The Level Of "Form Over Function" I'm Seeing In Bathrooms Is Getting Insane



There's only one type of room that one encounters regularly that serves a clear and singular purpose. It goes by many names: bathroom, restroom, lavatory, or, shitter.

Ever since Thomas J. Crapper realized there was a better way to do things than hucking buckets of our own excrement into the street like slightly-civilized apes, the bathroom has been a near-constant in all of our lives. 

The bathroom isn't here to wow audiences. It's here to do its business, which involves your business, but lately, I've been getting irritated by some bathroom showboating that I've seen as of late.

There's always an argument to be made about the level of importance that should be placed on the idea of "form over function." Some people like things simple and easy to use, while others will take a little inconvenience if it means upping the pizzaz a few notches.

I'm somewhere in between. To me, it's a situational thing, but I know where I stand when it comes to bathrooms: function is the important function of a bathroom.

I may sound old here, but I remember when a bathroom set out to be a bathroom, and not a modern art gallery.

There are some insane examples of this like waterfall urinals which look cool, but typically speaking, part of your regular bathroom procedure doesn't involve having your pal's urine splashed on your Reeboks, but I'm not even talking about bathroom fixtures that extravagant. 

There's a restaurant chain that goes by the name of Ford's Garage. Apparently, after a century of doing business, someone at the Ford Motor Company was like, "Hey, you know what we need to diversify our brand. I'm thinking burgers."

The food's great, but they're enamored with the impractical for the impracticality's sake. You get there and your silverware is wrapped in a mechanic's rag, that is bound with some sort of clamp that is often so tight you have to find a pair of pliers (which from the way this joint is run, you can probably find a pair holding your bill) to get it off. The onion rings are also served on an oil-can spout, and there's a whole list of wacky ways to repurpose car/garage parts.

That's all well and good in the dining room but when it comes to the bathroom, it's another story.

When you're done evacuating your bladder into what appears to be a gas tank, you'll need to wash your hands (if you're not a disgusting pig). The sinks at Ford's Garage sticks to the theme that we've already established and are made up of a tire and a rim, with a gasoline pump serving as the faucet.

Here's the rub: I just want to wash my hands. I'm not here to be wowed by some rogue plumber or interior designer's creativity and ingenuity. I couldn't figure out how to make the thing work. I waved my hands in front of it several times trying to locate a non-existent motion sensor. When that didn't work, I tried tapping the nozzle, because I think one time I encountered a faucet that turned on when you tapped it, but I may have dreamed that because it didn't work. 

I took a step back to survey the situation. I rubbed the sweat from my brow (I wish I would've had my mechanic's rag/napkin for that) and looked around more. Finally, I located a lever about a foot and a half down the gasoline nozzle. Not a lever that would indicate "Hey, stupid. I'm a sink" but one that looks like it would be at home on a turn-of-the-century steam locomotive. I pulled it and what do you know, water emerged.

Why? Just why? Ford is a company virtually synonymous with efficiency. Henry Ford invented the assembly line. If you showed him the lack of efficiency in the bathroom of the burger joint which bears his name, he vomits on his spats.

This isn't an isolated incident. I've encountered other egregious examples of bathrooms that seem like they were designed to fuck with anyone with the audacity to use one. I've seen faucets that look motion-activated but actually have some dopey little button on top that you're supposed to press. I've seen urinals that require a mechanical engineering degree to flush. There was even a time where I spent thirty seconds waving my arms under what I thought was a motion-activated hand dryer, only to discover it was a manually operated paper towel dispenser.

This needs to stop. Am I an idiot? Absolutely, unequivocally yes. But also the only one brave enough to admit that this happens to them on a semi-regular basis. It makes me something of a hero.

We all know it has happened to you too. Just remember that when the day comes that all bathroom fixtures are finally 100% user-friendly, you can thank me.


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