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Author Topic: Public bathroom conundrom
advice for robots
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I just don't see the advantage in unisex bathrooms.

Edit: Great TOPP post.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
The reason is they are cheaper to both build and maintain.
Do you have any data on that? I'd be highly surprised to find than urinals were enough cheaper to build and maintain to offset the cost of maintaining separate facilities for men and women.

quote:
use less water,
This is certainly not always true, some urinals even run continuously. If the concern is water usage, there are plenty of water conserving toilet designs. Most modern European toilets offer a small flush that uses no more water than the flush on a urinal and a large flush for when it is needed.

quote:
and increase the number of people who can use a bathroom...increase the "flow" of people, so to speak
I doubt this is a significant factor. I can't imagine the that the time it takes to open and close the door to a stall is a significant fraction of the time it takes the typical man to urinate.

I suspect that it is possible to fit more open urinals in a confined space than closed stalls but if space is the issue, they can get rid of the lounge area they put in many women's restrooms.

If you really want to see inefficient bathroom design, check out the ladies room at the Utah state capital when you get a chance. It has something like 5 couches and 2 toilets (no joke). I guess at least women have a comfortable place to sit while they wait to urinate.

I've been to a number of establishments that have two single use bathrooms, one labeled men and one labeled women. Sometime the men's room will have a urinal and a toilet, sometimes just a toilet but in both cases the room is clearly intended for 1 person at a time. Frequently the two bathrooms even share a sink. Why not have two unisex bathrooms?

There is one big reason for unisex bathrooms. Separate is inherently unequal. If you doubt it, look at the difference in the lines between the mens and the women's rooms. If toilets are fully enclosed top to bottom, individuals should have more than enough privacy to do their thing.

If it really bothers you to have someone of the opposite gender urinating on the other side of the wall then you are in big trouble anywhere that the men's and ladies rooms have a shared wall which is most places right now.

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fugu13
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While I have no doubt some urinals do run continuously, I have seen and used numerous urinals in several countries, and not a single one of them has been running continuously (the closest was a sort of 'wall urinal' in the bathroom at the campus pub of the university of east anglia in norwich, and it just ran water periodically and automatically, not continuously).

From a little googling, it seems a modern low-flush urinal uses about a third the water of a modern low-flush toilet.

edit: not counting the funky waterless urinals, which obviously use much, much less water than a modern low-flush toilet

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Mucus
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I don't know if the difference in cost between urinals and toilets is enough to offset savings for unisex toilets, but I wouldn't be surprised if there is a significant difference in cost between the two.

IIRC, I've seen a decent number of washrooms in China with urinals but no toilets due to cost.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
There are plenty of guys who would totally expose themselves, "accidentally" or on purpose, or worse, to cute girls. Think of the actions of some of the obnoxious guys you've reluctantly encountered at bars and imagine meeting them in a situation where they're expected to open their pants.
I have never had a guy "accidentally" expose himself to me on the way out of the men's room, I don't see why it would be more likely if he were coming out of a stall in a unisex bathroom.

In fact I think that such incidents would be less likely in a shared unisex bathroom where people know there are likely to be both other men and other women present than the incidents of perverts going into the ladies to expose themselves or take a peak.

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scifibum
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quote:
I doubt this is a significant factor. I can't imagine the that the time it takes to open and close the door to a stall is a significant fraction of the time it takes the typical man to urinate.
Negotiating a stall door and putting up the toilet seat might add ten seconds to a process that ordinarily takes under a minute. That's a significant slow down. As fugu13 pointed out, there is a water usage difference too. (You could have waterless sit-down models a la campgrounds but they are kind of unpleasant.)

Fully enclosing stalls to the extent that people perceive privacy, instead of using the typical partitions, would be pretty expensive, I think. You'd effectively have as many separate restrooms as you now have separate stalls.

quote:
Separate is inherently unequal. If you doubt it, look at the difference in the lines between the mens and the women's rooms.
I think another simple answer is to make the women's restrooms as big as they need to be in order to reduce the lines. Sitting down (not to mention dealing with different garments & issues) probably makes women slower at using the restroom, so they need higher capacity. I'm sure this has been studied and information is easily available on how big the women's facility needs to be to compensate for lower receiving unit throughput.
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Traceria
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
Personally I wipe down with toilet paper, then use a cover.

...

Though I can intellectually know they're likely to be cleaner than the one at my home, that doesn't trump the ickiness factor, KWIM?

