What To Expect From A College Bar Bathroom
By Ted Pillow
Location: Since college bars tend to be pretty cramped, owners need to make tough decisions regarding layout and design. Unfortunately, when these plans are made, bathrooms are considered to be a lower priority than: A. the actual bar, B. the claustrophobically small and hazardous dance floor (often, inexplicably, on a dangerous, raised platform), C. uncomfortable seating, D. the inconvenient pool table/dartboard that is impossible to use, and E. a weird, unnecessary totem of sorts, intended to imbue a sense of personality to the bar (i.e., cigar store Indian, neglected fish tank, old-fashioned jukebox, condemned staircase, large asbestos mold as a mold test proved). So the bathroom is most likely found in one of the back corners of the bar, where it has seemingly been hidden by the owners in an attempt to prevent you from ever finding it. In fact, the best way to ascertain its location is to search for the long, zigzagging line of patrons waiting for entry. While the rest of the bar is gyrating rhythmically to “Don’t Stop Believin’,” they’ll be the ones desperately tapping their feet in an attempt to prevent their bladder from exploding.
Size: The following scale should shed some light on the topic of size:
One-person restaurant bathroom > Inside of an elevator > NYC Studio Apartment > Trunk space of a Matchbox racecar > Multi-person college bar bathroom
Prepare for lots of awkward maneuvering with fellow patrons inside the bar, because space will be quite limited. You’ll wonder things like, “Is it legal to make this a multi-person bathroom?” and “Will I ever see my family again?” But, don’t worry: just like a clown car, you and your fellow patrons will soon astound all onlookers by stumbling out of the door in seemingly impossible numbers.
Facilities: Unlike your traditional restaurant bathroom, a college bar bathroom may or may not have certain amenities, like mirrors, stalls, a sink, a toilet, a door, lighting, or an actual floor. To be honest, college bars throw the term “bathroom” around pretty liberally — in their minds, the term simply implies “an open room that you’re allowed to take a dump in.”
As mentioned above, many men’s bathrooms do not actually contain stalls, or even a toilet, but simply a trough for guys to pee in. Troughs have several downsides: they are not partitioned, presenting challenges for those who have difficulty peeing around others; they rely on an insufficient drainage system, resulting in an absolutely abominable smell; the guy who was in there right before you threw up in it; and, they are a painful reminder that you are willing to be treated like livestock just to drink cheap. If the bathroom does have a toilet, it’s probably missing a stall door. If it does have a stall door, it’s probably broken. If the door is not broken, go ahead and break it. Vandalism is funny when you are drunk and in college.
Contrary to stereotype, plenty of guys spend just as much time in the mirror fixing their hair as girls do. Unfortunately, your college bar bathroom does not have a mirror; if it does, it’s probably broken, covered with graffiti, or bizarrely clouded and no longer reflective. See that stainless steel paper towel dispenser? It’s kind of reflective, right? Try and check yourself out in that. It’s kind of like looking in a funhouse mirror, but everyone outside is too drunk to notice your “cool” sideburns anyway. You’ll probably be making out with some girl or guy you’ve yet to make eye contact with in a couple of minutes, anyway.
Ambience: Although a blinking five-watt bulb could perhaps be considered “mood lighting” by some, the general ambience of a college bar bathroom is, at best, slightly below that of a Taco Bell dumpster. The smell is an unyielding combination of every offensive substance produced by the body. It is an absolutely incredible stench, completely overwhelming and foul, a rancid bouquet consisting entirely of the damage you have done to yourself. It is a holding cell for the fluids and substances eradicated from your toxic body, a purgatory for your waste. So, in other words, it’s not as nice as an Applebees, but it’s a little nicer than a CiCi’s.
The walls are strewn with graffiti, racial epithets, and occasionally clever bar crawl titles. The floors are covered in urine and used paper towels. There are exposed pipes everywhere (is this a converted boiler room?). The “Last Cleaned On” inspection sticker reads 1943. There is a passed out/dead/decaying body lying in front of the sink. This is not a place you want to spend a lot of time in – best to get back out there and capitalize on that 25-cent Natty Light special. You’ve only had eleven so far, and tomorrow morning’s eight a.m. class isn’t going to skip itself.
It started with a right swipe, a little green heart. Tinder of course.
Though I acknowledge and appreciate the differences in human experiences, and while your heartbreak is (and always will be) uniquely and completely your own, I must urge you to consider that I have been where you are.
By Devon Oyler
With his hat cocked back, body tilted away from his cane, and right forefinger pointing directly at his audience, Joseph Ducreux commands the attention of those viewing his self-portrait.
I was born in 1990; he was born in 1973. I’m 23; he just turned 40.