Here I Sit, Cheeks a-Flexin': Campus Bathroom Reviews, Part One

Now, I don’t like to complain about the most essential room in the house. In the words of a long-vanished graffito from the downstairs GCC bathrooms, “Thank Uncle Sam we’re free 2 pee.” I appreciate being able to refresh myself indoors, in private, without getting cold or leaving a mess behind for my fellow community members. Just imagine if there were no bathrooms on campus—it’d be a dis-ass-ter. But sometimes, after a long day, you need that added bit of comfort and security that comes with a really pleasant toilet experience. Life is just better if you’ve got a light and airy atmosphere to keep you cheerful as you evacuate and some encouraging graffiti to speed you on your way.

With that in mind, a female partner and I have embarked upon an exhaustive survey of Reed’s porcelain thrones. It’s our hope that these reviews will help you lighten your load from day to day.

(These pages can also serve as a more direct aid, if I forget to restock the TP in the SU bathrooms again.)


Ground Floor Men’s and Women’s Bathrooms

While the number of fixtures is low (often resulting in lines and logjams in the aftermath of Thesis Parade), the toilets and urinals are in good working order and the wide cubicles provide a comfortable berth. Since these are the most public bathrooms on campus, used by administrators, professors, and visitors, they are kept scrupulously clean: a perfect poop for germophobes.

The walls are large and sparse, and there’s no graffiti in either bathroom, but both contain a poster from several years back, showing a beautiful aerial view across campus and the Olde admissions slogan “Inquire Within.” However, while the men’s bathroom is walled with colossal windows that look out upon the Blue Bridge and lend an open feel to the room, the women’s is windowless. “I feel like I’m inside a vagina,” noted my partner, squinting at the close, deep-pink walls. We decided to keep our eyes peeled for more proof of a pooping patriarchy.

Basement Men’s and Women’s Bathrooms

These bathrooms are fairly unremarkable—apart from serving as another example of the pooptriarchy; the women’s has no windows—but while scrutinizing them we did have an important realization. My partner told me that these bathrooms were her favorite, because her classes are all nearby. It’s important, we realized, to keep in mind the subjective nature of all of these reviews. You each have your own special relationships with these rooms. This is, after all, a private place.

Third Floor Faculty Bathrooms

The men’s faculty bathroom is accessible through the faculty lounge, that handsome old room that looks as though it’s just been vacated by a meeting of the Elks. A portrait of Simeon Reed watches in silent judgment from above the fireplace as you hurry to pee. The small room contains two little stalls, a sink and a teeny little door in the wall, about four feet high. We asked a staff member what was inside, and he just told us “the spirits.” Make of that what you will.

The ladies’ room, while much larger and equipped with its own little antechamber and waiting bench, is not accessible from the faculty lounge — doubtless a legacy of the faculty’s gentlemen’s-club, cigars-and-brandy past.

These bathrooms are by far the most beautiful on campus. Marble stall dividers. Elegantly tiled floors. “Cashmere Woods” air freshener in a convenient spray can. The women’s bathroom is painted in beautiful blues and looks like the Habsburgs’ private aquarium (and, unlike the other women’s in Eliot, has windows), while the men’s — cramped and cozy, but complete with vintage light-switch and mysterious door — has the same ancient feel as the faculty lounge. Both even have a view of the Blue Bridge. We’re not trying to incite class war here, but if Eliot is looking quiet someday, take a look — and a shit. The mirrors and hexagonal tiles immediately reminded my partner of Borges’s infinite library, so these toilets are clearly brimming with stimulating intellectual ferment.

Fourth Floor Gender-Neutral Bathroom

One toilet and one sink, all to yourself, which creates a bit of traffic during the day. The room is dominated by a ladder and trapdoor that lead to the Eliot roof.

The heat and the humming ventilation fan, as well as the room’s small, private size, create a feeling of intimacy. The room almost reminds one of a sphincter, apart from the almost cloying scent of air freshener. All in all, a serviceable bathroom for quieter hours in Eliot, not so much for the rush between classes.


ML Men’s and Women’s Bathrooms (South Stacks)

Conveniently close to the new pit and circ. desk, inconveniently small, consistently the worst-smelling bathrooms on campus. More awkwardly intimate than Skype sex. Even my favorite piece of graffiti in the men’s (“Kroger, Granger, Brody – K.G.B.  – Coincidence?”) has been scrubbed out. Not recommended.

ML Thesis Tower Men’s and Women’s Bathrooms

I didn’t even know these existed until my partner led me here, and I’m sad I didn’t visit them sooner. Tranquil and pleasantly tiled. The walls are a little spare and there’s not much to look at — or at least, there wasn’t until your fellow students copied a few stanzas of the Iliad onto the walls of the men’s and covered the pinboard in the women’s with enthusiastic and colorful graffiti. These bathrooms are institutionally memorable.