Bathrooms at ‘Hamilton’
October 25, 2019 5:52 AM   Subscribe

Can 200 women make it through 16 stalls in a 20-minute intermission?
Women are used to waiting. They miss home runs and opening sets. They learn to cope, ducking out at the known boring part of movies or braving the men’s room, where there is almost never a line that competes with the ladies.
“All I need you to do,” Heath tells the crowd, “is trust me and trust your sisters.”
posted by hilaryjade (71 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not all heroes wear capes.
posted by larthegreat at 5:58 AM on October 25, 2019 [10 favorites]


I had this issue at Hadestown. The line attendant was a lovely, funny woman with a System, and it worked well for everybody except me. Stage fright, you see. I didn’t want to hold up the production just because I couldn’t do my bit, so I got out of there and just did my best not to think about liquid for an hour or so.

Architecture should really reflect the increased toileting time required by women, but since these theaters are old and renovations would be very difficult, I think intermissions should at least reflect it. (Is it poor etiquette to leave a seat in live theater for a bathroom break? I have the idea that it is unless you’re sick and not likely to come back, but I could be wrong.)
posted by Countess Elena at 6:05 AM on October 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure we've had the women's restroom conversation many times on Metafilter, but as beautiful as these older theaters are, it's crazy that they haven't retrofitted more restroom space for women. Yes, this lady is a hero and I love this article, but it's still nuts that this is what's needed. Or, I don't know, make the intermission 5 minutes longer?
posted by dellsolace at 6:06 AM on October 25, 2019 [23 favorites]


OK, so I'm British and I'm aware that we're better than average at queueing politely, but I still have to ask: would Philadelphia theatre-goers really not manage to queue for the toilets if there wasn't somebody guiding them? What would happen without Heath - just some kind of free-for-all riot?
posted by vincebowdren at 6:08 AM on October 25, 2019


Most likely a crowd at the door and a line per stall.
posted by cmfletcher at 6:10 AM on October 25, 2019 [4 favorites]


I think intermissions should at least reflect it.

Seriously, what the fuck people? You know this is an issue. It's an issue everywhere. Add five goddamn minutes.

would Philadelphia theatre-goers really not manage to queue for the toilets if there wasn't somebody guiding them?

It's less that they wouldn't line up or that chaos would prevail, and more that Heath is making it more efficient.
posted by Etrigan at 6:11 AM on October 25, 2019 [14 favorites]


> I'm pretty sure we've had the women's restroom conversation many times on Metafilter, but as beautiful as these older theaters are, it's crazy that they haven't retrofitted more restroom space for women. Yes, this lady is a hero and I love this article, but it's still nuts that this is what's needed. Or, I don't know, make the intermission 5 minutes longer?

A venue here in Pittsburgh solved the problem by leasing space in an adjacent building and constructing a walkway between them. Whatever that cost has probably already been recouped many times over by extra concession sales, as people now have ~10 minutes to spare after using the facilities.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:16 AM on October 25, 2019 [21 favorites]


I'm from Philadelphia, and yes, there would be a riot.
posted by madcaptenor at 6:30 AM on October 25, 2019 [11 favorites]


I’m pretty sure when I saw Hamilton in London last month that they waited until the toilets were clear (+ a couple minutes) before wrapping up intermission. I was near the end of the line, so I heard all the warnings while I was still waiting, but I definitely got back to my seat and had time to catch my breath before the show started again.

Why isn’t it a more normal thing to do be flexible like that?
posted by itesser at 6:32 AM on October 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


Why isn’t it a more normal thing to do be flexible like that?

