The other day I was walking into the public bathroom at Ala Moana Center
and immediately went into that usual internal debate:
Which stall should I take? Is anyone in this one? Why don’t people flush toilets?
I was about to take the second stall when a woman emerged from it, flustered and annoyed. We made eye contact. And I thought, for a split second, “I wonder if she would be offended if I decided not to take her stall?”
We go through a myriad of emotions and decisions when entering a public bathroom. We critique cleanliness, we make judgments about people, we use complex mathematical equations to determine which stall, based on the information you have available, will be the best for your purpose. And we almost always emerge from the experience with a new perspective: Neiman Marcus has the cleanest bathrooms. I prefer stall doors with louvers. I’ll never use the bathroom at Sandy Beach again.
I was talking with a few friends about public restrooms after my epiphany at the mall, and I was surprised to hear such a lively discussion. One friend complained about wet toilet seats — “That totally defeats the purpose and effectiveness of a paper seat cover!” — and another hates when there are no hooks for purses.
I didn’t realize public bathrooms could incite such emotions!
So I’m throwing it out there to you: What annoys you most about public bathrooms? Have you had a great — or not-so-great — experience worthy to share with others? Dish it here!
To read all of Cat’s blogs, visit www.nonstophonolulu.com/thedailydish. Follow Cat on Twitter @thedailydish or send her an e-mail at [email protected]
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One of the worse things that can happen – no toilet paper, toilet not flushed, or floor is wet. UGH
@chaha YES, I have an issue with wet floors. I wonder… why is it wet……
@cat @chaha Well, at a urinal, there is no wondering why… Ewww!
@MaxMaxMax @cat @chaha Any moisture anywhere at all, really. Yuck.
a check of the archives shows that this is the second time you have posted a pic and ruminations about public toilets. since you seem to be a connoisseur, what was your take on the French and English WCs?
@turkfontaine Strangely enough, I was thinking about that when I posted the blog this morning. I don’t recall any handles for flushing in France. Just buttons on the tops of toilets or chains you yank. Thought that was interesting. Oh, and that red toilet in the photo? French. SO French. 🙂
@cat @turkfontaine I thought the restrooms in Germany were the absolute cleanest in all of Europe. EVEN IN THE TRUCKSTOPS! What I thought was an amazing piece of custodial engineering was that when you flushed a toilet, a cleaning arms clamps down on the seat and rotates the seat cleaning it after each use!
Wayne Wisecarver Catherine Toth @MaxMaxMax Europe has the cleanest bathrooms that I know of in the free world. Why else would you pay 1Euro to the attendant that’s watching the bathrooms in the stores and such. I just could’t figure out why men and women were standing in the same line to use the same Water Closet. Heh, so European.
ps. stand up peeing is god’s consolation prize for men, to make up for all the other debilitating afflictions he saddled us with; like ….well, like being men.
Walking into a public bathroom (specifically one at the beach and some ding ding stole the big roll of toilet paper. That’s why I now keep a six pack in my car at all times.
@UncleBullet While I don’t go as far as a six pack, I carry either some wet ones or similar products with me, especially when I travel or do athletic events. You never know if the toilet paper is gone (especially during athletic events and you’re way in the back of the pack and everyone else has used it up prior to you) or soggy or whatever. They clean better, help with irratation and serve a secondary purpose–wiping your hands (I always carry multiple sheets). A lot of porta potties don’t have hand washing facilities.
Grossology Monday 🙂 Hey Flush the dang thing when you done. Who wants to look or smell that stuff. Worse when they plug it up by using too much paper. Yep hate it when no paper in stall, no doors, wet floor etc etc. Many public restrooms are just too darn stink. I wish they would hire someone to service each restroom and disinfect
When I used to work in an old building repurposed into an office building in Chinatown in the ’90s, I was using the toilet stall in our bathroom. The only other stall was the open urinal stall. I was doing my “bidness” when I noticed under the stall wall that the other stall user’s feet were BACKWARDS for someone using the urinal… “Rut roh, Astro!” Yup… some vagrant off the street had come in and took a dump in the urinal!!!
Have you ever read Anthony Bordain’s “Kitchen Confidential?” He made a point in there that has always stuck with me:
A cleanliness of any restroom in a restaurant is a direct reflection of the cleanliness of the kitchen and its food preparation. YIKES!!!
When I used to work in an old building repurposed into an office building in Chinatown in the ’90s, I was using the toilet stall in our bathroom. The only other stall was the open urinal stall. So, as I was doing my “bidness” when I noticed under the stall wall that the other stall user’s feet were BACKWARDS for someone using the urinal… “Rut roh, Astro!” Yup… some vagrant off the street had come in and took a dump in the urinal!!!
Have you ever read Anthony Bordain’s “Kitchen Confidential?” He made a point in there that has always stuck with me:
The cleanliness of any restroom in a restaurant is a direct reflection of the cleanliness of its kitchen and food preparation. YIKES!!!
From my own personal observation of locally owned, non-chain restaurants.
Cleanest/nicest restroom: Paesano in Manoa
Most “questionable”: Anti Pastos on Pensacola (which really bums me out since I love their food!)
Don’t use the public toilets at Kewalos before 7:00am or before they clean them or you will loose your breakfast. Anyway bring your own tp. It could come down to a uncomfortable surf session or relief.
