This piece originally published in The Mast, PLU’s student news paper.
As I near the end of my stint at PLU, I’ve come to an interesting realization: my average on-campus restroom visits per day is about to plummet.
Five days a week, for the last four years of my life, I’ve pooed on campus at least once a day, not counting my first year where I lived on campus and pooed exclusively on campus. In my time here, I think I’ve assembled a pretty good taste in choice of public restrooms. Ranking my favorite public restroom on campus might seem a silly or derivative task, but I’ve got a system that compares restrooms along three axes: popularity (or privacy), quality of restroom experience and selfie potential.
I should preface this with two facts: I’m a humanities major, so I’m biased, leaning towards the upper-campus restrooms. And, sorry everyone else, but I typically use the men’s room, being a man and all.
The popularity of each restroom varies by time of day, obviously, but there are still some restrooms on campus where I’ve never seen another soul. The family/all-gender restrooms top the list in terms of privacy, since they’re typically single-occupant. Among these perpetually private restrooms, the Lower Anderson University Center family restroom takes the cake. The lighting is perfect, the mirror is big, and I’ve never taken a bad selfie there.
Oh, you’re not interested in hogging up a single-occupant restroom while you take selfies? Can’t relate. But don’t fear: the ground floor Ramstad restroom has you covered. With an equally wonderful mirror and beautiful natural lighting streaming in from the south wall, your search for the perfect selfie mirror has ended. It even has a nice ledge beneath the window that you can prop your foot up against for those head-to-toe fits.
Now, this bathroom is designed for multiple occupants, but don’t let that stop you from looking good. If someone happens to walk in while you’re taking your selfies, honesty is always the best policy. Let them know that you do, in fact, look great today, and you’d appreciate their assistance by staying out of your light.
If that doesn’t deter them (damn determined poopers), run from the room screaming. If nothing else, you’ll probably scare them away from ever returning, and you’re one step closer to reaching the trifecta of private restroom plus good lighting plus quality restroom experience.
The final property that to consider when choosing a favorite restroom on campus is general restroom experience, or how comfortable the restroom actually is when it’s (ahem) “in use.” Our facilities staff does a wonderful job of keeping our campus and its restrooms looking and smelling clean, but there’s a few that I avoid no matter how often they’re cleaned.
The Ingram men’s room, for one, has always smelled atrocious. I have no clue what causes it. I could be the next person in there after the staff have finished cleaning it, and it will always carry a general aura of stank.
I also tend to avoid any and all residence hall restrooms, not just because I don’t actually live on campus, but because y’all be showering and walking around barefoot on those floors and that is gross. Sorry, underclassmen, I used to be one of you, I know how often you dudes think you can get away with not showering, and I thank the stars every night that I no longer live in the residence halls.
The cleanest and most generally pleasant of my on-campus poops have made their moves in the Mary Baker Russell Center. Talk about a nice bathroom. I’m almost fairly certain this is the only restroom on campus stocked with two-ply or better toilet paper a travesty in its own right — two-ply is a human right!
It’s with a heavy heart I bid farewell to these restrooms. I’ve written some of my best (read: all) emails to professors pants-down parked on the porcelain throne. I’ve puked alcohol into at least one toilet on campus (that I remember), and I will genuinely miss that Ramstad men’s room mirror with all my heart.