Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bathroom Etiquette

Before you shut down your computer, clean your computer screen and run to start washing your hands, please note that I am limiting this post to women’s bathroom etiquette as I don’t think I have the stomach to venture into the unknown disgusting territory that is called the Men’s Bathroom. Guys, I really don’t know how you do it.

Guys are gross.
Unfortunately for you (and me), it turns out women are just as gross. Okay, well not all women. And maybe this isn't that big a deal for some people, but since I have Crohn's and I spend so much time in it (ohhhhh I love a good Crohn’s potty joke)), perhaps that is why I have some serious respect for the bathroom. I think it should be respected and clean, like a clean room or a throne (too much?). Although I might not be the “neatest” person in the world, some may say organizationally challenged, one of the first things I clean is the bathroom. And yes, there is a difference between messy and dirty. Dirty is not something I can handle.

I work in a very large organization so the bathroom is not one of those 1-2 stallers, I’m talking 10 stalls, 4 sinks, mirrors and garbage cans galore. Yeah…you’re jealous. Okay, maybe not. Anyway, FOUR sinks…. so ladies, you have NO excuse not to wash your hands. Yes! Some women don’t wash their hands!!! This was the GROSSEST thing I have ever seen or found out about. Well, I shouldn’t say ever-life is a mysterious stream! Regardless, it’s pretty freakin’ gross. It makes me want to wear gloves at all times and never shake anyone’s hand again. I would just look at people I meet at work as they slowly reach out their hand in disgust. You begin to realize maybe why it wasn’t so weird for Michael Jackson to wear those gloves and face mask all the time.

This is from the toilet paper cover. As a general rule if a toilet paper cover gives you information that could SAVE YOUR LIFE, I say you follow it.

Also, what is with these noises people make when they are going to the bathroom? This is probably the worst thing to me and the word “gross” doesn’t even begin to properly convey my feelings of disgust. I’m talking about the heavy sighing and breathing. You are going to the bathroom, not doing a power yoga breathing exercise. Pee and get going.

And ladies, don’t pee on the toilet seat. I know guys hate that, and guess what, I do too. I don’t want to clean up after you. As I mentioned, I don’t really like cleaning up after myself that much so I sure as crap don’t want to clean up your pee. My workplace is nice enough to provide those toilet seat covers. Guess what they’re for? Yep… think about it. Also, they have a nice little picture/cartoon on the actual toilet seat cover demonstrating how to use one. I assume this for those people for which putting on a toilet seat cover is a mentally challenging activity. For me, the cover isn’t necessarily a free pass to sit on the toilet. I will not touch a toilet seat in public. You know why? Because I don’t want to die a slow disgusting death from an infected disease, that’s why.

That gray thing on the right has toilet seat covers in it (no, it's not a purse holder). The gray thing on the left is for feminine products. "Now You Know".

Oh my, how could I forget the extremely important etiquette guideline of flushing. I know I’m throwing a lot at you right now, but trust me, every single step in this process is vital. Especially, and yes I know it’s gross, but especially if there are feminine products involved. Guys, feel free to cover your eyes for this part. And men, I can tell you, even as a woman, I’m grossed out by that. I mean…I don’t want to see it. Period. No pun intended.

Nope. Not going to draw a picture of that.  Just not going to do it.
One final consideration that ties in with hand washing is hand drying. I am not sure if people just flail their wet hands around attempting to spray water on as much surface area as possible, but I can think of no other explanation for why the countertops and mirrors are soaking wet. Are people taking baths in there? There are several techniques for keeping the common areas dry and no, not washing your hands, is not one of the options.
What I think happens when I'm not in there...
One, after drying your hands with some paper towel, use said paper towel to wipe up any mess or water you may have spilled. Two, make sure your hands aren’t sopping wet when you reach for the paper towel. And yes, this involves patiently waiting for a couple of seconds or the “flick” technique to remove excess water. Since I have the patience of about .000001 seconds, you can guess which technique I use. You don’t have to guess…it’s option one!!! got a little too excited about that, but what are you going to do?! Keeping the counter dry helps so that if I have work documents, they don’t get wet when I set them on the counter. In another instance, let’s say hypothetically someone looked like they peed their pants and a lot of people made fun of them for this. Well guess what, wiping off the countertop just saved your friend some pee-panting jokes! Now that’s Miles Davis cool.

