At the request of @lucjah and inspired by @philh, I shall share an embarrassing story about how I accidentally walked into a women's restroom.
This event occurred approximately 12-13 years ago while I was working at a health insurance company. I agreed to meet a colleague after work for a couple of beers. I arrived at the bar/restaurant first and ordered a 20 oz beer. He texted me and told me he was running late, no big deal. I finished the first beer and ordered a second one. I was nearly finished with the second beer when my colleague finally showed up. I greeted him and then immediately told him I had to use the restroom due to all that beer. I was also a little buzzed by this time.
Let me pause for a moment to describe something that seems unrelated but will factor into the unfortunate events.
In the department where I worked, there was a door that led to a hallway. To the right was the break room and to the left was a shorter hallway with the restrooms. In the shorter hallway, the first door on the right was the men's room and the door at the end was the women's room. This was the primary restroom near my area, so I had used it countless times without even thinking about it. On a side note, I find this to be an unusual setup because in my experience when you encounter restrooms, the women's restroom is usually first.
Back to the story. At the bar/restaurant I walked to the restroom, which happened to be near the entrance. I turned a corner and there was a short hallway. The first door on the right was the women's restroom, and the second door at the end was the men's restroom. This is the exact opposite configuration from what I was used to at work. So my excuses are A) I was so used to going into the first door at work that I didn't even think about looking at the sign, and B) I was a little drunk. So I walked right into the women's restroom.
To be continued...
Stay tuned tomorrow for the riveting conclusion!
There was nobody in the women's restroom. For some reason, it did not occur to me that it was odd not to see urinals. Priority one was the urgency to relieve myself, so I went straight to the far right stall and closed the door. I set about performing the task, and the next thing I heard was a woman’s voice. I thought to myself, “That’s odd. Maybe it’s an employee who is coming in to clean the restroom.” But as I continued to relieve myself and listened, I realized it was a conversation with another female voice. Suddenly the panic hit me.
I must be in the women’s room!!!! This had never happened to me before (or since), so I had absolutely no playbook to guide me out of this situation. I also wondered whether the women would detect me in there because it must have sounded like a veritable racehorse urinating in the stall.
I finished my duty, buttoned up my pants, and then turned around to peek through the gap between the door and the border of the next stall to confirm my hypothesis. Sure enough, there was a woman standing at the sink.
My heartbeat went from 80 to 160. Whatever buzz I had going a mere minute before was replaced with abject terror. They are going to find out I’m in here! They will tell management, and I will end up on the nightly news traipsed out in handcuffs as some creepy guy who likes to go into women’s restrooms.
The woman left and I had to make a quick decision. The longer I stayed in there, the more risk that someone else will walk in and then it could be a never-ending cycle keeping me trapped for hours and leading to eventual suspicion of why the one stall is always closed. I didn’t hear anyone else, so I decided to make a break for it.
I opened the stall and achieved near light speed as I darted across the room and reached the door. Just as I reached the door, I heard a noise behind me. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the door from one of the other stalls opening and a woman was walking out! I should have known there was another women in there! Whom else was the first woman talking to?? I saw her, she saw me, and it felt like time stood still even though it was less than a second.
My undetected escape was thwarted, but I had reached the point of no return. I slowed down long enough to grab the handle and yank the door open and then achieved near light speed again to race as far away from the restroom as possible. Thankfully I did not encounter anyone as I made my unartful escape.
I got back to the booth where my colleague was sitting and slid in and hunched over. He could see the look of panic on my face.
Colleague: “What’s wrong?”
Me: “You’re not gonna believe this but I just walked into the women’s restroom!!”
Colleague: “What??? How on earth did that happen??”
The booths were higher than the tables, so they allowed visibility to most of the establishment. I was sitting on the side of the booth facing the entrance and the restrooms. At that very moment, I looked over my colleague’s shoulder and could see half-a-face and the hair of a woman walking along the hallway toward the section we were in. I knew instantly by the hair this was the woman who saw me in the women's room! I hunkered down further.
Me: “Dude! There was a woman in there and she saw me! And I think she is walking over here right now!!”
I watched in horror as the half-of-face and hair reached the corner of the row of booths and turned down the aisle in our direction. At this point, I could not hide anymore. She came fully into view and was looking right at me. I was beyond embarrassed and didn’t know what to say. She arrived at our booth, and I immediately started babbling apologies like, "I'm sorry! I honestly did not mean to go into the women's room! I have never done that before!"
My colleague did his level best to try to save me.
Colleague: "Hello, miss. You'll have to excuse my friend here. He's a nice guy and definitely not a pervert just drunk."
We both looked at the woman. She looked at my colleague and then back at me and paused. Time was standing still again as we waited for her to speak. On my best day, I would not have been able to discern her demeanor by her facial expression. She would be have been an excellent poker player.
Finally, she leaned forward staring straight at me and said,
“You know, you really should wash your hands after using the restroom.”
She finally broke her poker face with a grin and walked away.
I got lucky. No one went to management. No one called the cops. It could have ended up a lot worse. At the time it was mortifying, but at least now it gives me a chuckle.