I suck at sharing. Even though I’m not an only child, I’ve never really gotten used to the whole “this object belongs to both of us, and we are both allowed to use it” concept. So it really should come as no surprise that I am slightly (read: very) disturbed by Stanford’s communal bathroom situation.
You know how on TV, college bathrooms are these steamy places where mostly naked students stand around and flirt? Apparently TV writers never actually attended college. Because if they did, I guarantee bathrooms on television would look a helluva lot different.
First, let’s get rid of this “co-ed is sexy” idea. At least in Stern, there are separate facilities for men and women. And I thank dear old Leland and Jane for that fact at least 10 times a day. (Even if they didn’t, you know, directly have a say in the construction of the bathrooms.) Because really, nobody looks cute at 3 a.m. Do you really want the guy you’ve been hooking up with for the entire quarter to see you puking your guts up after too many shots? Or first thing the next morning when your smoky-eye makeup has smeared down to your chin and your hair would make Amy Winehouse step back and say, “Whoa girlfriend, that’s a little too trashy”? Didn’t think so.
And I’ve never seen floor-mates hold full-on conversations in the baño, either. Sure, people say “Hey,” but we’re in there for a reason, you know? No need for superfluous talking. Also, I’m not quite sure how to converse with someone clad only in a too-small towel; my crappy public high school must have skipped that lesson. (But we totally spent three weeks learning how to divide fractions. Which lesson seems like the more important life skill?!? Clearly some educators need to get their priorities ironed out.) My aversion to the sight of ass cheeks first thing in the morning is part of the reason why I am such a huge proponent of bathrobes. They’re also soft and fluffy — sort of like slipping on a cuddly kitten after a shower. And most importantly, I guarantee a trusty robe will save you from at least one dreadfully awkward situation per year. In my book, that makes it a $14.99 well spent.
I suppose I would be a lot more comfortable with communal bathrooms if everyone else using them had obsessive-compulsive cleaning habits. But somehow, I always manage to jump in the shower just after That Girl steps out. You know, the bitch down the hall who wastes all the hot water and leaves copious amounts of hair in the drain. The Chewbacca living on the first floor of Twain has recently taken it one step further; she makes lovely murals out of drain hair and leaves them for all to see.
As much as they may scare me, communal bathrooms have taught me two lessons. Number one: things are not always going to be ideal. Wouldn’t it be nice if we each got our own marble bathroom with a built-in Jacuzzi? And at night, maybe little Keebler elves could come and scrub them clean. Instead, we get mildew-y shower stalls and abstract art made of hair. The trick is to make the best out of less-than-ideal situations, and when all else fails, laugh. Laugh at yourself, laugh at the ridiculous predicaments you find yourself in, laugh until your stomach hurts. When you’re done, things usually look at least a little brighter.
The second lesson that Stanford bathrooms have taught me? Always — and I do mean always — wear shower shoes.