Campus bathrooms vary in quality, gutsy writer gets dirt on top-tier toilets

Bathroom in lower Templeton
Leo Bernstein Newman / The Mossy Log

The weeks leading up to my first day at Lewis & Clark were permeated with worries: Will I fit in? Will I find friends? Will classes be too hard? Too easy? But one fear rose above the rest: How in the name of all things holy am I supposed to live my life using only public bathrooms for the next eight months? 

The idea of arriving at a toilet that  has been pre-warmed by a stranger, a neighbor on either side of me and a full audience brushing their teeth at the sinks was nearly too much for me to handle. I was not heartened when I arrived at my dorm and peered into the dingy Ponderosa bathroom (which, at the time, did not have warm showers).

I am a sophomore now, and I have spent the past year and a half assembling my thoughts on the various bathrooms across campus, which are the swankiest, which are the coziest, which are the most frightening. I have tried these lavatories out with a critical eye and a suspicious excretory system. Without further ado, I present my LC restroom review.

Templeton Temptations – 6/10

I would like to start with the newest addition to the LC bathroom lineup: the third floor Templeton restrooms. If you want to ease your post-Bon gastric distress in a cubicle-inspired environment, this is the place for you. The full walls provide the illusion of privacy, which is slightly compromised when the sound of tromping feet and slamming doors sound all around you. 

There is some semblance of genius behind the sheer quantity of subrooms tucked into this chamber: People go to Fields Dining Hall in droves, and no basic bathroom can accommodate the tsunami of burger-chompers. That said, the result is some rather atrocious conditions for the poor 2 p.m. poopers. I give these bathrooms 6/10, because I cannot resist their absurdity.

Alder Oddity – 4/10

Templeton may have some funky bathrooms, but those on residential campus take innovation to a new level. The building that stands out to me as an especially trail-blazing facility is Alder. The sinks in Alder live subversive lives: One faucet slumps dejectedly into the basin of the sink, challenging the users’ preconceptions about whether appearance implies functionality. 

Meanwhile, another sink allows hand-washers to turn the “cold” knob backwards further than it can turn forward, though this does not appear to significantly increase water flow. Besides the sinks, these bathrooms are functional, but just barely. I give them 4/10.

Olin Oh My! – 3/10

The bathrooms on academic campus are largely unremarkable, with a few important exceptions. One of these is the Olin bathrooms. I go to the Olin bathrooms when I want to feel like a murderer will burst into my stall and kill me on the spot. If you want to be on the edge of your (toilet) seat, I cannot recommend these restrooms more highly. The dim and flickering lights, the oddly placed mirrors, the all-around shabbiness. 

One bathroom, tucked in a hidden corner on the second floor, has a ceiling that swoops down at a diagonal, effectively ensnaring anyone who has the audacity to be moderately tall. Plus, the urinals are conveniently in line with the sinks, so if you are a standing peer, it is a trivial matter to turn your torso and start washing your hands before you have even finished. I give these bathrooms 3/10.

Frank Manor Flushes – 7.5/10

At this point, I have hit on several problematic restrooms, so I feel obligated to recommend a pleasant one. The next time you find yourself passing the Frank Manor House, I recommend you stop by the loo. I went for the first time just recently, and it was everything I expected from Frank’s digs. I followed the restroom sign into a completely furnished semicircular sitting area. Nothing says “classy” like a bathroom with its own antechamber. 

The bathroom itself is nice and private, with lovely 1920s decor. It features a window opposite the toilet for one to contemplatively gaze out if they should so desire. The one major drawback is the sink, which stands at around waist level and refused to heat for the duration of my 20-second hand-washing session. I give the Frank Manor lavatory 7.5/10.

By my calculations, there are hundreds of restrooms on campus, and here I have only provided you the gentlest of wafts. My strongest opinions are here, but there are so many more to be explored; I leave it to you to decide for yourself which bathroom is best and which is worst.

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