“There are more upstairs,” she said. “The line might be shorter,” so I abandoned the ten-person backlog only to find an even bigger wait on the second floor, but it was too late to go back. Bladder-bloated conference-goers kept flowing out of the arena. I claimed a spot at the end of what looked like the shortest line, where one man and a dozen or so women waited ahead of me.
The university’s dusty scarlet signs had proclaimed the downstairs bathrooms to be admit-one, any-gender-any-time affairs. But the bathrooms on this floor, which handled the blackwater of thousands of spectators at any given event, required the efficiency of stalls. Relief en masse; pee, flush, repeat. Men and Women plaques normally regulated entry up here, but the conference organizers had covered them with paper printouts: ALL GENDER BATHROOM.