Ask PoopReport: Why Aren't Stalls Private?

// // 74 Comments
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content Moderatora 10000+ points - Super Pooperb 9000+ pointsc 8000+ pointsd 7000+ pointse 6000+ pointsf 5000+ pointsg 4000+ pointsh 3000+ pointsi 2000+ pointsj 1000+ pointsk 500+ pointsl 100+ pointsm 1+ points - Newb
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I've come across some very interesting essays in the course of researching my book. One of the most thought-provoking is "The Plumbing of Modern Life" by Margaret Morgan. Ms. Morgan* is an artist of whom we at PoopReport should all be aware. Here is how she describes herself:

Her work takes the form of installations made of plumbing systems; drawings in urine and builder’s chalk; and photography. Her art uses plumbing as a motif to address histories of twentieth century art and life. Morgan’s thesis is this: In America’s twentieth century hygiene was god and the toilet its ambiguous icon. Shiny bright, promising unparalleled cleanliness, the porcelain fixture was fetishized for its gleaming surface. It was also vilified for its inevitable failure to live up to that image.

Worshipped and reviled, the bathroom has been a cipher for the many discomforts of modernity. As a figure equally prevalent in popular movies and the annals of art history, in television and in quotidian exchanges over the household chores, the toilet in the twentieth century has been a catch-all for symbolic – as much as bodily – effluvia.

Ms. Morgan sent me some printed matter a few years ago, and it was all quite interesting. And the aformentioned essay has brought up a lot of interesting ideas that I'll address in the book. One thing I won't be addressing in the book -- which is why I bring it up here -- is a question she asks in footnote #31. Talking about the gaps in bathroom stall partitions, she asks:

"One might wonder: why are those
gaps there at all? Surely the stalls could be constructed without those narrow spaces through which looks into and out of the stall can be exchanged. It is almost as if to heighten the tension between public and private and to raise the possibility of an ostensibly prohibited exchange."

Why indeed? That is the question today, PoopReporters: why do you think bathroom stalls are *not* designed to maximize privacy?


* Warning: Ms. Morgan's site is really screwy in Firefox. It seems to work a lot better in -- ugh -- Internet Explorer.

74 Comments on "Ask PoopReport: Why Aren't Stalls Private?"

C Everett Poop's picture
j 1000+ points

As an engineer, I can tell you that it is cost prohibitive to build something with tight fitting doors, particularly where some asshole is likely to destroy them anyway. Have you ever seen a door in a public crapper that wasn't kicked in or jimmied? Except in Japan where people are civilized and the stall doors do shut with no gaps.

The Big Wiper's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

1) Ease of cleaning is one consideration, at least from the standpoint of partition heights (the seeing feet issue). Janitors need to get their mops all around the floor surfaces to keep gunk from accumulating.

2)There is also the matter of ventilating the area. Solid, phone booth-like structures are more difficult to air out and are more susceptible to mold and mildew.

3)I have seen stalls without cracks, and the engineering involves adding more stainless steel. I can tell you from considering stainless steel facilities in the new house I'm building that they are very expensive. The more you use, the more it costs. Cracks may be more a matter of cost-saving measures than anything else.

4)And then there's this: it's a bit more difficult to engage in any sort of untoward behavior (such as drug use and public masturbation) behind less-than-airtight compartments. One morbid thought: if someone, God forbid, should die inside a down to the floor partition with no cracks, it would be more difficult to detect.

My gut feeling on all of this is that most public facilities are designed to make it easier to clean them. Making small concessions to privacy (which would probably bother only the chronically Shameful) seems reasonable to me.

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

The Dumpster's picture
i 2000+ points

Also, it helps to be able to see whether there is really anybody in the stall if the door is closed.

TBW says, "I have seen stalls without cracks." Regrettably, TBW, I have seen cracks without stalls.

The Big Wiper's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

Oh, my! Didn't you just return from a weekend with three women, you insatiable satyr, you?