Are the employees of the house on a timeclock?
posted by cmfletcher at 6:37 AM on October 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


I feel like waiting five/ten extra minutes for everyone to pee (well, everyone who needs to) during intermission would actually help keep the lingering-after-the-show shorter, so timeclock might not be an issue.
posted by wellred at 6:45 AM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


Having accompanied several women friends to live performances I've found this is an efficient approach:
1) When the lights come up we both leave the theatre. On the way out she tells me what she wants from the bar
2) Outside, we part ways: she heads to the women's loo queue and I go to the bar and get the drinks
3) Drinks in hand I go and wait somewhere near the loos. I usually finish my drink while I'm waiting
4) She emerges and I hand over her drink. I join the much-faster-moving men's loo queue
5) I return usually just as the final bell rings and we head back inside the theatre
posted by um at 6:46 AM on October 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


There's an easy solution to this issue that's consistently overlooked:

Stop segregating bathrooms.
posted by explosion at 6:52 AM on October 25, 2019 [44 favorites]


A bathroom attendant at the Sleater-Kinney show last week was similarly amazing. The bathrooms at that venue actually are not typically an issue -- they're huge, compared to other venues around town, even though it's a much older theater. But the audience was definitely overwhelmingly women and included a lot of first-time, young kid concertgoers.

I'm a "pick the boring song" bathroom goer, so when I went downstairs the attendant was not quite as swamped. She was yelling out, "OK ladies, proceed to your left! Choose the first one! I see you tryin to be picky, if there's no toilet paper just go straight to the next. Paper towels will be BEHIND you! THE CHAOS IS COMING, ladies, it's almost the end of the show! Peepee and leave!"
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:03 AM on October 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


For about a year I was an usher for the show Stomp. It was a one-act show, so we sometimes got a backup of women trying to get the bathroom stuff out of the way before the show began. When that happened, sometimes they'd send me up to take a peek into the men's room to see if the way was clear - and then I'd stand guard and encourage women to hop in there as well. I'd usually proclaim something like "strike a blow for gender equality!" as I did.

It's RIDICULOUS that this is still such a problem.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:04 AM on October 25, 2019 [13 favorites]


Let me offer you some free advice: Drink less.
posted by emelenjr at 7:06 AM on October 25, 2019 [9 favorites]


Let me offer you some free advice: Drink less.

Good advice. I know a guy who got sober ten years ago and hasn't needed to pee since.
posted by bondcliff at 7:13 AM on October 25, 2019 [74 favorites]


Snack more?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:15 AM on October 25, 2019 [19 favorites]


People will always need to hydrate, and people will always need to pee. Some more than others, and some can hold it better, but some absolutely definitely cannot.

It's a systemic failure that night after night, year after year, theatres still struggle with this.
posted by Glier's Goetta at 7:18 AM on October 25, 2019 [14 favorites]


Let me offer you some free advice: Drink less.

I do hope that this is satire.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:25 AM on October 25, 2019 [18 favorites]


It's a riff on a Hamilton lyric, but it's also what I do. I won't drink their marked-up wine, or even bottled water, for this reason.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:29 AM on October 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


a bit ago i was at a hannah gadsby show whereat no one had any time whatsoever for standing in a long-ass restroom line when there was a perfectly good restroom with no line right beside it. on the one hand i was like "well i mean of course, everyone here is here to see hannah gadsby, of course we're going to be practical about this sort of thing," but on the other hand it low-key felt like the revolution when, seemingly spontaneously, everyone decided that restrooms weren't segregated anymore. people of all genders standing in the (evenly distributed, and therefore shortish) lines, all smiling and laughing about the little coup we had thrown against obsolete and oppressive norms.

i guess this is to say that hamiltonian central organization works okay... but bottom-up movements to seize the means of urination work better.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:33 AM on October 25, 2019 [30 favorites]


Let me offer you some free advice: Drink less.

Oh, now, that's just a mean thing to say and doesn't solve the problem.

[reads article]
Get a themed drink: For $29, you can have a special Hamilton drink. It’s Triple sec and Laird’s Applejack mixed with pineapple and orange juice.

Dear God. On second thought, emelenjr, I'm with you.
posted by Daily Alice at 7:40 AM on October 25, 2019 [11 favorites]


🎵 ...don't let them know you have to go through the bathroom door.... 🎵
posted by Riki tiki at 7:45 AM on October 25, 2019 [14 favorites]


🎵You want to get ahead?
Yes
Folks, the mens room is super dead 🎵
posted by bl1nk at 7:53 AM on October 25, 2019 [23 favorites]


Free advice: drink more, and storm the men's room.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:11 AM on October 25, 2019 [14 favorites]


Oh let's just go the full way with the lyric reference.

