Ashton Kutcher made news recently with his tweet about how none of the public bathrooms he has been in have changing tables for dads to change diapers. Now, I’m sure Mr. Kutcher and I roll in slightly different circles. I’m not a millionaire, I live in Denver, and I’ve never met Mila Kunis. Frankly on the first and third ones, I think I’m coming up on the short side of the stick. That being said, we probably have very different experiences on the issue.
First, let it be said, that a real man figures it out. This is MacGyver time. A counter works in a pinch, or I even once sat in a stall, with the baby out on my legs that I situated parallel to the floor. If you gotta, the floor even works. Your diaper bag should always have a changing mat or sheet of some sort anyway, because the one thing that is universally true, is that those dispensers of changing table covers are ALWAYS empty.
But, even better than that, this is a good time to stick it to societal norms. Once, my kiddo had what we always called, “a blowout.” This is where the poop isn’t contained by the diaper and more than normal wiping, there is some serious cleanup involved. If I remember correctly it was a restaurant with no changing table in the men’s room. I pushed open the door of the ladies room a crack and called out, “Is anyone in here?” (Don’t freak out, janitors do it all the time.)
When there was no answer, I pushed the door open and looked for a changing table. I went in and proceeded to do Dad duty with the doody. (Ok, that was childish.)
When the first lady came in she was a little surprised, but I just said, “Sorry, but there’s no changing table in the mens room and we had a little accident.” The great thing about people, is given a little courtesy, they are actually very nice. She offered to come back later. The next lady actually asked if I needed any help. I got done as fast as possible and got out. The only reaction was smiles and understanding. If there is one thing that women usually give a man a lot of understanding with, it’s taking care of kids.
Babies Diapers and Mens Bathrooms
My kids are 8 and 5 these days. These days, they are more likely to make fun of the warning stickers, or notice the cute blue bear on many of them. So, it’s been a while since I needed to change a baby in a public restroom, but certainly not long enough for me to not remember it clearly. Ironically, in my experience for any given public bathroom, there was a 50/50 chance that it would have a changing table in the men’s room. In nationwide chains, there was probably a 90% chance that there was one. Target, Barnes and Noble, Olive Garden, every shopping mall, and so on, all had changing tables in the men’s room. In fact, many of those places also had “family restrooms” which are really great for when you kid doesn’t need a diaper anymore, but can’t use the bathroom on their own, and they are the opposite sex.
Perhaps the high-end boutiques and restaurants that the rich and famous frequent don’t have the same accommodations, but out here for us proletariat, things are certainly moving the right direction. Most establishments seem willing to include a changing table if the bathroom is large enough to accommodate one. Often, they put it inside the over-sized handicap stall. But if it’s a tiny little one or two-holer (as my dad says) then your chances maybe aren’t as good.