Raise your hand if you have been personally victimized by an absolutely disgusting public restroom. We probably all have at some point in our lives. I will never forget when I would hold in my pee in middle school because I wouldn’t dare to step foot in that filthy, toilet paper covered stall.

However, one day, that all changed when my bladder was about to burst and I knew I had no other choice. I ran all the way down to the big stall of course and when I locked the door, it was as if I had stepped into an art museum. It was something even better than an art gallery. I had gone into another dimension of honest thoughts and illustrations that I had never seen before in my life.

I thought to myself, “How can something so wrong be so beautiful?” Writing on a bathroom stall is not just graffiti on building walls or words painted on a car. It is the most private and honest type of vandalism there is which explains the beauty of it. There are a variety of aspects that build upon the artistry of this crime. Environment of this type of “art” is found in bathrooms, a private place to take care of personal business. This is also not the cleanest place which is why calling the walls beautiful should not seem normal. However, in a way, these writings and images use the atmosphere of the bathroom to its advantage. It is a space of solitude and privacy where one can dive into their own thoughts and emotions that they are unable to express in public. Not to mention the fact that this act is a low-cost crime considering the chances of someone figuring out who drew or wrote something in the stall are very slim. The idea that no one will know that they are leaving their mark is intriguing and thrilling as they lay all their thoughts through the pen. Restrooms stay for a long time and rarely get remodeled in public spaces which provides and even longer lasting platform for words and illustrations.

Another interesting aspect is the range of emotional content written around the stall. When I have been in some bathrooms, I have seen anything from motivational quotes to heartening compliments such as “you are loved.” Statements like this have the ability to have a positive impact on the person reading them. In addition, it demonstrates that the person writing these is compassionate even though they are committing a crime which creates this confusion of morals. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there have been inappropriate remarks towards certain people as they cuss others out, write hate comments about something or someone, or draw inappropriate images. This content obviously proves to have a negative impact and is strongly discouraged but it is interesting to see the intensity in the honesty of people behind a private stall door. The power behind this crime is immense, whether it is good or evil.

As you can see, there is art in how people display their hearts on a platform such as the bathroom walls. This is an instance where crime and art intertwine together to form a beautiful piece…and unfortunately, more work for the janitors to deal with.

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Parnaz Rezaie Boroon

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