Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Bathroom Etiquette
I used the urinal at my summer job and saw a hair about 7 feet up the wall while standing there. How did it get there? Freaky.

Anyway, at work I come in contact with students as a counselor. Male and female. What's weird is when I'm through with a student, having seen a few in a row and need to take a bathroom break. I believe that 7 out of 10 times, if I just "counseled" a guy, he'll be in there when I go in there. Now, I don't wear a nametag (because I'm a doofus and have lost the two they gave me) and that keeps most people from stopping me in the halls to ask me questions so they don't have to wait in line like everyone else. But the person I just had in my office and is now in the bathroom knows I work there, so if they have any other questions or want to talk about how they're working two jobs and just got married/back from Iraq/back into college after a hiatus, they will start the conversation back up again. I don't know about you, but I thought that men had a code. There are certain things you just don't do. Some of these involve the bathroom.

1) You don't take the urinal right next to a guy who's already there if there's another one farther away.

2) You don't check out his equipment; this means looking straight ahead, straight down or closing your damn eyes if you have to. Going to the bathroom is not an auction or a contest or a dating opportunity.

3) You don't start up a conversation with the other person other than saying a perfunctory "hey" if you know them or just happen to catch their eye on the way in and want to be polite. Topics available for discussion (if you must): "Woo, this weather!" or "Aaah, I needed that" or "Almost quittin' time" (even it it's 9 in the morning) or "Thank God the week's almost over" (even if it's Tuesday). To me, asking a guy at a urinal the popular question, "They workin' you hard?" is just looking for trouble, so it's out.

4) Talking on a cell phone. It's bad enough to walk down an aisle of the supermarket, have someone walking toward you say, "Hi, how are you?" and answer them before you see the cord in their ear and realize they're not talking to you. In the bathroom, this is doubly annoying because people think that they are doing intimate things in the bathroom, therefore they can call and have intimate conversations with their loved ones. Too many times I've had the silence punctured by the phrase, "Hi honey."

By the way, stalls don't mask noise in any form. Just a tip, because a lot of grunters don't seem to get that. That includes cellphones. So if you go into a stall, don't think that others can't hear you.

5) Farting. Now, I know that the bathroom is for things like this, and what better place to do it, right? But too often a man has walked up next to at the urinals, unzipped, sighed and then let one rip. Man, go in the stall. We'll hear it, but we'll think it's a part of the process, not you trying to start a kazoo band or lamenting that 4th bowl of chili.

6) See 2)

7) Be sure that you are alone in there to use the mirror to pull out a stray nosehair or check out how the workouts are going.

These are just a few thoughts, but remember that a more civil society could begin in the bathroom. So heed these words.

And no peeking.
posted by Lavaughn Towell @ 3:00 PM | 7 comments

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

Wow! That sounds worse than women! I don't believe in my 24 short years on earth that I have EVER heard a "grunter" in a public bathroom. In fact, I've never even heard a good case of the runs in a public bathroom, either. Now, was the 7 foot high hair from the head or..umm...another area? Here's a thought just for women: dirty feminine products with wings should NOT be stuck up on the bathroom stall. Interestingly enough, my post tomorrow will involve the bathroom as well.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger LT said...

Well, I didn't want to look too closely, but it WAS curly. Ewwww! Do women actually stick them on the walls? Oh man, I'm sorry I brought this up.

At 5:41 PM, Blogger nkosi de castro said...


At 5:41 PM, Blogger nkosi de castro said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

I have not seen winged products stuck to the wall in quite a few years, but the fact that I have seen it more than once means that yes, women do that sometimes. My guess is that it's teenage girls.

At 1:41 PM, Blogger ET said...

This is completely repulsive. But I must say that a certain lavatory (two actually) at a certain university is perenially disgusting. People who are old (and educated) enough to know better leave...well, I won't entirely go there...things and fluids and whatnot.

And there is the cell phone thing. This happened to me recently at Barnes & Noble. There is some chick in the stall (yes, we don't have to do the urinal thing, thank God) next to me just chatting it up with someone. HELLO? You're in there for one reason and one reason alone, and it's not to broadcast to fellow community members. Or to broadcast MY bodily functions to other community members. And the chick did not at all CARE that I had showed up and ruined the moment. She just kept right on talking for like five minutes. Tough to wait that out, but necessary. Yuck. Come on people...common courtesy.

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