Toilet Practices, Redux

I’ve written about this before. What prompted this entry was Mackenzie’s welcome news about a switch to unisex rooms.

Some things have changed since my earlier post. For one, I’ve actually used ladies’ rooms a few times now – covertly, taking care not to be seen. Really, I didn’t notice much difference, except that the one at my current workplace has more hygiene products and some funny messages on walls about not clogging it with food residue and used paper. Well, that, and I always sit down. Strictly speaking, I don’t have to, but “when in Rome…”

What particularly bugs me about the Russian toilet segregation practices is that in many buildings, especially Soviet legacy ones, not only are the two rooms completely identical, but also, each is designed for a single occupant. In our local shopping center, both rooms are overseen by an old lady who sits by a table in front of them charging for use. Simply removing the gender labels would lose absolutely nothing – it wouldn’t even introduce the danger of being seen or inappropriately touched – but would increase throughput.

What’s. The. Point?

Sheer power of tradition, maybe? The dentist clinic here only has one small room, with a single toilet. Yet there are still “male” and “female” pointer signs on the wall, except they both point to that single room. Convenience? Inertia? I don’t get it.

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