The Way Bathrooms Ought To Be


Submitted 5 months ago
Created by
Anita Hamalainen

Have you ever seen a different way of doing something and thought: "Dear heavens, why isn't everyone doing it this way? Are we living in the dark ages?!"

I had this palm-slapping-forehead epiphany when I saw the bathroom signs last week at Pica Pica, a Filipino restaurant in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.

Filipino food? In Vermont?!

I realize Pica PIca didn't invent this absurdly logical way of offering two powder rooms in which to freshen up, but it was the first time I saw such a sign and this approach to egalitarian restroom facilities. (I don't eat out much. 4 kids.)

I loved this sign so much, I took its picture.

There has recently been much bathroom brouhaha about who can use which public lavatory, with misinformation and fear at the base of the discussion. But this sign cuts to the chase.... this bathroom is for whatever, whomever, just wash your hands. Simple, straightforward, with a dash humor to boot.

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Let's think about the Men's and Women's Rooms at a typical independent restaurant. Both bathrooms usually feature a toilet, sink, and if the stars are aligned, soap with which to wash your hands and towels or a machine for drying them. Nothing usually distinguishes the two bathrooms beyond the silly signs on the doors: His/Hers, Ladies/Gents, Gulls/Buoys, or a whole host of disturbing graphic signage thoroughly documented online.

I admit my family has been breaking the antiquated loo rules for a while now. When one of my sons, mid-bite, exclaims: "I need to pee," we hoof it to the john, and if the Men's Room is occupied, I immediately shepherd him into the Women's Room. My three sons are all old enough to use the facilities without me, so we are truly breaking the rules; there is no actual woman in the ladies' lavatory. But honestly, who cares?? There are two bathrooms-- one is occupied and there's a dancing and pinching little boy outside the other staring longingly at the available toilet. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I propose we make it official and end the rule breaking. If the bathroom is available, first come, first served, whatever. Just wash your hands.

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