🎵Drink less
Smile more
Don't let them know how you almost peed on the floor🎵
posted by Nelson at 8:14 AM on October 25, 2019 [17 favorites]


Showtime, showtime, yo!

I'm Jane Laurens in the place to be!
Two pints of Sam Adams, but I'm workin' on three:
Those men's rooms are open for me,
Cause Imma pop-chick-a-pop each door 'til I've peed!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:16 AM on October 25, 2019 [29 favorites]


Wee wee, mon ami.
posted by emelenjr at 8:25 AM on October 25, 2019 [48 favorites]


came in to say i saw Hamilton in London recently and the bathroom queue worked amazingly well on its own and then i remembered brits understand how to work it all without a lot of rules. i spend a lot of time in countries where they do not understand queues and sauntering to the head of the line is how you get things done.

they did hold the intermission until everyone was back.

so, i guess i was in the room where it happened and did not miss my shot.

in what is perhaps arguably the greatest city in the world because we all got to pee on intermission without a bunch of hassle.
posted by affectionateborg at 8:34 AM on October 25, 2019 [4 favorites]


“would Philadelphia theatre-goers really not manage to queue for the toilets if there wasn't somebody guiding them? What would happen without Heath - just some kind of free-for-all riot?”
“Most likely a crowd at the door and a line per stall.”
What? That’s chaos. Standard operating procedure (where I live) is that you line up roughly single queue inside the washroom without blocking access to the sinks, the hand driers / paper towels or the entrance. When available space fills up you prop the door open (if there is one) and the queue extends out into the hall, again avoiding blocking passage. Inside the washroom when a stall becomes available the first person in the queue steps forward - there is no silliness about individual lines for each stall clogging up the room. People can move relatively easily from queue to stall to sink to hand drier and on out the door again.

The main utility that Heath could provide if the above system was already in place is providing reassurance that yes you will have time to pee - and that’s not nothing.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 8:36 AM on October 25, 2019 [7 favorites]


The problem with queuing "easily" in restrooms is that many theater bathrooms have second rows of toilets, or "hidden" rows at a ninety-degree angle to the first row.

When all the toilet stalls are visible from the entrance, a queue works reasonably well and doesn't require a traffic director. You see an empty stall, you move towards it. But if you just see women coming out of -- somewhere -- where are those toilets? how many are open? which way do I turn? then you need a director, who will point and say "two people on the right, one person on the left, next person to that corner stall".
posted by Hypatia at 8:42 AM on October 25, 2019 [11 favorites]


There's an easy solution to this issue that's consistently overlooked:

Stop segregating bathrooms.


I do community theater in the Bay Area, and one of the companies I've worked with has started doing this! I agree that it seems like a step forward, but I will note that there has been a surprisingly large volume of complaints about the change, mostly with claims that it's "awkward" even when all the toilets are individual stalls. Most people seem to be fine with it, but the people who don't like it really don't like it.
posted by Expecto Cilantro at 8:51 AM on October 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


"There's an easy solution to this issue that's consistently overlooked:

Stop segregating bathrooms."

Along with this, why is there no equivalent of urinals for women? Sacrificing a bit of privacy for a quicker urination is a sound idea. Obviously women can pee without sitting down on a weird chair but stalls and toilets take up a lot of space. You can fit in many more urinal type things than you can toilets with stalls. The bathroom needn't be a sacred or private place, it's a disgusting thing every body haver has to do. It's also possible to pack toilets in without the stalls, I know of a local bar where the bathroom is just so small the toilet faces the pee-troth and the sink. I've had to pee next to someone turding out, obviously it was gross but so is being in any bathroom ever, so it was fine.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:51 AM on October 25, 2019


> Most people seem to be fine with it, but the people who don't like it really don't like it.

i want to be like "lol boomers are pee snowflakes" over this but okay, yes, there's people who need special commode accommodation because traumatic experiences with men, and those people absolutely should have their accommodations without shame (it's best when there's special single-stall bathrooms for people with special needs, but failing that access to staff restrooms maybe?)

