So there I was, entering the public restroom stall (don’t worry, we’re not heading into TMI territory here), and as I closed the door, I scanned it for the purse-hook. I don’t know if these are in the guy’s bathroom, but nearly every ladies room stall used to have a hook on the back of the door for us to hang our purses, coats, or children. But in recent years – ok, the last fifteen or more – I’ve noticed those hooks disappearing. And in their place, sometimes I see a sign, “be careful where you place your purse, it could get snatched!”
And then I remember… many years ago, there was an Urban Legend that went around saying that ladies that hung their purses on those little hooks would get them snatched by bandits who lurked in bathrooms, waiting for an unsuspecting victim to hang her purse then sit down. The bandit would then race down the line, snatching purses over the tops of the doors, and make off with his booty (it was always a guy – who wouldn’t notice a GUY lurking in the corner of the ladies’ room???), never to be seen again. Shortly after that legend circulated, hooks were still on the backs of the doors, but now they were in the middle of the door, not up near the top. Ok, fine, whatever. Still a hook, I’m happy. Then the hooks disappeared, replaced by this stupid little springy-shelf-thing that, if your purse wasn’t heavy enough – and mine generally wasn’t – would launch your purse into the next stall, possibly knocking out the nice blue haired old lady who had just gotten HER purse precariously balanced on HER springy-shelf. And then those disappeared, too, and were replaced by the levitating plastic child seat. I never used those, for the record. Josh hated that flip-down diaper changing thing, so I wasn’t even gonna try that strap-in chair.
But the point is, the stuff is gone. Now I go into a stall – with a considerably larger purse, these days – and there’s no place to put it. No hook. No flippy shelf. Sometimes not even that child seat. And certainly no toilet tank. I don’t want to put the purse on the floor – eew – so I end up hanging it around my neck. Which just opens up another can of worms for another day.
So here’s my question, after all this ranting… what other “for granted” things have disappeared or been altered because of Urban Legends? Or because of over-reactions to actual, but very isolated, incidents? (Because it turns out that there really was a purse-snatcher who ran through the ladies room grabbing purses. In San Francisco. In 1994. And fourteen purses got snatched. And yeah, I know, that totally blows my entire rant out of the water. But not the question. So answer that and ignore the rest.)