Famous ‘Larry Craig bathroom’ stall at MSP losing tourist appeal

The bathroom at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (pictured) in which US Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested 18 months ago for using his “wide stance” to solicit sex is fading as a tourist destination, the airport tells the Associated Press.

While it might seem ridiculous that the bathroom ever became a tourist draw, apparently it did so. People who might not have otherwise stopped in the men’s room that lies in the middle of MSP’s busy Lindberg terminal did so knowing it was the “Larry Craig bathroom,” the airport says.

In his excellent piece in the Atlantic a few months ago about the idiocy of airport security, writer Jeffrey Goldberg sets an opening scene in this famously lewd loo. An unidentified person once offered MSP $5,000 to buy the stall in which Craig was arrested — the airport turned the offer down.

If MSP is a little tired about the interest this bathroom has generated — and therefore relieved that this interest is waning — it has had some benefit: namely, the airport has not had to follow through on plans to modify the restroom in order to prevent the kind of lewd activity long reported to have been going on there.

Officials were considering making changes to the bathroom’s stalls to thwart the kind of toe-tapping and other signals men used to solicit sex. But the airport says the number of complaints about inappropriate behavior in the bathroom has dropped significantly since the Craig arrest.

For the record, Craig pleaded guilty of disorderly conduct in August 2007, though he denies doing anything wrong. He did not run again this year for re-election, and will leave Washington this month.

Need a little background on the Craig scandal? Check out Slate‘s re-enactment of the incident, and this particularly thoughtful and funny essay about the incident by Christopher Hitchens — worth the read for the last two sentences alone.