John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Pop a squat for this week's uncomfortable edition of Toilet Tuesday.
Pop a squat for this week's uncomfortable edition of Toilet Tuesday:
IS THIS PLANET EARTH'S STRANGEST TOILET CONFIGURATION?
A week ago, Simon Landau was eating at an Indian restaurant in northwest D.C. when he decided to use the bathroom. He walked into the facilities and was brought short by this incredible stall design: Two toilets facing each other and separated by a space of mere feet, as if the restaurant was encouraging people to hold philosophical dialogues while dropping deuces. Landau, who works at local TV station WUSA 9, snapped this picture of what he calls "undoubtedly the weirdest public restroom I've ever seen in my entire life":
"When I walked in I was briefly confused and then started cracking up," he tells Toilet Tuesday. "There was a lock on the door so I just locked up and it was fine. I guess when it comes to that bathroom, timing is everything."
It turns out these buddy toilets have already enthralled a select group of D.C. foodies. "Notice how many patrons exit the restroom smiling?" asks "Giant Shrimp" on food forum DonRockwell.com, who adds that the owner, who inherited the bathroom when he opened the restaurant, has joked: "I should have added a chess set." And on Yelp, Peter M. says: "If I didn't know any better I might think that there is some strange Indian custom where after a meal you carry the conversation to the bathroom and continue talking face to face...."
OR IS THIS THE WEIRDEST TOILET?
There's not much to say about this public loo next to a Belarus highway, except that 1) somebody really needs to hire a janitor for it, and 2) you better have a healthy tolerance for voyeurism before undoing your belt:
THE NEVERENDING DISCUSSION OVER STARBUCKS BATHROOMS
When Weather.com was listing possible closures for Sandy, it cited Starbucks along with subways and schools. Euny Hong at Quartz concludes that's because many New Yorkers view the chain's bathrooms as "tantamount to a public utility." But the fascination with Starbucks' powder rooms stretches far beyond New York. A quick scan of Twitter reveals that nation is engaged in a sprawling, continuous discourse of these magical receptacles for bodily waste. Here are some of the more engaging comments:
@thespacewad: Homeless Sext: I've got the code for the Starbucks bathroom.
@Trevor_cj: I am so sorry starbucks bathroom...
Finally, there's this incredible, possibly NSFW one: