In the decorum of the professional workplace, there aren’t many rooms where you congregate with your colleagues to pull your pants down together. That’s why bathroom etiquette is so important.
Oh, I’ve seen my share of violations. Here are a few characters you might meet in the men’s room.
This guy hangs out on the crapper for hours on end. Maybe he’s playing on his phone, maybe he’s asleep, maybe he’s doing something vile. Either way, you know he can’t be unloading processed food that whole time. If you see someone’s bathroom time exceed one hour, it’s perfectly acceptable to turn off the lights on your way out.
The Early Worm
This guy is so focused on his upcoming urinal activities that he starts getting his hog out of the barn uncomfortably early. The allowable radius to start whipping it out is 3 feet from the urinal -– this rule is in place because if you’re doing the unzipping any farther away, there’s a good chance you’re waving it around before you get to the stall. Some older guy where I used to work would start their unzip clear down the hallway.
Look Ma, No Hands
Just because you’re capable of positioning everything to allow you to put your hands on your hips and go hands-free doesn’t mean you should. You make the rest of us nervous, worried that you’re going to cough or otherwise get distracted and have your pee arc over onto our leg. It’s not like you need both hands available for something else – go ahead and keep a grip on the task at hand.
I first saw this Disneyworld in Orlando – Apparently, people from other countries pull down their pants all the way at the urinal, exposing their butts to the rest of the bathroom. I thought it was one of those funny things that foreign people do, like drive 45 mph in the fast lane, but then I recently had a colleague who did this at work. We all saw his bare butt, once or twice a day.
The Social Butterfly
This guy has no boundaries. He’ll follow you into the restroom talking your ear off, never miss a beat, and engage bathroom activities while he’s talking. He’s completely unaware that we’re having a work discussion while we’re both holding our wieners. My colleague wandered into the bathroom while I was in midstream, rambled on about some work topic, ending with“…. What do you think about that?” So I answered “I prefer not to talk to other dudes while I’m holding my junk, that’s what I think.” Some violators of this category are so clueless that they’ll casually throw an elbow up onto the urinal separator or, God forbid, lean their head over for a peek at your bits. Have you no shame, sir?
This guy lives in his own little world. He seems like he doesn’t realize that he’s in a bathroom with other people because he’s eating a sandwich, singing a song, or talking on his phone “NO MOM, IT’S NOT LIKE I DON’T LIKE YOUR SPAGHETTI, I’M JUST SAYING WE IT’LL MAKE ME FARTY AT THE WEDDING.” Then he’ll drift out of the restroom without washing his hands and turn off the lights while you’re still in there.
A visiting contractor recently walked into our men’s room – but only halfway through the door – and stood there yapping to the guy he had with him. As I looked over my shoulder, I saw a female coworker make eye contact as she walked up the adjacent hallway. So awkward.
Which brings us to…
I spent a long time trying to figure out who our Phantom was. Whoever it was, he used the second urinal every day in the late afternoon, then and left without flushing. Work activities kept me from giving it a proper stakeout, but I do have an office relatively close by and I tried to keep an eye on who it might be. But day after day, I’d fail to identify the Phantom. He was like a ghost, a rude one, peeing in Urinal #2 and then vanishing into thin air.
Perplexed by the mystery, I tried to get into the head of this person. Why did he use Urinal #2? Perhaps because it is the closest one other than the child-height Urinal. Why do the same thing every afternoon? I bet he was one of those who drinks the big water bottles all afternoon. Why such disregard for etiquette? Either he was a sociopath, or a germophobe who didn’t want to touch the handles, or clueless, or some combination…..
Khuu, khuu, khuu….
I had to get into the Phantom’s mind. I waited until 3 pm, went into the restroom, Urinal #2. Did my business, flushed, and thought about what might compel me to do this everyday, and walk out of there without flushing. I pondered these thoughts as I washed my hands, and then…
There was no Phantom. The flow rate on Urinal #2 just sucks. It stays yellow unless you flush it three times. Mystery solved, nailed it.