We’re back again after another extended absence. 2013 was a rough year for the staff at UW Bathrooms and our sporadic posts were an accurate reflection of our condition. But with the advent of the new year the staff as a collective has made decisions for the better and our vision is only looking forward. Not even through the peripherals. We have the horse blinds on. Last year is water under the bridge for all we are concerned. If we would have made a time capsule of all the events of 2013 like the thing everyone did in 4th grade writing letters to their future selves and buried it or put it in a shoebox or whatever with all your classmates’ letters and you got to open it in 10 years, I’d throw mine into a volcano without even opening up and reading the contents. Bottom line is we’ve got a new progressive vision so we’re looking to stay that course indefinitely.
This quarter, I have a class twice a week in Gowen Hall. This has been a chance for me since I’ve mostly taken sciencey classes and they’re all in south campus. Which is alright, I don’t have a problem with south campus. There’s a decent amount of nice bathrooms there and whatever. But it’s a nice change of scenery and a much shorter walk (whoever stole my bike: I hate you) to be taking a class in the Quad once again. Pretty much the only problem I have with it is that my class is 80 minutes long and my professor lectures without stopping, meaning there’s no bathroom breaks. Which means if you leave class to go pee, then chances are you’re missing out on some important lecture information or a good example or a youtube video. You can try to estimate a duration of the lecture where very little information is being taught (examples include group activities) but this is often difficult to gauge unless you printed the lecture notes before class or something, which I don’t do for various reasons.
So naturally I had to pee really bad during a very critical explanation of a concept vital to the course. Gowen isn’t a particularly large building by any means so I thought I’d be gone for a minute or two tops and it would be pretty inconsequential. So I head out to the map of the second floor and see there’s only a women’s restroom labeled. As was the case with the third floor. And the first floor. And the basement. I didn’t check the second floor mezzanine out of sheer frustration. Instead I walked to Suzzallo and peed there instead. In total this took away six minutes from my life.
This troubled me much more than it should have, but the concept of UW secretly discriminating against men by monopolizing restroom gender was so absolutely diabolical that I could not let it go. I refused to believe that there were no men’s restrooms here.
When I went back today to scout out the men’s rooms I realized how big of an idiot I was because of course there were men’s rooms, why wouldn’t there be? They just take a bit of active searching. A key issue with Gowen is that only women’s restrooms are labeled on the floor maps, and “gender neutral” bathrooms aren’t labeled anywhere on campus to my knowledge (eg. Suzzallo, Architecture, etc.). This can be rectified pretty quickly by taping temporary signs up until Building Services makes permanent ones, whenever that may be. A broader solution to this so as to not make things like this an issue at all is to put bathrooms in really obvious, easily accessible places. You can be late for class by a couple minutes if you can’t find your classroom because it’s in some obscure secret hallway in some obscure secret building, but you really don’t want to be late when you need to go to the bathroom. We’ll see if this issue ever gets to the forefront of conversations, but it probably never will. But that’s another issue altogether.
After much wandering about and very awkward nonverbal interactions with other restroom patrons, I have found all the men’s bathrooms in Gowen:
Tucked away in the Political Science department in the hallway on the right, this is the most luxurious of the three, featuring natural sunlight and ample urinals and stalls. It was relatively clean too. Potential issues include no urinal dividers. The vast majority of Gowen Hall’s use is as the East Asia library and as interdepartmental offices, which means a lot of professors, which means that chances are you’ll run into one while using the can. The particular one I ran into on the first floor was jovially brushing his teeth. Here’s to hoping that you don’t run into a professor you previously had.
This bathroom was so small and cramped that the Shawshank solitary confinement cells that Andy Dufresne was kept in probably used it as inspiration when they were designing the set for it. But that doesn’t mean it’s all bad. Bathrooms like these are good for number 2 and for those individuals that enjoy their privacy. It’s hard to gauge when someone else is in there though, so that’s a risk you’re going to have to be willing to take. This is tucked into a corner of a hallway on the south face of the building.
This one is right at the top of the stairs across the lobby from room 201, on the left side. This is a one-unit stall billed as “gender neutral”, of which us here at UW bathrooms haven’t yet reached a definitive consensus regarding its efficacy. Gender issues aside, this is a great spot for the recluses and those seeking privacy. The lock on the door with the vacant-occupied bolt reduces any sort of confusion in regards to its occupation, which further reinforces its privacy features. The interior is a sad excuse for a bathroom but can be your next bathroom fortress. This one is for the kids that back in high school ate lunch in the bathroom stalls. This is your new sanctuary.