Illustration by TK.

Illustration by Sofia Bews.

I don’t know about you, but I always have to pee. I pee before I leave the house, I hunt for the bathrooms immediately whenever I get where I’m going, and I’m the person bleating, “Hey, anybody want to pull over at the next exit…?” in a worried goat-voice every hour, on the hour, during road trips. If you’re like me, and you have to pee a lot, you know it can sometimes be challenging to enter the public realm, because the instant you leave the house, your access to toilets is limited.

I think that’s crap (heh). We all pee; everybody poops. However: It seems as though not everyone wants to let you pee and poop. It seems, almost, that there is a public conspiracy determined to ignore the fact that we, as humans, all need to pee and poop. Look around you! Just where are the bathrooms when you’re out and about?

::trills of sinister laughter::

Why, they’re hidden! Locked! You need a code! You need to be a paying customer! You need to ask for the key, the bathrooms are “out of order,” they’re “closed for maintenance,” they’re “for employees only,” they “don’t exist!”

It’s all bullshit. You know what? All retail establishments, all public buildings that have unlocked doors during business hours, and all (I mean all) buildings with businesses that serve food have bathrooms. This means that you don’t need to pin your public-peeing hopes on stores you’re currently shopping at and gas stations. We are here to cut through the lies, the smoke and mirrors surrounding bathrooms. All buildings. With unlocked doors. Have bathrooms.

Of course, there are other problems surrounding bathroom-usage. If you’re not cis or cis-presenting, you may have a hard time finding safe restrooms to use at all. People can be real assholes about just letting someone take a leak in a porcelain bowl. But, if you feel secure in that way: You can walk into literally any building with a casually imperious air, act like you’re supposed to be there, and there’s not a whole lot people can do to stop you from doing what you gotta. Sure, every now and again, you’ll come up against a merchant or an employee that realllllly does not want to let you pee in their establishment. But who cares? There are more buildings next door, probably not staffed with jerks who don’t understand human anatomy!

Here some of the multitudinous places at which you can waltz in and whizz:

In cities: Hotels you’re not staying at. Hotels always have bathrooms in their lobbies; walk past the front desk, look for the conference rooms, and BINGO! There are the toilets.

Restaurants you’re not eating at. Choose a semi-busy restaurant, walk in, make it seem like you’re looking for someone, then pee and GTFO. Or ask a server! If you ask nicely, there are very few servers who are going to say no.

Cafés you’re not hanging out at. Walk in off the street, use the bathroom, and leave. There is no need to feel guilty or like you’ve done something wrong. People pee! You’re in a public place! There is no law that says you can’t do that.

You can walk into a library and pee. You can walk into a busy gym and take a dump. All grocery stores have tucked-away bathrooms, and you can use them. All big-box stores have bathrooms, no matter how impossible it is to find them (what’s up, Home Depot?). All chain drugstores have bathrooms. Often, they’re not marked (shout-out to Walgreens) and the doors look like ordinary, employees-only doors. But guess what? They’re hidden bathrooms!

Walking past a college campus? Boy, are you in luck. You are walking past building after building of bathrooms. Near a hospital? Go in and walk around the lobby for a second—you’ll find some seriously clean bathrooms that anyone can use. Are you near a factory or an office building? Great! Because guess who pees? Everyone who works there! Go in and ask the receptionist if you can use the bathroom, and nine times out of 10, he or she will be so surprised to see you in the building, asking for a restroom, that they’ll personally escort you. You’ll pee like royalty, guarded by a startled secretary.

When it comes to finding bathrooms, in general: No sweat, bbs. Most public places love to pretend that they don’t have restrooms, but we know their secrets: Almost every place has a bathroom. In every city, in every direction you look, there are hundreds of potential public toilets. Just walk in, my loves. And pee. ♦