Dim lights flicker as you hurry along damp, dirty tiles clutching a toothbrush and a bottle of Listerine. An acrid odor you can’t place hangs in the air. You have no idea what’s making that frightening noise behind the shower curtain. No, you’re not starring in a slasher flick. Say hello to your first communal bathroom.
Assigning 60 guys to one bathroom dries the ink on the first page of a Stephen King novel. Your mom’s polished faucets and potpourri are things of the past. Rows of overused toilets and under-cleaned showers turn communal bathrooms into houses of horror.
Fortunately, you can survive without becoming the smelly kid on the seventh floor. When equipped with the right gear, your morning shower doesn’t have to be the beginning of a Hitchcock movie. Here are six “weapons” to help you maintain your hygiene while keeping your sanity.
1. Disinfectant Wipes
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Though you (hopefully) won’t walk into bloodstained shower curtains and sinks, strange substances have a way of appearing on bathroom surfaces. You really don’t want to know what your neighbor left behind. Come prepared because you can’t avoid faucets and toilet seats forever. Close your eyes, wipe away and add to your growing list of dark suppressed memories.
“Try brushing your teeth or washing your face when someone left pieces of their weave in the sink”
–Hannah Harris, East Carolina
2. Flip Flops
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After growing up across from the family bathroom, wearing shoes to brush your teeth seems weird. Your mind will change after your first experience with cracked concrete and grimy grout. You have no idea what treasures 60 feet left behind and you probably don’t want to. In addition to the gross factor, failing to flop can result in irritations such as athlete’s foot. The Mayo Clinic reports that athlete’s foot can spread and contaminate floors when warm, humid conditions permit. A shower stall is the perfect candidate.
“Nothing screams fun like pulling back the shower curtain and finding a pool of dirty water or a pile of puke."
–Jocelyn Stoudt, Penn State
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They aren’t just for make up and hair dryers. Shower caddies are essential for making it out of your morning routine alive. When juggling body wash, shampoo, a loofa, razors and shaving cream, you will drop something in your rush to get in and out.
“I’ll never forget when I picked up my face towel with someone else’s hair on it.”
–Gabe Stezoski, University of Pittsburgh
4. Toilet Paper
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Universities are notorious for cost cutting (because that $40,000 you already pay isn’t sufficient). One of these cuts hits you…well, where the sun doesn’t shine. Unless you enjoy sandpaper, grab a good roll of Charmin. Who cares if your floormates think you’re a germaphobe? You’ll see who gets the last laugh when you’re the only one who can sit without wincing.
5. The Right Towel
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The navy blue set your mom got “for such a good deal” is not going to make the cut. Everyone buys the bargain towels. This is all fine and dandy until some jock mistakes your towel with his. You get left with a choice: his sopping sweat rag or a 50 foot hallway streak. Unless you enjoy public exposure, find towels with unique colors and patterns.
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Those noises you hear aren’t a basilisk in the pipes or Moaning Myrtle in the stall. Kyle from down the hall drank too much and is gracing the toilet with the night’s Vladmir and cheap pizza. Your neighbor and this evening’s conquest decided to move their rendezvous to your favorite shower. Rather than partaking in this symphony of sorrow, protect your ears with a good pair of headphones. Plug into your iPhone and pretend you’re in a happier place (like a private bathroom).
(Main image via flickr.com)
It takes more than the right ammunition to make it to the end of the movie. Stay strong and hang in there. After all, it’s just a bathroom…right?
For more ways to make dorm life more bearable, check out: