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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Potty Talk: The final flush

Today, we join our spiritual predecessor Larry Bacow and come out of retirement. Just as Larry left in search of a better life, today we too say our goodbyes. We hope, however, to leave one nugget of our wisdom behind.

For our final flush, we will reveal undeniably the greatest bathroom on Tufts’ campus. We found this bathroom long ago but have been reticent to divulge its whereabouts to the larger community lest we lose it for ourselves. But today, as we prepare to say goodbye to our dear old Brown and Blue — or should we say Brown and Yellow — we open the floodgates to the swarms of students and parents who will descend upon this holy site in search of an ounce of privacy on this overenrolled, under-dormed campus.

This lavatorial nirvana finds itself in the unlikeliest of places: the Michael wing of Pearson Hall. If you’ve read our first article on the bathrooms of the Michael wing, you’ll know that every floor is judged by its proximity to the “level of discharge,” which is the basement. However, our favorite “level of discharge” is in fact all the way upstairs.

After climbing the seemingly interminable steps, a bathroom-goer spots a sign of impending relief: a bright red sign printed simply with the word “RESTROOM.” After yet another set of stairs, he is greeted by two Fenway Park-green doors, neither of which are identified as bathrooms except for the small rotating indicator on one of them reading “VACANT.”

In fact, the only reason we knew that the other door held a bathroom was that the door was flung wide open — or as open as it could get. See, dear reader, this bathroom’s door serves a dual purpose. When it is in the closed position, it is a standard bathroom door. When it is in the open position, however, it serves as a door to the sink section of the bathroom. The fact that the sink has three walls surrounding it as well as a makeshift door suggests that the architect of this bathroom (the eponymous Michael?) may have been a member of the movement of people who propose using the sink for urination as a means of saving water.

The bathrooms are illuminated by such an eclectic array of light fixtures that they must have been built either with no electrical planning at all or with a level of care unsurpassed in all of Tufts architecture (except, of course, the blessed soul who made the echo spot).

The only potentially more carefully planned detail of these bathrooms is the waiting area (read: hallway) outside them. Specifically, the tiling is exquisitely done. Amid a sea of captivating gray tiles artfully splotched with white paint from the walls, sits an 8x4 oasis of  blue. This is not a uniform blue but rather contains a variety of blue tiles laid down in a pattern whose meaning we have yet to discern. However, they somehow point to the two missing tiles that lie ahead, a gentle reminder that, even at our best, there is always room to improve.

The sinks, toilets and soap were all fine.

Before we sign off, we’d like to pay homage to three bathrooms we’ll miss most. These three spaces hold some of our most cherished memories from our four years here, and we look forward to returning to them whenever we visit campus.

  1. Tisch second floor: A student favorite, these bathrooms are a great place to study, kick back with friends and have awkward encounters.
  2. Lane Hall downstairs: Just because the showers don’t work doesn’t mean this isn’t a great place for an aspirational shower! Also, the bar soap we spotted there in October 2021 was still there earlier this semester, which is a win for those of us who might forget to plan ahead!
  3. Bathrooms in the new locker rooms in the gym: Even though we don’t remember where the gym is, we’ve heard these are super nice and probably means that the administration cares a little bit about (athletic [read: conventionally attractive]) students.

To us, talking potty means more than simple lavatorial description, it means experiencing the school we love at its most vulnerable. We go where others would not and discover truths about the school that today becomes our alma mater. Along the way, we’ve been asked if we “need any help” more times than we can count, been looked at uncomfortably for leaving the single stalls together and — when we asked to take a peek (leak?) inside Gifford House — been told by Executive Director of Media Relations Patrick Collins in an email, “Unfortunately, we’re unable to facilitate your request – I hope you understand.”

Pearson Hall, Michael Wing, all the way up: 9.5/10. Privacy and whimsy take the (urinal) cake, crowning this otherwise pedestrian bathroom as Tufts’s finest, or at least its quirkiest.

With empty bowels and heavy hearts,

The Sanitation Scorers