The Brunswick House in Toronto is a bit of an institution. Founded in 1876, for some time it's had a reputation as a fun hangout for university students, not only from the nearby U of T, but also from other universities in southern Ontario in places like Guelph, for instance.
I moved to Toronto eleven months ago, on August 2nd 2006. For the month of August, I was subletting a furnished apartment that was literally less than a one-minute walk from the Brunswick House. Naturally, I started going there pretty frequently. In particular, I used to go there on Mondays for their karaoke night.
Karaoke night at the Brunswick stopped sometime in the fall, but it started again sometime in June 2007 or thereabouts. Tonight, I decided to go back to the Brunswick to check out the karaoke again after a long absence.
Anyway, to get to the point of this rant, I discovered when I went to the bathroom at the bar that there was someone there working as a men's room attendant. I think, as far as I can remember, that this is the first time I've been in a bar that hired such a person. It seemed almost hard to believe, because part of the appeal of the "Brunny" (as folks sometimes call it) is its "dive" character. The furniture is wooden and no-frills, and the beer and the decor are cheap.
So it's not exactly the place you'd expect to see a bathroom attendant. More to the point, though, I don't think there should be bathroom attendants at ANY bar. Now look, I understand that there are a lot of people out there who need a job where you just have to hand paper towels to people and get to collect a fair number of tips. I hesitate slightly to indulge in this rant because I know there are people who need these kinds of jobs. But still, I DON'T WANT TO FEEL OBLIGED TO SHELL OUT MONEY JUST BECAUSE I WANT TO PEE.
There is NEVER ANY NEED for a bathroom attendant. I can turn on taps by myself, and I can grab paper towels by myself. (By the way, part of what made it so incongruous to see a men's room attendant at the Brunswick is that we're not even talking about little white cloth towels, we're talking about an attendant who rips a piece of brown paper towel off of a roll.) But my issue is not just the lack of practical need for a bathroom attendant. It's also that I find it inherently intrusive that an establishment hires someone whose job is to basically hang out while I pee.
I wouldn't shop at a grocery store who hired someone to walk around with me along the aisles helping me to pick out products. I'd find it annoying. I can decide what food I want with no help from anyone else, thank you. It's kind of a personal choice, anyway. And what could be more personal than peeing or pooing, or washing your hands afterwards? Look, I know how to do this stuff, I don't need any help at all. And I don't want to feel obliged to tip somebody for doing something they don't need to be doing in the first place. It's just stupid. Stop hiring bathroom attendants. I don't want to go to your bar if you hire them. And if I do go to your bar, I'm going to seriously consider pretending I'm going out for a smoke (even though I don't smoke) and just pissing in the alleyway. DO NOT HIRE BATHROOM ATTENDANTS. IT IS STUPID AND ANNOYING AND WRONG. I'm not going back to the Brunswick anytime soon.