Hi I’m Jackson Bird and today I want to throw my hat into a debate for the ages. So, a misconception about trans people is that, since many of us lived large parts of our lives “among” the other gender, we must know “the secrets of the opposite sex.
” And like… nah. I didn’t understand women when I thought I was one, I definitely don’t understand them now. A lot of us never felt at home in that gender and therefore had fairly different experiences compared to the cis people of that gender.
And a lot of us would prefer to just be respected and affirmed as the gender we are and not held up as some kind of oracle with an all-seeing wisdom of different gendered experiences. But okay, yes, we do have some perspectives on certain things.
I know what it’s like to get a period, to be harassed by men perceiving me as a woman. I could probably still take a bra off without taking my shirt off and change out of pantyhose while driving a stick shift––not that either of those are exclusive to women… but y’know, most cis men lack those skills.
And on top of all of that, I have spent many years being a regular user of both men’s and women’s restrooms. So as to the big debate about which one is really worse… I’ve got answers. A few quick disclaimers though, wouldn’t be a Jackson Bird video without disclaimers.
So first, as usual, this is all my own personal perspective. I do not speak for all men or all trans people. Certainly not for women. And second, I’m going to be talking a lot about bathroom business.
Lots of bathroom talk ahead, some of it’s kind of gross. So you have been warned. And third, this is not about which restroom is worse for trans people. All restrooms kind of suck for the trans experience, especially if you are not read as a binary bathroom gender.
Bathroom bills make it worse for trans people, not safer for cis people because trans people are the ones actually getting harassed in bathrooms, not doing the harassing. And I’ll put more on all that in the description box, but that’s not what this video is about.
This video is about those binary bathroom genders and the age-old debate about which one’s bathroom is worse. Which means this discussion is gonna be a little more binary than usual. on this channel As I said, nonbinary people especially face a whole host of challenges when it comes to restrooms, but this video is just about a silly binary debate about which restrooms are grosser, men’s or women’s, and with the all-seeing knowledge I have as a trans person, debunking some stereotypes and generalizations about the main visitors of those spaces.
People who are not men or women can contribute to the overall vibe of mens rooms and women’s rooms, but they’re kind of too varied and diverse to generalize… for the purposes of a debate that’s relying heavily on cis people’s stereotypes of each other.
And also, y’know, nonbinary people are perfect, divine beings who don’t smell and always wash their hands. I’m just kidding nonbinary people can be gross and imperfect if they want to be! The point is, this is not a serious video so let’s just move on, okay! Now obviously the most immediate idea when it comes to restrooms is of course the men’s room is worse.
Men are disgusting, people say. But anytime I see this come up, I see a lot of people saying that, actually, not all men’s rooms––(chuckles) “not all men” of course–– but not all men’s rooms are that bad and some women’s rooms are even worse! It’s usually people who have had to clean both men’s and women’s public restrooms as part of their job who say this so if anyone other than trans people have a solid perspective on this, it’s them.
And they will point to the pee left on toilet seats by people in women’s rooms doing “the hover.” You know, the hover… Getting into a seated position but not quite sitting down all the way so your skin doesn’t come into contact with the public toilet seat.
If you’re able, it’s not a bad strategy, but you’ve got to clean up after yourself and so many people don’t. Folks who say the women’s room is grosser sometimes also point out that things like long hairs and smudges of makeup that get left behind, sometimes there’s period-related disasters, and then all the same general stuff as men’s room, y’know––unflushed toilets, used sanitary items and uh bodily substances not put in the places where they should be, bad odors lingering from people’s business and bodies.
Bathrooms are gross. Humans can be kinda gross! All humans. Women are not exempted from the grossness. Though some would argue folks in women’s rooms tend to be more courteous or at least covert about certain bathroom matters.
Although that is tied up in a lot of like shaming and obedience and delicate femininity and “women don’t fart and poop” kind of conditioning that people raised as girls have drilled into them. So that’s a whole thing.
But regardless, it tends to be true. Like, I have encountered tons of women who try to cover up their poop smells with perfume or one of those Poo Pourri kinda products, or constantly flushing thing both to mask the odor and drown out the sound, or straight up refuse to go #2 in public unless entirely unavoidable.
Meanwhile, I have never encountered a dude trying to mask the scent of pooping in a public bathroom. At home, sure, yeah, maybe, but not in public. And dudes poop in public bathrooms, way more. Now it’s possible I have a skewed perspective on this, for two reasons: 1.
There are less stalls in men’s rooms. Often just one. So if someone is pooping, you know. I especially know because 2. I generally use the stall to pee and, if it’s occupied, I am shit out of luck.
…Literally, I guess. Whereas in women’s rooms, there are more stalls and if someone is dropping the kids off at the pool, you may not notice as much because there are other stalls that you can use.
So, I’ll grant that I may be biased in this assessment, but even with those acknowledgements, it really does feel like men poop in public restrooms far more than women. I mean, it’s definitely more of a cultural thing.
Men talk about pooping in public, at work, it’s a thing. Women I have found tend to avoid doing it or at least avoid admitting to it, whereas among some men it feels almost more like a badge of honor, or at least a totally normal and fine thing.
As it should be. I’ve never heard women talking about pooping in public, especially at the office, in the same way as like a daily ritual. And from working in offices, I can tell you, it’s for sure a daily ritual for many people in men’s rooms.
Like clockwork. Which is good that they’re regular. Good for them. But yeah, okay, so if more men are pooping more often, that creates smell number one… or number two, I guess. But the second smell factor is the noticeable lack of any kind of perfume.
I mean, sometimes you get the leftovers of someone’s Axe, but like that does not help. Women’s rooms sometimes have someone’s Bath & Body Works seasonal body spray lingering in the air. It’s nice.
And then smell number three is the pee. Does men’s pee smell worse than women’s? Like generally speaking, of course. I am not sure. Back in the day I heard that going on hormone replacement therapy can change the smell of your pee but I honestly never really tracked that myself.
I mean, maybe? People who are on HRT, please sound off in the comments if you’ve noticed your pee smelling differently. Whether or not men slash people with more testosterone in their body’s pee smells… stronger, the smell of pee in men’s rooms is stronger for two reasons: 1.
Men do not flush. Or at least they flush far less than people in the women’s rooms. Like, if all the urinals are taken and a dude with the right equipment has gotta go, a lot of them head to a stall, leave the door open, take a leak, and then just leave it without flushing.
Just letting it simmer for everyone else. And y’know, I do sometimes feel like there’s a general lack of courtesy or even sort of entitlement happening in men’s rooms. Like a lot of them are just used to someone else cleaning up after them so they don’t even really think about respecting the space, the others using it, and the workers who have to clean it.
I mean, that’s definitely not exclusive to men even if it may be a bit more endemic among them. So moving on, the other factor is backsplash and bad aim. The floors in men’s rooms are coated with pee.
Fresh pee from that day, but also years of dried pee––sometimes cleaned up with industrial strength cleaners, adding to the smell, but in less nice places, never ever cleaned up at all and just festering in layers on top of each other.
The floors are so much stickier. And except for the nicest ones, so many public men’s restrooms have an underlying stench from that build-up that’s already worse than the women’s room, regardless of any other one-off gross-outs that might be happening there.
And that’s kind of where I ultimately fall in this debate… like yes, people in the women’s room can be just as gross as people in the men’s room. And every bathroom is different. There are some very nice public bathrooms and some not as nice ones.
There are ones with really awesome, attentive cleaning staffs and some a bit more neglected. Every population of people, meaning every gender, has some bad seeds, and every person has a bad day or an unexpected bathroom malfunction at least once in their life.
Things happen. Shit happens. But in my experience, when women’s rooms are grosser, it’s usually because of things like that. One off events. One abandoned accident. One bad seed. And yes, the spray on the seats from the hover strategy is a bit out of control.
I will grant you that one. But otherwise, women’s rooms were, in my experience… pretty great. I feel like in most women’s rooms I went into, the gross-out’s were like the exception whereas with men’s rooms it’s the opposite.
Yeah, there can be some perfectly nice ones, but most just kind of have a veneer of… eugh. And think there may also be an expectation factor at play here. We expect men’s rooms to be bad so when they’re alright, it seems better and we expect women’s rooms to be nice and clean so when they’re bad, it’s worse by comparison.
I know this is going to cause a huge debate in the comments and so many people are going to think that I am wrong on various points, but that’s my experience from having been in many men’s and women’s rooms over the years in all types of different establishments, communities, countries… I mean, listen, I used to travel a fair bit pre-pandemic and I also have the world’s smallest bladder so I’ve spent a lot of time in restrooms.
But I still haven’t seen them all! So I’d love to hear what you think. And for any trans or nonbinary people or even cis people who aren’t always assumed to be the gender that you are, one quick tip, and this is not a sponsor, is the app slash website Refuge Restrooms.
It’s a crowd-sourced app that marks gender neutral public bathrooms in a given area, and it also includes notes about accessibility and if you have to ask for a key or something. It’s not perfect because of course it’s crowd-sourced, but anyone can add to it so, especially as more places open up, consider contributing to it anytime that you’re out and help out others who need it.
But that’s it for now. Please let me know your thoughts on men’s rooms versus women’s rooms in the comments. And, if you want to hear more from me, two things you can do are subscribe and hit the bell to be notified when I put up new videos and also I host a daily podcast called the Kottke Ride Home that covers some of the coolest, most interesting stories in the news each day––like science, new discoveries, weird internet stuff––all in just fifteen minutes.
You can listen wherever you get podcasts, including here on YouTube. Link in the description So that is it, thank you so much for watching and I’ll talk to you next time.