Secrets beyond the stall

By on January 29, 2004

The bathroom is a private sanctuary where a lot of activity takes place, and some of it does not even circle around a toilet.

The history of bathrooms and toilets is very extentsive. In ancient times people used “privies,” which were small rooms with a seat placed over a shaft which leads to a moat or a river. In modern times, someone can walk into a bathroom where the door opens itself, the seat is sanitized, the toilet flushes automatically and sinks turn on robotically.

The size of a bathroom has also changed. At one time, they were called a “chamber pot,” about the size of a cooking pot, which had to be emptied after each use. There are also long multi-stalled bathrooms found from dorms and rest stops that empty into pipes and sewer systems.

Going from a tiny closet sized room to a larger room has changed the social scene of a bathroom. Bathrooms are no longer used for “personal reasons,” but can actually be quite a popular place.

Aside from body processes, quite a few things go on inside a bathroom.

Talking, socializing and primping, all take place but it seems to depend on whether you are in the girls’ room or the boys’.

Both toilet-filled rooms contain similar necessities but the conversations are completely different.

Steve Silverman, senior broadcast journalism major, said men do not really talk in the bathroom, and if they do talk the subject matter is limited.

“Maybe we’ll talk about girls [and] tell each other what we think [of a girl], I’ll tell my friend good job, or go have another drink,” Silverman said.

If men talk at all in a bathroom, Eric Marco, junior journalism major, said it can be all different conversations.

“Depends what’s going on, maybe a big game, or what’s going on tonight,” Marco said.

Cassandra Pignatelli, junior marketing major, said, “People just talk about stuff that is happening. I always hear people talking about crazy things, so I don’t say anything too personal.”

It seems that both sexes understand what exactly goes on in each other’s bathroom.

“Girls probably talk about how they look fat, or hot guys; stuff like that,” Marco said. In regards to boys’ activities in a bathroom, Pignatelli said, “I don’t know. I feel like they don’t say anything.”

Talking is just one of the many social events that take place in a bathroom.

“Sometimes there are fights,” Silverman said. “But nothing else really.”

Sometimes things that happen in a bathroom belong in a bedroom. Pignatelli said one time she witnessed two people have sex in a stall at a nightclub. She was not aware at the time but a manager came in and started yelling. The two people quickly stopped and as soon as the girl came out, the boy followed. It was then when it clicked in Pignatelli’s mind what was going on in there.

Steve Durso, junior business major, said, “In all my years of going into a public restroom, I [once] saw a kid who standing at the urinal [who] pull[ed] down his pants all the way down. He felt like the zipper wasn’t enough or something.”

Durso also explained he has seen girls in the men’s room. “I didn’t try looking through the cracks or something,” he said.

Aside from extremely odd things happening in a bathroom stall, there are minor activities that do not involve a bodily function at all. Cell phone use in a bathroom stall is becoming more common.

Adriana Palella, junior nursing major, admits to talking on the phone while in a stall.

“I have, if I have to call my mom or someone really quick. It’s like killing two birds with one stone. Sometimes I get looks when I walk out, but I’m say sorry, and they [say] ‘no problem’. I think it’s just a universal girl code that makes it okay,” Palella said.

Some people are exploring different bathroom activities, but people will always use the bathroom for private matters. Maybe the only other way to really find out what happens behind a bathroom door is to hide in a stall. The times are changing and bathrooms are not only for body processes.


About Nicole Silva