The Black & White

Whitman bathrooms, like never before

By Rachel Nussbaum

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Photo by Rachel Nussbaum.

Imagine the worst place you’ve ever been. Worse than the Bethesda tunnel.  Worse than the Express line at Safeway when someone has 20 items. More along the lines of the Chokey in “Matilda,” the movie. Damp, dark and full of pointy objects. In other words, Whitman’s bathrooms.

Alright, so maybe that’s a bit of a hyperbole, but it’s pretty close to the truth. Whitman’s bathrooms have become downright disgraceful. In fact, the entire bathroom situation screams of stupidity.

Many a day, I’ve started at one end of the sinks. Working down the row, my frustration, embarrassment and desire for stronger arms grows with each stubbornly unmoving faucet, until finally the last sink spews a blast of searing hot water onto my expectant hands.

Spectators to this ordeal are the signs stuck on the wall, jeering and taunting with their “helpful” tips and mocking advice on the importance of hand-washing.

Well, I’m guessing that most people already know these tips after having it drilled into their heads with swine flu precautions. And students are probably trying to put them into action, but can’t because there’s only one working faucet in the entire restroom.

But the hand-washing sign isn’t even the most demeaning. No, that award goes to the “Water for washing hands. Do not drink,” sign, complete with (necessary?) illustrations.

Wait, wait, wait. Back up a minute here. First it mentions water as if it’s some type of plentiful resource in the bathroom, and then it tells me that I can’t even drink it if I get my hands on it? Madness!

Before this perplexing situation is even encountered, though, most students actually make use of the bathroom stalls. For the sake of decency, I won’t go into details. But I will state the most ironic detail of them all: five fully stocked toilet paper dispensers, and I’m looking at a Green Team fact lecturing me on how to stop being just so darn wasteful. Really?

I’m in no way blaming the Green Team, but come on.

Yet, maybe the school makes up for it with their apparent eschewing of paper towels. In many cases, students are forced to wipe their hands on their pants to avoid a clammy-handed fate. But think of what it looks like, emerging from the bathroom with dark stains on the mid-thigh region.

Not good, that’s for sure.

Now, I realize some students avoid all of these difficulties by simply visiting the bathroom to take a breather or redo her, or his (Jersey Shore-reminiscent), hair. Not even those few are exempt from the decrepit “mirrors” though. Yes, quote marks are definitely needed there, because to call those polished pieces of metal mirrors is too high a praise.

Honestly, the only piece of advice that I can offer is that you should somehow manage to check out a Holton-Arms School bathroom. They’ve got windows, not fluorescents. Actual environmentally-friendly toilets, not Green Facts. Mirrors, not metal. And, get this, foaming soap.

Truly the lap of luxury.


11 Responses to “Whitman bathrooms, like never before”

  1. justanotherstudent on January 10th, 2010 10:15 am

    Great job, Rachel! Very fun to read.

  2. justanotherteacher on January 10th, 2010 6:41 pm

    You are SO right about the faucets and their refusal to turn so as to make the H2O flow!

  3. Molly Kaplowitz on January 12th, 2010 11:24 am

    very true and well written. Love the ending!

  4. hmm on January 15th, 2010 1:59 am

    i write an article like this every day in my head when i walk into one of our bathrooms.

    yours is better though, don’t worry.

  5. Anonymous on January 16th, 2010 12:20 pm

    I don’t understand how having the toilet paper fully stocked is a negative.

  6. Name on January 17th, 2010 9:00 pm

    I couldn’t have said it better. You nailed it.

  7. Dale on January 19th, 2010 2:00 am

    the metal mirrors are necessary. glass mirrors would be too prone to accidents/vandalism, and shattered glass shouldn’t be added to your list of grievances.

  8. jkl26 on January 31st, 2010 9:50 pm

    couldn’t have said it any better myself. and so true about holton’s bathrooms. the toilets never cease to amaze me.

  9. Confused Ruth on February 7th, 2010 2:04 pm

    What message are you trying to convey? I lost you after the 2nd sentence.

  10. Josh L on February 17th, 2010 8:43 pm

    Now they need signs that say, “DO NOT START FIRES.”

  11. Whitmani@c! on February 18th, 2010 9:29 pm

    rachel, i love your writing style and it makes me want to read more and more.

    WAY TO GO!!!!!