... but also: desegregate bathrooms.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:06 AM on October 25, 2019 [3 favorites]


if i have a door that locks and goes from ceiling to floor i'm happy.

i hate the stalls that have inch wide gaps where nothing is hidden.

i will do my business in full view of others only when i'm incapacitated and in need of assistance.

i also can't share rooms with people when traveling or do yoga with others because i can't stand the sound of the other people breathing so maybe i'm just weird.

also, both-gender bathrooms are awful at least in bars/clubs/music venues because men take this as an opportunity to talk to women and you can't escape or you lose your place in line.
posted by affectionateborg at 9:11 AM on October 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one who expected the link to go to an animated simulation of queues and stalls and little pink dots flowing through smoothly? And proposing tone-deaf behavioral tweaks that would increase throughput by 20%! And the punchline is that it's written by a man. (disclaimer: am a male)
posted by achrise at 9:24 AM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


I had season theater tickets in Charlotte a few years ago (and the Belk Theater has quite a few stalls!) but I still requested to be seated on the other side for my second season so I could get to the ladies' bathroom more quickly at intermission.
posted by raccoon409 at 9:24 AM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


No man will mind you storming the men's room. Go for it. We can always just use the sinks. I've shouted "THE SINKS ARE IN PLAY" at many a hockey game, and we all survived.

Don't shake hands at hockey games.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 9:24 AM on October 25, 2019 [7 favorites]


You could build more bathrooms or, more importantly, get rid of the pre-show bar selling alcohol, but either way that's going to cost the theatre and it's not going to happen.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:25 AM on October 25, 2019


I recently saw Margaret Atwood (on tour to promote "The Testaments") at the historic Lincoln Theatre in DC. The bathrooms on either side of the bar on the balcony level were only a few stalls each, but they were gender-neutral. So at an event with mostly women, I didn't have to wait.
posted by candyland at 9:31 AM on October 25, 2019


During intermission at a Broadway play that started Ewan McGregor and Maggie Gyllenhaal, my husband and I got in line for the adjacent restrooms at the same time. By the time he had finished and was waiting for me, I hadn’t even approached the door. There was no line anymore for the men’s.

“Hon, is there anyone in there?” He went in to look and confirmed there was not.

“My husband’s standing guard. Ladies, to the men’s room!” I yelled.

And that, my friends, may be the only the time an Internet story really did end with everyone cheering and applauding.
posted by Ruki at 9:41 AM on October 25, 2019 [25 favorites]


Unisex multi stall bathrooms, though, with the urinals behind a partition for everyone’s privacy. In places like stadiums and theatres. But also a couple of single occupancy bathrooms as well. Problem solved.
posted by Ruki at 9:44 AM on October 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


That 16 stalls for 200 women statistic startled me; it's less than twice the British legal minimum which for an events space with a bar is:
Males:
  • WC: 1 for up to 150 males plus 1 for every additional 150 males or part thereof
  • Urinals: 2 for up to 75 males plus 1 for every additional 75 males or par thereof
  • Wash basins: 1 per WC and in addition 1 per 5 urinals or part thereof
Females:
  • WCs: 1 for up to 12 females plus 1 for 13 to 30 females plus 1 for every additional 25 females or par thereof
  • Wash Basins: 1 plus 1 per 2 WCs or part thereof
It's a pretty stark difference; 150 men would be legally covered by 1 stall, 3 urinals and 2 sinks while 150 women would need as a legal minimum 7 stalls and 5 sinks; the men need literally half the floor space the women do in this case. A lot of unthinking architects use the same footprint (often literally stacked with one floor for the mens' and the next for the womens' bathrooms or vise-versa).

