The major championship challenge you might not have considered

April 02, 2009

Being a woman means having to bear a number of disadvantages: pointy-toed shoes, glass ceilings, childbirth and hot flashes. But it is no small thing to have to endure a lifetime of certain bathroom "situations" that men aren't privy to, if you will pardon the pun. Long lines at Broadway show intermissions are nothing compared to the dreaded golf tournament port-a-potty.

At the end of the pro-am day, it's already bad. By Friday morning, one should consider a cholera vaccination before even opening the door. But by Sunday afternoon, it's worse than third-worldly. (Arm yourself with a blindfold, a clothespin and smelling salts in case you have to revive yourself to avoid a certain "Slumdog Millionaire" disaster.) The men I've talked to just don't seem to mind them, perhaps because most of the time they get to use the handy urinal attached to the wall and don't have to deal with the ugly abyss below.

Is there no incentive to improve these beastly conditions? I am sure women would come out in greater numbers if the facilities were nicer. At a tournament in Scotland, I was amazed to discover a port-a-potty that was as close to a proper bathroom as anything you would find at home: a real flushing toilet and warm water to wash your hands in, so I know the technology exists. And mind you, the UK has never been known for its advances in plumbing and central heating.

Instead of being stuck having to use the plastic closets of horror for free, I would happily pay ten bucks for the privilege of using a pleasure palace like that one in Scotland. On Sunday, maybe even twenty.

-- *Chris Penberthy *