I reviewed Whitman bathrooms so you don’t have to

Maura Kelly, Opinion Columnist

One of the greatest menaces to college students is the bathroom quandary. No matter how you identify, you probably have some sort of plight surrounding where, when or how you take care of your business. You come to college, and you are no longer in the sanctity of your beloved home where there are hand towels and you can pee in the shower (that one took a massive toll on me). Now, you have to coordinate too many variables, and there’s always the chance that someone will walk in mid-poop and disrupt the harmony you have so tirelessly been pursuing.

I consider myself to be a bit of a bathroom connoisseur. I dabble in an app called PoopMap where users can “drop a poop” on the map whenever and wherever they go number two. I’m high in the ranks of thousands of poopers around the world, so I have ample experience in seeking out the good spots to go; this makes me quite qualified to impart a few of my thoughts on the bathrooms at Whitman.

I greatly appreciate the gender-inclusive bathrooms. Cleveland Commons, in particular, provides a delightful and all-inclusive atmosphere that is bright, airy and well-equipped. I feel secure in the private rooms and never feel rushed because there are always plenty of stalls open. Conversely, gendered bathrooms, such as the ones in Olin Hall, are usually victim to long lines during passing periods. If a busy dining hall can subvert lines by creating a neutral space with many stalls, there is no reason why academic buildings should have to play by the old gendered rules. 

Also, there is something about the variety in the size and shape of the separate stalls in Cleveland Commons that brings me so much comfort — depending on the day and my mood, I regularly switch up where I go. They feel very welcoming and inclusive to all, and they remove the anxiety of choice for all individuals, no matter how you chose to identify. 

On the other side of the spectrum, we have dorm bathrooms. As an Anderson Hall resident, I cannot fully attest to the rest of the residence halls, but I have a bone to pick with whoever came up with the rules and regulations for Andy bathrooms. The other day, I traipsed into a second-floor Anderson bathroom only to come face to face with some dude’s behind. He was pissing with the stall door wide open and his backpack still on. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like it doesn’t take much time or energy in that situation to latch the door. The Whitman Bathroom Etiquette Agreement needs to be updated.

In Anderson Hall, two bathrooms are gender-neutral while the rest are gendered. These on-campus gender-neutral spaces, however, feel male-dominated. I’m not sure if the majority of men were just never properly potty-trained, but the bathrooms that male-presenting students use are a war zone. The smell overtakes the entire place, piss runs rampant, toilets are left unflushed and they are constantly leaving leftover gloop in the sinks. Men tend to complain about the hair that women leave behind, and while this may hold true for some individuals, as a former housekeeper, I can vouch for the fact that men leave an obscene amount of pubic hair lying around. 

A solution could be to make only male spaces and non-male spaces (as opposed to male and female), so if you want to spray shaving cream on the mirror, leave the seat up or not latch the door, then you should be free to do that with your chosen grimy comrades. 

As I sit and pound away at my keyboard, grappling with the different options in my mind, I keep coming up feeling unable to adequately describe the predicament that nonbinary and trans individuals find themselves in at Whitman College. I believe you should go to the bathroom where you feel comfortable, and Whitman must do a better job of providing more of these all-inclusive spaces. I think the simplest and fastest solution we can find is to replace the gendered bathroom signs with gender-neutral signs in all academic buildings because why are we picking and choosing which buildings are inclusive? Going to the bathroom should not be something that people have to stress about and plan ahead for.