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 Aug. 21 2014 at 8:17 pm
Stick it to the man

on Oct. 9 2012 at 10:18 am
Poetic_blue SILVER, Palm Bay., Florida
9 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be who you are because those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter"

So... like a stall...? Anyway, great article :)

on Sep. 25 2012 at 9:10 am
FaseehaHarthim BRONZE, Thihariya, Other
4 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
Keep moving forward!

The first time I got to know of the male bathroom experience! lol =D

on Apr. 22 2012 at 4:09 am
IAmWhoIWantToBe PLATINUM, Manila, Other
41 articles 0 photos 650 comments

Favorite Quote:
‎"I’m learning how to drown out the constant noise that is such an inseparable part of my life. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I only have to follow my heart and concentrate on what I want to say to the world: I run my world." - Beyoncé

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.

on Jan. 11 2012 at 9:07 pm
Brianna23 BRONZE, Columbus, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 3 comments
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.

pkattubadi said...
on Jan. 11 2012 at 7:18 am
pkattubadi, Columbus, New Jersey
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments
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.

on Jan. 11 2012 at 6:05 am
screename4 BRONZE, Columbus, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 5 comments
This is really interesting, and im glad you did a subject like this, which many people could overlook. Great Job!

on Nov. 18 2011 at 2:54 pm
Dragonscribe BRONZE, West Lafayette, Indiana
4 articles 0 photos 303 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A Person's a Person no Matter how Small"
"A Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet"
"God helps those who help themselves"


imyours said...
on 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 !!! ((:

EnderWiggin said...
on Nov. 3 2011 at 3:23 pm
EnderWiggin, Pittsfield, Maine
0 articles 0 photos 21 comments
I concur with the above comment. Well done, good sir! If we attended the same school, I am positive that we would get along nicely.

EnderWiggin said...
on Nov. 3 2011 at 3:19 pm
EnderWiggin, Pittsfield, Maine
0 articles 0 photos 21 comments

on Jul. 1 2011 at 7:02 am
BreLyn_Boss BRONZE, Fpo, Other
2 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
Dream like you'll live forever, Live like you'll die tomorrow

i think unrinals should have something aroun them to protect privacy

rockyraccoon said...
on Jun. 26 2011 at 3:58 am
rockyraccoon, Fort Wayne, Indiana
0 articles 0 photos 54 comments

Favorite Quote:
today tommorow next month next year all look remarkably gray.

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.

on Jun. 26 2011 at 12:38 am
swcricket98 GOLD, Williamson, Georgia
13 articles 17 photos 102 comments

Favorite Quote:
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

^^ I agree with this entire comment xD

on May. 23 2011 at 7:40 pm
Untouchable-Summer SILVER, Cranford, New Jersey
6 articles 0 photos 86 comments

Favorite Quote:
Even the best fall down sometimes

Hahahaha :D

The~Watcher said...
on 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?

on Jan. 2 2011 at 12:08 pm
WritingAngel20 BRONZE, Ardmore, Alabama
3 articles 0 photos 36 comments

Favorite Quote:
"In order to suceed, your desire for success must be greater than your fear of failure" -Bill Cosby

It's different but in a good way, keep writing

yoyoyoyo said...
on Dec. 10 2010 at 1:14 pm
Co-ed bathrooms? Nice outlook, bro.

on Dec. 4 2010 at 3:59 pm
ThatClarinetPerson SILVER, Tequesta, Florida
8 articles 0 photos 226 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life. Don't talk to me about life."
~Marvin the Paranoid Android (from the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy series)
Statistical analysis suggests that i am probably in tune with someone
(hahahahaha! I love this cause i'm never ever ever in tune >o

.......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."

on Nov. 24 2010 at 12:02 am
NataliaBoulevarde, N/a, California
0 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
" Your first breath is the idea of an unestablished sentence, your first smile is the affirmation of that sentence's future entirety, and your first step is the pen to paper in which it will take to carry on that sentence's closing." -myself

Interesting and creative. Nice work.