Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Guest post: Potty Room Thoughts

Potty-room Thoughts


Ronald G. Pittenger

It has been a while since I last used a school bathroom. After combing my memory carefully, I cannot recall even one instance where an inspector checked to see if I was trying to use the right restroom. Perhaps I’m just not special enough to rate an inspector. More likely, we all knew using one that didn’t match up with our general appearance would’ve gotten our butts kicked by the seven other people already in there tending to business. Somehow, I doubt any school district will hire a bathroom inspector to enforce any laws other than "no smoking or drugs"–and few even bother to do that.

The urinals in men’s rooms offer little in the way of privacy, so had one lacked the correct equipment to use a urinal, it would’ve become immediately obvious. Please notice that in those places that freely allow access by both sexes, there are seldom any urinals, only closed stalls. Even old fashioned Men’s and Ladies’ rooms have stalls. If everybody used them, there would be little to argue about. There is a simple, though expensive, solution.

Build a lot of one-person-at-a-time-restrooms. As an interim measure, bring in a bunch of Port-a-potties and line the school corridors with enough to satisfy the school’s needs. Going to void one’s waste shouldn’t be a social occasion anyway. It was merely more efficient and cost-effective to build "group bathrooms" than to build 15 or 20 times as many one-person jobs. And, just think of how that cost would be passed on in taxes (for schools and such), rents (for office buildings restaurants, and stores), ticket prices (for public venues). Oh, yeah, I’m sure everyone will welcome the doubling–or more–of movie/show/concert ticket prices that would contribute only to the building trades and taxes.

Since privacy is merely more expensive, who but the very poor could object?

The real problem isn’t places to void waste. It’s locker rooms, showers, and other places–think of gyms and country clubs among others–where people have every expectation of exposing themselves down to the bare skin in a group setting. Do we really want people playing "I dropped the soap" in showers used by naked people of all sexes? It might work for willing adults who are over the legal age of consent, but must we include minors? Almost all school students are minors, after all. (At this point, someone is certain to point out the communal bathing in Japan. Fine. Move to Japan, if that’s what you’d like. There are probably places there where you can still find separate doors for Men’s and Ladies’ rooms that open into the same undivided space where the waste goes down a single drain in the center of the floor–yes, they do it side by side. It takes many generations to breed that sort of indifference to nakedness and bodily function.) Grownups can, perhaps deal with this stuff on a case by case basis, but children are stuck making do with what we give them. And, we can only give them what we can afford.

Of course: if you really want to break the public school unions, this is just the issue to push hard. So many children will suddenly be enrolled in private schools that a lot of public school teachers will be unemployed for lack of students.

Conclusion: this issue isn’t really about bathrooms as places to void one’s waste. The issue is about control and who gets to be so special they can use whatever facility they feel like using today, and possibly tomorrow, they’ll feel differently. Those who have actually completed the surgical process to change genders should go where they fit in. Those with tender feelings that might be hurt are just going to have to tough it out until they decide what they want to be if they grow up.

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