Sunday, June 25, 2006

Skulking in the Boy's Room

Our department meetings are always memorable for the maddening nonsense that can come up, and our most recent one was a perfect example. It seems that a number of the male teachers, including your trusty writer, have encountered the problem of female night school students using the men's bathroom while they themselves are in it. "The girl's bathroom is too far!" they protest, when challenged (imagine what they'd say if it was the other way around, though!). Our girls knock on the door and then run right in, and woe betide any male who happens to be letting it all hang out. The constant flow of females into the men's room has also created new etiquette dilemmas for me, such as whether it is permitted to fart loudly while sitting on the crapper in a bathroom full of one's female students.

It is quite usual to have females in the men's room in Taiwan -- men going about their business while cleaning ladies are going about theirs is a common sight in Taiwan's hospitals and shopping centers. Old ladies cause me no discomfort, but I draw the line at my own students. Anyone else run into this problem? How was it solved?

12 comments:

Thoth Harris said...

I don't like the culture that the kids are part of - relating to bathrooms that is. At the bushibans, like where I've been working, the kids do the same thing, knock and skulk and hang outside. Instead of going to the alternate bathroom when it would take them a shorter time than waiting. If you are just washing your hands they rush right in. I HATE that. Not a matter of rudeness, but extreme discomfort and human lack of decency and common sense. How about cosidering their own discretion, for example, as well, in that matter? Well, there's my rant:)

I think it's your private space godamn it. They should make it unassailable except to those who it belongs to. I never go in the women's room. I wouldn't even do that if the men's room was being cleaned up, unless I felt 99.99999999 percent sure no one was coming in!

It's bad enough how little privacy public washrooms are here in Taiwan. I never use the squat toilets. I find them gross. And not as viable for hygiene.

Michael Turton said...

Our old President was a stickler for clean bathrooms, so Chaoyang has clean bathrooms well stocked with TP. A point of attraction for the university, I'm told, in the competitive recruiting environment (at some old places I've been at the odor of the toilets wafts out into the corridors).

The day school girls never do such things. Only the night school students.

Michael

hz said...

The smaller kids in my bushiban don't even shut the door to the bathroom, and we're talking a house structure with a one-seater toilet. While we're ranting about hygiene, I wish drying one's hands afterward were in fashion here--wet doorknobs are just creepy.

I don't know about night classes, but mornings at Tung Hai are bad for a different reason: xiaojie cleaning crews made up from the freshman class. They sweep into all the bathrooms, everywhere on campus as near as I've been able to determine, right at the break between classes around 9 am--exactly when my digestive apparatus finally starts to wake up. And they don't leave, either. One time I ran to 4 different areas on campus looking for a restroom that hadn't been invaded. I eventually gave up and drove back home to use the bathroom there--made me 20-30 minutes late to my next class.

The toilet holes aren't pretty, and take some getting used to, but if you think about it from an evolutionary point of view, they are a bit better suited to human anatomy. I always worry that my wallet will fall in, though.

geoff cartridge said...

The view from the outside looking in.... The spectre of paedophilia is constantly in the media in Oz, with priests well in the forefront and "teachers" a significant group. We teachers are ever mindful to never ever put ourselves in positions where children and adults can be in what might be perceived as compromising situations. All male teachers here are so careful not to be alone with students, or to say or do anything which might be misconstrued.
Your situation Michael is so damnably risky. All it takes is just ONE provocative student to lodge a complaint and your reputation will be buggered mate!
There has to be a sensible solution because once someone just whispers something...the mud sticks, and that will not only affect yourself but the University.
How about demanding that the male staff toilet be accessed only with a key?
Geoff

hz said...

Thoth Harris and I work in schools with underage students, but I believe Mr. Turton is discussing an all-adult environment. Pedophilia, no matter what age discrepancy, isn't an issue there. We other two just jumped in with tangents along similar lines, but concerning diffent age groups (although part of my post was also about university life). So fear not.

Loren Rosson III said...

As someone who enjoyed using co-ed bathrooms in both college and Peace Corps training, I find this a non-issue. But that's me. If this practice bothers a significant number of students/teachers, then I guess it is an issue.

Michael Turton said...

It bothers me. I guess if I didn't know them, it wouldn't bother me at all. But they're my students.....

....besides, the potential for sex harassment nonsense is huge.

The same gal from the Bronx said...

every single time, i pee with the squate one, i pee my foot :(

Michael Turton said...

LOL. That's the most common female complaint. The girls bathroom always smells worse than the boys for that reason.

Michael

Thoth Harris said...

The wet doorhandle situation is gross, or as you, hz, say, "creepy". The kids don't dry their hands, despite the fact that on one of the four flashcard we use for showing them the English words for flush the toilet, etc., includes "dry your hands." My parents may have had questionable parenting practices otherwise, but they were extremely good about teaching me hygiene, particuarly bathroom hygiene.

christina said...

i can't believe that i wrote "squate" instead of "squat"..must have been really drunk LOL. Ummmm maybe you are rite, the female ones smell worse LOL

MJ Klein said...

since a motivating factor of Taiwanese behavior is largely embarrassment, perhaps those night students have to be embarrassed into going to their own restrooms. those embarrassing loud farts could be a formidable weapon, Michael. it is quite possible that they share your viewpoint on the teacher/student aspect of their practice. you could always yell "i am going to fail any of my female students who are in here right now!" from the crapper (with a few loud farts for effect).

man, i would love to snap a few shots of these interlopers and then post them on a blog! lol