The royal and not-so-royal FLUSH
By ANDREW McDONNELL
There is one sure-fire way to revive a lagging conversation on this campus, at least among men.
"Football?" you might say.
Maybe, I shrug.
"Religion then. Or perhaps politics?"
Yawn, I wickedly retort, and double yawn.
"Hmmm," you say. "Hmmm, what ever could it be?"
Ah, that is the question, say I, and the answer is simple. Restrooms.
From the youngest of freshmen, to the most ancient member of the administration, there is a common thread that weaves between us all, and it all lands squarely in the toilet.
I know, I realize, that many are reading this and thinking, "Oh that is just gross. This is just beyond worth reading. What is Cappy Gagnon going to think about this?"
And maybe you're right. Maybe you're right. But maybe you're wrong.
You see, the restroom is something so much larger than it initially seems. The restroom holds the mirror up to the world and says, "This is who you are! This what you value!" and sometimes, "This is who you value!" One can watch America's history change by watching America's restroom. Whether it was the site of racial segregation, of teenagers tasting their first taste of smokey rebellion or sometimes, these days, of a unisex experiment, the restroom has been a been a reflective surface in which we can view ourselves. And that, my friends, is what makes this article worthwhile.
The Best at Notre Dame
Main Building: Need it even be pondered, considered for a second even, that the best toilets on this campus would not be found underneath the Golden Dome?
No, not really.
Upon entering through daunting wooden doors to this utopian water closet, one is surrounded by the sensation of … of cleanliness, of refreshment, of renewal, of this sudden and all-encompassing yes-ness. This bathroom has somehow captured the essence of a York Peppermint Patty.
It is the only public bathroom on campus, perhaps in the world, that actually made me feel cleaner for having seen it. Bright white lighting and tiles, delightful wood paneling on the stall doors, a small gold ornament between each pair of hot and cold knobs on the sinks. A water fountain right inside the restroom itself! To be frank, Heaven with toilets.
Hurley Hall: I tell you what, if you're out walking about South Quad, and nature calls you to powder your nose, the vastly emptied Hurley Hall is not a bad choice to take advantage of. Windows that open up to a courtyard; one can hear the birds chirping away. Marble stalls. Plenty of privacy. It is old-fashioned in many ways, yes, but I tell you what: Classy comes together with Privacy to make Clavacy, and though I don't know what that means precisely, it is probably really good.
The Best at Saint Mary's
You are over at Saint Mary's, you're a man, and you need to go real bad.
Pardner, you are largely out of luck, but if you do have to choose, may I suggest that you head on over to the first floor of the Moreau Center for the Performing Arts. Plenty of spacious stalls and numerous sinks; and an adjoining room designed for changing clothes and applying stage makeup, should the need arise. Not a great restroom, but believe me, you can do horrendously worse.
The Worst at Saint Mary's
Holy Cross Hall Lobby: As long as Saint Mary's is in the focus, attention should be turned to one of the worst bathrooms in North America. It is actually less a bathroom than it is a toilet sauna box. When one opens the door to this toilet sauna box, located in the lobby of Holy Cross Hall, the hot breath of Hell rushes out and smacks you in the eyes.
You expect to see large men in towels seated inside, but realize they must have melted. A pipe inside the tiny box is apparently the source of hot water to the entire campus, and much of northern Indiana. A vastly unpleasant experience, this bathroom. It's worth the walk to Moreau.
The Worst at Notre Dame
The Hesburgh Library Basement: This is touchy, risque, but it cannot be avoided. During your freshman year at Notre Dame, at one time or another, at least one person will tell you to never, ever use the restrooms in the basement of the library. These people are not mistaken. It has a reputation that now plays a more distinct and unclouded role in Notre Dame lore than Father Sorin or the Four Horsemen ever will. I had never been in these restrooms myself until it came time to write this article, and I did so hesitantly.
And people, the bathroom is a sacred place. I don't have to tell you that. Leave sex in the bedrooms, the restaurants and the baseball stadiums. Men and women, hetero- and homo-, it makes no difference. We're all brothers and sisters, and we all know this: that the bathroom is for evacuating our bowels and emptying our bladders. When I'm getting ready to do my business, I do not want to look over at the toilet paper holder and read that some stranger is, "Hot to lick low-hangers." No. No I don't. Be ye man or woman, I care not for your desire to lick low-hangers. The disturbing scrawl in the basement is enough by itself to make it one of the worst.
O'Shaughnessy Hall: The O'Shag bathrooms (not a clever reference back to the library) are quite horrid. The urinals themselves have two strikes against them right off the bat.
First of all, they are shaped like the lower half of Sammy the Pelican's mouth. You can't do that into a pelican! Especially now that I've pointed it out. Secondly, there are no dividers between the urinals, and as they are the jutting, low-placed pelican mouth variety of urinal, there is little chance of hiding anything, if my drift is captured. And believe me, I am not raising the complaint out of my own insecurity. It's the self-esteem of the rest of the guys on campus I'm worried about.
And, to top it off, the rest of the bathroom is prison-like, particularly in the windowless first-floor location, where everything is crud-nasty, and a fella has to pretty much curl up in the toilet bowl to get the stall door open far enough to leave the foul thing.
The Eck Visitor's Center: Always one of the best-cleaned facilities on campus.
LaFortune: The hypochondriac special — so full of sensors that if you manage to open the door with your foot on your way out, you haven't had to touch a single thing that wasn't yours in the first place.
Decio Hall: Neat, tunnel-like enclosure leading to urinals.
The Hesburgh Library Tower:
Incessantly reek of candied urine, toilets flush like rocket launch, and not exactly spacious.
The South Dining Hall Basement: Lord, the unnatural stench of the place.
Saint Mary's Dining Hall Basement: Gack!
Basement, Holy Cross Hall: Bathroom designed, according to outside source, in such a manner that every noise created in bathroom is not only audible, but amplified in hallway outside of restroom.
Alumni/Senior Bar: Reasons too abundant and obvious.
All Scene Stories for Friday, November 12, 1999