This one is for the girls. Not being completely familiar with the rules and regulations of trigger warnings, I’m a little hesitant about whether or not this is appropriate, but before I begin, let me just warn our male readers: continuing to read will rob you of your sense of awe about the mysterious and wondrous things that you think go on in the women’s restroom. Read at your own peril.
I’m attending some classes this week, which means I’m drinking copious amounts of coffee and therefore having to spend more time than I usually do in a public restroom frequented by other women — poised, professional-looking women who (by most measures) seem to have impeccable manners. But the minute I walk into the restroom I realize that women are the same wherever you go: It is a universal truth that women demonstrate appallingly uncouth behavior when they’re turned loose in public restrooms — especially when they are traveling in gaggles.
10. Don’t flood the zone with perfume.
There are enough smells wafting around in a public restroom — various cleaning products and air fresheners, not to mention the… well… the “organic” scents produced by visitors to the stalls. Please don’t add to the fetor by spraying three gallons of Estee Lauder Beautiful or Jean Nate in the confined space of a public restroom. The rest of us are choking on the fumes of your loveliness and besides, I’m fairly sure you’re probably violating a fire code or a county health regulation with all that unauthorized spraying.
9. Alert someone when the toilet paper dispenser is empty.
We all know that terrible feeling of reaching for the toilet paper, only to discover that the dispenser is empty. You fish around in your purse and of course, you have no napkin, no tissue — not even a gum wrapper to provide an assist. Your options are extremely limited at that point: drip dry or use that relatively clean-looking piece of toilet paper that the person before you carelessly tossed on the floor. The only reason this happens is because the girl before you did not have the courtesy to let someone know that the toilet paper dispenser needed to be refilled (or possibly because service personnel ignored the request of the good Samaritan). Please be kind — don’t leave the next girl to drip dry!
8. Don’t talk on the phone.
We are all listening to your conversation and wondering if the person on the other end of the call can hear the noises emanating from your stall. We also think you’re being a little tough on your husband and that it is actually your turn to pull carpool duty. But we do agree that rosemary pork medallions with steamed asparagus would be lovely for dinner! T.M.I.
7. Wash your hands.
Even if you just step into the bathroom to touch up your makeup, everyone is going to look at you like you are a modern-day Typhoid Mary if you attempt to exit the public restroom without washing your hands. Even if you didn’t use the commode, you most certainly touched something gross and germy while you were in there — and everyone knows it.
6. The hand washing area is not your personal hair salon.
None of us can resist peeking in the mirror and, if necessary, touching up our hair and makeup before leaving the restroom. Not a problem. But if you’re a girl with a long, flowing mane of hair, don’t brush and leave behind enough hair in the sink to make a legitimate donation to Locks of Love. While we all admire your silky tresses (and some of us are envious to the point of being covetous), we are totally grossed out by your gobs of slimy hair in the bathroom sinks. No more hairballs.
5. Don’t bathe in the sink.
What are you doing bathing in the sink of the public restroom? (If you are legitimately homeless you get a pass on this one.) There is nothing worse than leaning over to wash your hands at the sink and realizing that your blouse is hanging in a slimy mixture of used hand soap and murky water. If you really must partake in a mid-day cleanse (or worse, shaving), how about bringing your own wipes instead of plunging your body parts into the tiny sink? At the very least, clean up after your public bathroom sponge bath (let those words sink in a minute) so the rest of us don’t have to lean into your bathwater or set our purses in your puddles.
4. Don’t litter.
We all understand that sometimes various and sundry paper products end up on the floor at some point when you’re using the public restroom. You would never think of leaving trash behind on the floor of your bathroom at home or at a friend’s house, right? So why is it okay to leave your trash behind in a public restroom? Yes, it’s gross to touch something that has touched the floor in the vicinity of the public commode and yes, someone gets paid minimum wage (or union scale) to clean up after you, but ask yourself if you would leave that paper on the floor if there were no stalls and if people were watching you. If not, don’t be a hypocrite. Pick up your own paper. If you have aiming problems, practice tossing wads of toilet paper and seat covers in your toilet at home.
I know, we don’t want to touch the nasty silver flushing handle (technically called the “flush lever”), but that’s exactly the reason we don’t wander barefoot into public restrooms. Hike up your skirt and give the flusher a ninja kick so the rest of us don’t have to look at the unmentionables you left behind. If you can’t hike your leg high enough to kick the flusher, MacGyver a wad of toilet paper to wrap around the flusher. Obviously, this can get complicated in restrooms that utilize motion-detected flushing, so sometimes it’s necessary to “Do the Hokey Pokey and turn yourself around” in order to get the blasted things to flush. If that fails, there is actually a little black escape button that will whisk everything away with a single touch (you just have to find it).
2. About those feminine hygiene products…
[Guys, if you didn’t heed the trigger warning at the beginning of this list, I’m warning you, cover your eyes, right now!!!]
Ladies, if you are forced to use the public restroom during the week that “Aunt Flo” is visiting, there are appropriate receptacles for the disposal of your supplies. Do not, under any circumstances, be the girl who is too lazy to reach 12” to the receptacle on her left — the one who chucks every variety of padded products into the toilet and is then responsible for clogging an entire building’s waste removal system for the rest of the day, causing the maintenance man to have a really lousy day.
1. DON’T PEE ON THE SEAT!!!
I apologize if this sounds crass, but there is no polite way to phrase this and it is imperative that I communicate it clearly, without equivocation. Don’t pee on the seat! For the life of me, I don’t understand how or why women urinate on the toilet seat. “Seat” implies that one is sitting and it seems to me that it would require an advanced gymnastics move to simultaneously sit on the seat and pee on it. I’ve heard rumors that some women do actually engage in some awkward squatting poses or “hovering” so as to avoid contact with the germy seat. If that’s the case and you’re the one leaving a urine-splattered seat behind for the next girl… stop it! It’s gross. No one else should have to mop up your urine, especially when she’s had copious amounts of coffee and she really, really has to go, now. Either use a paper toilet seat cover (or cover the seat with layers of toilet paper) so you can remain seated for the entire ride, or follow the old adage, “If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie, wipe the seatie!”
Have I missed any rules?