Eight Things You Learn When Using a Communal Bathroom

Hira Himayun ’17
Features Editor

Coming to college, there are many aspects of life for which you must prepare yourself. One of the most significant yet often overlooked aspect is the bathroom situation. Dorm life – or rather house life – has its quirks, which take time to get used to. Yes, we may have houses here at Smith, but when met with the 20-people-to-a-bathroom set-up, we come to realize that Smith houses are redefining our perceptions of house bathrooms. However, sharing a bathroom with your floormates teaches you some valuable lessons and is an integral part of every college experience. Here are some crucial things you will learn when using a communal bathroom:

1. Early Morning Bathroom Friendships are Special

The people who see you in your 7 a.m. state with bedhead and groggy, half-shut eyes are the people to trust. If they happen to strike up conversation while brushing their teeth, you know the friendship is real. It takes effort to talk through toothpaste foam in your mouth, and these friends would go that extra mile to ask you about your day.

2. Toilet Paper Sharing

Few things are more annoying than getting into that bathroom stall and realizing too late that there is no toilet paper in that stall. Not only will you have to learn to break through the awkwardness of asking someone in the stall next to you for some assistance, but you will develop an unsaid bond with said person.

3. Tragedy of the Caddies

It takes a certain level of courage to leave your shower caddy – toothbrush and all – in the bathroom cubbies. You will learn ways to make sure nobody accidentally drops your toothbrush or “accidentally” uses your facewash. And at some point you will see some unfortunate student’s towel on the floor. Whether or not you pick it up, you will always be left with a fear for your own and will adjust it around the hook in ways you wouldn’t have thought possible just to save it from suffering the same fate.  Or, you might just become fearless and hope the odds are in your favor.

4. When the Unexpected Man Appears

There are times when you will encounter unexpected male visitors and other guests coming out of the stall next to you, and at first you might be a little disoriented. But don’t worry; with time you can learn to be prepared for anything.

5. Shorter Showers

When over 20 people are sharing four shower stalls, you will learn to either take quick showers or will figure out a time when the showers are least in demand and shower at your own pace. In any case, you will learn that when shower space is limited, showers become a scare but necessary commodity. You will come to see showers as a luxury and not a necessity.

6. How to Keep Clean

Hair in the shower will disgust you no matter what. Shampoo on shower walls will frustrate you and un-flushed toilets will get on your nerves. But soon you will become a pro at maneuvering your way around these messes and avoiding contact with shower stall walls. Make a conscious effort to leave no trace of filth once you finish using the bathroom.

7. The Friday Night Crowd

On Friday nights, you will come to anticipate the crowd of intoxicated students chatting loudly in the bathroom and occasionally vomiting in common spaces. If you are not one of these people you’ll know when the best time to shower on a Friday night is, and if you are one of these people, the bathroom will become your new favorite hangout place.

8. Flip-Flops: Extensions of Your Feet

Once you fully realize what the floors of your common bathroom go through each day, it’s only a matter of time before you go everywhere in your bathroom flip-flops. You do not want to be walking barefoot across a floor where someone from the Friday Night Crowd puked the night before.

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