Demystifying some anecdotal evidence presented about waterclosets

OK we’ve all heard janitors’ anecdotal evidence about how women’s bathrooms are oh-so-much dirtier than men’s bathrooms.  Here’s my own anecdotal evidence: every time I walk into a men’s bathroom, the whole thing smells like piss and is the nastiest thing I’ve ever seen.  When I go into the women’s bathroom in the same establishment, it’s much cleaner and smells nice.

So, janitors: it would seem that we have conflicting stories.  That’s the problem with anecdotal evidence.

Do you subconsciously hold women’s bathrooms to a higher standard, and thus put a lot more time and effort into cleaning them?  This would explain why I always find them cleaner, and also why you consider them more difficult to clean.  It seems like the most common method for cleaning men’s bathrooms is to pee on everything.  That does seem easier.

Do I subconsciously consider men to be nastier and therefore hold my nose any time I enter a men’s bathroom, and/or am personally immune to womanly smells?  I do have a lot of sisters, it’s true.

Is it because janitorial staff is disproportionately male, and males are sick of hearing about what slobs they are?  Do you therefore want to present anecdotal evidence that not only makes males look better, but also has staying-power as a story because it runs contrary to peoples’ expectations?

Obviously, my anecdotal evidence is no better than a janitor’s (in general I hold such stories in low regard until they can be proved), but I really am curious about what’s going on here.  I often use both men’s and women’s bathrooms, and have yet to find a women’s bathroom that was dirtier than its male counterpart.

Your move, janitors.

Author: Steen

Steen is a nerdy biologist who spends a lot of time trying to cultivate Chloroflexi, who also likes to draw comics, play video games, and climb.

3 thoughts on “Demystifying some anecdotal evidence presented about waterclosets”

  1. My take: restaurant owners/janitors share this idea that women’s bathrooms are cleaner, thus go into more work keeping them cleaner (and less effort into cleaning the men’s facilities). When men visit these bathrooms and see them already in bad condition, they place effort into keeping it clean themselves (The Broken Window effect). When the business owners or janitors come back to the bathroom, their ideas of how messy men are get re-confirmed and the cycle continues.

    When you see mens and womens rooms that are equally well maintained, then you’ll notice less difference them after they’ve been used.

    1. That certainly would explain my own personal observations, and I think you may have something there. However, that does not explain why many janitors famously claim that women’s bathrooms are far nastier than men’s (an observation which I have never made personally, and this has led me to question the validity of their claims).

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