Trying to get women through less than twice the (British) legal minimum while restricted to a 20 minute interval? Not good. I wonder how many toilets the men get per 200 people. Probably something like 10 stalls and 8 urinals as it's an old building and that would be about the same floorspace.

And yes, the difference in needed capacity is that great when you use urinals; if it takes 21 seconds to empty your bladder it takes about 30 seconds to pee total using a urinal, and all the men using urinals can go into the fast moving queue while not being stuck behind people praying to the porcelein throne or who are taking root. If everyone's using stalls the time needed evens a lot but not entirely.
posted by Francis at 9:57 AM on October 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


> Let me offer you some free advice: Drink less.

Regardless of the amount of liquids consumed, sometimes blood waits for no one
posted by rather be jorting at 10:20 AM on October 25, 2019 [19 favorites]


In 2017 Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London had a flight coordinator in the women's toilets too, but she was inside and basically making sure no-one wasted even 5 seconds due to distraction once a stall was available. More efficient than Japanese all-women theatre bathrooms, and that's saying something. I was near the end of the line, with a full house, and I got back to my seat well in time to chat and take set photos. I do believe they've used the renovations to seriously expand the women's bathrooms, back in 2012 they were something of a disaster area.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 10:31 AM on October 25, 2019


I think a partial solution would be a women's room and a gender neutral room. Women who need to not be around men while in the bathroom have their space, women who ok with being around men while in the bathroom can use the gender neutral space. I personally don't know any men who have trouble with women being in the same room as them if they don't have trouble with men.

Bonus, it'd piss off the MRA crowd.
posted by Hactar at 10:40 AM on October 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


As for the article itself, I'm noticing the various references to the show's lyrics (ha!) and also appreciating the profile of Heath beyond her efficiency at coordinating the bathroom crowds:
Heath is no mere fan of the show — she’s auditioned for Hamilton three times, most recently for the part of Eliza. Heath, who lives in the Mantua section of West Philadelphia, is a classically trained musician who can play five instruments (her favorite is the oboe) and sings soprano. She plans to keep showing up to open casting calls until she can trade her all-black usher attire for a silk taffeta gown.

For now, she’s happy making sure the thousands of women seeing Hamilton in Philadelphia will always be satisfied.
posted by rather be jorting at 10:40 AM on October 25, 2019 [7 favorites]


> I think a partial solution would be a women's room and a gender neutral room. Women who need to not be around men while in the bathroom have their space, women who ok with being around men while in the bathroom can use the gender neutral space. I personally don't know any men who have trouble with women being in the same room as them if they don't have trouble with men.

this is the correct solution. and would likely result in relatively balanced restroom lines.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:55 AM on October 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


I personally don't know any men who have trouble with women being in the same room as them if they don't have trouble with men.

I know several; all retirees so a viewpoint that might disappear but here at the moment. And at least some Orthodox Jews are are likely to have a problem with a multi user unisex restroom.

Also there are plenty of hetro cis couples who don't feel comfortable sharing facilities with their spouse even if they'd be fine with it in general.

And while I can pee on a tire next to a busy highway now that certainly wasn't something I was comfortable with at all when I was 10.
posted by Mitheral at 11:07 AM on October 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


There's an easy solution to this issue that's consistently overlooked:
Stop segregating bathrooms.


I've been to several places where this has not worked in women's favor. These were originally male / female bathrooms which were made gender neutral in an attempt to welcome all genders of people, not for an efficiency standpoint. It sucked for women -- not because transwomen were making folks uncomfortable, and not because cis men were misbehaving -- but because (not to be too binary) there are two types of people in the world:

1. those who can use urinals
2. those who cannot.

And although there are people of all genders in each group (due to their plumbing, or their issues, medical stuff, or just what they need at that time), generally speaking women are much more likely to be in the second group.

