Sunday, February 27, 2011
Hello lover, here I am in jolly old England in some sort of demented rehearsal downward spiral which has obliterated what little sense of perspective I ever had. Today a funny little old man invited me to his house for a cup of tea and some McDonald's, which was odd but sweet, especially at 11am on a Sunday. Yesterday I had a less pleasant experience.
At the historic First Out Cafe in Soho, a place I don't often frequent, I was hanging out with Stevie and talking over designs for the show. I went to use the bathroom, as I do every ten minutes or so, being a well-hydrated, naturally anxious person. As far as I could see there was only one bathroom, with one cubicle. In NY and Berlin I have become familiar with gay cafes having mixed use bathrooms, so I used the cubicle on offer, and nothing particularly unexpected happened. Until I came out, at which point I was confronted by a very aggressive woman who said to me, "This is the ladies, yeah? For LADIES!" and slammed the door. It wasn't as Little Britain as it sounds actually, and I was rather shaken by her tone.
I use the bathrooms of both genders, and in both instances cause a bit of confusion. Often in the gents men will say, "I'm sorry, is this the men's?", sometimes they can be a little rude or make a silly joke at my expense, but I have never been in a situation in which someone has actually shouted at me for using (as she presumed) the wrong bathroom.
I waited until she came out and said, "Excuse me, I really didn't mean to cause you any upset..."
To which she replied, "Don't you even talk to me!"
At that point I lost my temper and shouted back, "Have you ever heard of transgender people? This is a queer place, I'm obviously not here to harass anyone!"
She looked sort of confused, sort of upset and said, "Can I hug you? I didn't realize. I am sorry, I thought you were a tourist. We just feel like we can't come in here anymore."
Who is "we" I wonder? Londoners? Women? Technically I'm neither, but I'd like to feel that "we" can all go to places like First Out and not feel like "we" might spark a fistfight when peeing. Do I need to wear a little placard that says "TRAN" on it? I thought the blue nail polish and the red purse might offer SOME indication. Maybe I should start pissing in the streets? Pissing in a river? Here's a bit of Patti Smith.