WTF, McBain

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A side by side of the McBain women’s and men’s bathrooms and MS Paint doodles for added emphasis.

In our continuing coverage on shitty things the university does to make life much more complicated than it should be, Bwog reporter Katherine gives the low down on the bathroom situation in the humble dorm, McBain.  If you have a story email or use our anonymous form.

Columbia, Columbia shouting her name where showering takes forever. I think I can speak for my fellow misses of McBain when I say Columbia, WTF(*Why Two Female…showers)? The men’s bathroom has six showers; the women’s bathroom has two. That’s 300% fewer showers. That sensationalistic statistic should enrage you! So, all the ladies who truly feel me, throw your hands up at me—except maybe don’t, because you probably have terrible B.O. after skipping your shower because of a line.

If there’s anything I’m good at, it’s complaining. I’m also pretty good at making no attempt to change whatever it is I’m complaining about. Except this year, things are different, because I’m subject to McBain living conditions. I also have two 9 ams. Coincidentally, so do a lot of other girls on my floor and coincidentally, we all like to practice good hygiene. But when there’s a line three girls deep to take a shower with the water pressure of a children’s sprinkler toy, what’s a gal to do? You see another girl walking toward the bathroom with a caddy in hand, and it becomes a 100-yard dash. We quite literally sweat it out while showers in the men’s bathroom go unused. The solution?

Coed bathrooms. Shower socialism. Redistribution of good health. But how would the misters of McBain feel about this? We all remember that Boy Meets World episode when Cory goes to college and has a crippling fear of the co-ed bathroom. Or maybe you don’t remember that episode and my brain is just a repository of useless Boy Meets World subplots. Regardless, an ~anonymous source~ talked to Bwog about her experience with coed bathrooms last year. At her first floor meeting, the RA brought up the subject of shower sharing and offered to put it up for a vote. Though there never was an official vote or decision, the consolidation of showers became de facto; girls used the guys’ showers when necessary and there were quote “no problems.” This source also went on to say that  “it also helped that we were a super friendly floor.”

So should what has in the past been a de facto policy become building-wide law? If year after year bathrooms become coed, does precedence necessitate official change? Are anecdotal avowals sufficient grounds for the administrative green light? I wanted to get Housing’s stance on the subject, so I inquired about the origins of what seems like the world’s poorest building design.

I assumed that the discrepancy between bathrooms had to do with the fact that Columbia College didn’t admit women until 1983. They probably knocked down two dorm rooms and retrofitted a bathroom sans urinals. But other residence halls don’t seem to have layouts quite as flawed as McBain’s. Unfortunately, Housing had no historical information on record to explain the 4th-8th floor bathrooms, but they did inform me that floors 2 and 3 had been renovated to include an equal number  of showers in both bathrooms. According to Housing, McBain is due for a “multi-year renovation project starting summer 2014.” Though there is no specific design plan as of yet, “student feedback will be solicited.”

The prospect of change is reassuring, but in the meantime, when I get back from my morning runs, sweaty and in dire need of a hose down, I’m racing my floormates and a clock. My floor bathrooms as of now are not coed and despite the fact that I’m writing an article upbraiding (and somewhat deludedly apostrophizing) a building, even I am too timid to be that guy (technically girl) who broaches the (what shouldn’t be) awkward subject. So I wonder if it should be mandatory for RAs to have a vote on combining showers. Although it did take Columbia 229 years to let women into the college, so maybe it will take another 229 to let them into their showers.

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  1. 300% fewer showers  

    so the girls bathroom has negative twelve showers?

  2. looking at you, mcbain 7 (2012-13)  

    just wait until the guys smear shit all over their bathroom and it doesn't get cleaned for 3 days. then you'll have 2 showers for the whole floor!

  3. i laughed  

    ...three girls deep

  4. heh  

    I guess you could say the ladies in McBain got...the shaft.

  5. WTF Columbia.

    1/4 students at Columbia SEAS last year got in through a backdoor called the 3+2 program. It's guaranteed admission for transfer if you study at a liberal arts college like Marquette University and earn a 3.3. Yes, you read that right. Shock you too?

  6. McBain RA  

    Ok, if we're complaining about what's wrong with McBain, this needs to be at the length of a dissertation. AT LEAST.

  7. asdfghjk

    i think coed bathrooms are disgusting and immoral

  8. but actually back to the showers...  

    this is a serious problem. Co-ed bathrooms, let's go.

  9. Apologies to Arkady Ostrovsky.

    @george: @but actually back to the showers...:

    Tro-lo-lo-lo lo lo-lo lo lo-lo-lol, lo-lo-lo-lo-lo!

  10. alum

    I never had to live in McBain, but are those 2 urinals each in BOTH the M and F bathrooms?

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