So of two bathrooms, where the original "mens" has three urinals and two stalls, and the original "womens" has five stalls, you now have Group 1 choosing from among ten fixtures, and Group 2 choosing from among seven. In practice, because people are allowed to choose the restroom they feel comfortable with, there are separate queues, and most women will choose the "original women's" room because five fixtures is a better chance than two fixtures. In the same way that having, say, an assembly line set so that it's easiest to use by people between 5'8 and 5'10 will tend to disadvantage women, even though some women fall into those heights.
posted by Hypatia at 11:07 AM on October 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


In conclusion, there should be giant banks of single-user restrooms.
posted by Hypatia at 11:08 AM on October 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


> Also there are plenty of hetro cis couples who don't feel comfortable sharing facilities with their spouse even if they'd be fine with it in general.

what do they do at home.

is this a rich people thing. do rich people maintain separate gender-segregated bathrooms at home now. do i have to add this to the list.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:26 AM on October 25, 2019 [4 favorites]


honestly a reasonable solution would be just to stop having urinals except most men seem to take that as license to pee on the seat and ruin things for everyone

horror story: I was at a show at a bar with unified restrooms once and forgot to check the seat before sitting down. Ugh. Worse: out of toilet paper. Okay, nothing for it I guess. As I'm washing my hands afterwards, I overhear one woman warning another that a man (me, reasonable but wrong assumption) just came out of that stall and the seat looked wet. I didn't say anything but I thought to myself, It's not my fault, I'm the victim here!
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:33 AM on October 25, 2019


do rich people maintain separate gender-segregated bathrooms at home now.

Some, ya, and even those whom are only moderately well off. You don't have to be all that wealthy in much of Canada (I assume the US as well) to have more than a single bathroom in your home. Whether by plan or happenstance they end up being segregated sometimes.
posted by Mitheral at 11:40 AM on October 25, 2019


At Wigstock 2018 in lower Manhattan I experienced a direct reversal in gender bathroom line dynamics wherein the room for the men's room snaked across the room and there was NO line at all for the women's room. I mean it was heaven. F'ing heaven in general not to have to wait in a line to pee at a crowded paid event.

Eventually word went around and signs went up that the bathrooms were gender neutral (I mean of course if the men suffer - let's try to correct it immediately - but also you would kind of expect gender neutral bathrooms at Wigstock) and the majority of men still would not budge. Other guys who (bravely) made the switch would try to convince them to use the other restroom but the majority of men just would not leave the long ass men's room line to shift over into a previously perceived women's space. At a drag show! Where you would think maybe gender norms would waver. But the dudes weren't having it.

I'll never forget it and eventually I just relished the experience.
posted by rdnnyc at 11:41 AM on October 25, 2019 [10 favorites]


is this a rich people thing. do rich people maintain separate gender-segregated bathrooms at home now.

My firmly middle-class home had "Mom's bathroom" (the master bath) and "Dad's bathroom" (the other one on the second floor).

My first spouse would not poop nor allow me to poop while we were in the bathroom together; I would likely have colonized another bathroom if we ever lived in a house that made it feasible.
posted by Etrigan at 11:44 AM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


That 16 stalls for 200 women statistic startled me; it's less than twice the British legal minimum which for an events space with a bar is:

I think you flipped the numerator and denominator or something. By the guidelines you posted 16 stalls would cover around 400 women, so the legal minimum is half the capacity they actually provide. Unless I'm doing something wrong with my arithmetic.

The issue at plays is that everyone wants to go at the same time.
posted by mark k at 12:44 PM on October 25, 2019


> Some, ya, and even those whom are only moderately well off. You don't have to be all that wealthy in much of Canada (I assume the US as well) to have more than a single bathroom in your home. Whether by plan or happenstance they end up being segregated sometimes.

i have added "people having multiple bathrooms when others have none" to the list.

when the rntp project gets big enough for us to initiate phase two we will requisition your extra bathrooms at the same time as we deliver your mandatory-to-wear grey jumpsuits.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:52 PM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


I enjoy all the Hamilton/pee jokes in this thread, thank you.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:36 PM on October 25, 2019


if you take my downstairs half bathroom away, they’d better be brown jumpsuits
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:25 PM on October 25, 2019


I have lived most of my life in single bathroom domiciles and I always grew up with the idea that if you're shitting, you're allowed to lock the door and have privacy until your shitting is over. Siblings, spouses, parents, etc., and I've never lived with roommates or romantic partners who thought that it was normal to walk into the bathroom to use the sink or shower while you're doing your business.

