Richard Jeffrey Newman's Miscellany


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Just went to use the bathroom in the library. No one was in the men’s room, but to get there, I had to walk past a long line of impatient and irritated women waiting for the women’s room, feelings that only seemed, quite reasonably, to increase when I breezed past them, both on the way in and on the way out. It really is unconscionable that public restrooms are arranged this way. I remember the first time I used a bathroom at a bar when I lived in South Korea. I was standing at the urinal, when a woman walked in behind me, went into one of the stalls–which were actually little rooms with doors that locked; you couldn’t see the occupants' legs–and then came out shortly after I did. I was surprised, of course, since we just don’t do things that way in the States, but after a while it just made so much sense. There was nothing even remotely sexual about it. Why can’t we just build bathrooms with enough facilities to accommodate however many people, of whatever gender, so that (except in extreme cases) you don’t end up with lines like the one I just saw winding its way down the hall in the library?