Also, I am not averse to using a friend's toilet in her/his home, though I am aware that the seat is likely cleaned far less often than the ones in public restrooms.

I am not opposed to unisex restrooms-- if they are one-seaters.

I am not opposed to family restrooms.

I am opposed to unisex restrooms being all that are available.

I have on occasion used the mens' restroom when it was a one-seater and all that was available (womens' was broken a few times; once, my four year old REALLY had to go and the womens' was occupied and the mens' wasn't.)

It is not an experience I wish to repeat.

Pardon me while I quote almost your entire reply, but I agree with you 100%.

Not only that, but the toilet seats in our office's ladies room are as cold as ice, so covers make them more bearable. The shivering hits a few seconds later as opposed to instantly.


Has anyone considered how this would put a kink in the social habits of women, stereotypically speaking? For instance, I know a woman who has a daily routine of applying cosmetics in the ladies room every morning. If she weren't concerned about just anyone seeing her do so (like if she applied make-up in her car or at her desk), then she wouldn't go into the ladies room to take care of the task. What about things like tampon/pad dispensers? Would a young teenage girl OR boy feel entirely comfortable with those in plain sight and use? Maybe some wouldn't be phased, but I would have been mortified at age 12 to have to use one in a unisex bathroom.

[ January 08, 2009, 04:08 PM: Message edited by: Traceria ]

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GinaG
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quote:
Originally posted by Traceria:

Not only that, but the toilet seats in our office's ladies room are as cold as ice, so covers make them more bearable. The shivering hits a few seconds later as opposed to instantly.

If you're ever near a Swissotel, go in and use the bathrooms. The seats are heated! Ohhh, it's so nice. [Smile]

This form of disposal, not so nice. Or so I imagine.

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Traceria
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quote:
Originally posted by GinaG:
If you're ever near a Swissotel, go in and use the bathrooms. The seats are heated! Ohhh, it's so nice. [Smile]

This form of disposal, not so nice. Or so I imagine.

Wow! That must be so nice!

And yes, that form certainly wouldn't be. Speaking of shivering.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
think another simple answer is to make the women's restrooms as big as they need to be in order to reduce the lines. Sitting down (not to mention dealing with different garments & issues) probably makes women slower at using the restroom, so they need higher capacity. I'm sure this has been studied and information is easily available on how big the women's facility needs to be to compensate for lower receiving unit throughput.
There was a study done by the state of Washington in the late 80's on bathroom usage that found that women and men spend equal amounts of time using bathroom sinks and mirrors but that women take on average double the time using the toilets (or urinals). This is almost certainly do to the need to undress and redress. The study recommended that to be equitable, public bathrooms should have twice as many female toilets and male toilets and urinals. That study was done 20 years ago and I have yet to discover a public bathroom that met those standards which brings us back to the conclusion that separate is inherently unequal.

Its easy to talk about how the problem could easily be solved by simply providing a sufficient number of toilets in the women's room but the fact is that hasn't happened.

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scifibum
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quote:
That study was done 20 years ago and I have yet to discover a public bathroom that met those standards which brings us back to the conclusion that separate is inherently unequal.

Its easy to talk about how the problem could easily be solved by simply providing a sufficient number of toilets in the women's room but the fact is that hasn't happened.

So...are males architecting all the restrooms, or what? Why would it be easier to convince them to go with unisex fortresses of solitude than to give the ladies a couple of extra stalls?

I think the inequality here is as much in the mechanics as it is in the architecture, though. We can solve for standing in line, but in the end, women will still need more time to use the restroom.

Costwise I think increasing the number of women's stalls still might be cheaper, even though it's apparently a hurdle. (I don't know why; I can't imagine that male architects get that much satisfaction from seeing women standing, or hopping, in line.)

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advice for robots
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I always thought it was unfair that women got lounges in their bathrooms and men never did.

As well, all the times only the women's bathrooms have had baby changing stations in them.

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King of Men
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quote:
That study was done 20 years ago and I have yet to discover a public bathroom that met those standards which brings us back to the conclusion that separate is inherently unequal.
Without comment otherwise, how much opportunity do you have to count the number of stalls in each set of bathrooms?
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scifibum
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"I always thought it was unfair that women got lounges in their bathrooms and men never did."

I have no idea why anyone would want that. As a man, thank you universe for preventing other men from having an excuse to lounge in the restroom.

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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
"I always thought it was unfair that women got lounges in their bathrooms and men never did."