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

pooptastic's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

The cracks are slightly unavoidable...but there are ways around it...like going in a far stall so that people won't accidently see you in there.
But there is also this unspoken bathroom code that all humans follow where they will not look inside of the cracks to see if there is really a person inside. It's strange, but sometimes that is all you have to go for. Personally, I avoid public bathrooms because I can't stand the thought of wondering who had their ass there last and where it had been before. ew.

The Dumpster's picture
i 2000+ points

No, it was five women, but the whole thing turned out to be a lot more entertaining from a PoopReport than from a Playboy perspective. I am posting my diary of the trip on the forums for your voyeuristic viewing pleasure.

Helluva note, when you go off for an orgy and the best memories are connected with the toilet. Shows that I really do belong here, I guess!

Cracktacular's picture
l 100+ points

Dave, Ms. Morgan sent you some printed material? It wasn't written in urine, was it? Be careful man, you never know what a cat like that will send you in the mail now that she has your address.

I'd hate to see one of her Christmas cards.

Crack kills

SamDamnit's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points

I wonder about the engineering theory. It seems that the most seemless crappers are the port-a-pottys. They strike me as being very inexpensive and durable.

SamDamnit!
President in Exile
of Poopreportia
http://www.myspace.com/saintcarnivean

SamDamnit!
The Emir of Crapistan

The Big Wiper's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

But, Sam, they are always intended for single users by design. We're not talking about single use public facilities here. There is no privacy problem with a lockable, single-user facility.

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

SamDamnit's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points

I'm just picturing a bunch of port-a-potty frames dropped over toilets in a public bathroom. It seems like they would take up just as much space. They could be bolted to the floor.

SamDamnit!
President in Exile
of Poopreportia
http://www.myspace.com/saintcarnivean

SamDamnit!
The Emir of Crapistan

Ben's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

Most modern built loos now have completely partitioned off stalls. In most cities in Europe, except the UK, stalls are very private. But even now, the stalls in the UK are beginning to be self-contained.

I do notice in most airports, though, there are gaps. May be it is cheaper to leave gaps.

I do agree with the big wiper, ventilation is a problem!!!

Bunga Din's picture
j 1000+ points

As someone who has worked in the metal fabrication industry cost is the #1 overriding factor in the design of stalls. Seamless corners are very expensive to produce as well the transportation of one piece constructions also becomes prohibitive. It's much simpler to manufacture and transport flat pieces requiring minimal hardware to assemble. Most stall walls fall well short of reaching the floor because it complicates cleaning and adds unnecessary expense in added materials.

If you visit some finer restaurants and hotels you may come upon structures made in faux stone and marble which are seamless but this is usually an indication that your bill for services will be commensurate with the decor.

Dave's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content Moderatora 10000+ points - Super Pooperb 9000+ pointsc 8000+ pointsd 7000+ pointse 6000+ pointsf 5000+ pointsg 4000+ pointsh 3000+ pointsi 2000+ pointsj 1000+ pointsk 500+ pointsl 100+ pointsm 1+ points - Newb

OK, seamless corners are hard. I can buy that. What about partitions that go all the way down? I don't buy that it's for "ease of cleaning" because they have to mop each stall anyway to get behind the toilet. Cleaning people are going into each stall no matter what.

Bunga Din's picture
j 1000+ points

Right you are Dave but remember the partitions are painted mild steel sometimes galvanized steel (more corrosion resistant and more $)and moisture along with the solvents used in cleaning will cause corrosion, also if the wall goes to the bottom you will now have an area that is difficult to clean (the crack at the bottom), by having the bottom open the cleaner is free to sweep his mop from side to side with no encumbrances, he doesn't have to take care, just back and forth and he's done and move on to the next. If there is a wall or joint it acts as a trap for not only water and cleaning solvents but piss and shit, you want to minimize the time and effort the cleaner spends returning the facilities to a pristine condition.

AssBlaster2000's picture
PoopReport of the Year Awardj 1000+ points

I've been in one of those marble floor-to-ceiling stalls and the feelings of luxury and privacy were superseded by the fact that enclosed spaces make shit smell BAD, and shitting in a tiny space in general is a bit disconcerting. At least a stall gives the illusion that you are shitting in a larger area.

