While recently celebrating a friend’s 29th birthday outside at a nearby bar, I went inside to use the women’s restroom and encountered a significant conundrum.
On one restroom door was the word “barley,” on the other, “hops.”
Uncertain from these words which door housed the restroom meant for the female gender, I stood in front of both doors, perplexed. Yet despite my unfortunate situation, I was too proud to approach a restaurant employee to request a hint as to whether, as a woman, I more resemble barley or hops.
And desperate though I was to use the restroom, I simply couldn’t risk the fatal error of entering through the wrong door. I was also too far from my car to potty-dance my way to the emergency bedpan that I reserve for long-distance road trips, like when I drive across the street to pick up my mail. Thus, I had no option but to meditate on my gender as well as everything I’ve ever learned about the beer precursors of hops and barley and identify and explore similarities and differences between each and how they relate to our existence as masculine and feminine beings in the universe.
At least, that’s absolutely what I would have done had I not been too submersed in an urgent need-to-go-NOW haze that I couldn’t actually think clearly.
So instead I called my friend who has never been spotted without his trusty iPhone. He uses it to call people, check the internet, read his email, and shampoo his hair (it’s the new feature: the iFoam), and it’s always nustled in his pocket, ready for action.
Me: Oh thank goodness, you answered! Do you have your iPhone nearby? I need you to look something up for me.
Friend: Um…..it’s my iPHONE. If I answered it, of course I’m using it. Are you joking?
Me: (I wasn’t.) Okay, I’m stuck in front of two restrooms. One is labeled “barley” and one is labeled “hops.” Which restroom do I choose?
Friend: Is this one of your riddles, because I have to tell you, it’s sounding pretty lame.
Me: I’m serious! This is an emergency!!
So, after I convinced him that this was not simply a prank call and that I was, in fact, in dire need of solving my conundrum, my friend investigated my inquiry. It is most unfortunate that we discovered that hops are dioecious, which means that the plans could be either male or female. And barley heads are composed of spikelets that consist of two husks, enclosing both male and female floral parts. In other words, they’re androgynous.
These findings were most distressing.
As you can see, my blog has no happy ending. Yet while it does not contain a happy ending, it does have a moral. The moral of this blog is that you cannot judge a book by its cover, if its cover is obscured by inane references that were thought amusing by an idiot who doesn’t use public restrooms and doesn’t appreciate the predicament he put me in. So, Mr. Public-Restroom-Guy, please cover future restrooms appropriately so that I can judge them and enter accordingly.
*Editors note: While Troi was not intelligent enough to determine the answer to her restroom door dilemma, we at the editor’s desk know inherently that barley indicates the female restroom, and hops indicates the male restroom. We are sure you knew that, too.