By Devin Baron
My friend, Jonah, used my family bathroom back home and came out with all kinds of notes.
“Why is there a big-ass mirror facing back at me? I ain’t tryna look at all that down there when I’m taking a dump,” he complained. “The toilet paper is way too hard to get to. I gotta reach behind me. It’s terrible. And there’s no plunger. I mean I didn’t need one, but y’all ain’t got a plunger? What happens if someone clogs the toilet? Y’all just gonna leave him out to dry with no plunger?”
I guess so.
I had never thought about the characteristics of my bathroom. I was used to watching myself poop; it was just as normal to me as watching myself shave. The toilet paper holder placement had never bothered me. Maybe because I have a lanky wingspan. I also knew where I could find the plunger if I needed it, outside by the trash cans with a Walmart bag wrapped around the bottom.
I can see now why that may be a problem for guests.
I learned from Jonah my family’s setup is weird, and having a full-body length mirror directly across from the toilet is a bit unusual. I also realized we all have varying wants about our bathroom experience, depending on the environment.
Many of them are preference-based. I enjoy foaming soap significantly more than liquid soap. I get aggravated if I am only offered an air dryer and not given the choice of paper towels.
Many of our wants are desperation-based. When heading to a big outdoor event, I pray they will have a legit bathroom and not claim that a porta-potty counts. I can just be peeing at my grandparents’ house, but I sweat whether the century-old toilet will flush or not. If I need to pee at the club, I cross my fingers they have real urinals and not just an open troth with no dividers. Maybe the porta-potty is not that bad after all. At least in there, you are not rubbing shoulders with the guy next to you. Uhghhh.
Party bathrooms are a breed of their own. When I say “party bathrooms,” I am referring to bathrooms inside college residences……..alcohol-drinking, party-throwing college residences. This type of bathroom, inside a dorm, apartment, or house, advances past desperations and preferences to an exploratory stage, transforming the experience from utility to fascination and creativity.
I once bonded with a stranger over the bathroom’s neon pink lights.
“The lighting in that bathroom is very weird, but I think I like it.”
“Oh yeah, the lights are sooo coooool!”
“Yeah! Right?! Where did they even get that kind of lightbulb?”
My girlfriend’s apartment bathroom connects to her closet with no dividing door. When she hosted a party last semester, our friend Dean decided to take a little tour. When he returned to the living room twenty minutes later, he raved about the vintage Eagles jerseys and the fuzzy boat rug. Going to the bathroom turned into a field day!
Signs also become way more fun in party bathrooms. You are not stuck reading, “Text me if you run out of toilet paper. I know you’re on your phone,” or the “Toilet Rules,” or any other of your parents’ “Live, laugh, love” crap.
Instead, you get, “Sex is temporary, gaming is forever.”
Or, “Alcohol! Helping ugly people have sex since the beginning of time!”
I was talking to a friend once about our favorite party bathroom experiences, and she mentioned the specific way that music sounds when you are restroom vibing. There is a muffled sensation to the music that is unique to the party bathroom’s experience-oriented nature. Sometimes the sound is relieving. Sometimes it is invigorating. Other times it is mysterious.
If you are party-prepping and decide to refurbish your bathroom, try to push it a little. Buy a sign that is a little edgier. Do not limit yourself to soft white or daylight; go with red, blue, pink, or purple! Blare some loud music and make sure that insulation hits right. If you cannot get the smothered effect, maybe you choose another bathroom in the house. Make sure you have the essentials–soap, towel, plunger–but besides that, be adventurous!
You could even throw up a weird full-body-length mirror across from the toilet. I don’t know. I still think that’s kinda fun.