Chapter 18 - "a little loincloth"

It wasn’t long before I was stuffed to the rafters. The last 4 bites of steak went down like the last three hotdogs in an ESPN food eating championship. I couldn’t bring myself to leaving two extra ounces on my plate. I hadn’t come this far to shrink back now.

I tried a trick from my adolescent days that I thought might clear some space in my bowels. I used to hit the head when my stomach would be bloating in agony and yet I didn’t want to stop eating quite yet. As I looked around for the bathrooms, my eyes caught the men’s room which happened to be a swinging door with the sign on it. It swung both ways if I’m remembering correctly and didn’t have a lock. This isn’t a big deal if you’re in a public restroom with 4 stanchions and six urinals and a double-door system so that women can’t catch a peek of the guys standing their relieving themselves while catching up on news clippings pinned to the wall at eye level. This was a typical stripped down lavatory with the basics, no splash guards, no privacy walls—nothing. Though the saloon wasn’t hopping like a dollar drinks Friday night extravaganza, I still wasn’t sure about mounting that toilet bowl knowing I had a 14.678 chance of being visited by an unsuspecting cowboy just as cramped up as I was feeling in that moment.

I didn’t have the heart to ask one of the guys to keep an eye out for me. It just felt weak in the presence of such manly men. So I just took my chances. It actually becomes so much more of an adventure sitting there playing restroom-Russian roulette. There’s something about trying too hard to go that makes it harder yet. The more I tried to speed up the process, the more panicked I got that someone would frequent the facility and catch me in the act. My eyes were glued to the place where the door is closest to the floor. I was watching like a hawk for the slightest movement to occur poised to say something like, “Hey, I’m in here.” or something close to that. It’s funny how something so silly can start to make your heart race, like you’re getting caught stealing stamps from work or something.

Thankfully, the Lord saw fit to let me poop in peace. I finished up, washed my hands, and rejoined the guys in the middle of a story they were splitting up about. Come to find out, it had to do with the bathrooms and a little dirty trick they would play on unwary guests. They were going on about the ladies room and how there used to be a poster in there with a guy in the nude covered with a dainty little loincloth. The little loincloth, however, was not a part of the picture itself. It was a real little swath of cloth put over the privates of this chiseled model as if to censor it from the longing eyes of weak-willed women. What the female visitor wasn’t aware of was that it was attached to a string that, when tampered with, would send off an alarm in the whole tavern with flashing lights and the works. Everyone would know that “someone” couldn’t resist the temptation to take a peek. That particular “someone” would then walk into a bar room full of people applauding and hooting and hollering all sorts of embarrassing one-liners. I was dying laughing as the guys told stories of the most unlikely woman to be bagged by this gag.

As I sat there laughing I wondered what I would have done had a similar picture, only of a woman, been strategically placed in the men’s room for a practical joke that day. Would I become the laughingstock of the place, or a man who would go down as one of the few that looked temptation in the eye, stared it down, and spit in its familiar face? What would you do?


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