Monthly Archive for March, 2008

Propriety starts with P

In the “good manners” books, they spend chapters upon chapters on such details as which hand to hold the fork with and which finger to pick the nose with. But they don’t spare a word for public restroom etiquette. Which forces me to pass on a few etiquette requests to my colleagues and other people I had the misfortune of sharing a restroom with.

1. When you are in the restroom, I implore you to keep oral communication at a minimum. In other words, shut the f up. We are not having a communal, joyous experience here. Just finish your job and get out.

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2. Do you know what’s worse than #1? Turning your head and looking at the guy you are talking to. It’s creepy. Don’t do it. Just pretend there is something very interesting going on in your bowl and focus on it.

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3. Do you know what’s worse than #2? Talking from inside the stall. I don’t really need to associate you with all the reverberating sound-effects.


4. As you know, urinals come in two sizes. Tall and short. For some reason short guys insist on choosing the tall one, even if they have to stand up on their toes to reach it. So, please, let the tall guy behind you have the tall one.

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5. When somebody is waiting for your to finish, please take as much time as you need to finish your job and dress yourself properly, including zipping up completely before you turn around from the urinal. I am speaking for the entire male and most of female community when I say, nobody wants to see your underpants.

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6. It really doesn’t concern me but I have to say this. Please don’t set your drinks on the urinal! Can’t you leave them at your desk or on the sink? And it is just plain gross to sip your drink while urinating.

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7. If the restroom has more than one urinal, it is customary to leave at least one urinal between you and any other fellow users. But don’t go out of your way to leave more than one gap. You will look too secretive and raise suspicion.

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8. Some restrooms are cursed with attached showers. I understand that you have to wait for the shower when somebody is using it. But that does not give you the right to bare yourself in full-frontal, thereby permanently scarring the retinas of unsuspecting restroom users. Please, for the love of all straight Greek gods, wear a towel or something.

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9. It must be one of those unsolved medical mysteries, why some people’s Salivary glands lunge into production precisely when they are at the urinal. Whatever the reason may be, spitting while urinating is disgusting. Further more, you are challenging yourself to hit a single target from two different sources, thereby defocussing yourself and increasing the chances of inaccuracy in your delivery. Remember that the subsequent users of the urinal must suffer the results of your failure to hit the target.

10. Do you really have to check news on your phone when peeing, performing a fine balancing act with both hands, where any slight slippage of either hand could be very expensive? Let me break it to you. Unless you have superpowers to make news happen faster by peeing, nothing is going to change in those 2 minutes.

11. Any bodily contact with another person, such has hand-shakes or shoulder-touches, while in restroom, must be avoided at all costs. Should such contact be unavoidable, it must be restricted to the “green zones.” The following picture depicts a normal path traversed by ordinary urinators. Green and hazard zones are marked.

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