General Question

echotech10's avatar

Why are public men's room doors always propped open, while public women's room doors are never propped open?

Asked by echotech10 (916points) January 5th, 2011

I have been at a few places lately where I have found that the outside doors to public men’s rooms are propped open,(whether being used or not), while the outside doors to women’s rooms are never propped open. Why is this the case?

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21 Answers

prolificus's avatar

Having had to clean public restrooms while working at a McD’s as a teen, I can attest to the need to keep air-movement flowing! Besides the smell factor, men (generally speaking) do not linger in the restroom – they’re in and out, zip and unzip, pee, flush (hopefully), and maybe wash hands (if the rest of us are so lucky). Keeping the door open encourages the use of a public restroom as opposed to the nearest bush or tree!!

Women, on the other hand (generally speaking), are the opposite and need their privacy. There’s relatively no rush to the process, so there’s no in-and-out unspoken policy (except at stadiums, and other high-traffic places requiring quick pit-stops). So, the closed door maintains this sense of the secluded throne room for the queen and her subjects to not only attend to their personal care needs, but also primp and bask in the well-lit vanity area.

Nullo's avatar

It may just be a case of weird janitorial timing.

iamthemob's avatar

I have noticed no difference, and have seen many places where the doors of both or neither have been propped open. I would say you may just be experiencing something along the lines of what @Nullo suggests.

However, there’s merit to what @prolificus says – and it may be that men are more likely to leave a door that’s been propped open as such, and you may have more women that might kick the doorstop or pull the door behind them. In neither case is it likely that, men or women, anyone besides an employee is going to re-prop the door open.

mrlaconic's avatar

@prolificus said it with the exception that I have seen a lot of women who don’t wash there hands.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

If the door to the bathroom that I’m going into is propped open, I un-prop it. I like my privacy. Maybe all girls do this.

Blueroses's avatar

This is going to seem like a frivolous answer, but I swear it has some merit.

We don’t want the men seeing the facilities our ladies’ room has that the men’s does not. What @prolificus said about a well-lit vanity area is true. I worked in an office building that was designed and built in the ‘40s and the ladies’ room actually had a separate lounge area with upholstered chairs, a fully reclined couch and built-in ashtrays. A true refuge for the working woman in a world of men.

One day the door was left opened for cleaning, a couple of men saw the facilities and jokingly filed a sexual discrimination charge with HR. The company didn’t see the humor and had both bathrooms remodeled for equal discomfort. We lost our clubhouse and everybody had to take the elevator to the 4th floor bathrooms for a month.

prolificus's avatar

@mrlaconic – agreed!! I tend to stare down those women when I see it happen. No matter who doesn’t wash their hands, it is beyond gross. I’ve seen all types do it too! I do not understand why people don’t wash their hands!


iamthemob's avatar

@Blueroses brings up an interesting point – I think that women, stereotypically, actually do go to the bathroom and spend time there socializing. If you’re chatting, or dishing particularly, you don’t want everyone outside honing in potentially – so you’ll shut the door. Men don’t really do that – we don’t go to the bathroom in groups, etc. So the door will probably stay open.

Blueroses's avatar

@iamthemob I expect that stereotype will disappear once this catches on.

iamthemob's avatar

Oh my god, @Blueroses – it’s like the water pistol balloon or racecar game at the carnival…that, I think, is the greatest thing that technology has given us, ever.

Everyone reading the above and going to the link should give @Blueroses a GA for the contribution. I’m not kidding. Best…link…ever….

faye's avatar

I’ve seen the bathrooms in large public place with curves in the entry instead of doors, men and women. I might say it’s because men don’t care what their bathrooms are like so much as us.

Blueroses's avatar

@iamthemob :-) wanna go to Belgium with me?

iamthemob's avatar

@Blueroses – send me the plane tickets and reservations in the mail, and it’s on. ;-)

MissAnthrope's avatar

Men don’t seem to care too much about privacy when it comes to peeing.. they also don’t seem to care too much about the pooping, either. It’s at least a movie trope, where there are multiple guys taking dumps and not caring at all about the sounds and smells. I think women tend to be more private and/or shy about bodily functions in public.

I mean, I’ve been at a Melissa Etheridge concert, where the ratio of women to men was like 200:1, so the women’s bathroom line was a joke. A bunch of us got wise and went into the men’s bathroom line. Under the circumstances (huge lesbo event), the men really did not give a shit about this. Anyway, what struck me was that none of them peeing in a stall bothered to even close the door. All things being equal, women would probably shut that stall door for privacy.

Then, sometimes we change in there.. sometimes we adjust our clothing.. sometimes we have serious conversations.

BoBo1946's avatar

MsA would be correct. Here is a urinal that men often use.

Supacase's avatar

To air them out. Seriously. Although it grosses me out when it is at a restaurant and I am seated anywhere near it.

I honestly do not socialize in public restrooms. In fact, I rarely see it unless it is a couple of young girls who came in together.

67Chevy2's avatar

I think businesses may leave them open so the user doesn’t have to touch the door handle. Some businesses have installed foot operated door openers (i.e. StepNpull) to address this issue. StepNpull gives you the option of pulling the door open with your foot instead of touching the handle.

Not_the_CIA's avatar

I have been the janitor at a bar, a movie theater, and office buildings. In the bar and movie theater the mens restroom smelled worse. In the office building the womens smelled worse. I’m going to say it has to do with the tampon/pad receptacles. Those things get funky fast. Cleaning them was one of the worst parts of the job.

Aster's avatar

I’ve not noticed mens’ room doors being left propped open. And the Q said, “always.” Not what I’ve noticed.

Response moderated
mountmemonty's avatar

Ok here’s the answer to why you find mens restroom doors propped open at some establishments while for the most part womens restroom door remain closed.

Remember that Idaho Senator by the name of Larry Craig who got arrested at Minneapolis Airport for proposiitioning an undercover officer in the adjacent stall by using foot taps, hand gestures and that famouse “wide stance” he uses everytime he sits on a commode for its intended purpose. Bingo! it’s to prevent men from having sex with other men in a public restroom. Happens in a stall, under the wall between stalls, and at the urinals when the coast is clear.

Look up Tearoom Trade a book documenting men having sex with other men at a park restroom in Boise and how they communicated nonverbally between one another. A way to find someone looking for sex, but could be passed off as innocent gestures to anyone not aware of the activity. Coincidentally the restroom was located in the State of Idaho and at the time of his arrest the representative for Idaho in the US Senate. I wonder if Larry learn language of the Tearoom Trade at the public library like I had as college freshman?

Married men who are Bi or Gay closeted for fear or rejection. So next time you see that door propped open….remember to accept someone for who they are. Eventually closet doors will bust open and restroom doors might stay shut for privacy owe take a shit without the whole mall hearing your flatulence reverberating from the porcelain bowl under your ass, echoing off the tile walls through the propped door and out to the food court you just left after eating a big bean burrito with lots cheese. Double whammy to your gut from those beans, beans, beans the magical fruit that makes you toot and lactose intolerance you got from mom’s side of the the family

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