23 Comments

  1. I think the idea is that the tunnel is a (not-so)secret way into and out of the women’s room, so they don’t have to wait in the line. But it doesn’t help if there are no stalls available, anyway.

  2. Arthur and B.A. nailed both of the possible explanations. Folly’s pun is a nice description, but I think “pee-brains” would be closer to the mark. It’s also worth noting that for such a revolting and misogynic composition, the drawing itself is remarkably non-ugly for “Close to Home” standards.

  3. What makes New York’s Irish Repertory Theatre different from most is that they have absurdly inadequate facilities for everybody (four separate non-gender-specific stalls), so men can feel “how the other half lives”.

  4. @ Olivier – Decades ago I attended a spiritual event that was held at a sports facility in LA. There were lines in front of every bathroom, but the ones for the ladies’ restrooms were several times at long as for the men’s. At some point I witnessed two nuns (in full regalia) who had moved over to the line for the men’s room. That “broke the ice”, so that a number of women followed suit, which helped (at least a little) to even out the disparity.

  5. One lavatory design crime women probably have been spared, is the waist high open trough with flowing water (and urine) running along the middle of the room, in some men’s restrooms at older large sports venues.

  6. I’ve encountered the men’s room trough at least twice in my life, one of which wasn’t that long ago.

  7. I’ve encountered the trough a few times as well.

    There are times, other than during pandemics, when I favor social distancing.

  8. I went to a conference in Linz, Austria in 1980. That bathroom had a trough – with an electric eye to tell when to start the water flowing. All the engineers had great fun with it.

    In the Bay Area single seat rooms with common washing facilities outside are becoming more common. That handles the problem very well.

  9. The trough was present in the bathroom at my (all-male) college dormitory in the early/mid-1960s, and more recently was seen by me at a Renaissance Fair (where, admittedly, “primitive” is part of the schtick.)

    But also casting my mind back to college days — an all-woman dorm was built next to ours, and some of us (I was a dormitory R.A.) were invited to tour before it opened. The women’s bathroom had (an optional) facility I’d never heard of before of since, whose purpose was to enable passing urine quickly — it had a narrow porcelain basin jutting out, and the idea was that the co-ed would drop trou and undies (or raise skirts and drop undies) and then hover over the the middle of the jutting basin, let nature take its course, and resume her usual clothing, without needing to sit down or (eeh) ‘touch’ anything..

    I didn’t think to ask any female friends at the time (probably too shy), but I would be amazed if, even with those advantages, said utensle got used, other than in desperation, for the first three or four weeks (and then was quietly remove)d.

  10. My mother would simply go to the men’s room, which usually have stalls, too.

    At the sports venues I (used to) attend, the stalls are used by men as extra urinals. Any woman wanting to crash and use a stall better be an expert at “hover” or grab some paper towels for serious wipe-down first.

  11. I remember using them a long time ago. I believe it was at Jack Murphy Stadium (Later renamed to Qualcomm Stadium) in San Diego. If my memory is correct, they must have updated them at some point. If my memory is incorrect, then it was some other stadium.

  12. I forget where it was but I have used a very ancient men’s room where there was a wall with a trough at the bottom, and a perforated pipe along the wall to run water on the wall to keep it clean. You did what the Bible says men do against the wall.(KJV 1 Samuel 25:22 et al.) The wall with a trough appears to have been a common 19th-century item. One at a boys’ school is described in Joyce’s “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.” Someone had drawn a picture on the wall of a man holding a brick in each hand and labeled it “Balbus was building a wall,” a reference to a standard Latin textbook of the time in which Balbus is building a wall, Balbus was building a wall, Balbus would be building a wall and so on. There was no such picture and no inscription on the wall I used.

  13. I have encountered the middle of the room trough as well as the wall trough. Then, in about 2010, in a new building, just opened, I encountered the new, trendy version of the “let it all hang out” approach to bladder voiding. https://www.idealspec.co.uk/Uploads/Banners/108_CisternSupply.jpg

    There is no way to snuggle up to that to get a little privacy, no partition, and, if you’re not a shorty, the thing is substantially lower than…your thing. Actually, the style I encountered was a bit difference, it’s more of a pedestal, standing out from the wall, with the peepot on top. But similarly exposing.

