My wife is a strong women's rights advocate. She will fight for any kind of equal opportunity, except when it comes to larger public restrooms.

The other evening we went to see a hit Broadway show. After the first act, she excused herself to wash her hands.

When she failed to return to her seat 20 minutes later, I decided to look for her. She was in line on 52nd Street slowly wending her way toward the washroom.

"What do you think?" I asked her.

"I'm not going to make the second act."

"Why?"

"Because I never make the second act when I go to the washroom. I don't even know how 'Phantom of the Opera' ends."

"You're a pessimist," I told her. "As I see it, there are only another 100 yards to the restroom door. All you need is a few breaks, and you'll be home free."

"Why do they build a theater for 2,000 people and a women's restroom for two?" she wanted to know.

"I think it's because theater owners have to put their money where it will help the show -- in the scenery. As far as they are concerned washrooms are a waste of space. They would rather have the square footage for standing room only."

My wife said, "If I don't make it, brief me about the second act on the way home."

"You'll make it. Remember when you were waiting at 'A Chorus Line'? Despite your doubts, you got back for the final curtain."

"That's because I went to the restroom at the beginning of the first act. I missed the opening and all the scenes that followed."

"Look, you just moved up three places. This could be your night."

She said, "Why don't you find someone to sit with in the second act -- then my seat won't be wasted."

"Nosirree. I came with you and I won't let anyone take your place. I can't understand why women don't raise more hell about the restroom facilities of our theaters and sports palaces. They will protest every indignity heaped on their sex except what architects are doing to cut down on their washroom rights. If you don't raise your voices, you're going to be standing in line for the rest of your lives."

"It's undignified to make a fuss over those rights," she explained. "We do have pride."

"Maybe so -- but that doesn't mean you're going to see the big finish of this performance."

"What do you suggest women do?"

"Take over the men's john for starters and lock them out. If males can't get back for the second act, they will be the ones to let management know it."

My wife was in tears. "The last time I saw an entire show was when I was 6 years old."

"I hear music. I think I'd better go back to my seat."

"Au revoir," she said.

I told her, "It isn't your fault that the theater owners won't build decent facilities for their customers."

The lady behind my wife asked me, "Are you in line?"

I told her I wasn't.

"Good," she said. "That means I can still catch the midnight local to Stamford."