The Writings on the Bathroom Wall

Getting a university degree is about more than just research and attending lectures. In fact, there’s a world of philosophical phenomena right before your eyes … on the bathroom wall.

Prescribed the name latrinalia in 1966 by Berkley folklorist Alan Dundes, and also known as shithouse poetry, bathroom wall graffiti has actually been studied for its social, folkloric and linguistic aspects. I don’t know about you, but I find the concept of latrinalia, as well as the study of, absolutely fascinating.

On the Shithouse Wall: The Communicative Value of Latrinalia

The Writing on the Wall. Latrinalia: Graffiti from the Restroom

Incredibly Obscene Research in the Age of Purity: Four Pioneering Studies on Toilet Graffiti

During my most recent chapter as an English graduate student, I stole a few moments to explore some of the women’s latrinal spaces at our university. And I have to say that many a time they made my day. In any case, more extensive research should most definitely be carried out. Here are a few of my findings that I hope give you a little smile. Perhaps a research project for another day?

6 Replies to “The Writings on the Bathroom Wall”

  1. Shithouse poetry, eh? What a phrase for it… I’m actually glad it’s not common here in Thailand. Not that I could read it! Kind of forgotten about these American things. Yeah, sometimes they are nice and not so nice. I like when restaurants have walls for it – those are interesting.

    How’s school going? Glad to see you are back!

    1. Ha, yeah, language, in all its forms, is pretty special. At least it gives us something to read when we don’t have a book, magazine or phone. ;-D I graduated in May, so no more school for me, at least not immediately. Never say never. I snapped most of these pics last year, but finally got them together in one piece. Good times. Hope all is going well in Thailand.

      1. Ahhhh, I thought you were back at it! Got it. True, true, most folks just sit on the john and look at their phones. Hahahahhaa. Take care! xo

  2. Hahaha, who said poetry among the masses was dead? I love this look at what people are posting in the women’s latrines…and it made me wonder how that might be different in the men’s versions of such poetry…Stay safe!

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