Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Public Bathrooms are Icky

Over the many years of public schooling that I have endured, not to mention the children camps I've taught at, I have learned that sometimes you simply can't avoid public restrooms.  I have definitely encountered some pretty terrible bathroom situations, and when I was in Nicaragua for a study abroad program I encountered bathrooms that haunt my nightmares to this day.  Seriously....the ground would have been preferable if not for the presence of creepy men everywhere we traveled.

But what have I learned from these bathroom atrocities, you might ask.  There are certain things that are important to know when using a public bathroom, and certain things that you must do to minimize your encounters and make your public bowel excreting adventures less painful.  I have developed for myself a few rules that help me navigate the VERY murky waters of Public Restroom Use, and have decided to share them here with you today.


  • AVOID IF AT ALL POSSIBLE!  This pretty much goes without saying.  Public Bathrooms are the harbingers of stinky infection and wet bottoms.  They are most definitely to be avoided if at all possible
    • Inspect all available toilets before selecting one for use.  There are many questions to ask before placing your bar derriere on that ominous plastic circle.  Was the toilet flushed when it was last used? Is there any liquid on the floor or on the toilet seat?  Is there a trash can available, should you need it? Does the lock work?  Is there a hook for you to hang your purse on?  If all criteria are not met, move on to another toilet stall....or select the best one available.
      • For the love of god, make sure there is toilet paper BEFORE YOU SIT DOWN! I have had many awkward moments, as I'm sure you have had as well, where I sat awkwardly on the toilet, wondering when somebody would walk in so I could ask them to please pass me some toilet paper under the stall.  This is VERY embarrassing.
      • Maintain the buffer zone. This is an unspoken law of bathroom etiquette.  If a stall is already in use, you may not occupy the stalls immediately adjacent on either side of it.  There are a few exceptions to this rule, and they are as follows:  when there is a line out the door to use the bathroom, when you REALLY need to go and there are no other alternatives, when you require the use of a handicap stall and the one next to it is occupied.  Otherwise, it is rude and in poor form to use the stall next to an occupied stall.  This is ESPECIALLY true when urinals are involved
      • Courtesy Flush.  If you have to use a public bathroom, and even worse, have to make a big stinky mess, remember to courtesy flush for every log that you expel.  This will help reduce the glaringly offensive odor that you have produced that is making an already unbearable situation worse.
      • Use the toilet that is the farthest away from any entrances and exits. People are lazy, and will inherently select the toilet that requires the least amount of distance to traverse.  Because of this, to use the least visited (and probably least germ-infected) commode, you should walk the farthest into the bathroom that you can.  This has the added bonus of removing the possibility of somebody infringing on the buffer zone on one side, as this toilet is typically against a wall, sharing only one stall wall with another toilet.
      • Wash your hands when you are finished.  Really.  This goes without saying.
      • Avoid any unnecessary contact with surfaces.  These surface are carriers of all the germs and particles that are spewed from the toilets every time they flush!  Very icky!
      • Shoes are a must!...and that pretty much goes without saying.  Even at the beach, you MUST wear shoes!!!
      • When it is early in the morning, ALWAYS choose the stall with the seat up.  This toilet has not been used since it was last cleaned...At least for women.  I'm not sure exactly how this works in boy bathrooms.

      There are other bathroom rules, but I am too lazy to write them down or illustrate them for your viewing pleasure.  You should all feel very lucky that I posted AT ALL today.  And here I've posted a super awesome long post just for you!  You're welcome.

      What other bathroom rules do you follow that I haven't included here?


        1. Ha ha, I cracked up at the the pic where you are inspecting the toilet.

          And my only bathroom rule has to do with the port-o-potties while running...and that is always carry a spare pair of gloves...just in case you need tp :-)

        2. Some times your bathroom can be too clean right?

        3. I find it is nice to have tissues in my purse as emergency toilet paper. Anonymom

        4. OMG dude this hits so close to home.

          I have truly fully mastered the art of the squat. NO LIE. My legs are better because of it. Fittest part of my body I tell ya.

          Also, sometimes I forget to check for toilet paper and guess what happens? I'm left to my own devices. NOT COOL.

        5. while the farthest stall is preferable you must take notice of available lighting! Id the lights at the far side are out or flickering then there is the potential for an axe murderer down there.

          90% chance if lights are flickering
          60% if lights are out
          10% chance they'll get you if you use the first stall in this situation with poor lighting.

          ALSO gas stations with no attendants and a long hall leading to the restrooms are ominous and should be avoided at all cost!

          ... I would love to see a picture you'd make from that "statistic" lol, so funny.

        6. SQUAT! It's hard at first, but once you get it down squatting will let you avoid the seat all together!