Two small public restrooms with only one seat: Let both genders use either, or not?

You know how you might be in a small restaurant or bar, or maybe even a store of some kind where they have public restroom facilities, and they provide two small bathrooms for the customers. Each one has only one commode.

You also may have experienced having to wait, and wait, outside the one designated for your gender while the person inside apparently does a complete sponge bath, hairwashing, drying, and changing of clothes–and meanwhile the other gender’s bathroom sits empty for twenty minutes.

On the other hand, I’ve heard some people express repugnance at the idea of common gender washrooms. So, I’m curious what the general position is. From the point of view of scheduling, throughput, and resource allocation, dual-gender washrooms make sense. But clearly some people are repulsed by them. This is why, at least for me, I don’t want to use the other bathroom even though I can lock myself in it and don’t have to worry about the ladies walking in. They might be waiting when I come out, and say to themselves, “OMG, a dude was just in there, I’m not sure I want to use it now.” I’m curious what the general position is:

I am a bit worried about girl cooties… but I figure it’s probably less risky than having sex.

That drives me absolutely bonkers - why on earth aren’t they all nongendered? I don’t understand it at all. (I’ve occasionally gone into the “not really a men’s room” under extreme duress, but I don’t like doing that because it might make somebody uncomfortable.)

I just used the men’s room at Taco Bell the other day.

I am significantly pregnant. I will pee anywhere.

(Which is not to say that I wouldn’t even as a non-pregnant woman, because I would if the situation presented itself. It’s just more a dire need now than simply “Oh, I don’t feel like waiting.”)

I don’t know if I’d be thrilled at all of them being non-gender, but in a situation where there’s no stalls and either bathroom only allows one at a time, I think it’s foolish to block it off.

I can imagine the complaints from the biddies though.

Having cleaned both bathrooms, I can say that both males and females can be fucking pigs. Men seem to pee on the floor more while women do stupid crap with tampons, both otherwise both do the same questionable things.

Even though both men and women can be gross, men are gross in a different way. I’d rather use a ladies’ room with bloody tampons everywhere than a men’s room with man-pee everywhere. PHEEW!

That being said, if it were truly an emergency I would use the men’s room and I wouldn’t begrudge a man who needed to use the ladies’.

ETA: I have two bathrooms side-by-side in my own home. We let visitors know that one is for men and one for women. It’s just my husband and me living here and I don’t mind sharing with him, but I do enjoy having my own girly, sweet-smelling bathroom. Plus the men’s room is a great place to keep the cat box.

Did anyone else get a mental picture of a u-shaped litterbox *surrounding *the men’s toilet? :smiley:

Yes to non-gendered toilets if they’re like you describe. I treat them as non-gendered anyway, if the ladies’ line is too long, as long as I’m not going to walk in on men peeing in urinals (not for my own squeamishness, but because it’s not fair on them).

It’s also fairer for parents, people with disabilities, transgendered people, and people who are just plain desperate for a whizz.

That could be good! My husband has poor aim. :eek:

Last month I saw an odd variant on the unisex bathroom concept, in a Venice (CA) pub. When you walked in, it looked like a large public restroom that would ordinarily have been for either men or women–a bank of sinks with several stalls opposite. The stalls were a little unusual in that they had full length doors with knobs, and each one was designated men’s or women’s.

What made this very disconcerting at first was that the entire room seemed to be too “pretty” to not be just for women, just in terms of the general decor, the vases of flowers on the counters, etc.

In Italy we saw many public restrooms designed this way; seemed like a good idea as you don’t have to duplicate the sinks etc. (Don’t men enjoy flowers?) The ones in Italy, however, didn’t designate the stalls; all were unisex. Why not? (At least all these style restrooms had toilets and not just holes in the floor; I found those a bit, um, difficult. My knees didn’t want to lift me back up after squatting. Do Italians not have arthritic knees?)

This evening I was at a restaurant/bar in Bozemam, Montana, which had one restroom with a sign that said “Either/Or” and the other said “Ladies.” “Either/Or” did have a urinal in it, in addition to on stall. The restroom door did lock. I did not look into “Ladies.”

I found that very odd.

As long as I don’t have to encounter urinals I do not care who goes into the same WC as me.

I picked the first option. I don’t even care if there’s a urinal in any restroom that I might happen to use. I know that men frequently use urinals, and if a man’s gonna stand up to pee, then I’d prefer him to use a urinal. Especially if I’m gonna use the toilet afterwards, I’d prefer that all men visiting the restroom would use the urinal if they stand up to pee. I don’t care to sit on a urine covered toilet seat. And I’d prefer that all women who use that toilet to sit, rather than hover.

Men and women have approximately the same cooties. I do find that men generally have stronger-smelling urine than women do, but an adequate ventilation and room freshener combo should take care of that.

Oh, and I’ve been pregnant, and I’ve used a men’s room when the women’s room was out of order. When you’re pregnant, and the baby is tapdancing on your bladder, you gotta GO.

This is actually a topic that has occupied me in the past. I’ve never understood why a bathroom that will have only one person at a time needs to be male or female.

I seem to recall someone posting on these boards that some jurisdictions have weird codes that may be relevant. The gist was that a facility could have just a single “one-occupant” restroom and be compliant with the relevant codes - and such a restroom would of course be male/female.

However, if the facility had two one-occupant restrooms, it was claimed that in these same jurisdictions building codes required that one be labeled “Men”, and the other “Women.”

I don’t know if this is actually true anywhere, although it would explain a lot. Does anybody know if the above is accurate anyplace in the US?

I have a favorite restaurant with two single occupancy restrooms. (Actually, they are closets with toilets in them.) One is labelled “The Restroom” and the other is labelled “The Other Restroom.” So in northeast MA, anyway, there is no law that says they must be M/W.

What’s perplexing is that in the office where I work there are four single occ. restrooms. One is M, one is W, the other two are unisex. Why? But at any rate, if I were disabled I’d want to use one of the unisex ones. In fact they are used by disabled people all the time.

There’s an even weirder thing on the floor where I work. The floor plan is laid out with the hallways in an H-like shape, with the top left hall stretching way back.


Where the two corridors meet there are two bathrooms right next to each other, one with two stalls and one a single stall, and *both *of them are labeled as “Women.” There is only one Men’s room on the floor, and it’s wayyyy back at the end of the far corridor. Now why the single room stall in the center of the X isn’t labeled as unisex, I have *no *idea!

As long as they’re both cleaned regularly, I don’t have a problem sharing. I mean, I live with two men at home (I’m a woman) and I share a bathroom with them. I’m not afraid of boy cooties.