Pete I feel like this column is a joke but this is a serious request, not sure if that’s your thing. Last week a visitor to our office rushed up to me and said “Oh hi, where are the toilets please?” Once upon a time this was a simple question but from where I sit in the office the men’s is to my left but the women’s is to the right. You can see I had to make snap judgement about this person and how they might identify and send them one way or the other. I’m embarrassed to say that’s exactly what I did but later I felt terrible. What if I’d guessed wrong? What could I have done better?

    Penny, Williamstown (via Facebook)

    Penny first of all I’m assuming you don’t work in Parliament House in the ‘post-gender neutral toilets era’, otherwise known as ‘the day Scomo freaked out over a sign’? Strange I know that a grown man can ask for a sign from an unseen being above, perhaps do a little rain dance for the sake of the environment, yet lose the plot over an actual real sign right in front of his face, created and installed by real people. Sigh… welcome back to the 1950s Penny, maybe Marty McFly will save us all and lead one of the major parties into the next election. I guess the answer to your question is that in the future you could offer both options to the person and let them decide for themselves. Or if you’re having a bad day (and want to be an arse about it all) just tell them you have no idea where the toilets are. Guaranteed to get you off the hook!

    I recently had to go visit a specialist clinic in an unfamiliar suburb and when I got off the train I couldn’t work out how far it was from the station so a bit lazily I suppose I got an Uber to pick me up. Turns out this clinic was about 100 metres away and although the young fella smiled and said it was OK, it really didn’t feel it. Although the total ride cost was $7.75 which felt a bit much for an 8 second ride so I didn’t leave a tip. Am I a bad person now?

    Simmo, West Footscray (via Facebook Messenger)

    Simmo let’s look at the facts. You hired a person and their vehicle, and in the world I live in, there has to be a minimum price for a person’s time, equipment, expertise and let’s face it, infinite understanding. I do not know what you do for a living, but let’s assume you are a plumber. I (and anyone) knows that a plumber costs the same for the first 8 seconds as they do for the first hour – about $150-200. Or maybe you are a builder Simmo? What takes 8 seconds? I suppose you could hammer in a nail. What would you charge someone for turning up, scoping out the project and then 8 seconds of actual work? $500 if we’re lucky? And what if you were the dispenser of advice, diligently solving the first world problems of the inhabitants of the inner-west? You’d only get about 2 words from me Simmo, and you know what they’d be? “Pay up!” (But seriously, I accept cash and PayPal….)

    Pete what is it with men and handshakes? I know it’s expected these days to shake hands with everyone and I don’t mind but seriously, guys, what’s with the firm handshake thing? Like I’m going to compete with that. Unnecessary!

    Jane, Footscray (via Email)

    Jane I feel your pain. No, LITERALLY I feel your pain. This “Pete” is an old dog you know and I’ve been around the track a few times, long enough to have a bit of rheumatoid arthritis in my pinky, and when you get some young buck intent on a bit of a squeeze… aaaah well you know the rest.

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