Tandem Toilets In Sochi
January 26, 2014

Tandem Toilets In Sochi

The news is full of stories about the Sochi, Russia, Winter Olympic games beginning in less than two weeks (running from February 7-23). Stories about security issues abound. However, perhaps a moment of levity is necessary right now. And that is just what BBC reporter Steve Rosenberg gave the world when he tweeted a picture of two toilets in only one stall, as the Associated Press recently reported.

According to that article, Mr. Rosenberg “went to use the bathroom at the cross-country skiing and biathlon center foo next month’s Winter Olympics” and found himself staring at two toilets with no separation. In today’s digital era, that obviously meant it was time for a tweet.

And that tweet went viral!

Of course, people started posting their own pictures of side-by-side toilets that they saw while in Russia. This set up is not particularly common in Russia, but all it takes is one, baby. Now, the twin toilets are a national joke, which has caused every reaction from silence to jest to defense and even outrage.

The article identified the editor of the R-Sport news agency was baffled by the interest in such a toilet set up because communal toilets like these are standard in Russian football (what Americans call soccer) stadiums. Others called the toilets “tandem,” which is the name given in jest to President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. This caused one blogger to take Rosenberg’s photo and alter it by adding a framed portrait of the leaders above the toilets. Touché, clever blogger.

Still, others posited another theory. Since security is the big story right now concerning the Sochi Winter Olympics, some have joked that “the second toilet was for a Russian security officer.” Seems that people have really enjoyed this moment of levity concerning the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Officials for the Sochi organizing committee flat out refused to comment. With all their concerns and responsibilities for the upcoming competitions, it only makes sense. The least of their concerns right now is a tweet pic of toilets.

At a time when many question whether or not to attend the Sochi Winter Games, this pic has lightened people’s moods. Sure, it is not life changing news nor is it really all that important to our daily lives, but it does give us a breather from all the seriousness surrounding Sochi right now.

And, honestly, I have seen twin toilets like this all around the world. It really is not a new experience to walk in and see one stall with two toilets. Sure, the fact that Sochi built most of the Olympic competition sites from the ground up thus they put the “tandem” toilets in recently is pretty funny, but it just is not all that abnormal. Weird? Absolutely. Anytime I walk into a water closet and see two toilets, side-by-side, without a divider or even curtain, it is weird. I wonder why the set up exists and who wanted it that way, but no matter. When Nature calls, she calls. Lock the door and pick your seat.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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