The Dumpster's picture
i 2000+ points

It is the old liberty vs. security argument: The more you have of one, the less you have of the other.

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

The doors going all the way down will catch all sorts of stuff underneath. No matter how much you mop on one side, the dirt trapped under the bottom of the door will just be redeposited when you close the door again.

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

Poop Shooter's picture
k 500+ points

If ya think of it, the bathroom IS the place for Cracks! Door cracks, wall cracks, floor cracks, and most importantly Butt Cracks!

Have a Crappy Day!! Poop Shooter!

Poop Shooter!

Anonymous Coward's picture

Except for Freud's Beard and Model Forms, Ms. Morgan's "art" is really crappy and belongs in the scrap yard... IMHO :-)

As far as cracks in the stalls, I rather like them. I especially like to look at other women's feet and try to determine weather they are sitting or standing. Just one of my silly little quirks.

Flying out of Philly in the AM so I'll have to take note of the facilities and give a report when I get down in FLA.

Toodles!

A country girl~

AssBlaster2000's picture
PoopReport of the Year Awardj 1000+ points

Have fun in the Philly airport. That place is ghetto. I was there last June and there was a giant mess of turds in one of the toilets by the baggage claim. The bathrooms there also have instructions on the ass gaskets. Apparently people who fly in and out of Philly are quite stupid.

If you're going to Miami, that airport is much nicer. Bravo for Miami. I do believe it was there that I was in a bathroom that had stalls that went all the way down. I could be wrong about that, though.

The nicest airport I have been in though, regardless of size, is the Cancun airport. The nicest plane I have been on belonged to Mexicana Airlines. It was the only plane that didn't smell like ass. The Mexicans apparently know something we don't when it comes to air travel (or maybe I just got lucky).

ShitDump's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

Try taking a dump at banks or in upscale office buildings, they generally have nice doors with private rooms for the shitters.

A new building where I once had an office had 1 set of bathrooms per floor. The handicapped stall had a full door and it was a room. My buddies and I called it the "executive shitter". Funny thing was it was always in use too. We would go from floor to floor to find an open executive shitter. The odor did seem to hang around though since the door was often closed.

The Dumpster's picture
i 2000+ points

AB2K + Mexico = The following story, obscurely posted on the forums, but which needs to be told for ALL THE WORLD TO KNOW:

"All right, Dumpster, I'll air my dirty laundry about the Mexican bathingsuit under this thread. It fits under here pretty well.

"When I went to Cancun this summer, I forgot my damn bathingsuit. As most of the people who hear this story say, only I could forget something like that. I went to the Mexican Wal-Mart, because the idea of that cracked me up so much I had to see it for myself, to procure a new one, as well as some Mexican desodorante (yes, we forgot our deodorant too) and some underwater cameras. We took a cab and it was expensive, so I was in a hurry to shop fast. I found a bathingsuit I liked, a two-piece tankini, and the tag said CH-XG. In hindsight, that means chica-extra grande (small to extra large) and only indicated the range of sizes said swimwear came in. It did not actually indicate the size of the bathingsuit. I only paid attention to the XG and thought, "Extra grande, that'll keep my breasteses reined in." I did not even look at the label.

"Only after we got back to the hotel did I discover that the bathingsuit was MEDIUM. I thought it felt a little snug going on. It fit, albeit snugly, in every other area, but my boobs just oozed out of this thing. If I bent over, Mr. Blaster would bend over with me and try to see nipple. Sure, I could have spent another 200 pesos on a cab ride to Wal-Mart and returned it, or went to the expensive tourist mall across the street and spent 400 or 500 pesos on another, but fuck it, we were only going to be there a week, so I paraded my cleavage around like crazy every time we went to the beach. One of my favorite things is swimming in the ocean, and when I did that Mr. Bastard, err, Blaster, videotaped me getting out of the water, when the waves had pulled down my bathingsuit and exposed cleavage bigger than a baby's behind. When we got home he uploaded that video to the computer and captured still shots of it. If he ever shares those, I will kill him."

Mr. Blaster, the rest of us can only dream....

