As a patient with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, visiting public restrooms is an incredibly regular activity. Such a regular activity, in fact, that I have — on more than one occasion — considered making a photo-series of all of the restrooms I’ve visited (check this one out though, it’s pretty cool - https://tinyurl.com/ya6mbj7k). Over the course of my many excursions to public restrooms, however, I’ve managed to compile a list of characteristics that make them an absolute pleasure to visit. Here's the list:

  1. First, and most importantly, the best public restrooms are those that allow you to visit them without purchasing something. Walking around a city only to realize that you need to use the restroom and finding no businesses will allow you to visit theirs without purchasing something is an absolute nightmare. Dear [insert restaurant name here], I have a chronic gastrointestinal disease. If I ask you to use your restroom, and tell you that I need to for medical reasons, you have two options: either you let me use your restroom, or end up with a mess.
  2. Full length mirrors. I’ve probably been sitting there for a while, so I’m going to need to check myself out when I’m done. Please provide one.
  3. Mirror on top of the sink that is one big piece, rather than small mirrors. Maybe this is my design background kicking in, but honestly, individual mirrors are a thing of the past. We’re a part of the sharing generation. Mirrors should be communal, too.
  4. Those really cool hand drying things. I’m immunosuppressed. I want to touch as few things as I possibly can. Please provide one of those hand drying things where you insert your hands into a strange contraption. Plus, they don’t scare me anymore like they used to when I was little.
  5. Disabled stalls with sinks in them. I don’t have an ostomy anymore, but when I did I used to relish walking into a restroom where the disabled stall had a sink in it. When your bag decides to separate from your body in the middle of the day, a sink and some privacy are priceless. Trust me, I’m pretty sure you don’t want me changing my ostomy bag in front of everyone.
  6. Sinks that are shaped like bowls. Really makes the experience better for me. I’m not even sure why.
  7. Somewhere flat, next to the toilet, to place my phone. Think about the logistics here: if I’m using my phone while sitting on the toilet (don’t lie, everyone does it), and I need to pull my pants up, I’m going to need somewhere to place my phone in the meantime. I don’t want to put it on the floor, and putting it in my pocket just doesn’t feel safe. Please provide some sort of flat surface I can place it on, even if it’s part of the toilet paper dispenser.
  8. Hand towels in a nice basket. Special shout-out if they’re nice and soft.
  9. Good selfie lighting. I’ve probably been in the bathroom for a while. Please provide good selfie lighting so that way I have good reason to have stayed in there that long.

 What would you add to the list?


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