The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Toilet talk

What elevates a bathroom from practical to pleasant? For Danielle Ryan, the key contributing factors are odor, openness and person-to stall-ratio. Brian Miller just likes a functional atmosphere and some decent toilet paper. Together, they rate the ‘johns’ around town.

On Campus

Personal Favorites
DR & BM: Schofield Basement
The Schofield basement is a treasure among campus bathrooms. Despite its large size and convenient location (right on the way from Old Library to the Schofield-Davies tunnel) the bathrooms are relatively low in traffic and you can always have your pick of the stalls. The ceilings are high and the room always feels sunny and airy, no matter what the weather is like outside. This really is one of the best bathrooms on campus, especially if you prefer a more leisurely pit stop.

BM: Library
The facilities seem normal enough at first glance, but once your business is done strange things start to happen. You begin to wash your hands (right?!) and things are still going smoothly but when you are ready to dry off the room starts spinning. A shiny machine asks you to stick your hands into it, as if that is a normal request. I guess I missed the sign outside the door that said I would be going in a spaceship. Modern technology is doing amazing things but some things don’t need to be the ‘world’s fastest.’ The intense whine of the powerful fans and the way it ripples the skin on my hands makes the whole experience weird and unnatural.
DR: Davies, near the bookstore.
From anyone else’s perspective, these bathrooms are quite lovely: they are spacious and often quite clean. However, they contain one piece of technology that leaves me utterly humiliated with each visit – the fancy-shmancy new hand dryers that you are supposed to put your hands inside of. Try as I might, I cannot work up the courage to place my hands in one of those machines. Just when I think I’ve mastered my fears, I chicken out and run away. Curse you, loud and new-fangled hand dryers!

BM: First floor, Hibbard
Although the bathrooms are usually clean and comfortable, the men’s room right outside of the first floor lecture halls in Hibbard have one disgusting feature. The floors are always littered with the pages of the newspaper you are reading now. I appreciate some good bathroom reading, but, if you are done with whatever thrilling article you choose, look for the recycle bins located almost everywhere.
DR: First floor, Old Library
Although this bathroom isn’t necessarily the “messiest,” it is definitely one of the more unpleasant lavatories on campus. The ventilation system seems to check out on random occasions, meaning that a without any warning you could be walking into not just any bathroom, but a bathroom that is so humid and smelly you can actually taste the air. Although it is conveniently close to the Help Desk and library foyer, I would encourage patrons of the 24-hour computer lab to simply walk a few more steps down the hall to visit the aforementioned Schofield toilet rather than take a gamble on this bathroom.

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Off Campus

BM: Holiday Gas Station
The rest room is supposed to be a safe haven, away from the worries of whatever establishment you frequent. However, when I walk through the back hallways past several overflowing storage rooms I get the opportunity to climb over boxes of chips and cases of off-brand soda on the way to the bathroom. I feel like I should be applying price tags and stocking the shelves.
DR: Buzzy’s
There are many great reasons to visit Buzzy’s; unfortunately, the bathroom is not one of them. To be fair, I’ve never visited this establishment before the hour of 2 a.m., but still – one of my basic hopes for a bathroom is that the floor is dry, and I’m not sure if Buzzy’s restrooms have ever met those criteria.
Runner up: The Pickle. Can you really blame me for being partial to stalls that have doors?

Best Atmosphere
BM: US Bank
As the roommate in charge of each month’s rent checks, I frequent the downtown US Bank fairly often. The lobby of the bank is already classier than most, but the rest rooms truly shine. The frosted glass windows allow some pleasant ambient light to fill the room and the sinks shine like they’ve never been used before. The tellers are friendly, the interest rates are solid, but the bathrooms are the real reason I bank there.
Runner Up: Infinitea (After a full pot of tea they had better be!)
DR: Racy’s
The women’s at Racy’s has a better atmosphere than most rooms I know of in Eau Claire – even ones that don’t contain a toilet. The walls are a soothing deep red and the décor includes vintage furniture and a random character-adding pole. When my critical theory classes discuss “red rooms” in feminine imagery, this is the room I picture.

Best Decorations/Artwork
BM: Taco Johns
Nobody goes to Taco John’s for a five-star meal, but as far as Water Street fast food goes, it is a classic. The bathrooms keep the casual, unassuming vibe going strong. The last time I was there a paper sign taped to the wall inside said: “Employes Must Wash theyer Hands befor reterning to work. thanx!!” You are very, very welcome.
DR: Family Farms Market, Eleva
If you really want to see some outstanding restroom artwork, take a little road trip to this restaurant and gift shop in Eleva. Both the men’s and women’s bathrooms are decorated with murals, chandeliers and toilet bowl artwork that follow a unique theme.
Runner-up: Famous Dave’s. The vintage advertisements for hair removal and other awkward products make me laugh and cringe every time.

No matter your favorite facilities on or off campus, we think everyone can agree that behind every great bathroom there’s an even greater custodial team. So get out there, drink a lot of liquids and be adventurous. Remember, though, to always wash your hands.

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