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Why Are Men’s Bathrooms on the Right?

One of the more interesting discussions that comes up between men anytime there is a group of guys hanging out together is the location of the men’s bathrooms at any establishment. This is a topic that can spark some serious debate, especially when there are more than two guys in the group. Typically, it is the person who recently entered the establishment who is tasked with locating the men’s room. 

Why? It’s a long story. So, let’s just blame the history of the establishment.

The answer to the question “Why are men’s bathrooms on the right and women’s on the left” is a simple one: it’s not industry standard or tradition. If you go anywhere there’s always a man’s bathroom either on the left or on the right.

Here’s why you believe men’s bathrooms tend to be on the right.

Are men’s restrooms always on the right?

Anyone who has ever been to a public restroom knows that women have the better end of the deal, since most of them are equipped with stalls that offer privacy, plentiful supplies of toilet paper, and even doors that lock. 

Men’s restrooms, on the other hand, tend to be more austere—they typically lack doors or dividers, and as a result, they are far less secure than women’s restrooms. 

Unfortunately, not only are men’s restrooms less private, but they also tend to be more poorly stocked, and in some cases, less clean than women’s restrooms.

The question of why men’s bathrooms are always on the right is usually asked in relation to waiting in line at the movie theater, but it applies to any public space where both men and women are allowed to use the restroom. 

Sure, this sounds like an easy question to answer, but think about it for a minute. 

When you enter a bathroom, do you automatically turn left, or do you check for the men’s room first? 

If you tend to automatically turn left, it’s possible that you subconsciously realize that the men’s restrooms are more likely to be on the right.

The converse is also true.

So, the answer is there’s almost never a rule for deciding where you’re always going to find a men’s restroom, especially when it comes to new buildings or renovations.

It’s simply pretty random.

How men’s restrooms can be a bit confusing

Let’s face it, most men’s restrooms are confusing. 

Whether you’re trying to figure out which door to go through, or wondering whether you should be washing your hands in the sink or the urinal, it can be a bit of a trial every time you visit the restroom. 

If you’re like most men, you don’t particularly want to ask for directions, either.

Don’t you just hate it when you go into a public restroom, and you have to take a minute to figure out exactly where to go to the bathroom? 

For instance, you walk into a men’s restroom, and there’s a urinal right in front of you. 

GREAT! But wait, there’s also a stall and a urinal on the other side of a wall. 


Then you wait in line behind a bunch of men who are also trying to figure out what to do. 

And then you just can’t decide, so you do both.

What it feels like to use the wrong bathroom

For some people, using the bathroom is an everyday activity that takes no thought. 

But for others, it’s a sensitive issue that requires a great deal of discussion. 

For transgender individuals, the bathroom question is even more complex, as some states are considering legislation requiring people to use bathrooms that match the gender they were assigned at birth. 

Here’s a look at what it feels like to use the wrong bathroom.

If you’ve never used the wrong bathroom before, count yourself lucky. 

It’s an awkward situation to be in, especially when there’s someone else in the bathroom when you walk in.

Whether you’re in a public bathroom or a friend’s house, it’s always a little unnerving to walk into a bathroom that doesn’t belong to you.

Imagine a man walking into a women’s bathroom to go to the bathroom and being stared at by every woman in there. 

It’s even worse when you are a woman going into a man’s bathroom, and everyone in there looks at you like you are a pervert. 

Because, well, you are. 

No matter what, it always seems to be an unpleasant experience for everyone involved.

Why do we have gendered bathrooms?

Whether you’re just curious about the history of gender-specific bathrooms, or you suspect you’ve been heading into the wrong bathroom for your entire life, we’re here to provide answers. 

In the 1800s, when indoor plumbing was becoming more common, gendered bathrooms were a convenient way to provide sanitation for the two sexes separately. 

The idea was that men and women would each have their own toilet rooms, with a separate plumbing system for each.

Some have argued that making bathrooms just for women and just for men creates unnecessary division and stokes the flames of gender conflict. 

Others have said that a gendered bathroom system is useful because it gives transgender people a place to safely use the bathroom without being judged. 

Finally, some have argued that maintaining separate bathrooms for men and women is useful in schools and other public spaces, where the ratio of male to female users is typically unequal.

All in all, gendered bathrooms serve to protect women and children.

How to identify gender neutral restrooms

In the past decade, gender neutral restrooms have become an important part of the LGBT community. 

Even the general public is embracing the idea, and as a result, a growing number of public male and female restrooms have been transformed into gender neutral facilities in places like restaurants, malls, and public transportation hubs. 

In some cases, this was merely an easy way for businesses to accommodate their transgender patrons. 

In others, however, gender neutral restrooms are being installed in order to reflect the public’s embrace of genderqueer or non-binary individuals—people whose gender identities don’t fit into the traditional male/female dichotomy.

Bathrooms that can be used by a person of any gender may have signs that combine symbols used in male and female bathrooms.

Others go a notch higher to say they welcome all or explicitly put symbols to show they welcome members who neither identify as female nor male.

Can you have a urinal in a unisex bathroom?

Whether you’re remodeling your bathroom for a growing family or just want to add a little pizzazz, one of the best ways to freshen up the room is by adding extra features, such as a skylight, new shower fixtures, or even a nice, comfy rug.

In the quest to create family-friendly bathrooms, more and more homeowners are going all-out to make their restrooms as more welcoming as possible. 

The traditional urinal is a fixture that every man has used at some point in his life, and can be a high traffic item in any bathroom. 

It consists of a porcelain or stainless steel bowl sunk into a wall, with a water supply pipe connected to the bottom of the bowl.

However, if you want to add a urinal to your unisex bathroom, you’re likely to have trouble doing so. 

That’s because urinals were built for male-only bathrooms; there are no legal requirements for unisex bathrooms to have urinals since, well, obviously there are no women using them.

Some households have both men and women, and have only one bathroom.

So, a urinal simply has no place or doesn’t make any sense at all.

Zebedee Nambaleo
Zebedee Nambaleo

Zebedee is the founder of RealEstate Ke. He creates content by carefully examining and analyzing the real estate market, home improvement resources, and government data. His analysis is based on the principle of supplying high-quality, relevant, and in-depth information to his audience. By evaluating the current conditions and predicting future trends, he provides his audience with invaluable insights that allow them to make better decisions.