Toilets, Restrooms, and Lavatories: the Thrones of Social Order

It is amazing how much going to the bathroom is a key part of our life, yet we rarely sit down and talk about how it affects us and how we co-exist as men and women segregated by our bathrooms.  A professor of sociology at NYU who edited the book “Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing” gives us a number of essays on the topic by “urbanists, historians, sociologists and other cultural analysts,” according to

Professor Harvey Molotch touched on fascinating issues stemming from toilet use during an interview with Salon. He talked about who had the best toilet and best restroom.  He said that Japan has a toilet with a sink on the top of it, so you don’t waste water.  You wash your hands in the back of the toilet and that way the water is completely used and recycled.  He said that the nicest restroom was in New York at Bryant Park. 

Other tidbits were how squatting to do your business is the best way for a healthy body to expell #2.  Another was toilet tissue vs. water. Water won because toilet tissue can lead to constipation and other problems in that region. Not only that, in other communities throughout the world where out- houses would be considered high class, tissue can spread disease.  Women are also really struggling with menstrual periods (that are not talked about………………………..ever.)  You can’t even go into town for yourself if you’re elderly, a child, or whoever’s watching one of the two because of the lack of facilities along the way.

You will never believe how much went into deciding what goes into simply using the bathroom.  For instance, he talks about how the old charge toilets where you paid to get in a stall was a part of the social order of the time that reduced us to the haves and have nots while forcing others to pee and defecate outside. Read more here. Very interesting stuff.

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