Monday, April 30, 2012

times, they are a-changin'

You know when you read about "times changing," you can't really imagine what it was like before, or during the change? Sometimes you just wish you were there to experience it. You know, like black and white people having to use different drinking fountains. Or even further back when women were switching from wearing dresses to trousers. It's strange finding myself in the middle of a change like that.

After a fairly uneventful travel day, we arrived in the Skovsta airport south of Stockholm, Sweden. It was a small airport (about the size of Evansville's, for those of you who know what I mean). We had to go to the bathroom before catching our bus to Jönköping. So we see the restroom signs, (or rather, toliette) and head in that direction.

There was a sign on the door that had both the men's and women's sign, so Andrea opened the door, thinking it would lead to a hallway or something to the restroom, but when she opened it she immediately closed it again. "It's the men's restroom," she said. I turned around, looking for another sign. "But wait... that sign has both on it....why...?" Just then a woman came out of the door. Then a man. "Um... is this for both?" Then i remembered. Someone had told me that Sweden was really pushing gender equality. So much so, they were trying to invent a word that meant both he and she, but not "it." If they were trying to invent a new word, then what's stopping them from making universal bathrooms?

Andrea, Junior and I ventured cautiously in. No one seemed to notice or care. The bathroom was the same as any other bathroom - 8 stalls, 5 sinks. But both men and women were coming out of the stalls. I laughed the whole time. Not gonna lie, it was awkward.

Who knows if it will catch on to other countries, but I may find myself explaining someday to my children that "before you were born, men and women had separate bathrooms!"

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