Does Chivalry Die When Nature Calls?

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Good luck, ladies.

The conversation topic getting the most exercise on Scardello's local dairy tour last weekend didn't have anything to do with cheese: From the front of the bus to the back, most everyone was talking about what happened in the bathroom line after lunch at Bolsa.

Since I was standing in the line, I think I can do the scuttlebutt justice: When a tour-goer exited the men's room, he noticed there were a number of women queued up for their designated bathroom, so he politely ushered the next lady in line toward the gentlemen's stall. But his chivalry was stopped cold by a fellow male tour-goer, who was making a beeline for the bathroom and -- judging by the number of curse words exchanged -- didn't think time spent in line should trump gender.

What I found most fascinating about the incident was that Dallas hasn't yet figured out this single-stall thing. In all my many years of eating, I've never come across a town with more single stall bathrooms than Dallas.

In the two weeks I've been here, I've eaten good food, bad food, cheap food and expensive food. But I don't think I've eaten in more than two restaurants with a multiple-stall bathroom. Just to wash my hands before eating, I've waited in line at restaurants including Tillman's Roadhouse, Eno's, Tei An, Royal China, Neighborhood Services Tavern, Mia's and the original Sonny Bryan's, where a worker exiting the men's room locked the door rather than allow me to use the sink.

I don't get it. When women here want to steal away from their dates to trade impressions, where do they go? When a diner sees herself in the bathroom mirror and realizes she needs a comb, from whom does she borrow it? I find the trend aggravating and irrational.

Mustering all my cub reporting skills, I scoured Dallas' building code for an explanation, but found none. I even called the American Restroom Association, but didn't get an answer. (Perhaps the receptionist was taking a bathroom break.) If restaurants in cities like New York can provide their patrons with multiple stalls, why can't Dallas do the same?

Apparently, this isn't something that's keeping Dallasites up at night. The natives I asked claimed they've never even noticed the situation, let alone wasted time complaining about it. But, since that's my prerogative as a newcomer, I'm hoping someone can set me straight - or at least school me in proper single-stall etiquette. Just so I know for future restaurant visits, who do you think had the right-of-way at Bolsa?



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