I wish that parents would stop sending their four-to-eight year old sons into the public restrooms on their own. I can't tell you how many times I find myself alone in a restroom with a boy who is at an age in which things can easily be misconstrued.
Yesterday I was in the men's room at Wendy’s, alone, until this little boy walked in, no more than six or seven years old. I was flushing the urinal and making my way over to the sink when the little boy entered and said, "Hi. Are you washing your hands?"
As innocent as this question might be, I was alone in a men's room with a little boy, and so I responded as I do in every one of these instances:
"Don't talk to me. I'm a stranger."
As expected, the boy's feelings seemed to be hurt by my harsh response, but I did it for my own good. What would happen if I answered the boy's question, and he followed it up with another and another (as little boys are prone to do)? Before long he might be asking me to help him button up his pants or squirt some soap on his hands (both of which have happened to me in the past), and regardless of the innocence of the encounter or my refusal to do so, it would only take one misplaced or misconstrued word at the table with his parents to send an angry father charging my way.
And what if in the middle of our conversation, another man entered the restroom and found me chatting with a boy whose pants are around his ankles as he attempts to pee in the urinal (because for reasons I fail to understand, all of these little boys seem to need to drop their pants entirely in order to use the facilities)? How would that look?
So I simply tell these little boys, who always feel the need to chat with me, not to talk to me. Yes, it probably makes them feel lousy, and yes, it's kind of mean, but it's better than being accused of bathroom shenanigans or worse based upon the confused statement of some kid who can barely pee standing up.
And perhaps it will also keep this little boy from speaking to strangers, which is always an excellent idea.
Am I the only one who encounters this situation?