At breaks in between classes, a line of urine-filled teens ready to burst branches off from the two urinals out through the door. Each man, restraining his stream, waits impatiently as the two at the front take their positions. It can be quite uncomfortable for many.
Junior Jake Zwiebach said “It feels like everyone is looking at my [appendage].” Time is of the essence when a measly 10 minutes is all that is allotted for a bathroom break. The stress level is high, you’re attempting to be speedy, and you still have to focus on keeping your gaze ahead. The 7.5 inches between the urinals of the boys bathroom in Upper Keyser is not nearly enough space to keep your business private. The proximity at which you stand to the person beside you is both uncomfortable and disturbing.
Problem is, there isn’t much you can do while in that situation. You’re in no position to walk away, let alone turn away due to the nature of your stance. Even if you end up in the bathroom with a friend who just happens to be taking a break at the same time as you, the awkward encounter you would have, regardless of how long you’ve been friends, is unavoidable. A standoff ensues, and the bigger man says, “You wanna go first dude?” There really isn’t any better way to say it and frankly, someone has to be the gentlemen.
So what do you do? Stand there in silence until one of you makes a move towards a urinal. What’s odd is that on some level, the bathroom construction seems to encourage the buddy system. Stalls aside, every obstacle of the bathroom begs to be overcome by a group of two or more. The mirror is oversized, allowing zit consults, and simultaneous hair flips to take place at any time of the day. The sink has a bowl big enough for the grimy hands of everyone who’s been sweating their way through a test, or feeding themselves sticky orange chicken from Safeway with their hands.
It’s impossible to forget the urinals. Come on, 7.5 inches? That’s about enough space between the porcelain to be hip-to hip with your neighbor. It’s unfortunate but true and what’s worse, there’s nowhere to run, and nowhere to pee.
A commonly overlooked idea is to carry a divider with you at all times. Something to hold or place on the ground in-between you and your gentlemen friend is highly effective in stopping unwanted “peekage” and quite possibly blowback from the shallow wall of the porcelain pit stop. Carrying a small section of drywall from class to class is obviously inconvenient. Recommendations are as follows: a replica of a medieval shield, round saucer sled, your least favorite subject’s binder, or a copy of Transformers 3 on DVD.
Someone needs to step up, in one of two ways. Either a concerned student needs to meet the challenge, and bring in a communal shield for all students to use, or a school divider. The alternative is exceedingly long lines, uncomfortable and potentially friend-ruining situations, and the exploitation of shy bladders. Along with eliminating potential awkwardness, a permanent divider will simply make the process faster, leading to less students being late to class, and more comfort in urination.
Written by Max Shulman & Wesley Emblidge. This article originally appeared in the September 2011 issue.