Poo Zombie's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

AB2K, being somewhat over-endowed in the chest area myself, I completely empathize with this story, even though it was not purposely posted on this thread by you. Clothing that fits the rest of me produces eye-popping cleavage, which causes Gomez to exclaim in a dumbstruck voice, "BOOBS!" He will do this no matter where we are or who's around, and he always sounds very pleased and excited as if he'd forgotten about them and was receiving an unexpected surprise. Then he periodically conducts a visual inspection to make sure they're still there and reminds me every few minutes that, and I quote, "YOU are having BOOBS."

Although amusing to watch his IQ plummet to single digits, I find it rather cute and endearing that he still is entranced with them after all this time. It sounds like you have a very devoted Mr. Blaster there, congratulations.

Back on topic, the other day at work I was in a stall peeing when some lady walked by and put her face up to the crack in the stall and peered in! Yes, I swear! She even cupped her hands around her eyes as she strained to see through the crack who was in there! I was speechless with horror at this shocking breach of commonly accepted etiquette, and rather than Astairing or saying "excuse me" or something, I began kicking the stall door furiously, which sent her scuttling away, hopefully with a bruise developing on her forehead. Since then I've tried to figure out who it was, but no luck.

juiop's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

Not only is it a cleaning and safety issue, having cracks in stalls is a security issue. Think about this: a criminal goes into the bathroom and hides in a stall. Which kind would allow a quicker find? Same idea with emergency situations: Speed will override every time.

juiop: a juicy poop

____________________
warm brown fuzzies

Stallward's picture

Most public bathrooms have floor drains and floors are ever-so-slightly graded to allow water to reach the drain. If the stalls were completely enclosed, the water from an overflowing toilet would fill up the stall until some unlucky sap opened the door.

Picture that!

Gaseous G's picture

Everybody likes boobies.

Nobody likes stalls with privacy robbing gaps.

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

What if there are boobies behind the privacy robbing gaps?

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

Poopy Butt's picture

I work at at a helicopter company in Fort Worth, Texas. I am a neutral shitter; not shameless nor shameful. Anyway... it is not uncommon to enter the men's restroom and be able to tell who is taking a shit! The gap between the stalls and doors is 0.34" +/- 0.25" However, I dunno if Texan's are generally shameless, but the shitters seem to be in high demand. Sometimes guys are lined up waiting, including myself. The other day, just by glancing, I noticed my coworker was in there pinching a loaf. I sat down for a smooth crap yesterday and noticed another coworker walk by and I swear I made eye contact with him!!! I didn't mind... I wish pooing wouldn't be so overated!! Peeing is a way to eliminate waste and so is pooing. The only difference is that one is solid and one is liquid. So why aren't there stalls for a urinal? Being private about poo is silly!!! It is a thing of the past. Sex used to be extremely private years ago and now it is not. I say remove the stalls and dump your intestines like a man!

mott the poople's picture
l 100+ points

C Everett nailed it...(dammit)
Logistics....
I cant believe I agreed with him on something.
Left brain or right?????
(OK...Im a [programmerrr.nerd.withmethod])

BTW....I try NOT to look thru the gaps.
Its OPEN or its NOT!

Asphincter says WHAT...(!)

Asphincter says WHAT...(!)

3flusher's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

In 1968 I took basic training at Fort Knox Kentucky. The barraks were built around WW2, and the latrines not only didn't have stalls, there was no partition between the pots and the sinks. It was convenient to shameless shitters like myself. You could bum a smoke from your neighbor, request a courtesy flush, or even converse with someone who was shaving.
It was a problem for shameful shitters who found it impossible to use the facilities. I don't know what he did, but one told me he didn't use it for the entire 8 weeks.

Stalls? WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING STALLS!

3flusher

Pantsdown Pete's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

As a sufferer from mild claustrophobia, I hate being in a stall with no gaps anywhere. Air and light is what I need when I take a shit. No stalls? That's fine by me, 3flusher. I believe public restrooms should be built with some toilets with stalls and some without. Shameless satisfied, shameful satisfied. How about that, guys?

