By Sean Claes
I’m sure this has been written before, but this is my take on the Rules of the Bathroom. If you are a man out there, you probably know these rules. If you don’t know these rules, you could be one of the examples, or you just haven’t learned. I am talking, of course, about bathroom etiquette.
As long as man has been alive, man has had to eliminate waste from the body. I’m pretty sure Cro-Magnon men Unga and Bunga came up with these rules, and we have only adjusted them to meet our needs in the ever changing and improving world of the toilet. Without further lollygagging, here are some simple rules to follow when you have to “do your business” in a public restroom.
1. The “One Urinal” Rule
If you walk in and a guy is already standing at a urinal, leave an empty urinal between yourself and him if possible. If it is only a double urinal, use an empty stall. If there is no way to leave an empty stall, see rule #3.
2. The “Stare at the Tile” Rule
If you are stuck next to someone else at the urinal, do not make eye contact with this person. NEVER make eye contact. Stare blankly at the tile on the wall and try to form shapes and animals in the pattern. If you find a shape or animal don’t tell anyone about it, men don’t talk about this.
3. The “Don’t Talk” Rule
A bathroom is a place to do your business and get out. It is not a place to find out about your coworkers day. In office situations, the people higher on the totem pole seem to have the hardest time following this rule. You see...talking usually entails eye contact and eye contact breaks rule #3. Besides, do you really want to talk about the project you’re working on while you’re holding your member?
4. The “Flush it You Freak” Rule
ALWAYS flush. I used to work with a man who urinated day-glow yellow. It really freaked me out. His urine looked like a highlighter. I’d never know this if he had flushed. Of course that’s just the urinal. The toilet is a whole other thing. Who thinks that after taking a stinky dump people would want to see it for generations to come? Your body has rejected this stuff; don’t share it with me at 9:00a.m. when I am on the road and stop for coffee and to use the restroom! Use your foot to flush if need be. That’s what most people do.
5. The “One Person At A Time” Rule
No matter how much you have to release today’s chili special from your bowels, don’t take up a stall if there is someone in the next stall doing the same. Find a different bathroom where you can be alone while making your new creation.
6. The “Joke” Rule
While you are passing people walking in and out of the bathroom, it is perfectly fine to share a one-liner - as long as nobody in this conversation is actively using the restroom. Phrases like: “Careful- That water is cold” or “Hope everything comes out OK” are acceptable if you know the person.
7. The “Fart” Rule
The men’s bathroom is a place for men. Men fart in front of each other. It is acceptable to let a “pffft” out when standing at the urinal. If you are using the bathroom and the person two urinals down (rule #1) poots, ignore it. Men do not make a big deal out of a fart - at least not unless you’re peeing with friends. Friends usually make a “Damn, dude, what’d you eat?” comment, which is also acceptable behavior.
8. The “Cough” Rule
Many people don’t use the toilet in public. I used to be like that, until I took a class where my professor made great sense. “Everybody does it, so don’t hold it in” was the gist of it. After that class my gastro-intestinal being has been much better. Now the simple rule is: let someone who is new to the bathroom know you’re in there. Give a cough - a simple “ahem” - to alert the new bathroom guest of your existence.
9. The “Hand Wash” Rule:
You were taught this as a kid. Wash your hands.
That reminds me of a joke. Three guys, A University of Texas grad, Texas State University grad and a Baylor grad all had to use the restroom at the same time. After the Baylor guy was done he washed his hands and said, “I went to Baylor, they taught us about all of the bacteria that is present in urine.” The UT grad finished next while washing his hands up the elbows he said, “I went to the University of Texas, while there I learned of the fast moving nature of the contaminants of urine.” While the two others dried their hands the aggie finished, zipped up and stared out the door. When at the door he said “I went to Texas State University, we don’t pee on ourselves.”
You should still wash them, but I always liked that joke.
10. The “No Noises” Rule:
When you are standing at the urinal or in the toilet do not make any oooh or aah noises. Be silent. A healthy exhale is acceptable, but no noises. You are not there for fun or to enjoy yourself. You are there to expel the demons from your body. Do so and move on.
As I stated before, most men already know these rules, so treat this as a review. If not, you now know more than you’ve ever wanted to know about the men’s room. Congratulations.
Note: I originally published this as a "Note From The Cubicle" in 2002 - link