1st & 2nd Floors

January 14, 2014

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:

First Floor

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.

Second Floor

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.

Second Floor Mezzanine

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.



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