Voth: Bathrooms best for single sexes

Adam Voth

If a man’s home is his castle, then where, oh where, would the throne room be? The room where a king can take off his cape and let the crown down, so to speak. You must know that I’m talking about the bathroom. It’s a wonderful place and, when properly stocked, can be more effective than a bomb shelter or panic room in a time of need.

Recently, however, I read a disturbing article in the Daily News about the coedization of bathrooms at the University of Pennsylvania. Apparently, this is a new issue among school administrations. The University of Iowa, University of Washington, as well as American U. and Brown have amended their college nondiscrimination by-laws to become more transgender friendly. What this means in English is that now, among other things, there will be no more single sex bathrooms at these institutions.

Now, really, I’m not for discriminating on the basis of anything and having equal facilities for everyone. But does it really mean we have to give up the privacy afforded by having a single-sex bathroom? It just seems to me that things like this are another example of a good thing being taken too far.

Personally, the idea of de-sexing bathrooms seems like a bad idea. A bathroom is one of those safe places where one (hopefully) never has to be onguard. Seriously ladies, what would happen when a herd of you needed to convene to the restroom for your second session of congress one night and there was a guy in there doing his business? It would be a major disruption, I’m sure, and I can definitely say I’d feel sorry for whatever poor guy finds himself in that situation. You think you’re safe and then BAM! It’d be like tunneling out of prison, only to pop up next door in the firing range.

Another aspect that is perhaps the biggest for me is that I don’t know if my girlfriend’s bathroom is indicative of all other girl’s bathrooms. If it were, I’d be scared to share. My girlfriend’s bathroom scares me to death. It looks like a medieval torture chamber: there are things for straightening and curling and maybe even flattening, I’m not sure, as well as plucking (the polite term for ripping hairs out of your body). Not to mention a blow dryer that looks like it’d be more at home pushing along a Boeing 747 than blasting your hair dry.

It’s not all one-sided here, either. I’m sure girls want nothing to do with guys bathrooms either. There have been points where I’ve been in guys’ bathrooms here and thought for a second I wandered into a shanty town or something: newspapers blowing everywhere, enough empty toilet paper rolls to build a log cabin and the occasional forlorn pair of underwear that seemed to have been forgotten.

Basically what I’m saying here, is sometimes even I don’t want to be in my own bathroom, so I know a girl wouldn’t want to be either. And vice versa. The matter of discrimination is a serious thing, and should be addressed as so, but there are some places where it becomes less a matter of political correctness as it does of common sense.

Now, Villanova being a Catholic institution, I don’t think we’re going to have to worry about all this. We’re lucky we can look at the opposite sex.

What we do have to worry about, though, is the reason behind all of this, another favorite topic of mine: stupidity. There is nothing discriminatory about having single sex bathrooms. It’s nobody’s fault that girls can’t use urinals, so it’s just something we’re all going to have to learn to live in peace with.

Seriously, though, the motivation behind such a push is admirable and worthwhile, but when things like this happen, it runs the risk of backfiring, becoming ridiculous, like if PETA splintered to form PETV: People for the Ethical Treatment of Vegetables. A female senior at Penn was quoted as saying that this move (the move to have coed bathrooms) was the most important thing Penn has done while she has been at school there.

If that’s the most significant thing then I feel a little sorry for her and Penn (though I highly doubt it is). And aren’t there other, perhaps more practical and important things that could be made goals: what about color-blind admissions? Or becoming one of a minority of universities with women presidents? I think these things would better serve the fight against discrimination than being able to hold hands with your girlfriend or boyfriend while you go to the bathroom. Think about it.