The White Stuff

By Andrew Mirzayi

It is Saturday afternoon. I’m sweating as I roll the crumpled dollars back and forth in my hand. Finally, it is my turn. I hand over the money quickly, grab hold of the plastic-wrapped white heaven, and turn to leave. I look down at my prize and I smile, knowing I have enough for the next two weeks. I walk back to my room on an expectant high. I wander inside and sit down in silent ecstasy until my roommate asks, “Dude, why did you buy toilet paper?”

I can answer quite simply, “because the toilet paper here sucks.” It does. Its terrible one-ply, cardboard-like sheets simply cannot compare to the quilted, absorbent experience that I’m used to from home. Nothing has made me more homesick in the past few weeks than the institutional quality of the toilet paper at Macalester. If Star Wars storm troopers were a toilet paper, they would be one-ply.

At first I felt guilty buying my own toilet paper. Then I remember: one-ply may appear to save paper, and therefore trees, but since it is so thin a user must “double up” and turn it, essentially, into two-ply. According to, one-ply is slightly thicker than two-ply at 10# and 13# thickness paper respectively. So two sheets of one-ply paper will be thicker than one sheet of two-ply paper.

Macalester does not settle for low quality in other aspects of college living. Café Mac boasts good cuisine, the free copies of the newspapers rock, and I often slip away from my books for some popcorn from the student lounge. Why can’t I have the same great experience when I go to the bathroom? The cost difference between a decent two-ply roll and one-ply can’t be more than a copy of the New York Times.
Then again, I don’t think cost is actually the issue here, but the bathroom makes people shy. We were raised to not talk about what goes on in there, no matter how terrible. But we, as a school, must overcome this embarrassment of admitting that one-ply is not enough for our bathroom needs and demand decent toilet paper in our bathrooms.