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I was thrilled to read about Lia Pendarvis’s blog, The Lavatory Lady, on DCist yesterday. The blog rates District bathrooms according to a precise system of criteria, including cleanliness, soap and smell, to name a few. Thank God, I thought to myself after scanning her blog. I’m not the only one.
I started rating bathrooms sometime after toddlerhood. My father, an amateur child psychologist, told me my interest in bathrooms was part of a Freudian stage. Around the time kids start to control their own plumbing, he said, they get fascinated with pipes and toilets. I haven’t read much Freud, so I took him at his word.
For awhile, I toyed with a semi-official rating system. I placed all bathrooms on a scale of one to ten, considering things like the color of the tiles, the shine of the sink, and whether there were flowers in a vase somewhere. I abandoned the system sometime in elementary school, a crucial step in my efforts to be less of an uber-nerd by the time I got to high school. But my interest in bathrooms persists. These days, I rate them on a need-to-go basis. I hate the bathroom at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café. It’s isn’t pretty, and the fact that you need a token to get in just adds insult to injury. I also hate the bathrooms at the Regal Gallery Place movie theater. Have you used the hand dryers there? The wind-gusts are practically dangerous and the noise is deafening. I’m not sure what my favorite bathroom is, but I like the one at the Hay-Adams Hotel. I recommend entering the lobby confidently before ducking downstairs to the bathrooms below.