“Your in all” my space: Privacy in the men’s restroom

There is a certain stance in a men’s public restroom (Phil Dokas/Flickr/CC-BY)

Keith Cousins

A strange and awkward thing has been occurring to me more and more recently. Many of the male readers presumably have had a similar experience. It happens when you walk into a restroom anywhere on campus: you are literally staring at a lack of privacy.

I am talking about is the complete disregard for using dividers between the urinals in the men’s bathrooms on the Saddleback campus. What this creates are tales I wouldn’t tell small children. Sheer horror ensues when I am forced to relieve myself at one of these urinals. Moments later I find that another male has chosen the urinal right next to me while there are five empty ones available much further away.

The awkwardness that ensues is incredible. I am forced to stare directly up at the wall to finish my business. All the while I am wishing that the guy next to me isn’t checking out what’s going on with me, as well as hoping my aim isn’t suffering from not being able to look down.

Another problem that results is restroom lines. Now, I know what you are thinking: women deal with bathroom lines all the time. Get over it. But do women wait patiently for an empty stall when there are literally three urinals open? I don’t think so.

Am I alone in this? I refuse to believe that I am the only one on campus who has mulled this over. Why should I be forced into such a terrifying situation every time I want to do what is an essential human function?

So here’s the bottom line: how hard is it to put dividers into the bathrooms? Isn’t student comfort and privacy a much more important concern than new and improved campus signs? Is it all just a pipe dream to think that one day I will be able to use the urinal without fear of awkwardness?

Until the day comes when I am able to safely and comfortably use the urinals, I will be in the stall dreaming of a better tomorrow.

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