Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


A meditation on bathroom culture

Over Halloween, I dressed up like a girl. I used this
opportunity to sneak into the ladies room, so I could see what
really went down in there. No, I’m not a pervert with a picture
phone; I’m just doing my journalistic service for every male who
wants to know why girls must go to the bathroom in pairs or

Well fellas, I can tell you, it’s wilder than a cocktail party
in there! Let me paint you a picture. You’ve got girls in front of
the mirror borrowing each other’s lip gloss and mascara, assuring
each other they look great. Over in line, some girls have
become best friends, from talking shit about the girl with way too
much makeup on who’s been dancing with the hottie from their econ
class. And on the couch (yes gentleman, the ladies room has all
sorts of accoutrements like couches, lotions, perfumes, and lamps),
there are some girls chatting on the phone. Finally, some are just
standing around waiting for their friends. They only came to the
bathroom to keep them company for the long wait in line.

Ladies, if you must know why this intrigues guys so much, the
answer is simple. A men’s room couldn’t be more different. Just ask
any girl who’s been brave enough to forgo the 20-minute line in the
ladies room and venture into a boy’s lavatory. They’ll tell you
it’s more like a laboratory, with all the unidentified liquids on
the ground and workplace-like silence.


See, guys take personal space to the next level. Not only is eye
contact avoided at all costs, but the 1-3-5 rule is employed. For
those of you unfamiliar with this bathroom statute, I’ll

Think of five urinals lined up in a row. Each one has a number,
starting from left to right, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. The rule comes
into practice when, for example, the first and fifth urinals are in
use. It would be abhorrent should someone come and start to use a
urinal other than the third.

While this may seem strange to you ladies, the behavior prior to
bathroom usage is even more bizarre. Instead of asking a friend to
come with them to the bathroom, guys will simply announce to the
group that they have to use the bathroom and will explain exactly
what they will be doing in there.

It must be noted, ladies, that explaining what you will be doing
in the bathroom is not advised, since guys tend to act more
squeamish than an ADD middle-schooler without Ritalin.

This makes me wonder about the idea of co-ed bathrooms, now
popular in trendy offices and dorms in small liberal arts colleges
in the East.

Implementation in bars here could lead to all types of changes.
Girls see a trip to the bathroom like a first-class plane ride:
comfortable, lots of legroom, and nice amenities. Guys see it like
sitting coach on a Greyhound bus: stuffy, smelly, and “What the
hell is that guy looking at?” Mixing the two together could be like
taking a cross-county family trip in a minivan. Everyone’s happy to
be on the road at first, but it soon turns into a nightmare where
you count the mile markers ’til the next road stop when you can
finally get out of the damn car.

Procedural problems also come to mind. Girls would have to
develop an entirely new way of using the bathroom. How could they
be expected to sit in the stalls? Have you ever seen a guy’s
bathroom stall? They are scarier than bad Ben Affleck movies.

It’ll get messy. The pristine image significant others have of
each other will be shattered when they realize who it was “making
all that noise” in the stall next to theirs. Where would girls go
to talk about the guy they like when his roommate may be washing
his hands at the sink? Where will guys go to get away from their
girlfriends? The universe will surely fall out of line; guys will
unknowingly use bidets as sinks, girls will mistake urinal cakes
for soap.

So please, UW-Madison and private business owners of the greater
Madison metropolitan area, let’s kill this idea before we have
people marching down State Street for the integration of bathrooms.
This is one segregationist policy that makes sense.

What we need is something akin to Title IV for bathrooms: equal
spending for both genders. If some amenities must be cut from the
ladies room to make up the slack, so be it; but I am tired of not
being able to bitch about my problems while sitting leisurely on
couches with random strangers.

On second thought, maybe it’s better the way it is. Now I’ve got
to go drop an angry deuce.


Andrew Fein ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in


Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *