Michaela Merz

Queue at the ladies‘ toilet

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Often I think that many architects do not sufficiently consider the gender-specific differences. At almost every major event and by this I don’t actually mean the Olympic Games but theatres, cinemas, etc. there is the phenomenon of queues at the ladies’ toilet. At the men’s toilet this phenomenon does not exist. I admit that modern buildings got a bit better but I still regularly queue at such locations. Since every queue is unpleasant and this one in particular, I developed strategies in order to avoid them. Unfortunately these strategies only work every now and then.

I have seen countless situations where desperate ladies went to the men’s toilet, where mothers with small children were subject to hostile looks when they tried – usually to no avail – to advance faster. This phenomenon is independent of countries. I have seen it in London, New York, Prague, Moscow and Zurich. I wish that additional requirements are set, which consider this phenomenon in every new building. I hope for a better world without queues.

The most impressive experience in this respect I had during the football world championship in Stuttgart. I was invited to the match between Uruguay and England. The stadium was sold out, colourful, loud, cheerful and in a euphoric state. I enjoyed this atmosphere very much, it was unique. Never before I had experienced this feeling of belonging to a crowd, the feeling of pursuing a common goal so intense. It was simply overwhelming. Contrary to the football match, which was completely boring. Apart from one goal which Beckham made rather by accident, it was slow, uninspired and nothing much happened. One could say that on this day the players were not worth their salary. But I did not mind because what happened in the audience was entertaining, surprising and rousing.

Then there was the break and like many others I went in direction of the toilets. And look there, a queue!! And what a queue!! Endlessly long. However not at the ladies’ toilet but at the men’s toilet. The ladies’ toilet was queue-less. I love football which provides queue-equality at the toilets.

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