A new sign in the women’s locker room of my neighborhood gym tells me “boys over the age of 5 are not permitted.” I am told there is a similar sign about girls in the men’s changing area. When my boys were younger I remember wondering whether the rules should be different for girls and boys; I felt comfortable taking my sons into the Ladies Room long after I might have been comfortable having my husband accompany a daughter into the men’s room, for the simple reason that men do what they have to do out in the open and women do it behind stall doors. A father in Nashville is wondering about the timing, too, and asked me to share his question with readers. He grew up in Europe, and is trying to find his way around American norms:
I have a perhaps funny question for you and your readers. As the dad of a wonderful 3-year-old girl, I often wonder what I would do if I found myself in the situation of needing to take her to the bathroom when we are outside the home and mom is not around. Should I take her to the men’s or the women’s bathroom? I have discussed it with friends, and the situation comes up so rarely that nobody has convincing advice. Without admitting it, sometimes we see ourselves trying to avoid situations that would lead to such events.