Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What Happened to Dignity

Am I the only one that wonders this? Since I am a woman, I only have the vantage point of a woman. But how many times do I have to walk into a public restroom that has been freshly stinkified?? I got the inspiration for this working a temp job at a place that had a bathroom with 4 stalls. Now most of the employees were women and there were quite a few, so the probability of being in there while others were in there was relatively high. However, it was possible to get some alone time in there and I completely understand people taking advantage of that alone time because when you gotta go, you gotta go at the risk of major medical problems later.

The problem that I have is when someone walks into a bathroom that is occupied and doesn’t follow the unspoken rules of public restroom etiquette. For example, if I’m already in a stall and you need to make a stinky, then do your best to wait until I leave. If the person occupying the stall is also making a stinky then that rule doesn’t apply. Also if there are 4 stalls when you walk in, and I’ve taken the first or last stall, don’t take the stall right next to me unless the other 2 stalls are just rank and filthy. There’s no need to crowd me when I’m peeing. I wouldn’t do it to you so do me the same courtesy.

I believe women ought to approach the bathroom as I imagine guys do. When you open the bathroom door, put your guy hat on and quickly process your options so as to seem the least gay. Only in the females’ case, I look at it as the respecting yours and the others’ personal space. I realize that not all women care if another women hears them taking care of business. But I won’t even pee in front of my husband. Why would I want another woman to listen to my business? Which brings me to another rule. Don’t talk to me while I’m doing my business. It really has nothing to do with not being able to pee and talk at the same time as it does sharing a private conversation with the rest of the women in the bathroom. Even though they have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m not as a stickler for this rule as some of the others. I’m more of a go with the flow as long as you don’t pick the stall right next to me while conversing with me. And if the conversation could be construed as rude, immature, or just plain ridiculous, save it for when we can keep our voices down.

Since I have learned that very few women have dignity when it comes to the bathroom, I have come up with another rule for common courtesy in the bathroom. If you must make an ungodly noise while in the bathroom, smelly or not, please have the dignity to not show your face to me. I don’t want to look you in the eye and know what disturbing sounds you are capable of making, whether I know you or not. In the work place, I may not know you well but I most likely will see your face again, and there’s no telling if I may have to work with you in the future. You and I both know that if we have to sit in a meeting together, all I will be able to think about is how gross and undignified I think you are because you dared show your face to me in the bathroom. I mean how difficult is it to sit and wait 30 seconds for me to leave, especially when you hear me washing my hands? If I had a dollar for every time a woman made a horrendous noise while I’m washing my hands, I’d probably be retired.

That leads me to my next rule in the bathroom. WASH YOUR FREAKIN HANDS WHEN YOU’RE DONE!!! It’s so gross to be at the sink and see someone come out of a stall behind you and go straight for the door. That is the reason why bathroom doors are so disgustingly dirty. There is no reason for that. If we all washed our hands it wouldn’t be as much of an issue. I suppose that all public restrooms could do us a favor by making sure that the paper towels and trashcan are located right next to the door so that those of us that do wash don’t have to touch the door. Better yet, just make them censored doors. Toilets and sinks are now censored so we don’t have to touch and spread germies. I’ve even seen censored paper towel dispensers. So it makes sense to have automatic doors doesn’t it? That way we don’t have to worry about touching a tainted door or kicking it open or whatever.

Oh and I don’t want to leave out the rudeness of talking on the phone while in said public bathroom on the pot. Seriously, is your conversation so important that it can’t wait a few minutes? It makes us other users weired out to hear a one sided conversation where we have to guess the other side of the conversation. “nothing”. Presumably a response to “What are you doing”….where the more appropriate response would be, “I brought you into the bathroom with me, can you tell?”

I once worked a temp job where the boss walked around with a blue-tooth attached to his ear most of the day. Many times he’d walk out the door down the hall to the right while in a conversation, not with me. The only thing I knew to be down the hall to the right was the bathroom. He’d always come back a few minutes later still talking on that thing. I hope and pray that the person on the other end of that conversation was family only. Which is still rude, but much more understandable and less offensive than business associates. I always wondered if he was alone in the bathroom or if there were ever other men in there while he was talking on the phone. I can only assume one can never ever always have a public bathroom to themselves.


Don’t bring your phone into the bathroom, and if you do, never under any circumstances answer it even if it is family. It can wait a few minutes until your done. Trust me. No phone call is so important that you must attend to it while in the bathroom. And if it is, hold off on going to the bathroom until after your conversation is through.

There I've said my peace, but I reserve the right to comment more on this subject later.


Kellie said...

It's time for a bathroom revolution - starting today I expect to be free of the indignity of hearing people sit right next to me (never mind the open stalls) and make noises I have to strain not to laugh at while monitoring my oxygen intake.

Anonymous said...

Hahah! I always feel offended if I'm trying to sneak out of the bathroom and someone comes out of their stall. Seriously, how hard is it to just wait 30 seconds while I wash my hands?!
This is so funny, because I know exactly what you're talking about. There's this Chinese girl where I work who NEVER washes her hands and she always talks Chinese to another Chinese girl in a stall next to her. I think they're on some sort of schedule where they go to the bathroom together. Ugh. Maybe that's what their country customers are, so I can't get entirely too upset, but have some decency! Thank goodness we have one stall that has a wall separating it from the rest of the stalls. You get some privacy there, as long as no one else is leaving their stall when you did at least... :) Etiquette, people! Good write up. :D

Christiane said...

Our work bathroom is just a single room. I'm amazed by the messes left in there. We are all grown women, but some seem to have forgotten the old adage of if you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie. I'm also tired of gaging on room deoderizer that someone has oversprayed to make up for the other smells, that you can still smell.

Traci said...

If the majority of microbiologists don't wash their hands after using the restroom, it's a lost cause. And trust me, they don't - at least the ones I work with. Ugh.

As for bathroom conversation, try doing your "business" with a toddler announcing it to everyone or, better yet, yelling "toot toot" if someone in the next stall farts. :-) Good times.

LarryAndro said...

As a male, the blog and comments have opened my eyes more than ever before to conditions in the mysterious women's restroom. I can understand some comments. But, waiting to exit a stall until someone leaves the restroom! Come on! Get a life!! I think the stall dividers in all women's restrooms everywhere should be removed for a year. A little desensitization for females, followed by a lifetime of normality and practicality. Couldn't hurt...

Anonymous said...

While there are always valid points there is also one that is completely missed - we're all human and as such we're going to fart, burp, and yes use the bathroom. Would you rather have a person fart when they're sitting in the office next to you? At least they're doing it in the bathroom. Get over it. And wait until you leave until I exit the stall?!?! I have things to get done and a life too, I don't have time to sit there and gauge if the sound of the door was you leaving or someone coming in. Seriously! I'm not a lysol freak, nor do I sanitize everything all the time - things my ex used to do. Guess who was sick all the time. She was - go figure. Let's keep using anti-bacterial chemicals for everything so that the only bacteria that will be left are the likes of MRSA which are nearly impossible to kill.

Anonymous said...

If you're that worried about farts and anonymous trips to the bathroom. perhaps it's time to find a "work at home" job. Guys have to stand shoulder to shoulder (sometime with shoulders touching) to use a urinal with no privacy screens. Your dog is cute but you might need "professional help".