Doubt me? Here's the proof!
Concern (apparently of a bipartisan nature) abounds on the Hill about the disparity of male to female access to toilets in federal buildings.
But this is no mere matter of counting commodes. Discerning the meaning of equality here requires the talents of a Solomon. According to the Washington Times
, Americans here display their endless debate about the meaning of equality in its full glory as they take up the ways in which it relates to the great toilet tribulation: "Some argued that it means equality of opportunity, as judged by the
number of stalls, while others said equality of outcome is the key,
which could be measured by the length of lines." So don't laugh. This is political philosophy at work.
Of course, an uninformed debate over the meaning of equality in American politics often degenerates into an argument for an equality of misery: "[T]he National Park Service's outdoor concert venue in Fairfax County, had
two men's and two women's restrooms, and men breezed through while
women waited in long lines. So one men's room was converted to a women's
room and now 'today everyone waits in line.'"
Still, if logic prevails (along with those lines) one must consider that at an outdoor venue there is a strong probability that the men's line will shorten itself with a return to nature--if you follow my meaning. I wonder what the equality police intend to do about that?
This is a problem at the LA Music Center, where there are men's and women's rest rooms on each of four floors, but invariably the women wait longer than the men. There's both a natural and conventional reason for this (fill in the blanks) which causes me to feel for the ladies. Once I kept watch for my late wife while she used an empty men's facility. In a Houston stadium a few years a lady used the mens' room and was cited, but she challenged this in court and won! But rather than mandate this or that, planners should take the gender facts into consideration in future building projects and provide more facilities for ladies.
Mr. Reeb is correct. Separate but equal ignores biological distinctions. I only disagree in that toilet time is a matter of biology, while mirror time is a matter of gender. Yet taking such distinctions into account is a sensible kind of discrimination.
Julie: Just read your blog. Made my morning. Thanks.
But hold on a second before we start giving away toilets without consideration.
First of all anyone who is sensible realizes that Kate and Richard Reeb are right, by the same token the truth is that urinals are a substitute. So when you judge by number of stalls if you factor in urinals as stalls you deprive men of privacy(which is a constitutional right, which therefore should be seen as a detriment.)
Now men accept urinals on utility grounds and because a bathroom isn't a social gathering place. But I think all these calculations on average line time should reflect the fact that men are already giving something up in order to get speed.
Lets not be too one dimensional about the equality of misery deal, not when there are constitutional rights fundamental to ordered liberty at stake.
Does this mean that women's lines should be longer? It could but I think there is an even more sensible form of consideration that accords with the detriment that should be established instead.
Men's restrooms should come equiped with toilets that have a larger and less environmental flushing system. The reason being that men save water while urinating in urinals, but there is an externality to this economy that is rarely considered. When men use a stall, they use a stall. While women's stalls get flushed with greater frequency per volume they can accomodate the occational number 2 with ease. The same is not true as it concerns the engineering problem presented by the use of stalls by men.
Thus before we bargain away our legal detriment we need to secure more powerful flushing mechanisms as consideration in the stalls in male latrines.
In terms of men's lines returning to nature, it is possible that Julie is not aware that such behavior can get you put on a sex offenders list if charged twice in a three year period. Appart from the fact that this seriously discriminates against the homeless, it is also unconscionable because such a list should properly have the moral condemnation of society at large.
While statutory rape is a strict liability offense meaning there are no excuses, because mens rea is never considered I would suggest that placement on the sex-offenders list requires it.
Thus there should be greater discretion available to judges in sentencing, and the prosecution in order to qualify an offense for the sex offenders list should have to prove mens rea. Certainly a 30 year old sleeping with a 14 year old should qualify and a person who purposefully flashes others in public should be charged accordingly, but a male victim of congressional sensibility in enforcing equality of wait times at public parks should not be placed on the list for returning to nature.
Note that a prosecutor could go after the fools who decided to urinate in old faithfull, since here the purposeful mens rea would apply.