We do not discuss it, but we all have it in common: a deep emotional attachment to a specific bathroom stall.
After extensive polling, I can now safely say that 100% of OIHS students have a favorite bathroom stall. Females in particular express passion and excitement when asked to describe the stall that calls most strongly to them. This disproportionate gender distribution is likely due to the fact that most men’s restrooms only have one stall.
In the women’s upstairs bathroom, the third stall is a clear favorite: over 38% of students polled say that they repeatedly choose this bathroom booth over the others. When asked why, however, most third-stallers have a difficult time voicing their reasons. “I don’t know why, just is” and “I have no idea” proved to be common answers.
After an in-depth examination of this cubicle, I have discovered more than just one appeal to the third stall. Directly in front of the swinging door is a mirror, pointing to the bathroom-goers’ self-obsession and explaining these students’ tendency to take up to eight minutes at a time in the bathroom. This stall also attracts more middle children, as the middle of the restroom is a position of comfort for them.
Tied for second place in the women’s upstairs bathroom are the first and second stalls, both with a solid 25%. The reasoning, in Grace Gustafson’s words: “closer.” Izie Janecek, a “go-on-the-go” type of student, said that she repeatedly chooses the first stall because she likes to be efficient with her time. This type of bathroom-goer takes little effort to analyze. The overwhelming majority of first-stallers and second-stallers are passionate about their studies and are shown to be more likely to graduate on time and place in the top 10% of their class than any other kind of student.
There are only two self-professed fourth-stallers at OIHS, who both wish to remain anonymous due to the intense pestering often attached to this confession. Each time a student admits to being a fourth stall fanatic, the student body, for undiscovered reasons, nags them until they give in to peer pressure. Only one of these students offered a reason for their preference, seeming to feel a need to validate their claim: “There’s more space for me to escape from the toilet when it’s flushing. When it starts flushing, I just want to get out of there, and the door opens outward so it’s easier to flee.” Students choosing the fourth stall are passionate about their personal bubble and are commonly self-identified introverts.
Although women have more choice in cubicle at OIHS, men still have their own unique preferences. One student said that his favorite restroom is the one in the hall outside the art room because it is private. Ironically, students report that sounds from this bathroom carry furthest, as it has no door and is known for its tendency to carry echos. However, this same student who claims that the art room bathroom is his favorite also said, “I dislike all other stalls.” I don’t mean to burst your bubble though, man. You do you.
As lines form in bathrooms while students wait to use their preferred stalls, teachers have become increasingly strict about bathroom rules. Most teachers, however, remain unsuccessful in their endeavors. Students report that their favorite stall provides a home away from home, saying that nothing a teacher does can overpower the urge to sit in such a place of comfort and consolation in times of stress. The fear of a missed APUSH essay or Val Hellar’s “Whale Rider” movie do not stand a chance against the attraction of a peaceful moment in a favorite stall. “It’s just one of the only reliable things in my life right now,” a student said passionately. “I can’t imagine living without it.”