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

    What a unique and hilarious hub, Marcy?! I love this hub. Thank you for identifying the redeeming qualities of women's restrooms. Your hub is the antithesis of mine which addresses how awful women's public restrooms are (yuck). This is a fantastic hub. The balance between informative and humorous is great. Up and funny.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Sharkye! I think we've been in the same bathrooms! Guys just don't get it, do they? Thanks for reading, and for the votes and share - so glad you got a laugh out of the hub!

  • Sharkye11 profile image

    Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

    Cute hub! And very true! I can't even count the number of times I have had conversations with complete strangers in the restroom. When you are in there, you hardly ever meet a stranger. Maybe because women have so many more issues they have to deal with in the bathroom besides just pottying.

    Voting and sharing!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, WBA - I like your point about men being more direct and less likely to hold grudges; I agree - that's often the case. But as you point out, we have way more fun in restrooms! Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  • wba108@yahoo.com profile image

    wba108@yahoo.com 5 years ago from upstate, NY

    Your spot on, men talk very little in rest rooms. Women are superior communicators especially in restrooms! The only thing I'll say for the men is that if they say something they generally mean it and they aren't as likely to hold a grudge.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    I'm glad you enjoyed the hub, Wayseeker - and it's really true stuff! Thanks for reading and commenting here!

  • wayseeker profile image

    wayseeker 5 years ago from Colorado

    The mysteries of women explained. This is great. I have always wondered this, and now I know. I really appreciate the humor and honesty here. While I'm sure that we've definitely missed something social with men's approach to the restroom, we're happy with it. Still, it's nice to know what's going on on "the other side."

    wayseeker

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Um, yes, I agree Max - might be best to just visit it in your dreams! Thanks for reading and for your fun comment!

  • Kiwi Max profile image

    Max Zvyagintsev 5 years ago from New Zealand

    I got a great laugh out of this Marcy, great hub!

    The ladies room sure sounds attractive, but I think if I start walking in there to do my business, I might get the wrong type of response.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    I had to laugh at the idea of you and the stadium restroom scene, Healthy Pursuits! I've done that, too!

    Your anecdotes about women in the restroom are so true to life! Thanks for sharing those examples of the way women stick together and help even strangers in times of need!

  • Healthy Pursuits profile image

    Karla Iverson 5 years ago from Oregon

    Great hub, Marcy, and so, so true! I have given and received a variety of things from safety pins to Tylenol in the ladies room. I was given group encouragement once by several women waiting to go and washing hands when someone told me I looked nice and I told her I was going for a job interview. I've lent a shoulder to a woman I didn't know, and never got her name, but I knew she needed a hug. Things happen in the ladies room, and you don't have to hang out there for them to happen. Women talk, we encourage each other, we joke, laugh and cry, and we all understand that this is our territory and it's OK. If the guys have a code of silence in their territory, that's OK. But I prefer the ladies room. Except at stadiums, then I'm not shy about grabbing a men's toilet if the women's line is down the hall.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Lol! Thanks, Lesley! I'm glad you got a laugh out of the hub, and that you recognized a few people we've all met in the restroom. Or that we've been ourselves from time to time. Go, Sisterhood!

  • Movie Master profile image

    Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

    Hi Marcy, what a fantastic hub, I LOVE it!

    It's so amusing yet true - girl power eh! I'm so proud to be part of the 'sisterhood'

    Voted up across the board.

    Best wishes Lesley

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    I think it's like any other social setting, Patty - some people relate to it and others don't. I have seen some women be more outgoing in the restroom, with strangers than they were with their dinner party.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, AEvans - now I know who to look for when I need the Tylenol! Glad you enjoyed the hub; thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

    Fun Hub to read, but I never got into the social aspect of it all. I must be anti-social. lol

  • AEvans profile image

    Julianna 5 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

    Voted up, across and shared. I don't know how many times I have handed out Tylenol or have lent an ear while in the ladies' room. Depending on the location, it is also nice to lounge around in one for awhile. It is also a place to decompress and share a few moments exchanging your thoughts. Great one Marcy! :)

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, Ruchira! I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and thank you for sharing!

  • Ruchira profile image

    Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

    haha Marcy...you are brilliant and this hub made me laugh but also agree on many many things :)

    voted up as funny yet useful. gotta share it!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    All too true, alocsin - you got it right. We hang out, make new friends and have a great time while we take that little break! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    What a nice thing to say, Sandrabusby! Thank you! And thanks for reading and commenting here.

  • alocsin profile image

    alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

    "Women's Rooms have a support system and things to sooth and comfort you"

    No wonder your folks take so long in there. Men just like to get in and out as quickly as possible, as you well know. Voting this Up and Interesting.

  • sandrabusby profile image

    Sandra Busby 5 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

    Reading this hub makes me realize why I'm following you. I learn so much about writing hubs. Thanks for SHARING. Sandra Busby

  • SweetiePie profile image

    SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Well what I meant was I am always hearing men say women love to go to the public restroom a lot, or together. I just have noticed being in a few public places lately that men were running to the restroom more than women. Maybe I am the only one, but has no one else noticed how gross the ladies rooms can be? Sometimes I would literally wait until I could go at home because some public restrooms are really bad.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, homesteadbound - I'm so glad you enjoyed the hub! After reading the two hubs on men's rooms, I realized we have a completely different experience. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Sunshine! I've seen some of those plush sitting areas, too. Some have more elaborate furniture than my living room. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub!

