A couple years ago there was a little show called, “Married With Children.” Its infamous lead character, Al Bundy, would spend most of the show deriding his wife, children and the world around him. However, Al Bundy will stay with me forever for his popularization of the classic archetype, the Contemplating, Defecating Man.
After a while, it became cool to think of your bathroom as your castle, your toilet a throne over the shitty remnants of your life. Only in there, in the silence afforded you by your own waste’s horrid stench, could you be alone. Man is his own master on the can, no one can tell you to what to do, or even to hurry. Sure they may say, “Hurry up in there,” but really, no one wants you to hurry through a shit, everyone wants you to take your time. Don’t rush, make sure you’re finished, you’re liable to get a hernia.
For Men, going to the bathroom is all about comfort, you want a cigarette, a book and maybe some light music, something in a John Tesh or Kenny G. Toilet time is an escape, time to think about stuff, everything from why on earth you’d warm up week old Thai food to who would win in a fight, Godzilla or a pre-staple Star Jones. You know that statue of that guy thinking? He’s not sitting on a stone. Think about it.
For some people the issue of Bathroom comfort is such an integral part of regularity that they won’t go unless they’re at home. I call these people: “my favorite type of house guests.”
But what about work where you spend your entire day?
Well, for the longest time I’ve been blessed with business residences equipped with private bathrooms, placed strategically and privately to facilitate the natural workings of butt music.
Imagine my dismay as upon our arrival in our latest relocation I noticed we were now an unwilling participant in the fascist mass-bathroom socialist industreogram. Sure, the idea of one giant bathroom for a floor of an office building with five different companys and several dozen people makes sense on paper, but what about the indignity?
I hate this fucking mass bathroom with a serious vengeance, enough vengeance for a Jean Claude Van Damme movie. First off, the thing has a code pad.
A CODE PAD.
Because we keep all the shit in there, wouldn’t want anyone to come take it. Or God forbid someone not from our floor would be so audacious enough to try and use the bathroom.
“Hey! This is the Fifteenth floor’s bathroom! Get off of our turf Thirteener!”
If you’re like me, and you’ve been sentenced to this life of communal evacuation, the following rules will help you get through the experience relatively un-molested, unless you’re the offering handies under the stall door type, then you can just skip ahead to the end.
Know Your Urinal Etiquette
This is important. We’re going to go over some very basic set ups for urinal attendance. First thing you should remember, never, under any circumstances, make eye contact in a bathroom. If you need to acknowledge someone look at their chest. If you’re a clubber type, just keep your eye on the bag, you’re not in there to piss and we’d all appreciate you speeding it up a bit for Christ’s sake.
Say you come to the urinals and no one is peeing, which one do you go to?
Answer: The furthest one from the door. There’s no questioning this, it’s just the right answer, I read it in a book.
What if someone’s at that urinal already?
We’re going to assume that you’ve got the standard three urinal set up. Never, ever, ever go with the one right next to the guy. Always keep at least one urinal distance away. I don’t care if you know him and no you can’t talk to him, I don’t care if you’ve got something really interesting to say. He doesn’t give a shit that the weather has been unbearably hot or cold, he’s focused, don’t mess up his concentration. He could be trying to pass a stone, do you want to be the guy that messed up his one chance to pass a stone? Of course not.
What if there isn’t a free urinal with the requisite one urinal buffer zone on either side?
This is a slippery slope. You could hold it in, pretend to wash your hands or something, check to make sure there are paper towels, or even head to a free stall. If there is absolutely no choice and you must go right away, always pick a urinal next to someone shorter than you.
Know Your Stall Etiquette
Say you’re sitting down, going about your business and someone comes in and sits down next to you, what do you do?
Well this is also a tricky situation. First off, your dreams of having a moment of solitudinal crap time are over. You’ve got to decide quick who needs to go the most and get it over with fast or else you could get sucked into a horrible game of dueling assholes and that’s not fun for anyone.
Say you notice his gait is hurried and he practically ran in. Hold it in, he’ll be out of there in a second. If you feel like you’ve got another fifteen minutes left, patience is a virtue, play with your phone. If he walked in calmly, you should finish up quickly and get out of there, he’s got stamina.
Most importantly, never finish at the same time. No one likes to walk out of a stall next to someone and get up close and personal with the face behind the ass you just got to know through morse code. Take one for the team and wait it out.
Wash Your Hands
Especially if you work in the food court, no one likes a law suit.
Keep it Down
This applies to every aspect of mass bathroom etiquette, and it’s the most important. Audible grunts, groans and expletives are NOT ALLOWED. I don’t want to hear you squeeze one out and then start screaming when you see a little blood after being up for six days strung out on coke and hookers. That’s a lifestyle choice you made, don’t drag us down with you.
Honestly, bathroom etiquette shouldn’t be something we have to remind each other of. But in a place where the collective morale of my soon to be pensioner floor mates is equatable to Eyeore the Donkey on a Fuzzy Tuesday, people are just giving up left and right.
I don’t care if you prescribe to the, “I don’t care what you think, I’m married” school of thought. I care that you don’t care and everyone cares that you’re hooting and hollering out your butthole like the Dukes of Hazzard hopped up on Moonshine and incest. Pinch it off, fuckwad.