Picture the scene. A dad is out shopping or having lunch with his 4-year-old daughter, who tells him she needs to pee. Does he:
a) Take her to the men’s bathroom with him, or
b) Take her into the ladies’ room?
A mom on Mumsnet sparked a fierce debate when she wrote that she disapproves of her husband’s choice to take their daughter into the ladies’ room.
“I told him that women don’t like it and he should take her to the men’s loos. Am I being unreasonable or is he?” she asked.
So far, the thread has over 500 replies and it is clearly an issue that divides people. Many commenters took offense to the idea a man would be in the women’s bathroom, saying:
“He is out of order. I do recall DH (darling husband) saying DD (darling daughter) needed to get used to going into the ladies by herself if he was out without me, as men’s loos can be grim … she was older than 4, though.”
Another suggested that the dad use the disabled toilets instead. And those who believed the dad was wrong thought that he should take her to the men’s, with one commenter adding: “It’s what dads and granddads have had to do since well … years and years.”
Commenter “Flashthesloth” was not impressed with the idea.
“I’ve never ever seen a man in a ladies’ toilet and it’s not appropriate for them to be in there. They take their DDs in their toilets until they are old enough to go alone (or use the disabled). You don’t see women taking boys into the men’s because that’s their correct toilet,” they said.
However, equally were those in favor of the father taking his child to the women’s lavatories, with one reply stating,”It wouldn’t bother me and it’s probably much nicer for her than seeing/smelling men weeing at the urinals.”
I have to agree, that the thought of my daughter seeing other men’s genitals or having to deal with the often unusable men’s toilets isn’t something I would want for her.
The other thing to consider is that even if a man takes his daughter into the ladies’ room, they have separate cubicles, so it is all very private, as commenter Ellapaella pointed out:
“I wouldn’t care if a man came into the ladies’ with his daughter. We have single cubicles and it’s not like you can see anyone on the toilet, unlike the men’s where the little girl will see men using the urinals,” she said.
One commenter still remembers going to the men’s bathroom with her dad as a child.
“I still have memories of being taken into men’s loos as a child … they are horrible. But mostly the memories are sound and smell as DF has his hands over my eyes for the majority of the time,” she recalled.
Personally, I don’t have an issue with a dad coming into the women’s bathroom — even to change a nappy. In my opinion, women are in their own stalls anyway, although I can appreciate that for some elderly ladies, it may startle them or make them nervous to open a stall door and see a man there. My husband says he would always take my daughter to the gents toilets, but the thought of that fills me with horror as the one time I ended up in the men’s lavatories still gives me nightmares.
No woman EVER wants to use male toilets, as they are usually grim — so I support and stand by any dad who takes his daughter to the ladies’ room. Surely as mothers, we can all understand a dad just looking out for his little girl.
After all, no one wants to send such a young child on their own to the toilet — so isn’t safety the most important issue of all?