I have no idea why anyone would want that. As a man, thank you universe for preventing other men from having an excuse to lounge in the restroom.

One good example--the library at college, and having a couch to lie down on during all-day study stints.

I agree that the men's bathroom isn't a social place. I wouldn't choose it to have a get-together with friends.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
quote:
That study was done 20 years ago and I have yet to discover a public bathroom that met those standards which brings us back to the conclusion that separate is inherently unequal.

Its easy to talk about how the problem could easily be solved by simply providing a sufficient number of toilets in the women's room but the fact is that hasn't happened.

So...are males architecting all the restrooms, or what? Why would it be easier to convince them to go with unisex fortresses of solitude than to give the ladies a couple of extra stalls?
Its a space issue. To do what the studies require would mean making the ladies room more than double the size of the men's room. That would mean taking space away from other uses, which no one wants, or cutting the men's room size in half. It doesn't matter what the data says, most people won't see it as fair to dramatically reduce the size of the men's room room to provide adequate ladies room facilities. Most men don't consider it to be unfair when there is a long line in the ladies room and none at all in the men's room. Many men out there presume that women are gossiping or primping and have no idea that the line is really just to use the toilet. To do what the studies recommend (twice as many toilets for women and toilets an urinals for men) would mean cutting 1/3 to 1/2 of the toilets and urinals in the typical mens room. Would it be worth it to you to have 1/2 as many toilets available simply so you didn't have to share the bathroom with the ladies.

And by the way, I've used many bathrooms that have floor to ceiling enclosed stalls and they hardly qualify as fortresses of solitude.


quote:
I think the inequality here is as much in the mechanics as it is in the architecture, though. We can solve for standing in line, but in the end, women will still need more time to use the restroom.

Costwise I think increasing the number of women's stalls still might be cheaper, even though it's apparently a hurdle. (I don't know why; I can't imagine that male architects get that much satisfaction from seeing women standing, or hopping, in line.)

My view is certainly skewed by having worked in many older science and engineering buildings that originally didn't even have women's bathrooms on every floor. I've been a bit involved with trying to negotiate and remodel space for women's bathrooms and simply trying to get equal space for women is a giant hurdle. The most rapid and inexpensive solution is always to convert an existing men's room into a Unisex bathroom. This is always much much less expensive than the remodeling necessary to add a women's room.

In any case where there are existing men's and women's restrooms, it is far less expensive to convert both restrooms to unisex bathrooms than to remodel to add additional space to the women's room.

Its not a question of male architects, its a matter of history. Historically, men's and women's rooms have generally been the same size at best. In many older buildings in male dominated areas, women's restrooms are much smaller than the mens. The men who were the architects 50 years ago often had weird misconceptions about what women did in the restroom, hence they provided large lounge areas but few toilets. Changing that requires both persuading the majority of people that this is inequitable and coming up with the money to change it.

[ January 08, 2009, 06:34 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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scifibum
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I think people are against using unisex restrooms where you can overhear members of the opposite sex as much as see. So I think floor to ceiling won't cut it - it needs to have a built in wall and well fitted door. (If we're going to try to accommodate people's anxiety about hearing bathroom activities.) Typical bathroom partitions, even extended floor to ceiling, aren't very private.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
"I always thought it was unfair that women got lounges in their bathrooms and men never did."

I have no idea why anyone would want that. As a man, thank you universe for preventing other men from having an excuse to lounge in the restroom.

One good example--the library at college, and having a couch to lie down on during all-day study stints.

I agree that the men's bathroom isn't a social place. I wouldn't choose it to have a get-together with friends.

I can't see why you'd want to provide that place inside the restroom. I understand the decision to use it for that purpose if it's there, and you don't have better options...but I think the foot traffic, restroom smell, and restroom noises would make it rather unpleasant as a place to rest.
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advice for robots
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My experience with high-volume restrooms has been as many urinals as possible, with no partitions. Sometimes even just a trough you have to shoulder up to. If there is a proving ground for masculine solitude, that is it. Absolutely no conversation whatsoever in that kind of situation. You look nobody in the eyes, and you do not let your gaze stray from that neutral space directly in front of your person. Men are willing to put up with that if that means saving space. Heck, men are willing to be redirected to trees if that's what it takes. So if there are going to be lines for the restroom, I say let the women take all the space they need.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
I think people are against using unisex restrooms where you can overhear members of the opposite sex as much as see. So I think floor to ceiling won't cut it - it needs to have a built in wall and well fitted door. (If we're going to try to accommodate people's anxiety about hearing bathroom activities.) Typical bathroom partitions, even extended floor to ceiling, aren't very private.

