The other day I was walking into the public bathroom at Ala Moana Center
and immediately went into that usual internal debate:
Which stall should I take? Is anyone in this one? Why don’t people flush toilets?
I was about to take the second stall when a woman emerged from it, flustered and annoyed. We made eye contact. And I thought, for a split second, “I wonder if she would be offended if I decided not to take her stall?”
We go through a myriad of emotions and decisions when entering a public bathroom. We critique cleanliness, we make judgments about people, we use complex mathematical equations to determine which stall, based on the information you have available, will be the best for your purpose. And we almost always emerge from the experience with a new perspective: Neiman Marcus has the cleanest bathrooms. I prefer stall doors with louvers. I’ll never use the bathroom at Sandy Beach again.
I was talking with a few friends about public restrooms after my epiphany at the mall, and I was surprised to hear such a lively discussion. One friend complained about wet toilet seats — ”That totally defeats the purpose and effectiveness of a paper seat cover!” — and another hates when there are no hooks for purses.
I didn’t realize public bathrooms could incite such emotions!
So I’m throwing it out there to you: What annoys you most about public bathrooms? Have you had a great — or not-so-great — experience worthy to share with others? Dish it here!