There are two levels of difficulty that can be used in classifying sartorial choices that impede on your ability to pee in a communal restroom. The novice tier is the Rubik’s Cube; a daunting puzzle that can be outwitted by an algorithm or pliers. Slap this label on a floor-length sundress with a hem that is dampened like the rim of a coffee mug when you fail to hoist it over your left shoulder before squatting down. The expert level feels more like being sandwiched between two tractor trailers on the highway when your exit is fast approaching and you have a heart transplant in the glove compartment that will expire if you arrive a moment later than the ETA issued by Waze.
The latter is how I feel upon arriving to work with a full bladder while wearing a bodysuit sans crotch snaps.
Bodysuits, leotards (“soda pop,” “toe-mah-to”) are butter to the bread of my wardrobe. Their versatility is incomparable, and you can just ask Jane Fonda for the receipts on that statement. The problem is that escaping them quickly requires the flexibility of Gumby and the grace of a post-Julie Andrews Mia Thermopolis, of which I have neither, save for a first name.
Sue me for wanting to class up my long commute with a thermos of tea that I cradle between my legs to keep it warm. I do not apologize and will not compromise my affection for this garment to reclaim the respect of my coworkers, which I lost as a result of the Superman act that I pull in W.C. at 9:01 a.m.
The scenario plays as such: I slip the top half of my body out of the suit’s upper portion until I’m half-nude or possibly exposed depending on my opt to bra. Hypothermia comes into play during the colder months when tile transforms rooms into the Antarctic. This antedates the halt on my pelvic floor that would later be triggered by an entering co-worker who finds The Thinker sculpture incarnate rather than a vacancy in between the stalls.
I hear the water cooler rumor mill churning next-door beneath the rotation of a toilet paper roll.
“Is she about to give birth?”
“Was she stood up by the janitor? Or worse — by the CEO?”
“Is this a new form of meditation Khloé Kardashian is pushing? (If so, I’m in.)”
I suppress the urge to shout, “I didn’t choose the suit life; the suit life chose me!” Remaining silent instead, I make a mental note to delay asking for a raise until a week clears without receiving an email from HR.
When the interloper exits, I finally pee and it sounds like freedom ringing out from sea to shining sea over a nation where junior-level employees aren’t confined by glass ceilings or porcelain bowls. The suit becomes armor over my shoulders against peer judgment that exists solely in the space between my ears, but this forcefield of conviction is not strong enough to encompass the two-ply trailing from my shoe.
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis, creative direction by Elizabeth Tamkin. Featuring a One by TM bodysuit, Sea jeans, Arme De L’Amour cuff and coral ring, and Nadine Ghosn rings.