Monday, March 10, 2008

Public Bathroom Etiquette

In lieu of some unnerving experiences I’ve had in public bathrooms as of late, I’ve decided it’s time for a course on what and what not to do when you’re in a restroom with other people. We’ll call it Public Bathroom Etiquette 101.

Rule 1: If you walk into the bathroom at the same time as someone you know, do not, under any circumstances, engage them in conversation while the two of you are in different stalls doing your thing. The only exception to this rule is fear of imminent death or being sucked into the toilet. It’s incredibly awkward. And demoralizing. And weird.

Rule 2: Do not look at the person’s shoes to your right and tell them you think they’re cute. This is because they’ll inevitably have to say thank you, and thus disclose who they are. And this is unsettling. I do not want to reveal myself. I want to remain anonymous. Granted, I do usually wear some pretty hot kicks, but please do not tell me you like them. Do not ask me where I bought them when I am tinkling. Please do not make me give up my anonymity.

Rule 3: If you walk into a bathroom, and there are enough empty stalls to have a decent pick of the litter, do not choose a stall right next to someone when you could otherwise give you and your friendly neighbor some privacy. I always feel angry when someone cozies up next to me when they could have given me some breathing room. This is when I begin to feel claustrophobic and want get out of there, even if I’m not even done. And that just puts me in a bad mood.

Rule 4: If you and your fellow bathroom citizen are both nearing completion, the rule of thumb should be that whoever was in the bathroom first should get to leave first. Don’t flush as soon as they do, because then that freaking means that you’ll have to unveil your secret identity, (that is, if they haven’t already figured out who you are because your kick-ass shoes have already given you away) and you don’t want your identity revealed because then that means some really awkward conversation will ensue while washing your hands. Now, keep in mind you could be best friends on the outside, but in the loo, you are like awkward strangers that got drunk at a party and made-out. You feel obligated to speak, but in reality wish you could go back and erase time. So be kind. Don’t show your face till someone leaves, then go out and wash your hands, and hope the person behind you has the same respect and waits for you to leave. And this brings me on to my next rule.

Rule 5: If you’ve already washed your hands, just leave. Don’t sit in front of the mirror and pop your zits or check out how big your butt looks in the mirror. Do your bathroom mate a favor and leave, because there is a 73% chance they are holding their biz-nass in until you leave, and sometimes waiting just builds unnecessary anger and pressure, and really, no one wants that.

I realize these rules are very different for guys, because their bathrooms are different and scary and weird. After consulting my husband, he told me that the only significant rule that truly applied to the men was number 3. So I’ll re-state that one: guys, if you are straight, and want people to continue to think you are, do not choose a urinal next to someone if you could pick another. Because even if you have a girlfriend, or are an uber manly man who wears lumberjack shirts and gets muddy playing football, no one will ever believe you are hetero again - even if you have so much testosterone you require thrice a day shaves.
And don’t look over, either. That’s creepy.

Okay, well, I think this concludes this painful but necessary instructional. I really, really hope I don’t have to do another post on bathroom etiquette. But after someone told me they liked my shoes, I decided enough was enough. Here, as in life, the golden rule applies:

Do unto others as you would have done unto you. In the bathroom.


heather said...

Funny. Thanks for the laugh!

- Heather

Another one might be.....FLUSH when you're done!!!!!!! This is a huge pet-peeve of mine!!

Stacy said...

don't let your kids crawl or peek under the stalls.
I thinkI wasted tons of time waiting for someone to leave so I could do my stuff but some people just don't get it.

Savannah said...

Haha! I agree...all of these are amazing and everyone should come to these realizations!!! :)

I love you, and you are amazing!

Emily said...

This was really funny, and soooo true! I second Heather... flush when you're done! There is almost nothing worse than walking into a stall where there is an unflushed toilet. Gross!

jana said...

Ha - very good advice! I hate the bathroom talkers. Like, dude, I don't want to stand outside by the sinks waiting to leave because you're still talking to me from the stall, while you are peeing. Don't wanna hear it!

On a sidenote, have you ever noticed how loud some girls pee? I guess I'm a tinkler unless I'm so full I'm going to burst.

Good rules. I agree with the rules. I think they should become bathroom law and posted throughout the country in bathrooms everywhere!

brie said...

Well, yeah. Why don't people flush when they're done? I mean, I think that if one were to flush and the toilet was broken or if it clogged, you'd just RUN, (I know I would!) but are there really people out there who just walk out without flushing? Haha that actually reminds me...I used to be one of those people, because in treatment, you aren't allowed to flush, right? So inevitably, everytime I've gotten out of treatment, for the first couple weeks, I always forget to flush. I'll always hear Brandon walk into the bathroom followed by a, "BRIE!!! FLUSH THE TOILET!! YOU'RE NASTY!!" Oh man, that's pretty funny. But other than that, we should all flush, yes?

Oh and Jana - I think I pee quietly, but Husband always comments that he thinks I'm going to be lifted off the toilet seat from all the pressure. :) But I think that's only when I've been holding it and really, really have to go. :)

jana said...

We have automatic toilets at work which I think is nice, but also makes people lazy. I make sure that damn toilet flushes and if it doesn't, I flush it myself. Some people just walk right out and I guess assume? I don't know. But those things aren't 100% reliable and I don't want anyone seeing my stuff, regardless of what it is, ya know?

brie said...

Oh! Speaking of automatic flushers...sometimes those can be BAD. At the movie theater I frequent they have automatic flushers that flush before I freaking get off the toilet! If I move or anything on the seat, it flushes and sprays nasty dirty water all over me! It's like the worst.thing.ever. But I agree...I always make sure that everything is down the toilet before I even open my stall door!

Stacy & Ryan said...

all this toilet talk gives me the urge to go wash my hands for no reason.

random fact. i heard on oprah that you are supposed to waash your hands for as long as it takes you to sing happy birthday. I don't think many people do that after using the facilities.

KC Elaine said...

oh! oh! I LOVE this topic! okay, another rule: always check to make sure you have tp before you do your business. no awkward asking to borrow from your neighbor, whom you should not be so close to in the first place.

Tanya said...

LOL...ok these are funny. I was gonna tell a story about the bathroom...typed it out and everything then thought...well that would be tmi...and more than I want to share. I agree, bathroom talk is just a no no. Its not just the anonymity but it just makes me think of treatment and having to sing or talk while you go to prove you aren't doing something else. Anyhow I am going on and on. Thanks Brie.

Anonymous said...

Brooke said:

I was at Jordan Commons Friday night and I was there first going pee. This lady runs in right next to me, breathing very hardly. She sits down and farts just come pouring well as, I'm sure some poop. Unfortuneately, my pee was really long, so I had to sit and listen to her beefs for 30 seconds or so. I held my breath and ran as fast as I could!