People once made similar arguments to justify racial segregation of bathrooms. My advice -- get over it. People are often uncomfortable standing next to the boss or one of their professors at a urinals. They get over it. Its not always comfortable listening to a same gendered person in the toilet stall next to you. We get over it if we have to. If unisex bathrooms were widespread, people would get over that to.

My discomfort and inconvenience in having to wait in line to use the toilet trump your discomfort with hearing a women peeing through the wall.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
I can't see why you'd want to provide that place inside the restroom. I understand the decision to use it for that purpose if it's there, and you don't have better options...but I think the foot traffic, restroom smell, and restroom noises would make it rather unpleasant as a place to rest.
I agree fully.
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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
"I always thought it was unfair that women got lounges in their bathrooms and men never did."

I have no idea why anyone would want that. As a man, thank you universe for preventing other men from having an excuse to lounge in the restroom.

One good example--the library at college, and having a couch to lie down on during all-day study stints.

I agree that the men's bathroom isn't a social place. I wouldn't choose it to have a get-together with friends.

I can't see why you'd want to provide that place inside the restroom. I understand the decision to use it for that purpose if it's there, and you don't have better options...but I think the foot traffic, restroom smell, and restroom noises would make it rather unpleasant as a place to rest.
Far from ideal, but better than nothing. And you'd be competing with only half the population for a couch. Just put another wall and door between the lounge and the facilities, and it wouldn't be too bad.

Better yet, hang a TV on the wall with ESPN playing 24/7. [Big Grin]

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
That study was done 20 years ago and I have yet to discover a public bathroom that met those standards which brings us back to the conclusion that separate is inherently unequal.
Without comment otherwise, how much opportunity do you have to count the number of stalls in each set of bathrooms?
I have a husband and many male friends and we compare observations on this things. Its true we don't do it all the time and are most likely to do it when there is a long line in the ladies room so my sampling is not unbiased.
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Mucus
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Personally, as a point of negotiation, I'd be ok with unisex bathrooms but the urinals stay. Its not just about bandwidth (although the bandwidth would drop substantially without them anyways) but the drop in latency would be obnoxious.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
think another simple answer is to make the women's restrooms as big as they need to be in order to reduce the lines. Sitting down (not to mention dealing with different garments & issues) probably makes women slower at using the restroom, so they need higher capacity. I'm sure this has been studied and information is easily available on how big the women's facility needs to be to compensate for lower receiving unit throughput.
I have yet to discover a public bathroom that met those standards
Technically my work place is not a public bathroom but there are two separate rooms for the women and only one for the men. With there being only one urinal and two stalls in the mens' bathroom I am quite certain there are at least double the facilities between the two womens' rooms.
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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
I think people are against using unisex restrooms where you can overhear members of the opposite sex as much as see. So I think floor to ceiling won't cut it - it needs to have a built in wall and well fitted door. (If we're going to try to accommodate people's anxiety about hearing bathroom activities.) Typical bathroom partitions, even extended floor to ceiling, aren't very private.

People once made similar arguments to justify racial segregation of bathrooms. My advice -- get over it. People are often uncomfortable standing next to the boss or one of their professors at a urinals. They get over it. Its not always comfortable listening to a same gendered person in the toilet stall next to you. We get over it if we have to. If unisex bathrooms were widespread, people would get over that to.

My discomfort and inconvenience in having to wait in line to use the toilet trump your discomfort with hearing a women peeing through the wall.

Honestly, I can see far more women being disgusted with having to deal with the noises the men are making and a stall a man just left than the other way around. Would the women want to welcome in the men if it meant larger facilities and presumably shorter lines?
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scifibum
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"My discomfort and inconvenience in having to wait in line to use the toilet trump your discomfort with hearing a women peeing through the wall."

I want to solve your waiting problem, too. I'm not holding up my own comfort as more important than yours; sorry if I gave that impression. I do think that others (not me) have indicated they aren't at all OK with going in the same room as the opposite gender. I was only pointing out that it might be as hard to convince everyone to go unisex - barring expensive construction - as it has proved to convince people to devote more real estate to the women's room.

(I did have a pretty surreal experience once with having a woman come into the men's room, but if a restroom was officially unisex it'd be a lot easier for me I think.)

