Double the women’s rest rooms

“Separate but equal” is not equal, not when you consider the average rest room wait time for men and women.

A new and shiny Gophers football stadium seems inevitable, so now it’s time to consider emerging issues and controversies surrounding its construction and completion. This not-quite-theoretical stadium of the future will be filled with our hopes and dreams, but we also could create new problems unless we think hard, together, about this big cool stadium and build the damn thing right.

One of the most important issues surrounding stadium construction will be something called “potty parity.”

You’ve never heard of potty parity? Um, pull up a seat, (so to speak) and you’ll hear all about why it would be a horrible act of gender discrimination to build a stadium with anything less than a ratio of 2-to-1 women’s bathroom facilities to men’s.

No, really. “Separate but equal” is not equal, not when you consider the average rest room wait time for men and women. Potty parity is based on this commonsense biological reality. It is a movement (so to speak) that has spread across the country and even the world, founded on a groundbreaking 1988 graduate thesis by Sandra Rawls of Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Rawls simply timed men and women outside rest rooms. As everybody knows, women take longer because of “stockings, small children and feminine health issues.” That’s why, too often, women in long lines outside the ladies’ room are forced to plot a takeover of the men’s room.

Picking up on the research by Rawls and incorporating it into a revolutionary law review article, George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf has become what some call the “self-anointed father of potty parity,” pushing for legislation to incorporate potty parity into construction standards.

Oh, sure, go ahead and laugh at the fact his name is “John.” The jokes are endless, and somebody like professor John Banzhaf has heard them all. He even writes, half-jokingly, about “squatters rights.”

But legislatures in Hong Kong and Singapore think potty parity is a good thing. The New York City Council adopted something called the “Women’s Restroom Equity Bill,” unanimously. Honolulu also has approved potty parity. The cause is championed by the World Toilet Organization in Singapore, not to be confused with the other organization called the WTO. This particular WTO actually is trying to make a better world, one public rest room at a time.

So we have this golden opportunity, before cement is poured into place, before plumbing fixtures are hooked up to create the ultimate benchmark of civilization: indoor plumbing.

There are, potentially, many other issues to occupy this future field of dreams. For example, will stadium patrons be able to get food fitting their religious or moral dietary needs? Will the University of North Dakota be allowed to cast a long, accursed shadow over the new playing field with their racist and cartoony so-called “Fighting Sioux” logo? Can signs in the stadium be in some languages other than English, like maybe Somali?

I hope every stadium issue from kosher corn dogs to signs in Somali will get worked out, but for now I wish to raise this one issue: In this new stadium, let us have justice and fairness.

Let us have potty parity.

John Hoff welcomes comments at
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