Exploring campus culture one bathroom at a time


When I say I am going to talk about campus culture, one might reasonably assume I am going to discuss campus sports or showcase an interesting club or event. But culture is not always that palatable. Sometimes culture, especially campus culture, is raw and unnerving. Sometimes culture is hastily scribbled nonsense on a bathroom stall. And that is the brand of culture I want to talk about today–the kind of culture one can only experience while sitting on a dirty public toilet. You know, the best kind of culture.

Tristan Madden/ Pulsefeedz

I found this scathing accusation against our school’s president in the men’s bathroom of the North Campus diner. For all you kids not hip on the lingo, “danku” refers to the highest quality of marijuana. One could easily write this off as libel or defamation, but this accusation has been corroborated by another party. Right below the accusation is written “Too right, mate.” That’s enough proof for me.

Tristan Madden/ Pulsefeedz

If you venture into the family bathroom in Mckeldin library, you’ll stumble upon a baby-changing station with “place sacrifice here” written on it. In the ancient city state of Carthage, it was common practice to sacrifice one’s infant to appease the gods. It’s good to know traditional religious values are still being practiced in this increasingly godless and immoral age.

Tristan Madden/ Pulsefeedz

A stirring pronouncement found in the men’s bathroom of the South Campus diner. “UMD sucks.” I can imagine a teary-eyed student, bitter and broken from his college experiences, carving this into the stall so the whole world can know his pain… all while dropping a deuce. Beautiful.

Tristan Madden/ Pulsefeedz

Now, this particular bathroom scribble–found in the men’s bathroom in Mckeldin Library–is only interesting because I can make an approximate guess as to when it was written: whenever Snoop Dogg was a relevant cultural force. Truly, dark words for a dark time.

Tristan Madden/ Pulsefeedz

We often look towards art and culture to answer questions about certain peoples and places. But sometimes culture only raises more questions. “Boat5.” What does that mean? Is it a code? Is it just gibberish written by a drunk student? I am going to be honest here: this has been keeping me up at night.  Is this some cheeky euphemism the kids are using these days?  As in, “dude, I took her down to the harbor last night and we got all-aboard boat five.” Maybe I’ll never know.

Tristan Madden/Pulsefeedz

I found this written on the partition next to the urinal in the men’s bathroom of Mckeldin Library. “Use me.” Often times artists will give a voice to the voiceless–a noble endeavor. In this case, whoever wrote this was speaking on behalf of the urinal. Suffice it to say, I heeded the urinal’s call to action.

Tristan Madden/Pulsefeedz

Another gem from the McKeldin men’s bathroom.  No sir, you’re mistaken. The voice in my head is an orangutan named Jerry.



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