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MyrddinFyre
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Re: the noise issue. Since no one's really come out and said it, I for one would be SUPREMELY uncomfortable being in the stall next to a male acquaintance/friend/coworker when I had to do fun things like unwrapping sanitary napkins.
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andi330
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I believe that many cities (and possibly even some states) have passed laws stating that when new buildings or restroom facilities are built, that women's facilities must have have double the number of stalls as the men's. However this only applies to new facilities, meaning that old bathrooms that weren't built this way, don't have to be updated. I don't have time to google it right now, but I'm pretty sure that I've read this before.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by MyrddinFyre:
Re: the noise issue. Since no one's really come out and said it, I for one would be SUPREMELY uncomfortable being in the stall next to a male acquaintance/friend/coworker when I had to do fun things like unwrapping sanitary napkins.

Amen. And Rabbit, I agree with afr -- it's probably mostly women who would object to the side effects of unisex restrooms. I know I would.
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Traceria
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quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
Better yet, hang a TV on the wall with ESPN playing 24/7. [Big Grin]

You need to come to Baltimore and visit the ESPN Zone.


quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
I think people are against using unisex restrooms where you can overhear members of the opposite sex as much as see. So I think floor to ceiling won't cut it - it needs to have a built in wall and well fitted door. (If we're going to try to accommodate people's anxiety about hearing bathroom activities.) Typical bathroom partitions, even extended floor to ceiling, aren't very private.

People once made similar arguments to justify racial segregation of bathrooms. My advice -- get over it. People are often uncomfortable standing next to the boss or one of their professors at a urinals. They get over it. Its not always comfortable listening to a same gendered person in the toilet stall next to you. We get over it if we have to. If unisex bathrooms were widespread, people would get over that to.

My discomfort and inconvenience in having to wait in line to use the toilet trump your discomfort with hearing a women peeing through the wall.

Honestly, I can see far more women being disgusted with having to deal with the noises the men are making and a stall a man just left than the other way around. Would the women want to welcome in the men if it meant larger facilities and presumably shorter lines?
Sure, people can put up with and get over a lot of things if they have to. Take for example my brief stint in Belize where all you had to work with was a hole in the ground. Did I make use of it? Sure. Did I like and would I have all my 'restrooms' at home converted to that set-up? Never in a million years. If you're considering feelings, you can't discount the discomfort and potential anxiety some people would go through. Would it be worth the complaints, etc. just to make people 'get over it?'
There is a woman I know who comes over to my house quite often along with several others for a regular function. We have a guest bathroom with a door that is open to the living room area and then a second bathroom back in my bedroom. She asked the first time if she could use the one in the bedroom because she didn't feel comfortable knowing all those people in the living room were only a couple panels of wood away, and she grew up as a missionary's kid in Africa, South and Central America and so isn't necessarily a stuffy or modest person in that sense.


quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by MyrddinFyre:
Re: the noise issue. Since no one's really come out and said it, I for one would be SUPREMELY uncomfortable being in the stall next to a male acquaintance/friend/coworker when I had to do fun things like unwrapping sanitary napkins.

Amen. And Rabbit, I agree with afr -- it's probably mostly women who would object to the side effects of unisex restrooms. I know I would.
I agree. Uh...perhaps this is a little too much info here, but using cloth napkins, I've even waited for the ladies room to clear before exiting a stall and having to tuck that away. :\
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GinaG
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:

(I did have a pretty surreal experience once with having a woman come into the men's room, but if a restroom was officially unisex it'd be a lot easier for me I think.)

Heh. This reminds me of the time in college that I was sitting in a stall doing my business, when I realized that someone else who had come in was doing his business outside the stalls, at the urinals. My dorm had previously been a men's dorm and I was so used to seeing urinals that I didn't realize til then that I had wandered into a men's room by mistake. I was quiet like a mouse til he left and made a clean getaway.
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GinaG
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quote:
Originally posted by Traceria:
Take for example my brief stint in Belize where all you had to work with was a hole in the ground. Did I make use of it? Sure. Did I like and would I have all my 'restrooms' at home converted to that set-up? Never in a million years.

Little tidbit, I read recently that squatty potties are actually healthier in some respects. The squat position- while uncomfortable for those of us who didn't grow up using it- is easier on the plumbing (i.e., the human plumbing!) than sitting upright. People in countries with the squatties get far fewer hemorrhoids. So "they" say.