So in summary:

1) stay clean while you pee,
2) stay silent while doing your business,
3) F-l-u-s-h (pretty self-explanatory),
5) and keep the counter area dry and super fly.

That’s it for now-enjoy your pottying time.

UPDATE: It’s as if the bathroom gods themselves knew I was writing a Bathroom Etiquette post and bestowed upon me another lesson to convey. This one is probably more true for the ladies-the bathroom is not the water cooler. I get really uncomfortable when someone tries to talk to me. Think of the stall as a mute button-you go in, the conversation automatically stops. You get out, let’s walk outside the bathroom to talk because it’s not the living room. I don’t want to be talking to someone, let alone about business matters, while having to listen to someone do their business or that creepy heavy breathing.

The reason this comes up is because I was literally stuck in the bathroom. I went in, peed, and was taking care of the clean-up when these two women walk in and I hear one women say: “Can you believe that bitch!?” That is my cue to shut up. Well this woman was bitching about another one (very loudly might I add-do they know that the walls are not soundproof?), vacation days, not doing her work, blah blah blah… I don’t care. I didn’t know them (mostly because I don’t know anyone), but I definitely wasn’t going to walk out in the middle of it. I was literally standing there, fully dressed, waiting to flush the toilet. I was in……..the most uncomfortable 10 minutes of my life.

I’m not kidding, she talked for 10 minutes (what felt like 20)-it was beyond uncomfortable. After they got done complaining about work, they moved on to their personal lives. “I heard that so and so gained 20 pounds!! And he doesn’t even like her, I heard he cheated on her with so and so” This is one thing I dislike about women (and men gossips). I’m just not that into gossip. It’s none of my business what someone else is doing. If they want me to know, they’ll probably tell me. And if someone is cheating on someone and they are your friend, go tell her so she can dump his pathetic ass!! (another story though-don’t even get me started).

Okay, moral of the story is save your chit-chat for the water cooler, or better yet outside of work, or better yet…..not at all.

Now go on and enjoy your clean bathroom time. You deserve it!


  1. A couple of comments:

    1.) Hand-washing is important, but also would add that I never, ever touch the bathroom door handle with my bare hands. Far too often I've seen someone wash and dry their hands and then grab the door handle bare-handed. Umm... what's the point? The way I see it, if you're going to touch that door handle you might as well have not washed your hands in the first place because at some point earlier someone else neglected to wash their hands and that's the first thing they touched on their way out. That said, if everyone would wash their hands then it wouldn't be an issue (but I'd still break out the hand sanitizer when I get back to my office).

    2.) Wet countertops at work are also a pet peeve of mine. We have dark, marble-patterned countertops which, incidentally, are great for camouflaging puddles. So you typically don't find out where the puddles are until it's too late and your papers are ruined or your sleeves or pants are soaked. I've trained myself to operate under the assumption that every square inch of the counters are wet unless there is some proof to the contrary (such as seeing someone else pick up a stack of papers from that exact spot on the counter without dropping an F-bomb)

    3.) Men don't normally gossip in the bathroom (at least not at work), but I find pretty much any bathroom conversation to be uncomfortable. Just because urinal dividers don't go floor-to-ceiling doesn't mean its cool to strike up a conversation with the guy peeing next to you. Urinal etiquette dictates that you keep your eyes straight ahead at the wall or down for aiming purposes and you don't say a word. If you accidentally make eye contact while entering or leaving the urinal area a simple nod of the head or a monosyllabic greeting is all that is necessary. Being in a stall while other people are having a conversation in the bathroom is a different situation and is definitely awkward. I don't want people to think I'm listening in (even though I probably am listening). I'll be silent, like a bathroom ninja, and will wait that out as long as it takes.

  2. Bathroom ninja, love it! Work papers getting wet are the worst, I agree. And men's bathroom etiquette is at a whole 'nother level. I always think the less contact and talking the better.

    I might have to dress in all black and ninja my way to the restroom...perhaps clean up that water.

  3. Don't even get me started on the communal urinal 'troughs' in the men's bathrooms in stadiums or why I hate when there are only hand dryers and no paper towels.

    Oh and by the way, I'm sure you've figured out who your 'anonymous' commenter is, but just in case you haven't I'll leave my initials this time...

    - DO