“Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining.”-Teddy Roosevelt
The bathroom is an odd place for a battlefield. From segregation, handicapped rights, to the trans movement, restrooms somehow make their way to the front and center of every social argument. Hell, the first Roman bathrooms were for men only, so that says something. Outside of politics, they are a dangerous place for the vulnerable, creating an abundant hunting ground for predators.
The public restroom is the perfect setting for a horror scene, just add a villain and stir. Will there be a rapist hiding in one of the stalls? A childmolester snapping pictures? Or a mugger pressing a gun into the back of some guy at a urinal? For every type of person, there is a type of gang who would love to bash their heads in, just for being. I’ve heard of people who would rather wet themselves than use a traditional restroom on a road trip through Trump country. Society asks everyone to come into a room together and all drop-trou. For what reason?
It’s not just humans who feel this way. When dogs defecate, they look to the rest of the pack or their owners to watch their backs during this time of vulnerability. Look what happened to John Travolta when he dropped a deuce in Pulp Fiction. The bathroom shouldn’t involve anxiety.
David Bowie’s response to “what do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?”
“Living in fear.”
That’s why I propose one simple solution: private stalls for all. We have the technology, people. It’s just drywall, pipes, and elbow grease. Then people can use the restroom without Mace in hand. Comedian Fortune Feimster can walk into a public restroom without bellowing “I AM A WOMAN!” to avoid being mistaken for a man and attacked in the ladie’s room. Children will no longer walk into a room with people shooting up, snoring lines, or any other drug use. The terminally pee-shy will enjoy a stress free experience away from the gregarious few who decide that the bathroom is indeed an appropriate place to make friends. There is enough to worry about in life. Peeing shouldn’t be an issue for anyone.
And who would lose out on stalls for all? Rapists, muggers, violent religious zealots, perverts, and miscellaneous ne’er-do-wells. And of course, owners of public restrooms. Will these renovations cost money? Like the bumper sticker says, “freedom isn’t free.” Change always comes out of pockets. If our government can spend millions to put a man on the moon and bail out Wall Street, then it can afford to offer tax credits to business owners for renovations for something that will provide peace of mind for all.
If I could just snap and make everyone get along, I wouldn’t have any skin left between my fingers. My heart goes out to any victim of bathroom related violence and anyone living in fear. I can’t wrap my mind around why some people think that they are too good to take a dump next to anyone else. It all smells the same to me. But if we all can’t get along, let’s at least get our own private stalls until we figure it out. I’m not naive to think that this Band Aid will fix all the social issues, but let’s just keep politics away from the toilets and pick any other arena for a battleground.