The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

8 September 2007

Toilet retraining

Bars serve drinks, and drinks, sooner or later, sooner if you're taking diuretics, will demand that you excuse yourself for a few moments. Some facilities make this task simple, while others prefer to dazzle you with glitz:

If you go looking for the restrooms at Bar 89 in SoHo, instead of a private room for women and a separate one for men, you'll encounter an open area upstairs with a row of hi-tech looking stalls. Through the glass doors, you can see the toilet and sink lit up in red and blue. I observed someone going into one of them, and when they closed the door, after a second or two, the glass door became opaque and the word "occupied" lit up at the top of the door. I entered a stall, saw that I could still see the guy sitting on the sofa across from me, and assuming that I was no more invisible to him than he was to me, quickly exited. But I went back to investigate and take some photos with my cell phone camera (my Helio Ocean).

This works both ways: if I'm in a stall, I'd just as soon not be able to see anyone else, irrespective of context.

Apparently, though, this variation on the standard (not to say "American-Standard") toilet theme did the job just fine:

Just as I was thinking that I need to get out more in order to keep up with bathroom technology, I realized that everyone in the place was taling about the crazy doors — it's quite a conversation piece. I never did get to the bottom of how they work; it's either the lock or some kind of motion sensor that causes the door to fog up.

Those folks who use the toilet for some purpose other than to, um, use the toilet may find this sort of thing offputting, though. Gridskipper reports, and the reports tend to run well beyond PG-13, so be warned. Me, I have a more direct concern: suppose the door gizmo freezes up and you're stuck in the stall?

Posted at 9:24 AM to Almost Yogurt


Kampai, on Brookside in Tulsa, has the restroom doors that fog up when locked. Creepy.

Posted by: Michael Bates at 4:26 PM on 8 September 2007

You're such an unbeliever.
I haven't been to that particular bar, but another, in the meat-packing district (a New Hip neighborhood) had the restrooms facing the entrance glass wall, overlooking the street. Without the doors in the stalls.
The fogging motion sensor works on the glass wall. You enter the restroom, the glass exterior wall to your left, 2 lavatories in front of you, two stalls - to your right. You enter the stall, and forced to face the glass wall and the street while occupying yourself with the business, but the streetwalker see only the suddenly and temporarily sandblasted glass wall.
Brilliant!

Posted by: Tatyana at 6:16 PM on 8 September 2007

It's times like this I yearn for the simplicity of the old two-holer with the crescent moon carved into the door.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:27 PM on 8 September 2007

Nowadays, that crescent moon waxes and wanes depending on whether the dunnie is occupied.

Posted by: triticale at 6:05 PM on 9 September 2007