An article in the online magazine Slate this week made something of a radical proposal for the organization of bathrooms. Rather than men’s rooms and women’s rooms, bathrooms should be henceforth be organized into “pee rooms” and “poo rooms.”
The piece, by Dan Kois, is positioned as something Kois would do if he were named editor of the publication.
“So many problems would disappear were companies to replace the little male and female pictographs with a 1 and a 2,” Kois writes. ” The frustration you feel when a shy urinator camps out in a stall even as you shift in discomfort outside? Gone. Gone too would be the horrible situation that, I’m reliably told, plays out in the women’s room in Slate’s Brooklyn, New York, office, and certainly other bathrooms across the country: The tacit understanding that if you must poop, you should try to wait until the bathroom is vacated if you can. What a waste of work time!”
Kois also suggests that the existing women’s bathrooms be converted into the “poop room,” since there are already extra stalls there, and he wishes to “de-stigmatize” the act of pooping. The idea is also pitched a way around the various controversies in recent years about uses of public bathrooms by transgender people.
If that idea sounds familiar, it’s because it was already proposed, last year, in an episode of the long-running sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia that aired just three months ago as part of its 13th season.
In the episode from last October, titled “The Gang Solves the Bathroom Problem,” the show’s characters get into a philosophical argument after Mac uses the women’s bathroom in Paddy’s Pub. At one point, Charlie (Charlie Day) proposes Kois’ solution, of scrapping men’s and women’s rooms in favor of #1 and #2 bathroom, although that idea is abandoned when characters admit that in that scenario they would just go ahead and poop in the pee room.
The official Twitter account for the show noticed as well.
Kois, apparently not an Always Sunny watcher, appended a note to the story afterword. “I have been informed by 1,000,000 people on Twitter that this idea previously appeared on the television show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” Kois wrote. “Also, in real life, this is apparently how they divided the bathrooms at Gawker headquarters. Excellent case studies!!”
Erin Ryan, the journalist-turned-TV-writer who is the episode’s credited writer, wrote a blog post about the episode for the FXX website.