Saturday, May 10, 2008

I'm Pro-Urinal

After two encounters in two days with grimy toilets seats left up in single occupancy, gender neutral public restrooms, I've finally got an answer to the question "would women use single occupancy toilets that had urinals?"

Yes. Er, at least I would. Okay, I would have before, but now I actively and enthusiastically endorse the idea.

With urinals, men who like to pee standing up will have an appropriate receptacle and neither men nor women who use the restroom will have to touch the seat to move it up or down.

Thinking about this, I now recall that many modern port-o-johns are designed in this way and probably just for this reason. Excellent. Let's move that idea inside.

As long as the restrooms are clearly marked by function -- and I'd prefer no reference to gender at all -- and they are designed to serve a wide range of people (this means ADA compatible and equipped with baby changing stations), I think women will get used to -- and even come to welcome -- the presence of urinals. Yes, there is the moment of hesitation when one who has been conditioned to view urinals as a marker of male space opens a bathroom door and sees one. I'm fairly sure that way back in the 1980s when courts first decreed that changing tables needed to be placed in men's restrooms as well as women's, there were a few men who had a moment's panic thinking they had entered the "wrong" room. But men got past it and women will too. Let's just make it so there are no "wrong rooms" and we can all relax.

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