Monday, August 26, 2013

How to Act in a Women's Bathroom

I think we've all hear a bevy of stories about the unspoken rules of men's bathrooms: don't use the urinal next to someone else when there are other options,  look straight ahead,  etc. But what are the rules for public women's restrooms at work?

Honestly,  I had never even considered it until one of my coworkers tried to catch up with me in between her no-nonsense grunts from one of the stalls. Something about your acquaintance updating you on her kids' lives while she is taking a shit is a supremely uncomfortable situation. I kept trying to gracefully excuse myself from the situation,  but she just kept talking.

Since that fateful day, I've compiled a list of dos and don'ts for your average office restroom.

1) Keep your clothes on when not in a stall. I don't know why,  but one individual seems to like to zip and unzip her pants by the sinks instead of in the privacy of a stall. This makes everyone uncomfortable. There is no situation in which you will save time by unzipping your clothes before entering a stall and your office restroom is not a place for exhibitionists.

2) Do not engage in conversations where one or both parties are in a stall. I am aware that most of us do this when we are out at a bar with our bff, but when it's a coworker that you only sort of know,  it's weird.

3) Only use stalls with doors.  This isn't an episode of Orange is the New Black,  and nobody is comfortable enough with each other in an office situation to share that type of intimacy. I once worked in a place where one of the stall doors was stuck completely open,  and yet mysteriously every day the blue cleaner in the toilet would disappear by mid morning. I never caught the person using the toilet,  but I'm pretty sure I would have been scarred for life. Or at least the rest of the day.

4) Wash your hands. It's bad enough if you don't do it on your own time, but you should at least make an effort in front of somebody else.

5) Keep chatting time down to 5 minutes. It's true,  we all run into somebody in the restroom occasionally and catch up on company gossip. But even if you are low on work and wasting away your day,  your coworker may actually have things to do. And even if you are both wasting time, all of the men in the office will probably think you are menstruating if you spend 30 minutes chatting in secret, since that is the only reason they can  think of spending that much time in a bathroom.

Those five rules should help you from committing major a major faux pas. Do you have any other pet peeves for things people do in office bathrooms? Share them in the comments!



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