  • homesteadbound profile image

    Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

    Another good one Marcy! I had read the hub about the guys restroom and was amazed at the differences. I'm glad I'm part of the sisterhood, and not having to deal with those guys!

  • Sunshine625 profile image

    Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

    LOL! Marcy, the restroom is the last place I want to hang out in unless of course it had a really comfy sitting room...I've seen some that are awesome!!!:)

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    That's sort of spooky. That would have been disconcerting to me, too. I've walked in the men's room once or twice, and it's very embarrassing. Thanks for reading and commenting here!

  • ib radmasters profile image

    ib radmasters 5 years ago from Southern California

    Marcy

    I don't have a clue about the female perspective of separation or joining of genders in the public restrooms.

    What is your perspective of it?

    --

    I did have a funny or peculiar experience when I was at a mall and I was not familiar with the location of the restrooms. I stumbled upon one near the food park. I saw a man coming out of the restroom, and I went in that door. I noticed that the restroom was somewhat different, as I was looking into a nicely mirrored wall over the sinks, and there were chairs, the kind that you would see in a Salon. I kept walking down through a hallway till I saw the stalls. There was about six of them right in front of me. I thought that they must have remodeled these restrooms because they were far better than most of the ones that I had seen at malls.

    To my surprise, the stall door right in front of me opened up, and a woman came out and was now facing me. Neither one of us spoke, probably mutual shock.

    I looked around, and I didn't see any urinals. So I turned around and walked backed to the door. Now there was a cleaning woman there telling me to leave. Not that I had any intention on staying, but it would have shortened my tour of the Women's Restroom if someone was behind the entry door when I first opened it.

    To this day, I swear that a man came out of the door that I went into there. I didn't see anything in there, no could I have seen anything in there, so that is probably the reason that I asked the question in my previous comment here.

    As for the topic of your hub, it is very interesting, but I have no personal knowledge to enter an opinion. So probably once again I opened the wrong door. lol

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, H.C. - I'm so glad you enjoyed the hub! What's funny is, I've probably seen every single one of these examples over the years!

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • H.C Porter profile image

    Holly 5 years ago from Lone Star State

    I love this hub! LOVE_LOVE_LOVE! lol, it is so true, in the restroom, women are friends and offer a shoulder, ear, and sometimes an extra hand to help you finish getting your clothes completely on. Well done Marcy, Voted Up, Awesome and Funny! Men are certainly missing out on what women know oh so well :)

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    That's a new take on it, SweetiePie! It sounds like many of your friends did want the 'Let's go to the bathroom together' tradition, though. I'm not sure what the story is on the men you saw, unless they'd been looking for a while and were in a hurry by then!

    Thank you for reading and commenting!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Awww - that's a dear story, Ardie! I'm not surprised your girls are sweet and helpful; I know exactly where they got it!

    Thank you for reading and for sharing that little story!

  • SweetiePie profile image

    SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Actually, I have seen the reverse in my own experience. I sometimes used to be befuddled when female friends wanted to go with me to the restroom when I said I was excusing myself to use the facilities. I always went along with it in college because other female friends seemed to want to socialize in the restroom, but I did not want to so much. Actually, I think this is because in my experience most public restrooms I have encountered are a bit gross, and who wants to spend more time congregating in one than necessary. Recently a public men's restroom was out of order, and a whole bunch of men raced up to me and one lady to ask where the restroom was. They had to go use a unisex restroom, and were forgetting to lock the door and opening it on each other. A couple of male friends even asked us where the restroom was together, and both ran for it. After that day me and this woman were discussing it, and sort of arrived at the conclusion it seems some men consider going to the restroom or together is more of a social event than some women.

  • Ardie profile image

    Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

    SO true - you know it girl. My husband often takes our three daughters to the ballpark while I work. And when the girls have to go to the bathroom he sends them in together and waits outside for all three. He is constantly amazed at how many women stop him just outside the door and ask if those are his girls and to tell him how sweet, well-behaved, and helpful they are with one another. It just goes to show you that the bathroom sisterhood starts early ;)

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    That's a good question, Radmasters - I know our culture in the U.S. isn't there yet, but I've heard there are some mixed-use restrooms in other countries. Maybe you could research and write a hub on that? It would be interesting to read.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    I'm glad you like the hub, James - it was fun to write. And yes, you guys are really missing out on some bonding opportunities!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, Lisa - I think you make a good point about how we need self esteem. We sure do stick together, though, don't we? Thank you for your comments!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Ha! You made me laugh, too, YogaKat! Yes, we know the great restroom of life all too well! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • ib radmasters profile image

    ib radmasters 5 years ago from Southern California

    Why are public restrooms separated by gender?

  • JamesPoppell profile image

    JamesPoppell 5 years ago

    Marcy this is a fantastic hub! You are so right about the contrast between men and women. I like the zipper analogy you used. You are correct, if a man's zipper is down he is on his own and will have to figure it out for himself. I also have to agree with you that men are definitely missing out in the restroom, where the only sound you will ever hear is a toilet flushing and the faucet water running. Thanks for posting this hub. Vote up and socially shared.

  • Lisa HW profile image

    Lisa HW 5 years ago from Massachusetts

    I loved this Hub. :) It is nice to be reminded of having grown up, and continued live with, the luxury of having all those "sisters" around. Of course, the other side to things is that women don't have all that much "self-esteem boosting" outside the restroom and fitting-room doors; so I think, maybe, that's why all those sisters have learned to be so supportive of one another. :/

  • YogaKat profile image

    YogaKat 5 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

    Voted up and across. You really had me chuckling Marcy. Glad to be a sister in the great restroom of life!