Twice this month I found that I’ve found that I’m a better conversationalist when I’m waiting in line to use the bathroom in those bars, places, or homes that don’t have separate bathrooms by gender.
I guess it’s the combination of boredom, a captive audience, and the need to distract myself from my bladder causes me to strike up a conversation.
It gets me wondering if this is one reason women, who have to endure “the pee line” on an almost daily basis, go to the bathroom in groups.
But mostly it gets me thinking about an obscure piece of Caltech arcana.
In the North Houses, the bathrooms have urinals, stalls, showers and a sink. This makes them impossible to have a locked door/pee line combination. They were designed at a time when the campus was single-gendered (male). When they became multi-gendered, before that balance was anything remotely like a geek event, this represented a big logistical problem.
The solution, I felt, was quite clever. Basically all you needed was an old LP, a nail, and a white-out pen and created the dial-a-gender bathroom:
[The death of dial-a-gender after the jump]
The death of “dial-a-gender”
Starting with my class more women started entering Caltech, which caused the “dial-a-gender”, like the LP record used to create it, to gradually enter the dustbin of history with coming of a new technology: designated gendered bathrooms.
Basically after room assignments, our house—which due to a strange bias among the Caltech administration had been called, “a bunch of sexist jock beer guzzling assholes,” and thus had the worst ratio on campus—would designate one or two bathrooms as “Womens” thus solving the problem.
Well except the part where when you’re drunk you can’t quite remember which bathroom was designated “Womens” that year—and this particuler year, one of them was the nearest bathroom to the Beer Room.
After more than a few “incidents,” the girls of Page came up with a clever idea. They turned the urinals into pots for the plants. This way, when you stumbled into the bathroom, you got an obvious indicator that you were in the wrong one as soon as you went to pee.
I must unfortunately admit that I found this solution very helpful.