Pantsdown Pete

Dangerous dave's picture

Why would a business spend the money to totally enclose the crappers when they add no value to the business? Let the shy pussies go home to shit!

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

C Everrett may be sick, politically speaking, but he is not dumb. And besides, it's fun to rag him about his politics.

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

The Dumpster's picture
i 2000+ points

TSV, a car's gotta have brakes as well as an engine.

The Big Wiper's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

3flusher: I'm not sure those who are Shameful can understand the lack of concern those of us who are Shameless and who may have grown up with open stalls either at camp, school or in the military have about using that type of facility.

At any rate, we certainly have no problem using closed stalls with cracks or off-the-floor partitions. In this area of bathroom behavior, I don't think the twain shall ever meet.

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

deadpass's picture

I think typically it's a function of price vs. privacy. The high-end casinos in las vegas all have very private stalls, but most everywhere else has the standard stall. When you spend over a billion dollars on a building you can have private stalls.

Fart Poopie's picture
j 1000+ points

I don't mind the gap under the door and walls. If someone gets stuck in there, the can crawl out. If you run out of toilet paper, it makes it easier for someone to pass you some.
It's the gaps at the top and the big cracks between the door and partition that are pointless to me.

The Wise Janitor's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

its a dam* conspiracy. In hopes that people will become more comfortable with their homosexuality our terrible abomination of a presidents thought making the crapper less private would promote all them gay crackas. YA HEARD!

Poop Shooter's picture
k 500+ points

Wise Janitor: HUH?

Have a Crappy Day!! Poop Shooter!

Poop Shooter!

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

Well, look at it this way. He doesn't want to get caught in the act.

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

The Dumpster's picture
i 2000+ points

If this is the wise janitor, I sure don't want to meet the dumb one.

goanywhere's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

Don't be so bashful. Take your shit like a man.

Anonymous Coward's picture

I used to work in a building with private stalls and I loved taking a crap at work. I also used to masturbate on my breaks. And one lady was always snorting coke in the main area of the bathroom...so maybe privacy doesn't matter?

The Dumpster's picture
i 2000+ points

"And one lady was always snorting coke in the main area of the bathroom..." while you were in there masturbating? Must have been a unisex bathroom, because I don't know too many women who masturbate on their work breaks. I could use to be educated, but I gather satisfactory female masturbation is a bit more complex than that.

Poopy Butt's picture

I had diarrhea at work today... I was hoping more people would have been in the bathroom to hear it! It had a lot of volume, a little noise, and a bowel emptying feeling. I wish I had stools like that 3 or 4 times a day, everyday!!!

GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points

Poo Zombie--LOL at your comment! I love that you just started kicking at the door! The only other choice would have been to say, "Occupied!" in a nasty tone of voice, but I, too, would have been rendered mute by the shock of some idiot eyeballing me through the crack! She had it comin'!

GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points

On the other hand, when DD and DS got too big to come IN the stall with me, but were too small to wait outside, I made them put their bums against the door of the stall and told them to "Keep your feet where I can see 'em!". This way, I knew they weren't wandering off, and yet it precluded having a small eyeball peeping through the crack at a, shall we say, inopportune moment. Worked great! (Still does, for DS when his big sister isn't with us)

Poo Zombie's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

GGG, that's a humorous but well thought-out solution. The presence of your children (who would look sort of like sentries, I imagine) would ensure that bathroom users keep a polite distance and refrain from engaging in Turd Terrorism or otherwise making a mess of the bathroom. At the same time, it prevents your kids from either peeping at you or bothering other bathroom users. Great idea!

GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points

Thanks! Yeah, it's amazing what one end of your body can think of, fast, when the other end insists!

Dumplestiltskin's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

My sophomore year at Ohio University was spent in Gamerstfelder Hall. Gam, as it was called, had shitters (at least in '95) with doors that only came up about neck high of a squatter. So when you walked in you'd see a floating head in a box, I guess like Jambie. The vantage point of the shitter would be of the back of the person wazzing in the urinal.

Of course, there was one shitter with no door. I avoided that one...

Toilet, I don't like you and you don't like me...

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