Gender-neutral bathrooms: something I didn’t really know existed until college. Don’t get me wrong, there was always some background noise about sharing bathrooms wit da boyz. But I hadn’t really been up close and personal with co-ed bathrooms until I was helping a friend stumble to the loo on a Saturday night and we ran into some guy shaving in there at 1am (#kollegelyfe). However, that was one of my first and last gender-neutral restroom run-ins–my dorm has different bathrooms for girls and boys (plus a unisex bathroom).

But for many first-year students (and even upperclassmen), gender-neutral bathrooms can be a traumatizing experience. Shave clippings in the sink, toilets left unflushed (I CAN’T DEAL WITH THIS), general disgustingness. Is this truth or just urban myth?

PROS

Grace Black, a freshman at Carleton College, lives in a dorm with gender-neutral bathrooms. Her favorite part of having a co-ed bathroom? “Less hair in the showers. Since girls aren’t all concentrated in one bathroom, [they] are spread out over more showers on the floor, which translates into waaaay less hair sticking to the drain and the sides of the shower, which is–fun fact–awesome.”

I think any girl can attest to the fact that all those hair strands sticking to the bathroom tiles are just gross. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Other pros of gender-neutral restrooms?

  • “Hot bods.”
  • “You get to see both boys and girls vomiting on a Saturday night. Weee!”
  • “Awkwardness between genders is minimized as you become comfortable with the opposite sex.”

CONS

Grace’s only con of gender-neutral bathrooms? “The toilet seat does get left up, if that is the sort of thing that annoys you.” Honestly? I asked eight different people what they thought about living in dorms with gender-neutral bathrooms, and no one had much to complain about. Aside from the occasional “sometimes it can get a little dirty” comment, nothing was too out of the ordinary.

But let’s be real here: bathrooms can be dirty regardless of gender. Girls and guys both miss the toilet bowl sometimes; toilet paper/hygiene product wads get left on the ground; and people leave crap on the counters and sinks, day or night. A dirty bathroom is more of a college issue than a gender problem.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Grace very eloquently sums up the thoughts that many college students have on co-ed restrooms: “After exactly two days, gender neutral bathrooms became completely normal. In my experience, the guys on my floor did not give one single damn about who peed in which bathroom either way, and girls were kinda squeamish until they got used to it. After a while, you find your favorite stall and everything goes back to normal. Turns out, most people just want to pee.”

Moral of the story? Pee on, peeps. Pee on.

Had a different experience with gender-neutral bathrooms? Feel free to leave a comment below!



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the author

Lily Herman is a junior at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Besides bopping around on The Prospect, Lily is a columnist for USA TODAY College (read the Quad Report, yo); an editorial intern for The Daily Muse; a contributing editor for the campus blog Wesleying; a national contributing editor for Her Campus; and an editorial/marketing intern at HelloFlo. When she is not studying or awkwardly waving at people around campus, Lily enjoys eating Sour Patch Kids and re-watching the Friday Night Lights series finale (she's Team Saracen, by the way). Also (shameless plug alert), feel free to follow her on Twitter, or email her at lherman(at)theprospect(dot)net.

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  1. Dario Rabak on March 12, 2013

    Relevant as well, since this is becoming a more popular things, is actually co-ed rooms. Gender-neutral or Open housing is becoming more widespread, so people can choose to have a roommate of the opposite gender.

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