Isn't this discussion fun. [Smile]

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Traceria
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quote:
Originally posted by GinaG:
quote:
Originally posted by Traceria:
Take for example my brief stint in Belize where all you had to work with was a hole in the ground. Did I make use of it? Sure. Did I like and would I have all my 'restrooms' at home converted to that set-up? Never in a million years.

Little tidbit, I read recently that squatty potties are actually healthier in some respects. The squat position- while uncomfortable for those of us who didn't grow up using it- is easier on the plumbing (i.e., the human plumbing!) than sitting upright. People in countries with the squatties get far fewer hemorrhoids. So "they" say.

Isn't this discussion fun. [Smile]

Ha ha... This IS too much fun! XD
Do they make them with handrails for people like my grandmother who like to lose their balance just standing upright?

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Jhai
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This past winter/fall (don't know when) I had the opportunity to listen to a short segment on NPR concerning the women's bathroom in Congress - I think it was the House, specifically. Women Representatives were complaining that getting to the women's restroom - which was added sometime last century - was about a five minute walk from the Chambers of the House, and only had a few stalls. Between the walk and the wait, some Reps were finding it difficult to get out, do their business, and then get back in time for a vote. The men bathroom, in comparison, had plenty of stalls and was right next door.

I don't think a solution was decided on when the bit aired, but I think the women were pushing for renovation to the Congress building to add a decent-sized women's bathroom next to the Chambers - and until the renovations were complete, the men and women should switch bathrooms every month.

... wish I could find a link. Edit: here's an older news story on the same issue.

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Architraz Warden
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quote:
Originally posted by andi330:
I believe that many cities (and possibly even some states) have passed laws stating that when new buildings or restroom facilities are built, that women's facilities must have have double the number of stalls as the men's. However this only applies to new facilities, meaning that old bathrooms that weren't built this way, don't have to be updated. I don't have time to google it right now, but I'm pretty sure that I've read this before.

When a city opts to do this (which I have no doubt several do and more probably should), then they're creating an amendment to the IBC / IPC (International Building Code / International Plumbing Code). The IBC makes a standard assumption of a 50-50 population distribution in the building, and correspondingly the fixture count for both genders is required by code to (minimally) be equal. Male restrooms tend to be smaller because there is a provision where you can replace water closets (stalls) with urinals, which require less space. Incidentally, this is why you often see a Janitor's closet accessible from the male restroom.

While the IBC lays down a minimum, there is absolutely nothing other than space and cost that prevent a building from being designed with a 2:1 female to male fixture count. In many buildings, doing so would make no sense (how often do you encounter lines in a new office building?) Where it would make sense, and in some cases is being accounted for, is structures with intermittent peak occupancies, such as movie theaters, concert halls, or sports arenas (IE, any place that is prone to forming the dreaded 'line'). Some newer designs for these types of buildings are taking this into account.

As for the simple answer of "why not just do it", the answer is always cost. There is a reason a majority of restrooms you encounter are designed similarly. Wet walls (walls in which you run plumbing and vents) are significantly more expensive than a traditional wall. If you line fixtures up back to back (male on one side of the wall, female on the other) then you can have two fixtures on the same wet wall. Ever wall with fixtures located on it will require a vent, and depending on the building design, you may have a different roof penetration for each vent, and any penetrations in the roofing system are additional weak points, hence undesirable from a maintenance and liability standpoint. When you start having restrooms that are significantly non-symmetrical (barring the occasional urinal), then sharing a wet wall becomes difficult. Doubling the fixture count would make sharing a wet wall dubious at best (based on how you set up the lavatory and water closest areas), if not infeasible.

From an architect's end, it comes down to this. If you choose to deviate significantly above and beyond the code, then you must explain to the client why you have done so, and defend increasing the cost of the project. And since 95% of projects come down to budget, with significant changes made late in the design to limit money spent or assign priorities, having an item as significant in scope as redesigning an entire plumbing core just before (or just after) bidding is not an attractive proposition.

Trying to accomplish the opposite is an horrific battle with code and civil entities... It's possible to keep the same number of fixtures and attempt to argue the 50/50 split, though this requires making presentations to various reviewers, as well as compiling historical data to back up your argument. An example I worked on was a Fire / Police training academy. The current enrollment was 95% male, 5% female. In 20 years, they were projecting 90% male, 10% female enrollment. Even so, the code requires an equal amount of fixtures for both. We argued our case over four months, and eventually got it approved, just so we could include one additional urinal in each male restroom and make it count towards the required fixture count (they allowed a split of 40/60). Buildings that tend towards such uneven percentages are ones in which you start seeing truly individual restrooms / showers.

