First, let me establish my credentials. When I was in college, I had to write a 30-page dissertation to get my degree. The topic I chose was “An Analysis of the Writing on the Walls in the Campus Men’s Rooms.” My English professor enthusiastically approved of this, and as a result I had to go into all the different men’s rooms on campus, write down or photograph what was on the walls in each of the stalls, write a brief analysis about each work of “art,” and then, at the end, sum up what I learned.
Back then—this was in the 1960s—there was a whole lot of writing on the walls in men’s bathrooms. “Call Linda for a good time [followed by a phone number].” “F**k You, You Homo.” Or “There Was a Young Man from Ceylon, Who’s **** Was as Long as His Arm. He…” etcetera, etcetera.
Most of the drawings on the walls—almost always inside the stalls at “seated” level—were of various genitalia. The drawings of men’s were generally larger than life. The ones for women were sometimes anatomically incorrect. In my summation, I suggested that many men, particularly frustrated men who weren’t “getting any,” as we phrased it at the time, might not exactly know what went where below the waist on a woman without any clothes on. Those who knew didn’t write on walls. Those who didn’t did. I got a B+.
By the way, at that time, I wouldn’t be caught dead going into a ladies room. It would cause women to scream. I’d have to run for my life. Who needed that? My dissertation therefore only involved what was on men’s rooms walls.
Having thus established my credentials in this matter, I now intend to sound off on how the present dispute involving who goes to what bathrooms will be decided. I personally have heard enough about transgender people and their feelings and where they might or might not be allowed to go without showing their birth certificates. Yes, they are entitled. I’ve heard enough.
But I also think that the rights of privacy for all parties involved should be respected. No person should be made to feel bad about who they are. It’s a “right.” And I am referring to boy or girl or man or woman or transgender or transsexual or gay or lesbian, or SUV or car or whatever. This is so over.
Here is how it is all going to turn out.
All public bathrooms are going to have to undergo reconstruction. It’s going to be similar to what we did to create elevators or ramps for those who can’t climb stairs. Everybody will be happy in the end.
But for that to happen, everybody is going to have to settle down and take a deep breath. It’s time to take a good long look at the area where everybody goes after they use the toilet. At the present time, this is a place considered part of the bathroom. In the future, it won’t be. We will go into what we now call a bathroom, with its stalls, washbasins and urinals (for men—and they are going to have to go) and have to think of it as the same public space you were in before you went into it. The door outside will simply say WC. There will be no indication that it is a men’s or women’s room.
For lack of a current term, I will refer in the rest of this essay to every part of this bathroom, other than the stalls, as the washing-up pavilion. Women will still be able to freshen up their makeup (if they use makeup). They will still be able to talk to one another, but they probably won’t, at least woman-to-woman, talk about, you know, men.
That conversation, could be nasty toward or prejudicial against men, or toward a particular man for not being like other men. So that will have to stop. The washing-up pavilion will now be all-inclusive. Everyone will be equal. Disparaging remarks about men will not be tolerated.
And, by the way, men don’t make disparaging remarks about women when they wash up after using the toilet. They don’t talk to one another at all. They just spritz the soap, wash their hands, dry their hands, admire themselves in the mirror and they’re out of there. Their disparaging remarks they save for when they get out.
It will be the bathroom stalls that are going to have to undergo reconstruction to be the new place for privacy. They are not private now. People can peer under them or over them. They will all have to be re-done. They will become small wooden “cabinets.” You will observe that the walls go all the way from the floor to the ceiling so nobody can look under or over or reach in and bother you. You will go in. And you will do your business in there. And if you need to adjust your clothes or change articles of clothing, you will do it in there. And then you will come out to the washing-up pavilion.
If it is the kind of place where you put two quarters into a dispenser and you get one condom or tampon, you will be able to get either one with your two quarters. Everything will be fair and square.
Also, it could be a female janitor who comes into the pavilion area to empty the trash or clean it up. Or it could be a male janitor. If it’s a fancy place, it will either be a concierge or a conciergette. (Or is it all concierge?)
As you see, at least for this part of the essay, there will still be the same number of public places to go to the bathroom. They won’t have to be made smaller or larger. You will just have to consider them differently.
I mentioned there will be no more urinals. They will be replaced by more cabinets. Whoever you are, whatever sex you are, whatever parts you have that you refer to as private, all that will be done in a unisex cabinet where, when you turn the latch on the inside, it’s all yours for however long you want. And with the urinals gone, there will be more of them, so the lines to get into them will be shorter.
There is another reason there will be no more urinals. There is to be no displaying of willies in public. And that washing-up pavilion is public. So that is how all this is going to turn out.
In my next article on this topic of how to solve all the problems of the world (and it’s the job of all journalists to believe they must share what they know to be the solution to all the problems in the world), I shall deal with locker rooms, both for men and women. This is a problem for which, because of its complexity involving group shower facilities, towel bins, lockers and benches to sit on, there will be a different solution than the one I wrote about above. I’m working on that essay right now.
So, why is it that men don’t write on the bathroom walls anymore?