Wednesday, October 14, 2009

unwritten laws of bathroom etiquette

this is my clarion call for a new unwritten social law. i think forced small talk in the ladies' bathroom should be abolished.

i think that men have this rule. i mean, it's been a while since i've been in a men's room, but isn't it like NOT COOL, if you are a dude, to talk to another dude while both aforementioned dudes are at the urinal? i mean, generally you keep the fraternization to a minimum when you have your dick in your hand, right?

i guess what i want to know is - does this golden rule continue to the hand washing phase of the bathroom experience?

(let's assume for the sake of argument that everyone washes their hands after they use the bathroom. we have a "mandatory" hand washing policy in our office, and by that i mean a sign that says "employees MUST wash hands before returning to work" even though we work in a law office, not McDonalds. i mean, not that i wasn't going to wash my hands anyway.....)

well since ladies don't have that problem because we sit down in single-serve stalls every time, there's the question of what to do when you exit the stall and run into someone washing their hands or primping themselves in front of the mirror? is it okay to pretend they aren't there? because that's what i do.

but it sorta feels like there should be some sort of communication. like, should i greet you? do you need greeted upon entering the bathroom? and like, i just saw you five minutes ago in the hallway and i greeted you then too, so why do i have to do it every time i see you?

"i've mastered communication in this office," my coworker randy said. "i say 'hi, how are you?' and by the time they say 'good,' i'm gone."

and like, say you say hi to someone in the foyer or lobby of the bathroom, the sink area, whatever you want to call it. and you start having a small-talky conversation, but what do you talk about? you obviously don't discuss anything that's going on in the immediate present. and then what? how do you make the transition to the "bathroom act" if you will? do you just stop talking, or do you continue the conversation while you are both in your respective stalls? can you talk to a coworker while you're pooping?

"lousy weather we're having. yeah i finally turned on the heat... well i've gotta get to it, do you want to keep this going or break it up here? meet you at the soap dispenser..."

i think next to the hand washing sign should be a "no small talk" sign. just make everyone's lives simpler.

1 comment:

Ian said...

As a general rule, you are correct that dudes don't talk much to each other in the bathroom, especially when we have our dicks in our hands.
As far as small talk at the sink, that too is generally avoided. Sure, sometimes it happens, but I generally try to avoid it, and if someone does try to talk to me in the bathroom I try to keep my answers as monosyllabic as possible to discourage further discourse.
About whether or not to acknowledge someone in the bathroom, at the sink area for example, I find a simple nod to be perfectly fine. Sometimes that is accompanied by a "hey," but more often than not I just go with the nod. Then again, I'm a dude, and as you stated, we have different bathroom rules.