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Ms Smith Goes to the Bathroom

Female urinals now required by law?

By Hobbes  |  May 13, 2010

Even with polls showing Congress' reputation to be below the bottom of the sewer, Americans still like to think of their government as doing something worthy of respect.  A parliament of thieves they may be, but at least they are grappling with the Great Issues Of Our Time: our hair-raising unemployment rate, our stalled-out economy, our gargantuan deficit and astronomical debt, leaking oil wells, the threat of - sotto voce - Islamic terror...

Aren't they?

Nope.  This week, America's elites have managed to find a matter of more pressing concern than any of these.  Fox News informs us:

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held hearings Wednesday on the "Potty Parity Act," a bill that seeks to address the unequal number of restroom facilities for women in federal buildings by requiring at least a 1-to-1 ratio for toilets, including urinals, in women's and men's restrooms.  [emphasis added]

Far be it from us to denigrate the importance of having proper toilet facilities, well supplied - Sheryl Crow notwithstanding - with an abundance of tissue.  However, virtually every public edifice built within the last forty years has been suitably equipped, within reason.

It might be nice to have larger restrooms, or cleaner, but seriously: is there a major federal building of recent vintage that ostentatiously forgot ladies' rooms, or stuffed them in a converted closet somewhere?  It's even more inconceivable that any new one would be built that way.

Coming soon:
Your tax dollars at work!

So far, so harmless? A simply useless waste of time by a Congress that otherwise would be destroying our liberties and stealing our money?  Not necessarily; note the demanded parity specifically called out for urinals.

While we do not generally frequent the ladies' room, on those few occasions when we've ventured thence we have found urinals to be notably absent.  By the clear meaning of the law's text as described in the article, this is indeed a most glaring lack of parity: Men's rooms have them, the ladies' don't.

To the rescue rides our Congress!  With the help of Google, we have discovered to our surprise that there is, in fact, such a thing as a ladies' urinal, put forward as an apparently serious commercial offering and illustrated here.

So the thing does exist.  Is there a market?  Who knows?  Who cares - our Congress is on the verge of creating a market out of thin air!

By force of law, every new Federal building in the land will now have to have these... ah, exotic and unusual devices, courtesy of someone's lobbying efforts and/or strategic campaign contributions.

Now getting people to use them, that's another matter.  Time for a new law!  Meanwhile, the longsuffering taxpayers can be excused for being more than a little pissed off.