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Bathroom Politics This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


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At school, it's common to hear one girl ask another, “Want to go to the bathroom with me?” But I have never thought to ask that of a guy friend. I doubt I would get a positive reaction if I did. The male bathroom experience is utterly ­different from that of the female.

Even in the most disheveled of men's rooms, there are rules. An ­unspoken etiquette is observed, ­especially when it comes to selecting a urinal. One must always furnish neighbors with a buffer zone of at least one urinal. If this is not an option, look up and ­pretend to be deep in thought. In addition, avoid all communication, along with unnecessary eye contact.

I believe that women's social ­behavior in the bathroom shows their confidence and illustrates men's insecurity. The women's bathroom is a destination where they can talk without men overhearing. Guys hardly take advantage of this privacy and experience their restroom without the chit chat. We feel free to debrief each other on our weekend escapades and talk about personal issues outside the bathroom, but never in it.

Personally, the question of whether to use the stall or the urinal haunts me most. Urinals may be crowded, possibly with people I wouldn't want to stand next to, like an eighth grader picking his nose and wearing smelly gym shorts. Stalls are a safe-haven where I can sit in privacy and read about how “John was here,” or “Stop writing things on the wall, John. You aren't funny.” But urinals represent a privilege of manhood; I don't want to seem like less of a man for choosing a stall.

High school students are heading toward a bathroom upheaval: college co-ed restrooms. After spending our bathroom lives separated and operating under dramatically different social codes, how are men and women supposed to adapt to sharing bathrooms? Will we talk ­together? Will men start visiting the bathroom in groups? Will I finally be able to ­escape the awkwardness of the men's room?

Change is necessary for us to gracefully handle our college bathroom ­experience. I am tired of following stringent rules, but at the same time, treating this place like a living room seems inappropriate and unhygienic.

What can I do to spark this change and to help prepare both my fellow men and myself for the college experience ahead? Maybe next time I'm in the bathroom I will ask someone how his day is going, or what he thinks of the tasteless graffiti on the wall.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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This article has 31 comments. Post your own!

FaseehaHarthim said...
Sept. 25, 2012 at 9:10 am:
The first time I got to know of the male bathroom experience! lol =D
 
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IAmWhoIWantToBeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 22, 2012 at 4:09 am:
Well, this is so true and I didn't really think about how the boys  act inside their bathroom. You're wriitng is good. Keep it up.
 
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Brianna23 said...
Jan. 11, 2012 at 9:07 pm:
I love this article. It's so true. I'm always talking in the bathroom with friends and we take like 10 minutes just looking in the mirror meanwhile guys take 5 seconds. I love your style of writing. Your funny and persusive at the same time. Not many people will write about a topic like this but you did a great job.
 
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pkattubadi said...
Jan. 11, 2012 at 7:18 am:
I didnt really get this article because I thought in college women have their own bathrooms and so do boys they are not combined it didnt make sense to me.
 
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screename4 said...
Jan. 11, 2012 at 6:05 am:
This is really interesting, and im glad you did a subject like this, which many people could overlook. Great Job!
 
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Dragonscribe said...
Nov. 18, 2011 at 2:54 pm:
Hilarious!
 
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imyours said...
Nov. 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm:
I would like to inform you that this atricle is thoroughly intriguing, even to one of the opposite sex such as I. I was stunned at the topic, however it's definitely relebant. Kudos to you, you have an excellent writing style. I love the ending "or what he thinks of the tasteless graffiti on the wall". Never stop writing !!! ((:
 
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brazilla_lyn said...
Jul. 1, 2011 at 7:02 am:
i think unrinals should have something aroun them to protect privacy
 
Poetic_blue replied...
Oct. 9, 2012 at 10:18 am :
So... like a stall...? Anyway, great article :)
 
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rockyraccoon said...
Jun. 26, 2011 at 3:58 am:
first coed bathrooms sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen second stalls are better and urinals are just wrong i say it and ill say it later.
 
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The~Watcher said...
Jan. 29, 2011 at 10:40 am:

Very interesting. :)

 

But out of curiosity, exactly how do you know what we girls do in the bathroom?

 
bieberl0ve15 replied...
May 23, 2011 at 7:40 pm :
Hahahaha :D
 
swcricket98 replied...
Jun. 26, 2011 at 12:38 am :
^^ I agree with this entire comment xD
 
EnderWiggin replied...
Nov. 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm :
ZING!!!!!!
 
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WritingAngel20 said...
Jan. 2, 2011 at 12:08 pm:
It's different but in a good way, keep writing
 
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yoyoyoyo said...
Dec. 10, 2010 at 1:14 pm:
Co-ed bathrooms? Nice outlook, bro.
 
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ThatClarinetPerson said...
Dec. 4, 2010 at 3:59 pm:
.......I never thought about that. My friend's sister asked one time, "why do guys even need urinals? They can use a regular toilet just fine at home."
 
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NataliaBoulevarde said...
Nov. 24, 2010 at 12:02 am:
Interesting and creative. Nice work.
 
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toxic.monkey said...
Jul. 13, 2010 at 3:22 pm:
This is serious and funny at the same time- love it!
 
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Tessa I. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 13, 2010 at 8:40 pm:
This is really bizarrely delightful.  It makes me terrribly happy to know that there are people in the world who think about these things in such an entertaining and intelligent way.
 
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