Some dudes would be cavalier about locking the door and may leave it open while peeing, but the usual pattern I've seen is they get admonished about closing the door because some people don't want to hear or see it.

using the sink for makeup, brushing teeth, etc. is fine, and my spouse and I are pretty easy about walking into the bathroom while showering is happening, but toilet time always seems to be a threshold for privacy.

What do we do at home? We have one bathroom. We wait until the other is done. We tell the other person when we plan on using it and give the other the opportunity to veto and assert a higher priority need. It's not hard? Or a rich person thing?

This is all to say that I'm 100% on board unisex bathrooms with private closeable stalls. It's the concept of public open coed urinals that I think some will balk at.
posted by bl1nk at 2:40 PM on October 25, 2019 [3 favorites]


Making all the bathrooms all-gender won't fix the problem if there still aren't enough of them for everyone to be able to pee without stress during intermission.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:46 PM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


Did there used to be fewer women attending plays and movies? Did people drink less liquid in general? Why are all the bathrooms in the basement? Why were things so bad back when all the cool theaters were being built?
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:48 PM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


do rich people maintain separate gender-segregated bathrooms at home now.

Or do they just take turns using the bathroom like everyone else?
posted by straight at 5:05 PM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


would Philadelphia theatre-goers really not manage to queue for the toilets if there wasn't somebody guiding them?

I haven't been to the Philadelphia theater, but at a lot of Broadway theaters, you cannot tell where the end of the line is without help because it loops around and up the stairs and through lobbies and stair landings. It's a journey. A lot of this could be solved with line ropes, and it's mystifying why more theaters don't use them. A riot is entirely possible when there are 100 women in line in front of you, 10 minutes left in intermission, and women who don't know where the end of the line is start cutting, innocently or not.

Hamilton's Broadway theater has the worst line situation I've ever seen. The lobby is tiny, and precious real estate is taken up with merch stands. At intermission, the lobby is packed as tight as a rush hour train, and it's hard to tell a line even exists.
posted by Mavri at 8:23 PM on October 25, 2019


bottom-up movements to seize the means of urination

I'm trying to visualise how this would work and I believe that it wouldn't, not without tiles on the ceiling and a whole lot of mess.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:41 AM on October 26, 2019


I know I know but i thought this was good insight into why those stehenpinkler devices aren't more commonly used

this story, and the call for uni/omnisex bathrooms, also reminded me of the dreaded circular urinal trough at american football stadiums. I imagine those are also outlawed in England
posted by eustatic at 4:36 AM on October 26, 2019


this story, and the call for uni/omnisex bathrooms, also reminded me of the dreaded circular urinal trough at american football stadiums. I imagine those are also outlawed in England

Um, that's the sink. Urinals are around the corner.
posted by mikelieman at 5:45 AM on October 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


When Hamilton was at the Fox in Atlanta, the ushers' bathroom system was amazing. The restrooms are in the basement, and they had cordoned the staircase so that there was a 'women's down' and 'women's up' area on the staircase (with a small area off to the side to use to get to and from the men's room). The women's room at the Fox has two full rows of stalls, and they had ushers stationed throughout, getting people to the next free stall and then to the next free sink OR offering hand sanitizer if you just wanted to run out quickly. It was preposterously well coordinated.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:13 PM on October 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


Did there used to be fewer women attending plays and movies? Did people drink less liquid in general? Why are all the bathrooms in the basement? Why were things so bad back when all the cool theaters were being built?

When most older theaters were being built, it was indeed considered gauche for women to be out without a chaperone. So.... Yeah, there were fewer women.

Another issue is that women just TAKE longer to,pee because we have the whole actually having to remove clothing in order to expose the necessary orifice thing, compared to men just having to "unzip pants, withdraw willy".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:54 AM on October 27, 2019


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