Wednesday, July 8, 2009

An open letter to designers of public restrooms

To whom it may concern:

I propose a revolution in public restroom design. Starting immediately, I think that all public restrooms should have - at a minimum - the following:
  • Door handles on the entry side of the restroom, so we don't have to touch a nasty door handle in order to get out after we've just washed our hands. Sorry, but using the paper towel to open the door is just so inconvenient. I don't understand why you can't get this one right.
  • Speaking of hand washing, how about being consistent with the sinks? I don't understand why either the sink or the soap dispenser or the towel dispenser/hand dryer cannot all be automatic. An automatic sink and soap dispenser, but then a towel dispenser that I have to pull towels from, is kind of stupid.
  • OK, women need mirrors in restrooms. But we'd like for them to NOT be the kind that make us all look 50 pounds heavier. 
  • And we'd like some lighting in front of the mirror that makes us look real, not like we've been sitting in a formaldahyde bath all day long. 
  • I haven't even gotten to the stalls yet. Could we please have some stalls that give us some privacy? In Europe, the doors go from ceiling to floor, and you can't see people through the cracks. Why can't we have this?
  • And why can't the stalls be large enough for us to be able to turn around in?
  • And the toilets be places far enough from the toilet tissue holder than when you go to sit or lean down, you don't bruise your butt?
  • Why can't we have the nice musical toilets like they have in Japan, where you push a button and hear a fake flushing sound, to drown out certain . . . shall we say 'unpleasant noises'? (Not that I would ever make any of these in a public toilet. I just don't want to listen to anyone else's.)
  • HEY, attention to those who design AIRPORT public restrooms!!! . . . how about some really strong, sturdy hooks for us to hang those heavy purses and backpacks? And they might as well be attached to really strong, sturdy doors so that they don't keep falling off? Sheesh, is it really that difficult???
  • Finally, I think that all public restrooms should have some sort of stink control mechanism in them. I've seen these in some places. Basically it's just some kind of device on the wall that releases air freshener every so often. We could really use these in the restrooms at work. Especially about an hour after lunch.
  • OK, I realize I just said "finally" in the last bullet point . . . but one final point. It is not necessary to provide an equivalent amount of toilets and space in Men's and Women's restrooms in large public facilities such as sports stadiums and movie theaters. The fact is, women need larger restrooms with more toilets. Has no one ever done a study to count the number of women in long lines at these places? Meanwhile, the men are in and out quickly. Duh. It doesn't really take a genius.
Yours truly,
Mariandy