We’ve had indoor plumbing for what, 200 years now? More than that if you go back past the Middle Ages and into the Greek and Roman eras. So why are modern bathrooms so poorly designed?
If you’ve stayed in any number of hotels lately, you know what I mean. Public access bathrooms aren’t much better; indeed, they’re sometimes worse if they don’t have staff dedicated to checking them frequently for cleanliness and supplies. What’s so wrong with these facilities? Let us count the ways:
So Close And Yet So Far — Apparently no one has ever done a study to determine the optimal location of toilet paper relative to the toilet. Or if they have, no one who builds bathrooms ever refers to it. Thus, toilet paper will be: 1) So far in front or off to the side that you practically fall off reaching for it or 2) So close as to almost be behind you, resulting in the need for a yoga maneuver that should not be contemplated even when fully clothed, much less when half dressed.
Will Someone Get The Light? — The lighting in most bathroom falls into two categories as well. There’s Old and Tired, which is guaranteed to make everything in the room, especially you, look 40 years older and 30 pounds heavier. (Please note this is the same light used in clothing store fitting rooms). The opposite is Stage Floodlights, the same kind of lighting used on Broadway, which is clearly perfect for those three a.m. visits to the loo.
It’s Curtains For You See — Shower curtains have to be one of the worst inventions ever. They inevitably billow inward during a shower and stick to you. They get mildew in about 2.5 seconds. If not carefully tucked into the tub, they actually help to guide more water *out* of the shower and onto the floor than if you’d had nothing around the tub at all. And they don’t provide an end to end seal, so there’s always a cold draft coming in from one end or the other.
So Close And Yet So Far Redux — I have yet to find a bathroom, in a hotel or public space, that actually allows you to get up close to a mirror. Either the vanity is 2.5 feet deep and runs the entire length of the mirror, or they have a smaller sink and the toilet shoved up underneath the mirror. This is not just a woman’s complaint either — I like to see to put on my makeup, but most guys I know like to see to be able to shave too.
Off The Shelf — Hotel owners everywhere: Who’s clever idea was it to locate the linens shelf *in the shower* so that all of your towels, facecloths, and hand towels are permanently damp? Also: shelves located over the toilet sound like a brilliant, space-saving idea… right until you drop the bottle of aspirin into the bowl.
Fan Club — Bathroom fans, the kind meant to remove steam build-up, seem to have two speeds. There is Your Mirror Is Going to Fog Up Anyway and Turbo Fan. The former is obviously useless; the latter has this kind of supernatural ability to remove steam from a room before the water has even realized it’s going to become steam. You’re in for a frosty shower.
There are other issues of course. Like constructing tubs out of metal, which conduct heat rapidly, leaving you with cold bath water in about three minutes. Or lining floors with ceramic tiles — surely only Teflon would provide a slipperier surface?
I realize that in the grand scheme of world problems, these are but petty complaints…
… on the other hand, perhaps if our world leaders weren’t always half-frozen by poorly designed showers, concussed by falls on slippery floors, and/or hadn’t cut themselves shaving, perhaps we’d have some of those bigger problems fixed by now!