I guess as Men we are slightly lucky; however, this also presents itself as a curse as well. I think some fellas think just because it’s the men’s room they can just temporarily common sense, cleanliness and courtesy out the window. Even little dogs know how to properly pee on their freaking paper you lazy dipshits. Urinals are for the most part not that big a deal as long as people flush ’em. If you are a germ freak like me take a paper towel with you to the stand up and use it to flush after no ooogies. Just Flush It.
Now for the one-seaters in most men’s rooms they are basically unacceptable for normal human use because dudes use them for urinal substitutes and never seem to be able to lift the damn seats. Use the same towel trick or do the one legged kick up trick whatever just stop blessing the seattops with you live stream. It is just rude and lazy.
biggest peeve is when able-bodied ppl use the handicapped stall, esp to change clothes. i gave plenty stink eye to these ppl when my mom was in a wheelchair, patiently waiting w/ no other choice.
@NonStopMari I have a sincere question for you… what if all other stalls are taken?Do you feel it is appropriate for non-handicapped ppl to use the stall when the others are full? That is the “only” time I do… and never to change clothes.
I don’t use the handicapped stall unless I really have to go, and the other stalls are full/broken/no toilet paper, for the reason it’s not there for me but for others who really need it. I’m sorry if I held up the clients it was made for, but when ya gotta go……I try to apologize and explain my reasons for using their stall. Fortunately it doesn’t happen very often.
And never to change clothes!
if the other stalls are full, it’s fine to use the handicapped stall. that happens in women’s restrooms all the time when there’s a line.
Saw a sign posted recently that read “Hunters, aim carefully, we like this bathroom floor to stay clean.”
@WildeOscar I saw one that said, “Our aim is to keep our restrooms clean. Your aim will help also!”
I read once that the first bathroom stall (in a bunch of stalls, like at the movies) is most often passed by and is therefore often cleaner than others. Just FYI!
@mememe makes sense. Cause I either head for the last stall or urinal. Never the middle one unless I’m desperate.
why would anyone use a public bathroom in Ala Moana Center? use the bathrooms at Macy’s, Sear’s or, (the gold standard) Nieman Marcus.
Like Turk said, this topic is a garan comment grabber! Do not use Kleenex for TP! All the flushing in the world will not break it up…next thing you know you will have a back up toilet. You know about my preference for dispensing of TP from the front vice the back.
Cat, the picture of the red French toilet; is that the one in the department store you have to pay a Euro or so to use? Well, if this is representative of the conditions of the restroom, money well spent.
at Ala Moana Center, I like the fairly new bathrooms up at the Ho’okipa Terrace. They’re nice. Mainly built for Mai Tai crowd. But the downstairs bathrooms by the main stage, the food court, and the ones by Sears and Banana Republic are horrid, foul chambers of horrors. Macy’s and Sear men’s restrooms are unpleasant. Speaking of chamber of horrors, Aloha Stadium. UH games. I know lots of girls use the guy’s filthy restrooms cause the ladies’ line is so long. I don’t know how those girls can stand it. And don’t get me started on port-a-potties chemical toilets. I refuse to go in them. I went camping once in Kahuku area from Friday to Monday, and the only things available were those port-a-potties. I willed myself for 4 days not to use the bathroom. Monday afternoon, I drove to Turtle Bay resort and used their immaculate facilities.
Chicago O’Hare’s airport has a novel, if not slighly expensive solution. The seats are covered with a plastic wrap that rotates with every flush. I’m not sure how long the plastic lasts or when the attendant need to change the wraps. Yeah, I flushed it more than once just to see how the plastic wrap is ejected at one end and retracted at the other.
It’s not a problem here in Hawai`i but on the mainland when doing road trips, I understand that because of the budget crunch in certain States and locales, some Rest Stops are closed until further notice. That means either a pit stop at a store along the way or pulling into some hotel or such to use the facilities.
In Hawai`i were spoiled by great weather. I’ve had friends chatting it up about having to use the Rest Stop in freezing weather with no heat. Quite funny conversation actually only because I wasn’t there.
As a follow up remark: To those that don’t frequent the Rest Stops along the US Highways most of the fixtures are made from Stainless Steel which is why the women were especially chatting it up and complaining about the facilities.
haha I just got back from Italy and Tunisia… I should have @Wongie808 comment on this. 🙂 LOL
hahahaha … remember being told by a clerk in Gallerie in Paris that the bathrooms were unisex. Didn’t believe it, so when the matter became a little more urgent I asked another clerk and she said, “yes, yes …” and led me to one and gave me a gentle push in.’ After I came out I got dirty looks from women. When I was first in Japan in Fukuoaka (68-9) many restrooms were unisex and no one — male or female — seemed to care. Advantage to women though cuz there were stalls. Not so with urinals. As to pet peeves, yeah you ignorant ____s who don’t flush and almost as bad you guys who pass by the sinks after w/o washing your hands … I wash, but half the males I see in restrooms don’t.
Until recently I always went into the second stall of a bathroom. I have no idea why; maybe it was because I thought the first stall had to be dirtier thanks to everyone else using it. Ha!
Love this thread… just love it. All I can say is so far this year I’ve been to Haiti, Thailand, and all over China. OMG… any toilet in HNL would look like a great place to go after that. Best toilet ever was in Tokyo, it was cold as icicles outside and not much warmer inside but the seat was heated… now that my friends was an enjoyable bathroom experience. Been meaning to get one of those at home, maybe this winter.