“Everybody poops, you are not alone”- Radiohead
Up until going abroad a few months ago (in a place with not-so-great toilets, as it were), I had a really hard time dropping a deuce anywhere but home. It wasn’t that I couldn’t; in a high stress, emergency scenario, I was perfectly capable of using a public toilet. But it was never a comfortable experience, and despite my recent maturation, pooping in a public place is still something of a trying experience for me.
It may well be that I am alone in struggling to drop trou in public restrooms. I have a hard time believing that I am #foreveralone, but even if we say for the sake of argument that I am, I’m still sure that everyone, I mean virtually EVERY man, woman, child, and other, prefers to poop in comfortable circumstances. It’s why dogs prefer the grass to the sidewalk, why cats prefer anywhere but the litter box to the litter box (wait no that’s because cats are total dicks nevermind).
So we’ve established that the hotel lobby baño is preferred to the oft-frequented truckstop water closet. But how to apply this understanding to the Northwestern experience? You know you’re going to have to poop on campus SOMETIME. No, you can’t run to your dorm every time you feel something bulge (trust us, it’s been attempted).
Here now, the goal of this article: We, the authors of and contributors to this piece, aim to identify, broadly, the best and worst places on campus to “tour the facilities.” Utilizing our combined decade plus worth of experience pooping at Northwestern, we seek to provide the comprehensive guide to going #2 at NU. We’ve assessed every major location on campus according to four criteria we think constitute THE major components of the ideal shitting experience, with three key exceptions. First, we are not responsible for your diet. If you’ve got Wings Over shits, even the Pancoe accommodations won’t save you. Second, the toilet paper at NU is really crappy (HA!), so you’re shit (HA!) out of luck there.* Third, we don’t do dorms. Dorms are somebody’s “home,” so it’s hard to be objective about the quality of the facilities.
1.Privacy (P): Whether you can conceal your identity on your way in and out, whether you feel pressured to hurry up, whether can you disappear with no consequences after destroying the porcelain finish. Simply put, you know what privacy is when you don’t have it.
2. Cleanliness (C): Given that all public bathrooms are likely more filthy than the infected genitals of a Krokodil addict, whether the bathroom APPEARS to be clean and to what extent.
3. Traffic (T): Who uses the bathroom and how often. To clarify, a high traffic score means you CAN’T feel the warmth in the toilet seat left behind by its last user.
4. Physical Comfort (PC): Whether the bathroom is of an appropriate temperature, whether the lighting is appropriate (neither dark nor too bright), whether the bowl is of a reasonable size and shape, etc. Ambience, if you will. Like privacy, you know it when you don’t have it.
BEST PUBLIC BATHROOMS AT NU
Crowe- There is a significant number of students at NU who don’t know that there’s a Crowe cafe. There’s an even greater number of students who don’t realize that the Crowe toilets are amazing. The only downside here is traffic: There’s a possibility you will spot your philosophy professor or language TA on the way in or out of the bathroom, never mind that this location gets busy right around the same time as the cafe line begins to curl out the door.
P: 4 C: 5 T: 3 PC: 4 Avg: 4.0
Harris basement- Aside from some dark lighting, the Harris basement bathrooms are a bastion of pooping comfort. Although the building itself has seen an uptick in traffic since its renovation, most people don’t stop to poop here for whatever reason.
P: 4 C: 4 T: 3 PC: 4 Avg: 3.75
Ford building – We, as non-engineers, have barely the faintest idea where this building is or what its restrooms are like, which leads us to conclude that the Ford restrooms are the El Dorado of toilets. Our engineering correspondent informs us that this location is highly regarded amongst his ilk.
P: 5 C: 4 T: 4 PC: 3 Avg: 4.0
Pancoe- My friends made something of a recurring joke out of the reality that nobody fucking knows where Pancoe is, even though it’s right there. Right there. No, there. What, you don’t see it? Anyway, there’s an Einstein’s inside, which is pretty sweet, but it’s even sweeter that the first floor bathrooms are so well hidden that you might think there are no bathrooms in this building. You’ll have to go past the lobby full of important people and their banquet tables full of food (no touching!) to get to these wonderful, though somewhat chilly, bathrooms.
P: 5 C: 5 T: 5 PC: 4 Avg: 4.75
McTrib- Traffic in this building is limited almost exclusively to journalism students (duh) and a cappella/comedy shows (all a cappella shows are comedy in one form or another, depending on how drunk you are). The bathrooms here are worth the staircase or two, though you may notice a good number of people coming and going during the day. The bathrooms are a little too well-lit, notes our journalism correspondent, but otherwise it’s a solid experience (HA! Our pun, not hers).
P: 4 T: 2 C: 4.5 PC: 4 Avg: 3.625
Kellogg- These bathrooms are physically not that great, but the psychological benefit is immense. Just think: You get to use rich people toilets, taking the seat of some fancy business person who will make more in a year than the cost of your entire four-year tuition.
P: 3.5 C: 4 T: 3 PC: 3 Avg: 3.375
Deering- At once beautiful and haunting, the Deering bathrooms are the best kept secret in all of Evanston. The beautiful dark mahogany stall doors add an air of elegance, while the bathrooms’ secluded location promises your business will never be interrupted. If you want to poop like royalty, Deering is the place to be.
P: 5 C: 4 T: 5 PC: 3.5 Avg: 4.375
All over our football team- Self-explanatory.
WORST PUBLIC BATHROOMS AT NU
Norris- Also known as Lucifer’s Litterbox (Get it? Because of the Cat Lady?). We wish we could go lower on these scores, but then we’d compromise the integrity of our rating system, and integrity is very important to proper defecation. Between the standing water, garbage scraps on the floor, and constant presence of maintenance workers who apparently do nothing at all (or, alternatively, are fighting for dear life to keep shit from spewing out of every faucet because yeah, that’s how much these toilets get used, and by the way, those maintenance men are unsung heroes), you honestly would be better off pulling a PWild and shitting on the Norris ice rink lawn.
