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.
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In honor of commencement and the last ever Potty Talk, I have decided to turn my attention briefly away from Tufts University and toward everywhere else. In these next 500 words, I will attempt to review all of the world’s bathrooms that are not on Tufts University’s campus with my four-metric scale that some have called infallible. I can already hear the complaints of people who think that the earth has too many bathrooms to review them all in one column, but folks, I’ve probably spent more time reviewing bathrooms over the last two semesters than I have doing readings for class — I think I can handle this.
In honor of Passover, the Jewish festival of digestive problems, I have taken it upon myself to review the bathrooms of Tufts’Jewish community at Hillel.
I have never been in a Tufts building as mystifying as the Michael wing of Pearson Hall. To get there, you need only enter Pearson’s front door, take a right and then walk down a long, foreboding corridor as the decor slowly morphs decades into the past. The architect of this wing (presumably the eponymous “Michael”) seems to have been obsessed with bathrooms. Every floor in the Michael wing’s stairwell is marked in reference to its distance from the “discharge floor.” Naturally, I made it my goal to find this discharge floor and rigorously test its bathrooms (using the scientific method, of course).
This week, rumors flew around Tufts’ campus. Everyone could feel a disturbance in the plumbing as someone of great import was touring our bathrooms. Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, was hanging out in the Campus Center trying to make new friends. In that process, she probably ended up using at least one of the Campus Center’s many bathrooms. In the wake of this monumental occasion, I chose to take on what are likely to be some of the most trafficked facilities at Tufts University — the Mayer Campus Center bathrooms. Specifically, I will attempt to tackle both the Hotung bathrooms and the all-gender bathroom.
Most Tufts students probably haven’t been in Dowling Hall since their campus-touring days in high school. Others visit frequently to pick up the newest copy of JUMBO Magazine. Whichever camp you fall into, Dowling Hall’s bathrooms are indubitably the gateway into Tufts lavatories.
As I havealready discussedthis semester, Fresh at Carmichael’s Tuesday special — cauliflower gratin — is likely to be the single most common cause of bathroom use at Tufts. This fact alone makes the Carm bathrooms some of the most important restrooms on campus.
Potty Talk: Potties of a far off land
It is possible that nobody has ever been inside Lincoln Filene Hall. Have you ever heard a friend tell you they’re off to class in Lincoln Filene? If you have, do you really believe them? This building, for all intents and purposes, does not exist. But still, as is the eternal condition of buildings around the world, it has bathrooms. And where there are bathrooms, there is Potty Talk.
Barnum Hall is known for its status as the only nice building available to humanities students, but lesser known are its anomalous bathrooms. Renovated from 2018–19, Barnum’s visionaries seem to have had a more naive view of what a bathroom could be than the rigid designers of newer buildings like the Cummings Center did. Instead of being designed for efficiency, Barnum’s bathrooms are an ode to idiosyncrasy.
Last semester, I wrote this column with my friend Sam, and we aimed chiefly to provide entertainment. This semester, Sam has sought greener pastures and is looking to pursue “academics” with an eye on securing a “real job someday.” I, on the other hand, am loyal.
It seems, fellow potty talkers, that our semester together must now draw to a close, and with it, our exploration of the annals of Tufts’ historied restrooms. Much like the conclusion of any good mid-lecture bathroom break, we meet this moment with a mixture of melancholy and relief.
Having formed some of our most cherished childhood memories at Jewish Community Centers (JCC) throughout the country (but really just Northern New Jersey, the most densely JCC-ed region of our great nation), we were excited to hear that Tufts was getting our very own JCC. Given the prevalence of IBS within the Jewish community (including among yours truly), we knew this building would be home to powerful bathrooms for sure!
“Where does a ragtag, volunteer student body in need of a shower somehow find a bathroom in their darkest hour?” When Lin-Manuel Miranda first posed a version of this question circa 2015, he did not realize the degree to which his question would resonate with his NESCAC rivals.
A week ago, we spelunked through the spooky cellars that are Ballou Hall’s downstairs bathrooms. But this week we reveal the real horror as we board Ballou’s regal elevator and soar to its higher floors. Tufts’ administrators are living in plush pottydom while we, the people, survive with odd smells and ugly tiling.
Many connoisseurs of spookiness have agreed that Boris Johnson is perhaps the spookiest man alive. And the only building at Tufts that we could find photo evidence of Johnson having entered is Ballou Hall. By the transitive property, then, we know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that Ballou Hall is the single spookiest place at Tufts. Join us as we plunge into the monument to capitalism, single-ply toilet paper and hotter-than-average bathrooms that is Ballou Hall.
We once had a vision: find a bathroom so splendid it warrants a 30-minute walk, even if it just meant we’d get five minutes of glory. Alas, it was not to be.
We’ve all been there. You sit down in class on a hot day, only to realize that you just don’t smell as good as you should. You can blame it on the weather or the hill, or you can take matters into your own hands with one of the showers nestled in some of Tufts’ bathrooms, a feature that’s oddly omitted from every tour.
Philosopher Robert Pirsig famously asked, “What is quality?” Clearly, the Tufts University Department of Philosophy does not care. Its headquarters, Miner Hall, houses two options for bathroom goers — or students tired of hearing about Marxism (kidding, kidding, Tufts students never tire of that). The two spaces offer a study in contrasts.
For the last three semesters, many buildings and facilities on campus have sat either empty or at severely reduced capacity. Scores of Jumbos have never seen Tufts' campus in all its glory, with students milling between classes and avoiding that person whom you haven't spoken to since they shared their deepest secrets with you during “Bridging the Herd.”