Thursday, August 26, 2010

Office Bathroom Etiquette

I'm throwing the question out here for all you office workers and those who are married to office workers. I have never considered myself the "typical guy", so often if what I consider a social norm may be way off. One dilemma I keep finding myself coming back to is the awkwardness of knowing the people you might be sitting next to in the stall. First off, I find nothing too awkward about the urinal, every guy knows that if there is no divider you skip one urinal and a casual head nod or light conversation is appropriate, but what about the stall?

I will first confess that after I eat Chipotle or any Mexican food...or any food as I'm getting older, I need to find a restroom fairly quickly and I would rather not know anyone when I get there...nor would you want to be there. In my office I usually use the handicap stall, it's the largest, farthest away and you can't see my feet. When I go into the bathroom and the scent of a rotten garden patch assaults my nostrils and I can see the guy's shoes in the stall, hear the struggle he may be going through and recognize who it is, I can't look at them the same. I now know you as rotten-garbage-patch-pooer. When it's someone your senior it makes it even worse, especially if they walk out and you're washing your hands; you have to act overly casual...and not breathe in at the same time. I will sometimes use the bathroom on a different floor where people either don't know me well or if they did get a glimpse of my feet, wouldn't typically recognize them.

Here are my questions:
1.) am I the only person that thinks like this and/or cares?
2.) Do you try to avoid P2 (Public Pooing)?
3.)If someone is already in a stall will you sit in a stall next to them? This really bothers me, I want to relax in there, not be rushed, nor hear your bowels.

I will confess I use my Blackberry while in the stall, pick up a paper and read it if it's on the floor. I really enjoy my bathroom time and prefer to do it alone. Please respond and ask your husbands if this is not your area of expertise because I know the female bathroom rules are different, plus I only imagine couches, Make-up counters and hair stuff in there. I block out any other images...


Carrie said...

Oh Ryan! Love your humor:) I totally agree with you...but did you say you'll pick up a paper that's on the floor and read it? Is this at home or do people leave papers in your office bathroom stall floors? I'm certainly confused/bothered by that one.

As for the P2 issue...I'm not in an office and the ones I used to work in had private bathrooms, however I hated to do that back in High School.

Scott might have lots to say on this topic...I wonder if he'll share these things on a blog comment though:)

Ryan Smart said...

Carrie and other confused readers, people do leave papers on the floor, usually sports, business and the money section. Yes I read them.

Lindsey and David said...

First of all no P2 in public for me.

Second of all, yes it is awkward being in a stall next to someone I know. I find I can't pee. However, it doesn't bother me if it is someone I don't know.

Luckily in the elementary schools the teachers have a bathroom in their classroom. So no worries for me at work.

Brenda said...

What makes you think that women don't want to block out images of men as well? I don't want to go there. No comment.

KelliJamison said...

Our bathrooms at my office are pretty ghetto...only one stall bathrooms and only two of them at that. There are 30+ people on my floor, so someone is always waiting outside the door, so just the thought of coming out of the bathroom after P2ing makes me blush. If I'm waiting and someone comes out that just "took a while" they inevitably blame the person before them for the smell. I must admit, I've used that line before, but I try to take care of my bizness at home.

Amy said...

Ryan, you're a little bit crazy but that's why I love you! I agree with your mom. It's just as disturbing to picture men in this situation. In fact probably grosser (yes that's a word). Just don't let it stick with you... those images of your coworkers. Chalk it up to nature taking its corse and move on.

Nichelle said...

all i want to say is that i clean office bathrooms and i would like to ask you to PLEASE be courteous by flushing and checking behind you to make sure the toilet actually flushed, and to not let dirty scraps of toilet paper fall on the ground around the toilet perimeter. also, men, it would be really nice if you prevented your hair from piling up on the brim of the urinal. thank you.

Brad and Karen said...

Ryan, TMI....please - back to Erica's blurbs on Camryn's cleaning antics!

Nikki, Cody, and Tessa said...

A certain someone I know, who will remain nameless, also has fear of P2. I'm sure you guys could talk for hours on the subject.

Chase and Nichole said...

Okay so Chase says he thinks everyone pretty much thinks the same when it comes to your "bathroom ettiquete". Even firefighters.He said when he is at the hospital he will search for the single bathrooms to hide out, but if he has to go bad enough he does not care. He just doesn't want to poo his pants!

Karen M. said...

I find this all quite sad and hilarious at the same time. Coming from someone who has had stomach issues for at least 30 years, I don't know how to even comment. Thanks for helping me laugh at myself for all the stupid things I've resorted to out of desperation.

scott.lonche said...

Ryan--I'm pleased to know that you, like me, value your alone time on the crapper and take advantage to do some light to heavy reading. Carly does not understand this.

As for office bathroom etiquette, I know I initially struggled with the urinal side of the equation. Who initiates the conversation? Is it OK to look at the person during the urinal small talk?

I determined that it depends on seniority:
1. If you're senior, do what you want. Talk. Don't talk. Have a staring contest. If you're senior, it's part of your job description to make them feel belittled and uncomfortable.
2. If you're equals, feel free to initiate.
3. If they're one step up from you, you can initiate the conversation but not the eye contact.
4. If they're very senior to you, keep your mouth shut. Speak when spoken to and the only caulk you can stare at is the stuff between the tiles on the wall straight ahead of you.

Julie and Kyle said...

i would say FOR SURE skip a stall. and i would just go to a different floor.

you arent wierd for wondering either. my biggest fear is using a giant single person bathroom. you know, the ones that people can totally walk in on you if there is a faulty lock, and you have no where to hide. thats the worst.

also, kyle had a friend who intentionally left the door unlocked just to see the faces of people who barge in. funny and gross all at the same time.

MediocreMama said...

I can hardly speak on this topic because it makes me totally, completely uncomfortable. No P2. None, never, no way, not at all, I'd rather drive home.

I would say more but I'm completely embarrassed for even reading this. But kudos to you for honesty...I'm all about that.