    I’ve heard this is a common complaint with ladies’ room in many older buildings. But it’s not necessarily the case in newer constructions.

    About 2006 I had occasion to use the ladies’ room where I worked. I had got stuck on a call with a client till well past closing time. All the management had taken off too (which I’m pretty sure violated some policy, but they were lousy managers). I went to the men’s room because I was going to have to do some business. I’d missed my bus and I wasn’t going to be home for probably 90 minutes. The men’s room had two urinals and two stalls. Both stalls were disasters! One was disgusting, so I went to the next and it was just as bad. Since there was nobody left on the floor, I went to the ladies’ room. They had something like 10 stalls in there! Maybe it was 12. But a lot! It was a newer building, though. Built about 2004.

  14. Shrug – Ladies urinals, as they were called, were not common but I saw many of them. The last ones I have seen were in a local Gimbels or Macys and in some Federal buildings in Washington DC.

    One of the DC buildings which had them long into at least the end of the 1900s was in the National Archives. We used to go down to DC on Memorial Day weekend and there would lots of school groups. I always got a laugh out of being in a booth with a regular toilet bowl and listen to a group of school girls coming in and encountering one in a booth – and the confusion and discussion about it.

    All booths were changed to regular toilet bowls when last we were in DC.

  15. scottfrombayside – worst design I ever saw for a public bathroom was a ladies room in a multi movie theater in Lancaster, PA. Each booth was a toilet and sink – this wasted booth time and made the line even longer as one person (or family group) took up the booth for both chores.

    (The theater was torn down about 5 years ago to expand the parking for the adjacent – a main feature of the property – Dutch Wonderland – this was done by the same idiot new management which has made problems for the campers/RVers at the campground which is part of the complex behind the old movie theater.)

  16. Robert hates the “hanging on the wall urinals” as he says everyone misses them and one is too “exposed”. I keep telling him that people always call him things like “ma’am” (he has long hair) and he should just come in the ladies room with me – but the time he (and the rest of the guys in our group) were told to never go in the ladys room again as it is illegal by the security guard (luckily a friend) when we all had been painting a window for Christmas and went in to wash our hands together – we always had assumed that the guys bathrooms on campus had sofas in them also until then.

    When I was around 12 my dad got a new office. The two of us were working on painting and decorating it on the weekend when none of the tenants from the floor was around and dad took me in the men’s room to help me get the paint (pre latex water washable paint) off of me – I was fascinated to be in one. (Though I am guessing he took me to at least one before I can remember when I was out with him.)

    He does presume that anywhere we go I know where all the public bathrooms are – hmm, generally he is right. His sister (yes, that SIL) had a house built. Our first visit there – no tour of the house was given – as we were sitting around talking he asked me – “Where is the bathroom?” “It is your sister’s house, why are you asking me?” “No, really where is the bathroom?” I sighed and said “Go back towards the garage where we came in (not allowed to come in the front door) and stop before you get to it and look right.”

  17. This reminds me of a National Lampoon cover that I have never been able to forget: two men at urinals looking at a woman between them who is backed up to one and leaning forward. Seemed practical to me.

  18. @SingaporeBill – women take a fair bit longer then men do (more/more complex clothing to adjust, menstrual issues), so if the women’s room had as many stalls as the men’s room has stalls + urinals it would have less capacity.

    @Meryl A – you’re dating yourself. When I was in undergrad there was ONE women’s washroom that had a “lounge” off of it, and it had been redone into the accessible stall for that washroom. The rest had no such amenity.

    My worst bathroom experience in terms of the men’s vs the women’s room was at a very large girl guide event. Obviously, we normally just used both sets of washrooms (although that doesn’t double the capacity it certainly increases it). But the facility we were using had some men working there at the time, so they had to make an announcement telling us to stick to the women’s washrooms. (Had it been properly planned for, they would have reserved some of the washrooms for the men staff and turned the others over to us, with proper signage of course.)

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