P: 1 C: 1 T: 1 PC: 1 Avg: 1.0
Tech- It should be emphasized here that we’re mostly talking about and rating the first-floor bathrooms of Tech, demon pits of hellfire that they are. There are probably some very nice bathrooms tucked in different places around this labyrinth (our engineering correspondent informs us as much), but we soft science majors (note that this article reeks of soft science) were too scared we’d get lost.This location is also a big standing-water, garbage-on-the-floor pillar of maintenance staff incompetence. By the way, there exists a secret bathroom in a relatively new area of Tech that is apparently THE best place on campus to poop, but we’re not telling, because 1. you’ll get lost and die with poopy pants and 2. we’re keeping it for ourselves 😛
P: 1 C: 2 T: 1 PC: 2 Avg: 1.25
Kresge- The Tech of South Campus. How can a place so close to Crowe suck so hard? It’s eerily reminiscent of middle school, or maybe grade school bathrooms. Certainly, the piss on the floor and stale air recall memories of 4th-grade classmates holding pissing contests by dropping their pants, lifting up their shirts, and walking backwards as far from the urinal as they could while openly mocking the sad kid sitting down in the stall with only the half-walls for protection.
P: 1 C: 2: T: 1 PC: 1 Avg 1.25
The Gyms- Shitting at the gym happens even though you did everything you could NOT to shit at the gym. This is why I don’t run anymore. That, and Netflix. Your toilet experience follows on the heels of someone who was incredibly sweaty, like you, and ALSO took a horrible explosive shit they didn’t know they needed to take until they got there. So yeah.
Blom- A location right by the sorority quads dooms this bathroom to a low score. You know how they say girls don’t poop? Well, it’s true. Poop is FAR too demure a word to describe the violent spewing of fecal matter that the female anus is capable of producing; one of those wacky flower sprinklers from my childhood coupled with the pressure of a fire hose comes to mind. Steer clear, or you will quickly witness the wet dream of a girl’s locker room morph into a wet nightmare.
P:1 C:1 T: 1 PC: 1 Avg 1
Patten- Athletes poop here. (Not rated: too intimidated by athletes).
Spac- People who think they’re athletes poop here. And then they go swimming afterwards to feel clean. (Not rated: too traumatic to recall actual qualities).
Annenberg- How can a bathroom housed in SESP headquarters, home to the happiest students on campus, be so cold and essentially carpeted in toilet paper? The only feasible answer is that this is a decoy bathroom, and somewhere in Annenberg, hidden away from the rest of us, is a softly lit bathroom maintained at a comfortable temperature of 72 degrees and stocked with Charmin Ultra toilet paper. Those SESP bastards.
P: 2 C: 2 T: 2 PC: 2 Avg 2
Main Library- Fuck the library. At a school where every week is mid-term week, stress poops and bad diets are a real thing– and it is all unleashed here. It appears that the school knows this and therefore makes no effort to renovate or restore these bathrooms. Second floor near Core is oddly reminiscent of Moaning Myrtle’s favorite haunt in all of the WRONG ways- soaked floors, terrible lighting, the nearby sounds of someone coughing up a lung even when the bathroom is totally empty.
P:2 C:3 T:2 PC: 2 Avg: 2.25
University solo bathrooms- Awful and deceptive. They fool you into thinking you’ve landed a single stall bathroom, until the moment you drop a deuce and someone walks in. Forget shitting in peace. Now some stranger is standing there, silently pressuring you to finish your business so they can have their turn. What you thought was going to be a meditative trip to the bathroom is suddenly a high stakes, high pressure challenge of how quickly you can excrete everything from your bowels. Bonus points for all the stall writing though.
P: 1 C: 2.5 T:2 PC:2.5 Avg: 2.0
Ryan Field and Stadium- Come on yo. Don’t poop at the stadium.
Swift- “Oh hey, the psych building! And there’s a bathroom right by the main entrance! I’ll just stop in here for a quickie and maybe even play some Candy Crush! Wait. That lecture hall’s door is open. I guess it’s always open, but I only just noticed. Andddd there’s somebody already in there. And a line has formed inside the lecture hall for the bathroom. And the professor is in line. I guess I’ll wait until I have full lives to beat level 235.”
P: 1 C: 3 T: 2.5 PC: 2 (Editor’s note: Traffic here is scored as a 2.5 because, by virtue of being a solo bathroom, the Swift first floor bathroom simply can’t see very many clients in one day. SCIENCE.) Avg: 2.125
Parkes- This location feels like it’s North of the Wall despite being so far South. Desolate, cold, clearly maintained by Samwell Tarly–Parkes has it all, or rather, none of it.
If you’re not a fantasy enthusiast, consider this public restroom as something of a post-apocalyptic bomb shelter.
P: 3 C: 2 T: 3.5 PC: 1 Avg: 2.375
Fisk- The last thing I want to do before I unload a fat, steamy one is a cardio workout, which leads me to wonder why in God’s name do you have to climb so many stairs to access the facilities in Fisk? The good bathrooms are up too many flights of stairs and around offices and small classroom spaces, while the basement bathrooms are old and dingy.
P:2 C:2 T:3 PC:2 Avg: 2.25
Your pants- At least it rates high in convenience, so it’s not all bad.
That’s it. Poop in the good places, don’t poop in the bad places, and seriously stop pooping outside PWilders we get you had an “experience” with “nature” but next time I’m calling the cops. Good luck!
*Note: Why NU has a rising tuition and new Kellogg buildings but rocks Scott’s brand toilet paper in every bathroom is beyond me.