The world is very concerned with purity and so-called ‘etiquette,’ especially when it comes to the most simple, natural things—like a parent feeding their baby. And when gender comes into play, people can get pretty overprotective and reactionary. Everyone seems to want to police parents and bodies.
So, it’s no wonder a new father (of a five-month-old son) wondered if he was somehow a huge A-Hole for changing his baby in a woman’s restroom. In a Reddit post in the Am I The A-Hole (AITA) forum, the user u/horriblediamond asked if he was in the wrong for changing his baby in the women’s restroom after women told him he was out of place.
As he writes, “I was out to lunch with my 5-month-old son and he needed to be changed. I went to the restroom but found the men’s room didn’t have a changing table, so went to the women’s. I walked in and there were some hushed whispers from a couple of women…”
Next, the OP explained that he was sorting out his diaper bag when the restaurant’s hostess found him and said, “Oh sorry sir, the men’s is actually at the other end.” I explained there was no changing table there and she said, “Nevertheless, this is the women’s room, and your presence is making some of our patrons uncomfortable.”
He responded, “I’m fully clothed, I’m not peeking under stalls, I just want to change my son and finish my meal.” The hostess then assumed he was with his wife (which is a bold assumption for many reasons). And then, to make matters weirder, a fellow diner offered to change the baby’s diaper — not something the OP was comfortable with.
One woman then said, “Then go home and change him at home or lay your changing pad on a counter surface in the men’s bathroom” while another added, “Cisgender men aren’t entitled to violate our space this way. You’re making people uncomfortable, you need to respect that.”
So how did it end? The OP states, “This was the first quiet meal out I’d had since he was born, so I just ignored her and started to change him. The hostess got the manager, a man, who called from the door that I needed to leave. I wasn’t about to drive my baby home in a soiled diaper though, so finished up.”
This is what Reddit users thought of the complex, probably-not-very-common situation. They tried to decide whether the OP was “NTA” (Not The A-Hole), “YTA” (You’re The A-Hole), or “ESH” (Everyone Sucks Here).
On comment, which got the highest amount of points, decided that the OP, along with everyone else, sucked, especially as the OP didn’t use basically courtesy when approaching the bathroom. The other issue? The restaurant should have more changing tables, and avoid making gender commentary.
“So ESH, but only because you didn’t announce yourself/intentions before entering the ladies’ room. A quick “Anyone in here? I’m sorry, but the men’s room has no changing table, and I need to change my son’s diaper” Would have gone a loooong way into putting people on your side. The restaurant is definitely TA for not having changing tables in both bathrooms, and that “cisgendered” comment is absolute BS and unnecessary.” — BroadElderberry
“I also wonder about that … I really sincerely doubt that this woman would have been a lot more comfortable if a trans man would have walked into that restroom. A lot of us have beards … You are right, too – politely asking if you could use the table, because you didn’t want to put your kid on the floor in the men’s bathroom would have gone a long way. So also ESH.” — AlexTMcng
“ESH. I went through this constantly with my son and had a few encounters myself. How the sh*t do you just walk into the ladies room without announcing yourself, though? A simple, “Hey, sorry, need to change the baby, there’s no table in the men’s room, and it’s filthy anyway. I’m coming in.” goes a LONG way. I’ve had many great conversations with women while changing my son in the ladies’ room, to the point that I’ve at times not even had to open my mouth when someone tried to flip out about a man in the wrong restroom. The ladies I was talking to handled it for me. It sucks that people have to be reminded that men are parents, too and that no, I’m not “babysitting,” I’m parenting, but you’ve got to do better.” — mypostingname13
Some women thought that it was pretty entitled for OP to just enter a woman’s restroom without saying a word:
“This is good advice. Women are social, the bathroom is a watering hole. Slipping in silently without saying a word, ignoring the women in there and then reacting defensively immediately is frankly unsettling behavior. All OP had to do was treat the situation like he was in a foreign land because technically he was. “Hey ladies, I know I’m not supposed to be here, but the men’s room doesn’t have a changing table can you believe that? Can I ask for your help? I need to step in and change my baby quickly, can I do that now? Can you watch the door and maybe explain the situation if someone else comes in? I’d be grateful, it’s my first time out with the kiddo alone and I didn’t expect this situation” Fucking hell dude, OP would have had an armada of women defending him from anyone asking him to leave.” – LunerMeow
Dude shouldn’t be there. I have a new baby too, and I think I’d just go home or use the counter in the men’s bathroom.
— Pet Sounds Is A Great Record (@Sisyphus_smokes) February 26, 2020
ESH. Look I understand he needed to change his kid, but he also should have announced himself. The fact that there aren’t baby changing stations in guys bathrooms has affected me greatly a lot of times as a father and I get it, but I’m also not going to barge in without annoucing
— Iván, Far Left Teenager (@CarnageAsada08) February 26, 2020
Others found the whole thing ridiculous, noting that the man obviously just needed to change his kid. Some people deemed the whole thing, “Hard NTA.”
“Seriously? is a man walking in carrying a diaper bag and a soiled 5-month old not enough of a notice that he’s there to change the diaper? I can’t believe this sub sometimes.” — K1ngPCH
“Hard NTA. As a female and mother, I would never be offended by a father coming into the woman’s restroom to change his infant announced or not! Anyone who does get offended by this is absolutely ridiculous and petty. It’s sad that fathers have to go through so much shit just to change the baby. “Oh yeah ok, I’m gonna make you change your baby on a nasty sink” how disgusting can a woman be?!” — Dani1123343
NTA. Every single person who complained is definitely TA, though.
— amelia! (@amelianewburg) February 26, 2020
NTA but like, theyre valid for being uncomfortable with a cis man in the washroom i get that, but there was nothing he could do about it. All washrooms should come equipped with changing tables.
— Salem Night (@salenby) February 26, 2020
how is this even a question and HOW is it ESH?!
ew at all of those people who had a problem with it
— sam stans orangutans (@SamOliverLees) February 26, 2020
Someone brought up a very good question about the double standard around male parents. We want them to be good, yet we denounce them for trying (although, men also need rewards for simply changing a diaper, do they?):
“So we’re going to demand that men start taking better care of their children and then not give them the tools they need to do so? He did give a quick explanation and holding a soiled five month old with a diaper bag should be enough.” — Gianahraiin
Another interesting point was brought up regarding changing tables. Many states don’t offer them in men’s rooms, which is both inconvenient and biased.
“Some states still don’t have changing tables in the men’s bathroom or have family bathrooms. However, I believe there is going to be a law that will require changing tables in both bathrooms because of the rise of single dad’s being more common now. That being said, OP should have asked a manager or hostess to watch the bathroom for him so he could go in and change his kid. I had several situations where men needed to change kids, help their elderly wives into the bathroom, etc….Most people are understanding when circumstances like this happen as long as people get prior notice. However, walking in and suddenly seeing a man can be rather jarring to someone who isn’t expecting it.” —aries04190