Careful with the public trough

Over a year ago, I wrote a post in which I confessed to using a men's room which had been taken over by women, and I ridiculed the so-called "potty parity" laws.

I should have kept my mouth shut, because I may have given the Philadelphia City Council ideas. Councilman Frank Rizzo (who doesn't seem to have inherited his father's perhaps over simplistic common sense) has introduced legislation to require a toilet ratio of two-to-one favoring women:

....according to some studies, it takes the ladies twice as long as gentlemen to use the bathroom once they get there.

And whereas, women have been known to storm the men's room in times of great need, creating much commotion and confusion.

Now, therefore, the Council of the City of Philadelphia, at the behest of Councilman Frank Rizzo, wants you to know that the days of grave bathroom inequality could soon change.

Rizzo introduced a bill yesterday that would require two toilets for women for every one that men have in most places of public assembly (not including schools, hospitals or other buildings used for educational and health purposes).

Call it girl power in the form of potty parity.

Though Rizzo is a man, he feels your pain, ladies.

"I've been in situations where women have actually had to take over the men's room because of the length of the lines for their facilities," Rizzo said.

"It's very embarrassing to have an incident where you can't get to a bathroom," he added. "I think women understand this more so than men, how serious an issue this is."

Rizzo's parity bill is similar to one signed into law earlier this week by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg - it would apply to most new construction, as well as places that are undergoing renovations in a 12-month period that cost more than 50 percent of a building's value.

Places of public assembly are defined in the bill as any arena, bar, concert hall, convention hall, movie theater, public dance hall, stadium, or theater open to the public.

Any bar? Lots of bar owners are ordinary working type people. I'm sure they'll be delighted to know that their businesses are subjected to rules so nonsensical that they don't apply to government buildings.

I guess the easiest way to comply would be to just remove toilets from the men's rooms, and men can pee in the sink. Nah! Better take the sinks out too; men should not be allowed such "advantages."

It would be interesting to see how an equal protection lawsuit might sort this one out. (I'm sure the activists would complain that men have unequal advantages in nature, and therefore restrictive toilet quotas must be imposed to "equalize" the sexes.)

While the differences in plumbing between men and women are beyond dispute (and too well known to require extensive discussion), I'm wondering whether the mere absence of penises accounts for the long delays complained of in official studies:

"it takes the ladies twice as long as gentlemen to use the bathroom once they get there."
For a variety of reasons (shyness being one of them), a number of men also have to pull their pants down and sit on a toilet in order to urinate. While there's no question that this should take longer, why should it take twice as long?

I wonder....

So does at least one female blogger, who asks:

In all my years of being a girl, I've never been able to understand just what the hell others of my gender are doing in the ladies room for so long. I'm not talking about the primping and the preening and all that other girly girl garbage, but about what goes on in the actual stalls.

What's going ON in there? Why does it take so long to use the facilities? What the hell are are you DOING in that little enclosure that is almost as claustrophobia-inspiring as a coffin (except without the pretty velvet)? Just pull down your pants, squat/hover/plunk your ass down, do what you have to do, get the hell up, zip/button/lace up your pants, and get out. Leave the stall. Don't dawdle. Just get OUT.

The entire operation should not take longer than one minute. Tops. (This, of course, does not include those special, tender moments that come around once a month and stick around for a few days; for those special occasions, an extra 30 seconds or so is acceptable.)

I don't know how many times I've had to stand in some godfuckingawful line for more minutes than I have fingers and toes, all because someone is undertaking something so complicated that it requires more than a minute to accomplish it.

There's no way that I can know whether this complaint is true, or, if so, speculate about what might be going on inside the stalls. (Perhaps female readers can assist.) But if the delays are caused by women, it strikes me as a tad disingenuous to maintain that women are victims of men, and to penalize men by imposing bureaucratically rigid toilet quotas.

I humbly offer a solution based on common sense and what I have seen in other countries -- and in this country before the bureaucratization of common sense.

Simple troughs at floor level can be built where floors meet the walls around all or part of restrooms. The "toilets" could still be there, in whatever quantities the bureaucrats demanded, but the troughs would be there too. Men could simply do what they've traditionally done, and pee in the troughs. Every once in a while, there could be a flush from above somewhere, or else (as they do in Mexico), a guy could come in with a hose....

I realize that objections might be made that a trough (a long floor drain, really) was a "toilet" but that could be countered by the presence of legally conforming toilets, as well as the argument that the trough simplified cleaning, and it made it easier for little boys and dwarfs (who often have problems with things that are higher up.)

If it is contended that a floor-level trough is in fact a toilet, two questions then arise. Is it to be counted as ONE toilet? Or would it be counted based upon the number of men who could use it at one time? It strikes me that a trough is either a toilet, or it is not. If it is not, then there shouldn't be any restrictions under potty parity rules. And if it is, then I suppose the women's rooms could have troughs that were, well, twice as long.

No; I think activists would still complain. Because no matter what their length, it's easier for men to use troughs than women. That should be illegal.

Actually, it turns out that it is illegal -- at least according to codes like this:

807.1 Prohibited Urinals
Floor-type trough urinals and stall urinals are prohibited.
Just don't call it a urinal, then.

Sheesh. Toilets are basically just various ways of providing human access to sewer pipes so that we can rid ourselves of waste. In many places they are simply holes in the floor. Like this:


Why is that so terrible? Why is a trough so threatening? Because it reflects the fact that some if not most men can do some things that some if not most women can't?

What is it about nature that people find so unfair? What gives women the exclusive right to breastfeed their babies, anyway? (Men can't!)

Legislators and bureaucrats should be careful with toilets. As it is, there's already plenty of disrespect like this out there. If they make things too difficult, men (who are slobs anyway) will start doing "unfair" things they're not supposed to do, like peeing in sinks, or even (gasp) running outside to pee in the woods. In the alleys and parking lots. Against telephone poles.

Should women have twice as many trees and bushes too? And twice as many alleys, lots and poles?

ENVIRONMENTAL UPDATE: Modern urinal troughs can now be made environmentally friendly -- as they do not require flushing and thus do not need water.

Wouldn't want to "go" against nature, now, would we?

NOTE ON TOILET UPSIZING: Would huge communal toilets be discriminatory? How about ten foot diameter porcelain or metal basins, with multiple, parabolic-shaped protrusions upon which people would park their butts? Women and men could thus enjoy urinal communalism (communal urinism?) but in separate-but-equal bathrooms! (Why, they could even be made twice as equal! One basin for men; two basins for women!)

Now, how could anyone object to that?

UPDATE: Via Bill at INDC Journal, I read something about "patriarchy" at Daily Kos.

(Presumably, potty parody is preferable to potty patriarchy.)

posted by Eric on 06.10.05 at 06:55 AM


I can now see the end result ... thousands of toilets littering the streets of down-town Philly. Great.

mdmhvonpa   ·  June 10, 2005 10:48 PM

The Supreme Court (at least partially) kicked government out of our bedrooms. Now, it's trying to get into our bathrooms.

When Cardinal de Bey was in a bathroom, he vomited upon seeing some graffiti on the wall recommending (as he put it) "male anal fecal intercourse". He then wrote a book, Pornograffiti: The Handwriting on the Wall for Western Civilization?.

There are now two great opposing churches:
The Mission of Jesus Christ, Savior, God the Son, Son of God, Son of Man (for Men's Men) vs. The One and Only Holy Christian Apostolic Tridentine Tribadentine Catholic Church of The Cathedral of Our Most Holy Virgin Mother, the Queen of Heaven (for Lesbians).

The Linear Angularity of Man. The Encircling Curvaceousness of Woman.

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