Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Public Restroom Etiquette

If you're like me, when you think of etiquette, you probably think of fancy dinners and knowing how and when to use your salad fork instead of your regular fork. Or knowing when to hold a door open for someone else. Or knowing that you should not talk loudly on your phone while in the audience at the third grade choir concert.

Etiquette is "the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group." (I got that definition from dictionary.com.) (Citing sources for quotes is showing proper etiquette.) Or, to put it another way, etiquette is simply knowing what to do in a social setting in order to not be rude to those around you. (I made that definition up myself, so it might not be completely accurate. If you have a problem with that, well then excuuuuuuuuuuse me!)

But, one thing you probably don't think of when I say the word etiquette is a public restroom. "Etiquette" and "public restroom" don't really seem to go together, but I'm here to tell you that they should, because nowhere is etiquette more needed than in a public restroom!

The rules are very simple. I shouldn't have to actually list them. And yet, every time I go into a public restroom at least one of these basic rules has been violated. Come on, people, this is not that difficult! Here are some rules:

1. Flush the toilet--This is about as simple as it gets: If you put something in the toilet, then you should flush the toilet! I don't want to see your poop. I don't want to see your pee. I don't want to see your used toilet paper. Flush the toilet!!! (I realize that some people would like to make an argument about water conservation and how not flushing every time is better for the environment. That's wonderful. These people can hold off on flushing their own personal toilets just once a week if they'd like, but if they're using a public toilet they need to flush every dang time!)

2. Make sure your flush actually worked--When you finish your business in the toilet, you usually will have an inkling whether or not what you left inside the bowl will go down with one flush, or if it's at risk of needing multiple flushes. If you think it might take more than one flush, it is your responsibility to make sure it gets that second flush. You can't just flush once and walk away. It's your duty to attend to your doody. (Because no one else wants to see it.)

3. Do not put paper towels in the toilets--Do you know the difference between a paper towel and toilet paper? Of course you do! And so, you should also know that paper towels do not go in the toilet, they go in the garbage. This isn't rocket science, people!

4. Don't put anything in the urinal (except urine)--Men, they call it a urinal because it is there for your urine. It is not an ashtray or a garbage can. Here is a partial, non-comprehensive list of things that should not be put into a urinal: paper towels, gum, gum wrappers, soda cans, toilet paper, coins, chewing tobacco, ashes, cigarettes, cigarette butts, or butts of any kind.

5. When possible, give people their personal space--If there are multiple urinals or toilet stalls and someone is already occupying one of them, if possible, don't use the urinal or stall right next to them, give them some space. For most people, going to the bathroom is an activity they prefer to do in privacy. No one wants an audience. Of course, this is dependent on the number of stalls and urinals, and the number of people wanting to use them. (I hear this is never a problem in the women's restroom, because they always have several extra stalls--way more stalls than women wanting to us them.)

Good luck finding a restroom this clean!
6. Don't talk--No one should go into a public restroom with the intent of meeting new people or making new friends. The bathroom is not a place for chit chat. Unless you're warning me that the stall I'm about to go into is out of toilet paper, just keep your darn mouth shut, okay?

7. Keep your phone in your pocket--Don't talk on your phone. We don't want to hear your conversation. (And the person on the other end of your phone probably doesn't want to know you're in the bathroom when you're talking to them, either.) Also, since all phones come with camera technology, it's best just to keep them put away--you wouldn't like it if someone was walking around the restroom with a camera in their hands, would you?

When it comes right down to it, this is the kind of etiquette we should all really be paying attention to, isn't it? (Because I really don't care whether or not you're using your salad fork properly.)

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