Men’s Room Capers

What goes on in men’s public restrooms must be soooo much more interesting than the dull stuff that happens in women’s! We know from movies that Mafia hit men hide their guns in toilet tanks so they can retrieve them at the right time and mow down their rivals, and that all kinds of business, political and social deals takes place in men’s rooms. And every man-oriented comedy has at least one scene in which men are lined up at the urinals checking out each other’s equipment. Now it turns out that men’s rooms are such hotbeds of criminal activity that undercover cops have assignments to go to them and sit in wait. Literally.

Senator Larry Craig was arrested in June for lewd conduct in the Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport. According to the press, Senator Craig tapped his foot and waved his hand under the stall wall. An undercover cop sitting on the toilet on the other side recognized the signal “to engage in lewd conduct” and promptly arrested him.

In a woman’s restroom, if the woman in the next stall taps her foot on the floor, it’s probably in exasperation at finding there’s no toilet paper. And if she waves her hand under the stall wall, she’ll probably be saying, like Elaine in a Seinfeld show, “Can you spare a square?” But in a man’s room, it’s apparently a well known invitation to engage in lewd conduct. Who knew?

Now, I have to agree that it’s silly and pathetic and downright tacky for a Senator to be waggling his hand under a men’s room stall to attract attention — Craig now claims his action was misconstrued and that he shouldn’t have pled guilty — but it seems equally silly and pathetic for a police department to have an officer sit on a toilet all day hoping that some man will tap his foot in the next stall. I can think of a million better ways to spend tax dollars than catching a grown man inviting another grown man to engage in “lewd conduct.” The whole sordid affair makes me appreciate the innocuous things that go on in women’s restrooms.

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