Worthless Guide to Social Graces - Part 1: Restrooms

Bathroom
By Kevin
Certainly you’ve met others in your life who you would consider to be “rude”. Some murmur loudly while chewing their food, some knock over the elderly in order to get a better spot in line, and then there are those who would reach in to grab a piece of gum out of your mouth before you’ve even finished chewing it. But who can you turn to when you need to find out if something is “impolite”? Miss Manners? If you want to listen to that senile old bag, go right ahead and waste your time. But if you’d rather learn about manners by reading a ridiculous article written by an anonymous author on a no-budget website that absolutely no one reads, please continue.

Part 1 - Restrooms
Part 2 - Table Manners
Part 3 - More Table Manners
Part 4 - Japanese Culture




Part 1
Attendant
Restroom Etiquette

The public bathroom is the wild west of modern society. Not because there aren’t any rules, but because they seem to be magnets for grizzled, unhygienic men who have little ability (or desire) to manage their bodily functions. If you are one of these people, there is little I can say that would change your behavior. But what I can do is provide regular humans with rules they should follow when using a public restroom for any reason. Break these at your peril (or if you’re just curious to see if a person really can get an STD from a toilet seat).


Rule 1
Silent Hill
Evaluate the Location

There is a hierarchy of bathroom cleanliness that many people may not be aware of. It is as follows (from cleanest to dirtiest):

  • Your Own Home
  • Relative’s Home
  • Woods
  • Office
  • Mall
  • National Park
  • Streets of Europe
  • Wal-Mart
  • Gas Station
  • Crack Den
  • Asylum
  • Truck Stop

Some may debate the positioning of certain items on this list (especially a person's home being rated as the cleanest). Remember: No matter how gross the mysterious fluids sprayed on the wall adjacent to your toilet may seem, they can usually be identified as belonging to you or someone you’ve allowed into your home. This makes them significantly less horrifying than those stains left by some mysterious sasquatch-like creature in a stall at the Mall of America.


Rule 2
Urinate
Practice Protective Urination

More antiquated restrooms may not always have dividers between the urinals (appalling as this may be). In these cases you’ll need to put forth your best effort to make sure the guy next to you isn’t checking out your apparatus, because you certainly aren’t going to be able to go with him staring at you. Check out the following diagrams for more specific information. Note: These only demonstrate the proper procedures for the particularly tricky 3 Urinal System; use common sense for arrangements involving greater or fewer numbers of receptacles.


All Vacant
Leftmost Occupation
Central Occupation
If all receptacles are vacant, choose leftmost or rightmost If leftmost receptacle is occupied, choose rightmost
(Simply reverse this rule if the rightmost is occupied)
Finally, if the center receptacle is occupied, use a stall.

NOTE:
If no stalls are available, casually walk over to the sink and pretend you came in to wash your hands.
You should return later when the bathroom is less crowded.


Rule 3
Stall Door
Ensure all stall doors are securely fastened

I recommend you really go out of your way make sure that latch works. Jangle the door back and forth a few times to simulate what is undoubtedly going to happen when some guy who looks like Paul Bunyan wanders in and decides to try and tear the door from its flimsy hinges to “see if someone was really in there”.

Stall designers apparently go out of their way to choose the flimsiest pieces of hardware possible for stall doors. A piece of twine wrapped around two corks would be more effective. The latch never fastens properly, forcing you to: A. Contort so you can brace one leg against it as you go, or B. Be sitting on the toilet in a state of concentration and the door just sort of swings open while everyone else in the bathroom stares inside with puzzled expressions on their faces as they dry their hands.


Rule 4
Ice Cream Floor
DO NOT under any circumstances pick up anything off of the floor

It may hard for you to resist picking up that scrap of paper, food wrapper, or newspaper to read while you sit on the toilet, but you must resist this urge. I don’t care if it’s a brand new newspaper in its plastic bag; don’t even think about touching it. If you absolutely need to get something to read in there, I suggest obtaining reading materials using any of these methods (all of which are 100 times more sanitary than picking up something off that horrible floor).

  • Reaching into actual bowl of toilet
  • Rooting through dumpster behind methadone clinic
  • Reading newspaper used to line birdcage
  • Bobbing for crumpled receipts in bulging colostomy bag
  • Scrounging for ticket stubs on hands and knees under bleachers at dog track
  • Attempting to read brand name on soiled adult diaper

Final Rule
Wash Hands
If you aren't going to wash your hands, at least pretend

Think of this as a respectful request. You people know who you are; you who would casually zip up and stroll out the door whistling a merry tune without so much as standing in front of the sink. Please, I beg of you, do fake wash for the sake of the other patrons. Even if you don't use soap: Turn on the water, splash around for a few seconds; at least wave your hands in the vicinity of the stream. If you won't do it for me, do it for Uncle Sam! Also make sure to buy war bonds where you work or bank.



 Manners Part 2 coming soon(ish)...