Alright, you may now return to your regularly scheduled thread.

Feyd Baron, DoC

EDIT: Type, one of many I'm sure.

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Traceria
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It shouldn't have to be so difficult to have a women's restroom placed closer at hand. *shakes head*

Wonder if the women make use of the shoe shining feature? [Wink]

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Mucus
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For public toilets, squat toilets are often used in China, at the low-end for obvious cost reasons and at the high end they seem to sometimes import European(?) white ceramic-style flush squat toilets for cultural reasons although our seated toilets seem to be getting the upper hand.

The creepiest washroom story is once when I was at a karaoke club in Beijing. There was an employee of the club that aggressively gave shoulder massages and chewing gum to people that were at the urinal. Luckily, I was with a white guy so I dodged that particular problem (and the tip).

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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
It doesn't matter what the data says, most people won't see it as fair to dramatically reduce the size of the men's room room to provide adequate ladies room facilities.

But no one would see it as "reducing" the size of the men's room. It is just what it is - no man would walk into a men's room and say, "Hey! This men's room should be ten feet wider with three more stalls!"

EDIT: It just occurred to me that maybe you were talking about re-construcing existing restrooms, rather than designing newly built restrooms. If so, you may have a point there.

EDIT2: It just ocurred to me again, that if this is what you meant (re-constructing existing restrooms), then no re-construction is necessary. Management could just announce, "Both restrooms are now open to anyone." I think in such a case, a man would be less inclinded to think of it as a reduction in his available space.


quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
Most men don't consider it to be unfair when there is a long line in the ladies room and none at all in the men's room. Many men out there presume that women are gossiping or primping and have no idea that the line is really just to use the toilet.

I think this is a little unfair. It's a stereotype about what men stereotypically think of women. Personally, it has never crossed my mind that this might be the reason for long lines into the ladies' room. Maybe you have known men who think this, but I'd have a hard time believing that a significant number do.

I have, though rarely, had occasion in my life to stand in line for a men's room. It has always been to access the toilets or urinals. I have never been inclined to think the ladies' room lines are for a different reason.

And I would consider the line disparity unfair, but I will admit; I don't think about it much, since it doesn't directly affect me. But...

quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
Would it be worth it to you to have 1/2 as many toilets available simply so you didn't have to share the bathroom with the ladies.

...Yes. I would agree to this.

[ January 09, 2009, 01:40 PM: Message edited by: Sean Monahan ]

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
For public toilets, squat toilets are often used in China, at the low-end for obvious cost reasons and at the high end they seem to sometimes import European(?) white ceramic-style flush squat toilets for cultural reasons although our seated toilets seem to be getting the upper hand.

The creepiest washroom story is once when I was at a karaoke club in Beijing. There was an employee of the club that aggressively gave shoulder massages and chewing gum to people that were at the urinal. Luckily, I was with a white guy so I dodged that particular problem (and the tip).

What can be even worse is that you have to pay to use alot of the Beijing public toilets. It's extremely hard to fish around for the correct change when your la du zi kuai yao guo xia qu.

[Big Grin]

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Mucus
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Hmmmm, my Mandarin is limited so I don't follow the latter, but as to the former this was not my experience. While I didn't exactly go out of my way to find washrooms I can't say I ever encountered a pay toilet.

Are you sure you paid someone that was supposed to be paid? (Or do you just mean paying for toilet paper?)

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
Hmmmm, my Mandarin is limited so I don't follow the latter, but as to the former this was not my experience. While I didn't exactly go out of my way to find washrooms I can't say I ever encountered a pay toilet.

Are you sure you paid someone that was supposed to be paid? (Or do you just mean paying for toilet paper?)

Yes, it was right by the great wall, it was the only toilet around, and he had an official booth.

If you understood la du zi, then kuai yao guo xia qu means "is going to go out quickly."

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Mucus
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Ah, understood.

Hmmm, its possible, but it still sounds suspicious.

I probably went to a different section of the Great Wall, but I'm glad to say that at least in 2006, I didn't encounter any pay toilets there (or in the rest of Beijing for that matter.

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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
Hmmmm, my Mandarin is limited so I don't follow the latter, but as to the former this was not my experience. While I didn't exactly go out of my way to find washrooms I can't say I ever encountered a pay toilet.

