Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Poop-en-abîme

Today I saw a bathroom which gave me a vision of what bathrooms will be like in The Future. I do not mean the future future, as in, you know, what’s going to happen, where we all have iPads and I am a happy, wealthy, deeply fulfilled Chippendale dancer; I mean The Future where we wear shiny space goggles and take pills to keep us from seeing colors and having sex.

I should begin by saying that I do not have pictures of this bathroom, because there was another person in the bathroom with me and Chinese people have this weird thing where they don’t like people taking photos of them while they urinate. But I promise that this bathroom exists in Favorview Palace (汇景新城) in Guangzhou, China. (I see from their website that their slogan is “SPARKING EAMILY HERITAGE TO LIFE,” which if you squint sort of looks like Sparkling Eamily Heritage Toilet; the point is that these guys spent way more money on their bathrooms than they did on their English ad campaign.)

Anyway so the first thing about this bathroom is that the urinals are right next to the door, in the direction that the doors open, urinals without sideguards, so anyone standing outside in the surrounding courtyard gets an eagle-eye view right straight at someone’s big old Chilean Sea Bass whenever the door is opened. Then after you use the urinal you turn right around and use the faucet which is directly behind you and which the overlords of The Future provide for your convenience. Expert tip: you should not get too excited about the way of the future and turn around before you put your penis back in your pants, as this correspondent almost did, but not before he locked eyes with a cleaning lady in the courtyard outside as the door swung open and slowly back shut.

And then — oh my god — the stalls. In the stalls, both of the walls are mirrored, so not only can you stare at yourself in the eyes as you defecate, but you can stare at yourself staring at yourself pooping and pooping, forever, off into infinity. I do not know how to account for this choice on the part of the designers. This seems like the sort of thing that someone would have raised a question about, at some point down the line. Or maybe no one did because they knew that they were making a monument, something huge, bigger and deeper than them — something that would endure.

It also smelled vaguely of cigarettes, had a nice air-dry blower, and an attractive plant next to the faucets. Good value and experience overall. Would pee again.