Bathroom Politics | Teen Ink

Bathroom Politics MAG

May 29, 2009
By Jordan Alper BRONZE, Santa Monica, California
Jordan Alper BRONZE, Santa Monica, California
4 articles 2 photos 0 comments

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.

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This article has 32 comments.

on Jul. 13 2010 at 3:22 pm
toxic.monkey SILVER, Tashkent, Other
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Favorite Quote:
"Homo homini lupus"

This is serious and funny at the same time- love it!

on May. 13 2010 at 8:40 pm
Tessa Isis-Bahoosh BRONZE, Rockport, Maine
2 articles 0 photos 6 comments
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.

on Nov. 16 2009 at 9:25 pm
CaseyLeigh PLATINUM, Moraga, California
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Favorite Quote:
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I love this article! It really made me think about the difference between guys and girls in regards to the bathroom, which never occured to me before.

on Oct. 20 2009 at 11:09 am
Phantom_Girl GOLD, Ft. Carson, Colorado
14 articles 0 photos 279 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If it comes out of the lion's will be on the test."
-Mr. Bala

Ha ha. Funny. This is why we go to the bathroom in groups.

Error BRONZE said...
on Oct. 7 2009 at 8:29 pm
Error BRONZE, Plano, Texas
3 articles 0 photos 56 comments
I thought this was hilarious! "Bathroom politics". Ha! What a funny concept. I had never thoght of it that way.

on Sep. 28 2009 at 2:50 pm
kennedy_rowzz SILVER, Sterling Heights, Michigan
8 articles 0 photos 35 comments

Favorite Quote:
"we can never truly know who we are"-afi

This is totally true, you have expanded my horizons with this intresting topic.

on Jun. 16 2009 at 2:18 am
IRBFGW DIAMOND, Cincinnati, Ohio
53 articles 1 photo 223 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Hey, assbutt!" Supernatural, Castiel.

I really like this, its very clever. Its sort of an odd topic I would have never thought about, but the most important part of writting is originality, which is defenitly here! Very nice work, funny and clever!

on Jun. 15 2009 at 12:01 am
morgie7<3 PLATINUM, Tremont, Illinois
34 articles 0 photos 93 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
~Michael Jordan

this was good in a weird sort of way. I have never thought about it before. Thanks for your opinion, I loved the 'John was here' thing!! Great job and keep writing!

XxXxX0 BRONZE said...
on Jun. 14 2009 at 10:17 pm
XxXxX0 BRONZE, ..., Virginia
1 article 1 photo 24 comments
As a guy, I have to totally agree with this article! This was written very well, I love your intellectual/slightly-humorous tone, and it was interesting to see how you made an ordinary topic into something interesting and very fresh.

on Jun. 14 2009 at 1:10 pm
Dandelion PLATINUM, Franklin, Massachusetts
20 articles 8 photos 173 comments
Wow . . . I've never really put that much thought into going to the bathroom. But then again, I'm a girl.

on Jun. 12 2009 at 4:10 pm
Interesting topic. I have never thought of anything like this. It totally makes sense.

on Jun. 12 2009 at 6:57 am
Lauren Slack BRONZE, Broomfield, Colorado
1 article 0 photos 4 comments
I love this!! Your tone is clever, insightful and very fun to read. It's a great skill to take a seemingly meaningless topic like the bathroom and, with witty satire, turn it into an up-to-date opinion piece that leaves the reader yearning for more. Well done :)