Bathroom Etiquette: Five things you need to know

Each week at work I am fascinated with people’s outlandish habits. Talking to your kids on the phone is cute, b!tching out your ex’s girlfriend is not. And I know my yogurt in the fridge looks super yummy- after all, I did buy it. But see where it says “Jen”? That’s me. That means it’s mine. Stop eating it! Some of my biggest pet peeves occur in the women’s bathroom. In case you don’t use public restrooms regularly or you need some boundary reminders, this is a list of things I wish more people would remember.

Bathroom Etiquette: 5 things you need to know

  1. Don’t take phone calls in the bathroom. Ok, I understand if it’s some kind of emergency, call you really can’t miss. But the rest of us don’t want to hear you planning the menu for Grandma Betty’s birthday and I am pretty sure the person on the other line is a little grossed out by the flushes in the background. I’m all for balancing your busy, but you can take a few minutes of quiet time to pee.
  2. The bathroom is always a chance place to run into co-workers and of course it’s polite to say hello. But can we please avoid getting into a dissertation about your weekend and don’t start asking me all of the questions that you sent via email ten minutes ago (I saw the email but I had to pee!). I am obviously in here for a purpose. Please let me take care of it and I swear I will respond to your email when I am done.
  3. Don’t compliment my shoes when you get into the stall next to me. This 3×5 space is mine alone for the next 3 minutes to do what I need to do. I’d really prefer to pretend that you aren’t an arm’s length away from me while I do it. We can talk shoes in the hallway.
  4. Speaking of the stall next to me, my pet peeve most often aggravated is the “every other” rule. This means that when you walk into a bathroom with multiple open stalls, you do your best to pick a stall AWAY from one already taken. But it never fails, a row of six open stalls and someone has to come sit in the stall next to me and stink it up.
  5. Clean up after yourself. I can’t believe I even have to say this but I have seen the grossest messes on seats, on the bowl, on the wall, or on the floor. We are all (somewhat) adults and (mostly) professionals. Come on people! On the same note, wash your hands! I really don’t want to receive handouts from you in the next meeting after I saw you skip the sinks.

And a couple of things that SHOULD be done in the bathroom, and only in the bathroom:

  1. Clipping your nails should be done at home, over the garbage, after your shower. But if you must groom at work, I don’t want to hear the ping, ping of your nails splattering about your desk. Do it in the bathroom!
  2. Community kitchens are kitchens (aka, places we store, prepare, and eat food) for the community (aka, your 50 closest co-workers). I know that the bathroom is a whopping 30-second walk from there, but dear God, do not ever brush your teeth in that sink. I wouldn’t have included this if I hadn’t suffered this problem already…

Phew. Ok, I feel better now. I’m glad we can all do our part to make public bathroom usage pleasant for everybody else. Or just work from home. Those folks must have it made!

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