Adapted from an entry on 24hourcampfire.com
I f you look closely, you'll see the crescent moon over
the door of the new outhouse at the campsite. I researched this outhouse
thoroughly on the web. What you see is a privy that is efficient,
sanitary, and historically accurate. One thing I researched is: Why a
Crescent? What I found was that the crescent and star began as the standard
outhouse symbols in the New England colonies--Crescent for women and star for
men. The problem was that the men's privy was usually in such disrepair, most
guests preferred to use the women's privy. Fast forward a generation or two and
the star was dropped, since it now had the meaning of a dirty privy.
I built this outhouse for our campground, which is way in the back of our land.
The women campers were always making frequent caravans up to the rectory for use
of the indoor plumbing, and our campouts were tearing up the pastures. The
outhouse fixed that problem. As a bonus, when I'm out hunting, I often get the
call about mid-morning, and this was a handy place , close to a several stand
locations. I wanted to be true to tradition, the crescent cutout and the seat
cutout were both thrown in the cesspit, as a clue to future treasure hunters.
In a history-repeats-itself experience, we had our big grand-opening of the
campground two weekends ago. Many of the campers were not experienced and many
of the women had never made any transactions in the great outdoors. One woman
told me the brand new privy had "made the weekend for her." Typically,
the men weren't as interested, choosing a tree or grabbing a shovel and heading
for the woods.
Why a crescent and star? I was not able to find that out for sure, but as I sat
testing the facility in early July, I reason to speculate. One thing that is
important in privy construction is that the intrusion of light must be limited
wherever possible to reduce the incidence of flying insects. Mine was as dark as
night on the inside, save the light coming from the screened crescent over the
door. In order to give a wee bit of light, I whitewashed the interior with
leftover ceiling paint. The net effect-- a small shaft of light from above,
reflecting off the white interior, was a bit weird and otherworldly. Though it
was midday, the light coming to me on the throne was pale and colorless, not
unlike moonlight. I hypothesize that a star, a bit smaller than a crescent moon
would have thrown even less light in the men's facility.