Senior Staff Writer James Perry throws down the gauntlet.

If you have had a class on the third floor of Barnard Hall, you may understand my plight. Every Monday and Wednesday between back-to-back classes, I make the treacherous journey from Milbank to Barnard Hall with just enough time to spare to use the bathroom. Conveniently, the bathroom on the third floor is only a couple of steps away from the auditorium. Every Monday and Wednesday, without fail, I step warily into the women’s bathroom, fearing for my soul.

Why do I apply such dramatics to this biweekly event? Reader, I assure you, it is a most dire situation. I am not afraid of any messiness or smells; in fact, the facilities staff does a good job of keeping the bathrooms clean. Indeed, I feel safe in most bathrooms on Barnard’s campus. They usually have an optimal setup. It’s best when the doors to the outside world are at a 90-degree angle with the toilet stalls to guarantee maximum privacy—in almost all the bathrooms on Barnard’s campus, this decency is guaranteed. Almost all.

the women’s handicap stall on the third floor of Barnard Hall

The women’s bathroom on the third floor of Barnard Hall, however, is an exception. As I cross into the liminal space of the bathroom, I am met with three toilet stalls immediately across from me. No 90-degree angles are found here; alas, this bathroom’s toilet stalls are 180 degrees from the door, directly across. All this I could forgive. Were there no gaps in the stall doors, I would be at ease in the cozy bathroom. This is not the case. Invariably, the only stall open is the handicap stall, directly in front of the door to the outside world. I am cursed, every time I step foot in that bathroom, to be subjected to the horrors of using this stall.

Again, all would be fine if the stall had been set up with its users in mind. As one sits on this porcelain throne, the most terrifying thing becomes apparent immediately.

the horrific ordeal of being seen at your most vulnerable

Whoever might be standing in line for another stall can see everything through the crack in that door. The stall is set up in such a way that the middle of the toilet is directly where the crack is. On top of that, the stall is directly in front of the door to the hallway. If it happens to open, whoever is in the hallway also has the perfect vantage point to see you in your most vulnerable state. The toilet transforms immediately from a porcelain throne to a porcelain prison as you are stuck there, waiting to finish your business, fearing for your life that someone will make eye contact with you.

Who was inspired by the devil to design this stall in such a way? How many students have fallen into its trap? How many have been robbed of a peaceful visit to the bathroom? Far too many, says I. To the third-floor women’s bathroom: some of your stalls have served me well, but now I have no choice but to throw down the gauntlet. I will no longer accept the discomfort that your handicap stall forces onto all who enter it. Meet me outside the Barnard gates for a gentleman’s duel, midnight tonight. We’ll see who flushes whom.

original fighting game screenshot via PCGamesN

edits and bathroom pictures via the toilet vigilante themself