FA Boy’s Bathrooms RANKED

The boy’s bathroom stands strong as an ever too rare bastion of peace in our 21st century, an era defined by unprecedented expectation and efficiency. As an institution, the bathroom was established to facilitate relief with the comforts afforded to us by modern technology, and as such we have come to expect facilities that reflect these core fundamentals with gleaming luxury and artful finesse. At Friends Academy, this means a deep breath between classes, a brief, wordless run-in with a friend, and a quick step away from the laborious burdens of gender roles. The continued importance of the boy’s bathroom in our larger society is undeniable. However, the hierarchy of these bathrooms within our own school community is fiercely contested, persisting as the eternal object of fiery debate amongst the male student body. Senior, Student Athlete, and community pillar Benjamin Lawrence Martin once vehemently asserted that the infamous library bathroom is the best, because, QUOTE, “you can tell you’re the first one there in the morning when the lights are off.” Can you believe that? They let this man into college. Unbelievable, folks.

There are people among us, that walk through these halls, seemingly on their way to class- maybe smiling, listening to music, dapping up passing friends- who are in fact on their way to make a deposit in the 2nd urinal of the 3rd floor bathroom. Friends Academy is a relatively small school; the fact that throughout the day I might walk past some of these individuals and be none the wiser is deeply unsettling.

Before I dive straight into my list, it’s important to establish my personal logos for bathroom quality and the parameters I believe most impactfuly contribute to it. A good bathroom must, in my eyes, have sufficient space, retain a general standard of cleanliness, and, above all, be relatively quiet and traffic-free. Lastly, I’d like to shout out our wonderful maintenance staff for doing everything in their power to stop the perpetual efforts of our student body to trash our shared spaces. Without further ado, every boy’s bathroom, ranked in descending order.

#12: Underhill Building

Only time I’ve ever been in here in the last decade was to take this picture, and the journalism was not worth it- avoid at all costs.

#11: Boy’s Locker room 1

Alright, so for this one I had to whip out that pen Gunna was using in the “Hot” music video, where it catches on fire and engulfs his entire house in flames. You know the one. I have a lot to say.

Each time you brave the door-less threshold of the dim outcrop, you hit a suffocating sheet of humid stench that envelopes your entire being. After each reluctant step, your sneakers peel off the floor with a sickly squelch. You’re hit with a wave of lightheadedness, and stagger blindly forward, sinking deeper into the toxic miasma. You’re approaching the urinal; you’re trying to get to practice on time today. You just gotta be in and out, that’s all- 20 second excursion, tops. It’s never that simple. You stand in front of the urinal, overcome by the otherworldly musk that radiates from the day’s bio-weapon concoction that stews in the single, mysterious stall beside you. It seeps into your jersey and tickles your skin. Sweat begins to bead on your face. You went in there with a mission, you would see this through. You squeeze your eyes shut, desperately trying to block out the clattering of gear and bustling of guys leaving for practice through the main door, not even 5 feet beside you. You start to center yourself, thinking back to your days of lower school meeting for worship and channeling that unhindered focus. You even consider taking a deep breath, before you catch yourself. When you finally do pee, you feel microscopic bullets  ricocheting onto your bare shins from the low reaches of the eternally cake-less urinal. Your entire body shudders as you desperately rush to the sink to cleanse yourself in any way you can. You slam against the automatic soap dispenser, but to no avail. You draw from the last vestiges of energy in your body to slump your sopping hands into the electric dryer and recoil as a hurricane of water droplets flies toward you from the musty ecosystem contained within.

The rest of the list is normal, but this had to be said.

#10: Math wing (second floor)

This might be a somewhat controversial placement, but the 2nd floor math wing bathroom egregiously violates each and every one of my qualifiers, landing in the #10 spot without competition.

To the uninitiated, the math wing bathroom features a single urinal (never caked up), a window-side stall, and a broken sink that you need to smash with an obnoxious clattering every few seconds to use. The door in is a push door, which does nothing but eliminate precious standing space and contribute to the oppressive, cramped atmosphere breathing down your neck as you pee.

Occasionally, you will see a disembodied pair of sneakers through the bottom of the stall divider and will shudder, holding your breath as you’re forced to assume parallel position in the urinal beside them.

To those readers who remember a time when student voice was valued, even cherished in our community, this bathroom stands too as a blaring symbol of erasure and censorship. In what was created as a bastion of self expression through natural communion, free speech has been all but obliterated. No more “will do hw for v-bucks” message threads on the wall, no more life.

Really, the worst part about the math wing bathroom is how unavoidable it is. If they think I’m sitting through 70 consecutive minutes of calculus without any kind of break?? You need to understand, I’m not that guy. I’m maybe a slightly above average water drinker, and only take 2 classes that would naturally direct me to this bathroom, but somehow find myself there the most. There’s a key reason for this.

That is, the 2nd and 3rd floor bathrooms share a curious symbiotic relationship. There is a constant movement toward equilibrium flowing between them; if one is found to be full, occupants will naturally diffuse between floors until both fill up.
My issue here isn’t with the cardio of slogging up and down the stairs, but the tedium. And, half the time, the other bathroom is full too, so once you’ve reached it you’re back where you started, in the ghoulish, nightmare position of awkwardly shuffling around behind an occupied urinal and pretending to check your phone. But still, this gross little meandering space doesn’t even exist in the tiny confines of the math wing bathroom, unless you want to risk getting crushed by the door. Sad.

