By Jon Burstein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
"Late last night when the moon was green
Around the corner was a crap machine
A shot was heard, a scream was heard
A man got hit by a flying turd."
─ anonymous. Taken from a stall in the second floor men's restroom in the Family and Consumer Resources Building.
"This is the nastiest, gnarliest bathroom on campus," said Murdock as he pushed open the door to the restroom in the basement of the Student Union. "It might as well have an 'Abandon all hope, ye who enter' sign on the door."
Starbuck nodded his head. He said, "This is by far the smelliest restroom on campus because it lacks ventilation. But note, it does have a full-length mirror."
We walked into the restroom and the stench was undeniable. I tried to walk farther into the restroom but I hit a wall o' stink. As Murdock pointed out that the restroom was across the hall from Louie's Lower Level, I began to dry-heave.
Such did my descent begin into the world of restrooms at the University of Arizona. With two self-proclaimed restroom connoisseurs, Murdock and Starbuck (names have been changed for no good reason), acting as my personal Virgils, I went on an epic journey through more than 75 campus restrooms. More than 250 stalls.
"A lot of people are ignorant about their rights on where to shit and the many opportunities at the UA," said Murdock. "It's important for any student at UA to be well-versed in the most comfortable restrooms. It'd be a traumatic experience to take a shit in the Student Union."
Starbuck said, "A lot of people live far away from campus and have to use the restrooms here. An article about the best and worst restrooms on campus would be a public service."
Here's my public service for the month.
"So many thoughts all waiting turn ... a gaggle of answers wasted in a blaze of confusion."
─ anonymous. Taken from a stall in the third-floor restroom of the Modern Languages building.
In the 4th and 5th centuries, a group of
Would-be poets, Greek-bashers, Republicans, people who hate humanity ─ all of them can freely express their views on bathroom stall walls.
Despite an exhaustive search, I could not find anyone who would admit writing on bathroom stall walls. Anyone could be a potty laureate. The guy next to you. Your professor. A high-ranking administrator. Even though I could not find a potty laureate, there were clear trends in restroom graffiti.
First and foremost, the graffiti is used by groups "to claim" a building.
For example, in the second-floor stall of the Old Engineering building, someone wrote that engineers "may be able to build bridges," but are unable to excite the opposite sex. Under that comment were seven angry responses, many involving the first vandal's mother. Don't bad-mouth engineers on their own turf.
In the Modern Languages building, the "literary types" rule. Take-offs of the phrase "I think, therefore I am" abound. Before the stall walls were painted at the beginning of the semester, dirty phrases in some precursor to modern English provided minutes of entertainment.
The Education building's bathroom walls are ruled by Republicans. The Science Library has chemical formulas written on several restroom stalls. The Main Library ... well some of the graffiti is just too weird (go see for yourself─ I'd really be pushing good taste if I described it).
I also noticed that the buildings in which you would expect to find the nice, well-adjusted people (i.e. Education Building, Family and Consumer Resources), have the meanest graffiti scrawled in the bathroom stalls. It's as if people hold in their anger until they go to the restroom.
Here's a brief sampling of the graffiti in the second-floor restroom of the Family and Consumer Resources:
"I'm going to kill myself today. Bye"
"Good more food for the rest of us."
"STOP THE BRAINWASHING─ QUESTION AUTHORITY!"
"Go die somewhere."
There are several poems that can be found in restrooms across campus. Either someone is really busy or there are several uncreative copycats out there. The most popular poem on campus stalls is:
"Here I sit, brokenhearted
Tried to shit, and only farted."
Excuse me, while I wipe a tear from my eye.
For the best graffiti on campus, check out Modern Languages and the FCR Building.
By the way, if the graffiti in the restroom is of no interest, in more than 30 percent of the restrooms I visited there were Arizona Daily Wildcats on the floor. On the ground-floor restroom in the Administration building, there was a Lo Que Pasa.
"The advantages of a good restroom are good hygiene, good health and a good sense of self-image by taking a shit in a place that conforms to your needs, wants and desires."─ Murdock.
No two restrooms on campus are alike. Sure, they may look alike, but there are features that distinguish them─ cleanliness, lighting, ventilation, stench, foot-traffic and if the sinks have the press-down buttons or real knobs. (Note to Facilities Management: The sinks which you have to press down the buttons to get water don't work. When you press down the button to wash one hand, the other hand is always in contact with the germs on the sink knob. You can never clean both hands.)
Murdock and Starbuck claim that they have been in men's restrooms all over campus and through more than three years of research, they have visited the exquisite and the rank restrooms on campus. Murdock has visited restrooms that few mortals even know exist.
¨ One of Murdock's favorite restrooms is on the tenth floor of the Gould-Simpson Building. Not only is the restroom spotless, but it has a shower. No, not one of those "I-burned-my-eyes-in-lab" showers, but a real shower with a shower door.
After you use the facilities, you can walk out of the restroom and take in a glorious view of the UA campus.
"Plus with Gould-Simpson, you'll never know when you'll drop a log and a window will pop out," Murdock said.
¨ The ground-floor restroom in the Arizona State Museum is Starbuck's favorite restroom on campus.
"It has marble wall stalls! Marble walls!" said Starbuck with a gleam in his eye.
Not only does it have marble walls, but comfortably large stalls with sunlight that streams through the windows.
¨ While you may be using Student Union restrooms, ASUA has one of the nicest restrooms on campus. You can actually lock the door and leisurely enjoy yourself. It's just like home.
¨ The Alumni Foundation Building restrooms are spotless. I would sooner eat food off of the restrooms floor in the Alumni, than from some tables on campus.
¨ Any restroom above the third-floor in the Administration building. Spotless. Quiet. A little slice of heaven.
¨ The second-floor restroom in the FCR Building has a lovely green loveseat with a nice floral pillow. Good for pondering the meaning of life.
'¨ The bathroom in the basement of the Student Union should be condemned. It looks as foul as it smells. Doors don't work. Several toilets are always clogged. Sordid types frequent it. Even the soap that comes out of the dispenser appears to be unclean.
It is the most vile place on campus. I would sooner use the Port-a-John in back of the Student Union.
¨ The bathroom in the basement of Bear Down Gym is a throwback to the days of yesteryear. There are no stalls, the toilets are "open air." Eight open-air toilets in a row.
"I think when Bear Down was built, there was a whole different bathroom etiquette," Starbuck elucidated. "Everything was open and everything was free."
Murdock said stall walls are needed to protect basic freedoms.
"It's a form of glasnost─ you can express your inner smell without anyone knowing who you are," he said. "Big Brother cannot watch you take a dump."
¨ The third-floor and fourth-floor Main Library restrooms are infamous. What other locations appear in Police Beat with such frequency? Every semester since 1987, you could expect to open up the Wildcat and find at least one Police Beat beginning with, "A Tucson man was arrested and charged with indecent exposure in the third-floor Main Library restroom ..."
Murdock said he would never use the Main Library no matter how pressing the need.
It is interesting to step back and note that the nicest restrooms are in the Alumni Building, Administration building and in the ASUA Office and the worst are in the Main Library and the Student Union. Maybe that just shows ... oh, no need to state the painfully obvious.
Well, I hope these two articles provide you with some insight into bathroom culture. If you have read this far in this space-filler, you are as juvenile and sophomoric as I am or just seriously bored in class or found this on the bathroom floor.
Hope everything comes out all right.
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