Are you sure you paid someone that was supposed to be paid? (Or do you just mean paying for toilet paper?)

Yes, it was right by the great wall, it was the only toilet around, and he had an official booth.

How do you know it was an official booth?
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
Ah, understood.

Hmmm, its possible, but it still sounds suspicious.

I probably went to a different section of the Great Wall, but I'm glad to say that at least in 2006, I didn't encounter any pay toilets there (or in the rest of Beijing for that matter.

It would not surprise me if they had eliminated pay toilets in that location by then. The event I was talking about took place between 1997 and 1998.

Noemon: How do I know? After 11+ years in China you can eventually figure out the difference. It would be pretty risky to park yourself next to a large public restroom strafing the great wall, build a booth, create an official looking sign, and hope that none of the roving police notice or care.

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Mucus
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Ah, that makes much more sense in that time frame.

IIRC, I believe my father mentioned that when he was traveling in those days that they would charge foreigners a different admission rate to tourist locations like the Great Wall than the locals, something he was only able to avoid by standing away from the white guy he was traveling with.

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Noemon
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I was just being silly, Blackblade. Sorry if that didn't come through.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
Ah, that makes much more sense in that time frame.

IIRC, I believe my father mentioned that when he was traveling in those days that they would charge foreigners a different admission rate to tourist locations like the Great Wall than the locals, something he was only able to avoid by standing away from the white guy he was traveling with.

Yep definitely remember the different rates, but it was so cheap anyway you wouldn't really notice the difference.

Noemon: *runs out of the room in shame*

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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by Sean Monahan:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
It doesn't matter what the data says, most people won't see it as fair to dramatically reduce the size of the men's room room to provide adequate ladies room facilities.

But no one would see it as "reducing" the size of the men's room. It is just what it is - no man would walk into a men's room and say, "Hey! This men's room should be ten feet wider with three more stalls!"

EDIT: It just occurred to me that maybe you were talking about re-construcing existing restrooms, rather than designing newly built restrooms. If so, you may have a point there.

EDIT2: It just ocurred to me again, that if this is what you meant (re-constructing existing restrooms), then no re-construction is necessary. Management could just announce, "Both restrooms are now open to anyone." I think in such a case, a man would be less inclinded to think of it as a reduction in his available space.


quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
Most men don't consider it to be unfair when there is a long line in the ladies room and none at all in the men's room. Many men out there presume that women are gossiping or primping and have no idea that the line is really just to use the toilet.

I think this is a little unfair. It's a stereotype about what men stereotypically think of women. Personally, it has never crossed my mind that this might be the reason for long lines into the ladies' room. Maybe you have known men who think this, but I'd have a hard time believing that a significant number do.

I have, though rarely, had occasion in my life to stand in line for a men's room. It has always been to access the toilets or urinals. I have never been inclined to think the ladies' room lines are for a different reason.

And I would consider the line disparity unfair, but I will admit; I don't think about it much, since it doesn't directly affect me. But...

quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
Would it be worth it to you to have 1/2 as many toilets available simply so you didn't have to share the bathroom with the ladies.

...Yes. I would agree to this.

Okay, so being a woman, I use toilets- men use toilets and urinals. How likely is a man who has to pee to use a toilet versus a urinal in a public restroom situation?

Given that urinals are only used by men, then men who will now join the women's lines most likely have to take a dump. Anecdotally I've found that when #2 is involved, men usually take longer than women. A woman friend of mine was surprised to hear a delighted male friend of hers gleefully confided that he had pooped in the fastest time he could remember- it was just under a minute and he timed it. She was merely bewildered that it usually took so long for anyone to poop unless they were a bit constipated. I don't know how speedy men generally are at taking dumps, but I don't know if I want to pad the women's line with people who will take longer than we do usually.

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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by theamazeeaz:
Okay, so being a woman, I use toilets- men use toilets and urinals. How likely is a man who has to pee to use a toilet versus a urinal in a public restroom situation?

Personally, I always use a urinal, unless there are none available. But, for personal observation of others, I'd say about 1 in 5 men use a stall for #1 when there are urinals available. YMMV.


quote:
Originally posted by theamazeeaz:
...but I don't know if I want to pad the women's line with people who will take longer than we do usually.

But they wouldn't do that unless their own was full; which is never, since there are no lines.

But note that I was not suggesting that because it's an option that I favor. I was only suggesting that as an alternative to reconstruction of existing facilities.

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