#9: Boys Locker Room 2

The second locker room bathroom does little to prove itself anything more than a shallow reskin, but escapes the same fate of its brother by virtue of its placement alone. Aside from somewhat less dingy lighting, there is no notable difference in the design philosophies of the two, but this bathroom has the slight advantage of its ever-so inconvenient placement. Using the locker room bathroom is always an after thought anyway, so it’s understandable that the bathroom directly beside the front door will receive the most traffic. Thus, without the smell of it’s brother, the 2nd locker room bathroom takes the #9 spot. Also, since the soup of ‘21 was finally flushed, it’s been much better.

#8: Dolan Center Main Floor

As one of only two cites on campus with three urinals, this bathroom earns instant points by allowing two occupants to pee at the same time. Other notable features include two strangely situated stalls (one of which boasting a functional door), two sinks with corresponding empty soap dispensers, and an automatic air drier that’s the equivalent of blowing on your own hands. Seems pretty tight, right? Well, it would be, if not for a crucial detail- its location. Obviously, being closest to the lunchroom, it receives a lot of traffic. What this means however, is that this bathroom is frequented by the younger friends in our community. Younger friends who, at no fault of their own, know nothing about bathroom etiquette. They always come in pairs, and tend to narrate their entire bathroom experience as they go. It gets nasty fast.

And how could I forget- BBB ‘22. If you know you know.

#7: Weight Room

I need someone to give me a good reason why I’d ever use this bathroom. It’s the definition of mid. Clean, yes, and equipped with the appropriate bathroom accouterments- armed with a hand drier AND a paper towel dispenser, for the environmentally conscious. It’s even fitted with the iconic and informative FA cleanliness tutorial, in which two ethnically distinct hands are shown to be scrubbing against each other in high-five motion, presumably a depiction of two children washing each other’s hands. Tangent aside, this bathroom, next to the old weight room, is awkwardly situated between three other, infinitely more convenient bathroom locations. Shame, the venue could’ve made a fire supply closet.

#6: The Gender Neutral Bathroom

I know, trust me, I know. it pains me to place the gender neutral bathroom- colloquially the G-nooch- this low on the list. Situated smack dab in the center of Frost Hall, it stands strong as the nucleus of restroom-based student life on campus. It has undoubtedly reached legend status among the student body, both as a pillar of gender-postivity, and as the go-to site for everyone’s more discrete bathroom excursions.  However, it is, simply put, clinically mid.

#5: Dolan Center Basement

The only other bathroom at the school to truly support multiplayer, the Dolan Center basement bathroom takes the #5 spot on my list. Otherwise a standard bathroom all around-though lacking the second stall of its upstairs neighbor- the true beauty here is its placement. A little sanctuary away from the noise of the theater, or for the 3 people that still play an instrument in high school. Little known tech that they don’t want you to know: this bathroom serves as the perfect assembly escape location. Use this info wisely. Also, it’s green. That’s pretty cool.

#4: Main Gym

This is reliability. Power. A lock that actually works. As a lifer, I have many fond memories with this one, and looking back as a senior, I’m elated to say it stands the test of time. What used to be a break from PE in lower school is now a checkpoint between AP sections, or the place I sprint to after drinking 4 bottles of water so I don’t faint while giving blood. My favorite part is the little platform above the sink where I can put my phone while I wash my hands. Notable too is the equidistant placement of the paper towel dispenser between the sink and the door. This allows both for quick accessibility from the sink, and a way to shield myself from door handle germs as I exit. It really is the little things. Unfortunately, the shape isn’t trapezoidal enough to quite crack the top 3.

#3: Field House

Crammed awkwardly under the stairs to the field house, this bathroom is quaint yet charming. Retreating from the intensity of conditioning or indoor practice, the sleek, off-white tiling accented with eye-catching motifs of Quaker red-and-black make this hideaway a sight for sore eyes. The metal door with clean pirate-black finish encloses the space with a reassuring warmth, and, with handlebars at every turn, you’re sure to have a safe delivery. Truly a small slice of heaven, but too similar to its upstairs neighbor to really make a name for itself.

#2: Library

Ben was right- the library bathroom is undoubtedly elite. But, it’s not without its drawbacks. Tucked snugly out of the way, it escapes the inconvenience of it’s placement with fast elevator accessibility. Due to this, however, it sees a lot of traffic as the library’s only bathroom. It also lacks the character of other top spot contenders, with a weak 2×2 off-blue pattern wrapping around the wall and sterile fluorescent lighting. These small gripes aside, there’s a reason this bathroom is held in such high regard among the student body, it’s just him. It’s of two bathrooms in the school to have two paper towel dispensers, with additional height-based accommodations for the freshmen, and those similarly proportioned. And of course, BBB ‘21. I wasn’t there, but I’d be remiss not to mention such a significant event in the space’s history.

#1: Third Floor

Finally a bathroom that just gets it right. Urinal dividers that actually divide, a stall that basks in the beautiful glow of natural light, and two sinks with perfectly alternating functionality. At least one of them, you know, always works. The warm beige color scheme swaddles the scene with picturesque incandescence, a glow of comfortable domesticity mirroring the nostalgic radiance of Victorian paintings. It’s a masterclass in bathroom architecture, with perfect geography between all the 3rd floor classes. I will not acknowledge the status of the 2nd urinal, as it’s an object beyond our comprehension. 3rd floor bathroom supremacy, I will be hearing no debates about this matter.