June 2, 2009
You get a lot of people with opinions on bathroom etiquette. For example, all men know that talking should be kept to a minimum in a bathroom. Really. No talking business, no talking movies, just no talking. Especially if you’re sitting. In fact, let me just say, no talking while you’re sitting. You can get away with some light conversation while you’re standing.
I’m pretty sure the difference in how strictly we enforce the no talking rule between standing and sitting stems from the amount of effort being expended. You know?
Anyway, I have an area of bathroom etiquette I’m unclear on, which really, at my advanced age, shocks me. How could I not know, since I’ve used public restrooms pretty much, well, forever.
Here it is–barring large bathrooms like those you find at stadiums, movie theaters, symphony hall, and my brother’s house, what’s the proper procedure when you head for the bathroom and walk in confidently, only to discover ALL stalls and urinals occupied? Like, here’s MY work bathroom:
What’s my plan for walking in and finding nothing but the sink free? Do I queue up behind the urinal guy? Do I wait near the door, trying not to act interested or desperate? Play with my phone?
I’m talking about bathrooms with maybe one urinal and two stalls, that sort of thing. Not a large space, and certainly not a comfortable one. Not a place I want to hang out in.
I say, you leave immediately and either loiter at the fax/copy machine, or go back to your cube (if it’s nearby) and listen for the flush (which, lamentably, I CAN hear from my cube). Then saunter back to the bathroom like you don’t really need it. Try to maintain some dignity.
But at the same time, remember, accidents are NEVER dignified.