In this issue, I am following up on last week’s “Question on the Quad” to review my favorite bathrooms and attempt to justify their placements. I could talk about this subject for many inexhaustible days but I will limit myself to my subjective Top 3.
#3 Hathorn First Floor
This bathroom resembles some marine animals’ underwater den. I don’t actually know what colors the walls are because the lighting casts everything in a briny yellow-green sheen. The mirrors are small and rounded and ringed in stainless steel and resemble portholes. They can barely hold your face. What makes this bathroom so comfortable is the stall design. The walls are dark wood and provide you with almost total encapsulation. The walls leave only a three-inch gap at the bottom and reach so high that they block most of the colored dimness. So when you sit, you feel alone and untouchable, free to think and worry, without spectacle. The lights are on their last beats and their dying throbs are sort of spooky.
#2 Commons First Floor
This bathroom is beautifully aligned in a blue-gray color palette. In the stall when you look down at the flooring, you might notice how neatly the grouting and tiling is. The stall walls are very close to your person so that you might lean. Everything in here is soft: the colors, the electric hum, the lighting (which is parametric and does not create shadows). You remain in light and this bathroom is a very honest bathroom. The mirror is enormous and flattering. This bathroom wants you to feel good. My only complaint however, is its location. It is a more popular bathroom and so if you are looking for peace you will have a rather substantial chance of being here with another being or two.
A moment of pause before we begin. I have disagreements with including or considering single serve bathrooms on this expose. The single serve offers one thing and that is unbreachable privacy and if there’s anybody in the world who likes his privacy, and would understand how one might feel most comfortable in a bathroom that offers such, then it should be moi. The dilemma here is more aesthetic than anything else and it’s not that I have a problem with the theoretical single serve but I often disagree with the execution. My qualm arrives with the issue of space and its allotment. The single serve (let us say, the Hedge or Roger Williams restrooms, which are incredibly furnished and rather nice to be in regardless of how I feel about them dialectically) is often too large to enjoy. Of course the space is given to accommodate any handicapped individual (as is justly and duly given) but a bathroom with stalls, segmented and trim, is rather cozy I think. You remain at center, coddled and given bounds. For somebody who is frightened by no-structure and lack of routine the single serve in all of its space and possibility is terrifying, agoraphobia inducing. I am only trying to help you and wean you from any vacuous amount of space that might remind you of your objective size in relation to the realms and vacuums and oceans that we cannot fill, occupy or understand. I am projecting my fears unto you and this article. All of that being said however:
#1 Just near the OIE
These single serves are consistently recognized as the best on campus and often sit very fondly in the collective memory of everybody who has ever had the chance (pleasure) of visiting them. They are narrow and you are not overwhelmed with unnecessary square footage. What really seals it is the double door. You walk in and lock the door behind you. One layer of security. Before you, another door holding the toilet. Enter and lock it behind you and now you have two walls between you and whatever you’re running from unless you are running from yourself or love or the truth, in which case you’ve got to face it either way.
Some runner-ups include: Library Third Floor
People’s Choice Award: Library Second Floor (but only if you lock the whole thing)