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It was the picture of the Stormtroopers at the urinals that did it

Rule 2, for the record, is, "Under no circumstances are you to have conversation."

Late in February Piglet of Fire, aka Bones, finally broke through the gender wall and shared the hard and fast rules of the men's room.

If I may quote:

1. Under no circumstances are you to EVER make eye contact.
2. Under no circumstances are you to have conversation.
3. Unless you are at a sporting event, you ALWAYS leave a buffer. If there are dividers, a buffer is not mandatory, but should be left if possible.
4. If in a busy restroom, you drop something other than your cell phone or wallet, it’s gone forever. Leave it and go.
5. If you are in a stall and another stall is occupied, and the other guy flushes, you are duty bound to wait until he washes his hands, dries and exits before you can get up.
6. If you commit the unforgivable sin, you are bound by manlaw to wait until the room is clear, and then waddle to the next stall. Even if it takes 2 hours. Under no circumstances are you to EVER ask the adjacent stall to rip off a bunch of paper and hand it to you.

What gets me is how funny I found this, and how jealous I was after I finished laughing.

See, the truth is, I want more boundaries in the women's room.

No, you can't borrow my lipstick. I don't even know you.

When I asked to be excused to go to the Ladies' that wasn't code for, "Please join me."

I know we were talking, but when I said, "Just a minute," it didn't mean follow me into the restroom and continue talking.

Other than using the term as polite terminology, I don't really consider That Place a "rest room." It's a potty place of business, my friends. I go there, a woman on a mission.

In general, most public restrooms are pretty small and well, let's be honest: gross. Even the clean ones. We all saw that Sixty Minutes about germs in the bathroom, and that's with a potty with a lid. We all know what we're doing there. Truth be told, it's pretty much Unmentionable in Polite Company, unless you are between the ages of 5 and 10.

I know I'm in there for a reason, and it's not to enjoy the space or share the moment. Therefore, In. And Out. ASAP.

To that end, I have a few preferences for Rules of the Ladies' Room:

It's not my preferred space for private conversations.
Have you heard the acoustics in there? And anyway, whoever you are talking about---even if it is someone you believed to be 2000 miles away---is invariably in one of the stalls, and will appear after a dramatic flush. (Woah, heady SNL flash of everyone and a dog walking out of a stall...okay, moment over.) It was funny back on Happy Days, and the song about meetin' in the ladies' room was entertaining 25 years ago...but the truth is, the potty is not my office and the only business I have in there is solo.

Sinkside chatter is okay, although not my preference with strangers. I appreciate friendliness. To a degree. But don't force me to linger while you finish telling me about your really hot date and what you two did in this very bathroom only last week. Please. TMI. Seriously.

I might pause briefly to apply lipstick, or to ensure that my skirt isn't tucked into my panties or that I don't have any TP trailing off the shoe, but really, ten seconds or less is my goal so I'm not looking to share a moment. If I do any hair fluffing or nose powdering, it's really usually just a space filler to busy myself while a Nonstop Chatterer keeps up the conversation. I'm not enjoying it, and it's not what I'd do anyway. I always hope the sharp snap of the lipstick lid closing will be like a bell to end the conversation, but it rarely is.

Brief comments are acceptable. From a stranger, it should be necessary, such as, "Oh gosh, any suggestions how to get this yam off my blouse? My one year old really nailed me!" From someone I know, it can be a pleasantry, such as, "Oh, hi Julie, have a nice day!" Let me reiterate: neither is necessary; you are not obliged to speak to me in the restroom. A slight nod with polite smile will do.

Stall-to-stall chatter is unacceptable. Unless it is urgent, aka, "I'm so sorry to bother you but I'm out of paper. Can you help a sister out?" Accept the assistance with a brief thank you, but do not presume this has bonded us in any way whatsoever. I'm not your new BFF. I'm just the total stranger who has saved your...well...helped you.

This brings us to feminine hygiene. Ladies, I'm about to become the meanest person you ever knew: I feel highly uncomfortable being asked by a total stranger to share The Product. That's just...I don't know, a situation that should only be experienced (if at all) with relatives, or best friends like relatives. You should know that I don't carry a stock. What I bring is meant for my use that day. I know I'll hand over these precious reserves for a crying sister every single time, but I'll do so grudgingly. Before you ask, though, let me recall to your mind the wad of toilet paper in a pinch trick. It should hold you until you can make it to a drugstore.

Additionally, I do not have a license to dispense drugs. Sorry.

Last, but not least:

Don't use the handicap stall unless you are actually handicapped, last trimester pregnant and can't close the door of a regular stall, or are a mom with kid(s) who need to go potty.

(Also, all mom-to-child-while-going-potty chatter is forgiven. Overhearing deliberately for amusement factor is perfectly fine, as are hidden snickers and giggles. Nevertheless, do not, please, use overheard conversation as point of entry to chat. Sympathetic glance is all we need, really.)

And most importantly:

What happens in restrooms, stays in restrooms. Okay? Hard and fast rule. No bathroom "event" gossiping.

Unless you skip the hand wash, in which case it's not gossip, it's a public service message.

I realize the chatter is probably nerves, but I have a message about that: if we're all there, in the restroom, we're all there for the same reason. Nothing to be shy or embarassed about, no matter how far past #1 you might go. The GI and urinary tracts are pretty much out of our immediate and personal control; it's not healthy to hold back. Therefore, employ whatever you must to Pretend Nothing At All Whatsoever Has Occurred.

Trust me, not a one of us souds pretty or smells pleasant when it comes to That Business. Not one of us should throw any stones in any glass houses.

I imagine men and women aren't that different in the restroom, except that men don't feel a need, usually, to fill a silence. I'm not unfriendly, but really, it's a that we should all take care of business, individually, and move along, please.

I did note, Bones, that you left out one perplexing rule I'm sure most women wonder about: what is the SOP for electing to use urinal versus stall? I have the sense there is some etiquette there. And it's just nosey rosey. I don't plan to use the knowledge in any way. Much.

Despite this "oversight," I thought How Men and Women are Different, Vol 1. deserved some extra attention.

So...I'm highlighting it here but more importantly, I'm handing over a ROFL Award:

Congrats Bones!

And many thanks to the fabulous hosts:

Chicky Chicky Baby

Metro Mama


On the side: Now, as for the weight check in. Well. Still stuck. I have continued my tinkering, and will probably have to add in more metabolic increses such as more exercise. I did join Spark people (thanks for the rec!) and hope to get some ideas from there. I do wish they had the ability to put in perma-preferences and allergies. Peanut butter might be a great diet trick for many, but for me, it would a decomp sort of thing due to the allergy. I hold my head high due to losing 32 pounds though, and all around looking and feeling much healthier. It will come.

copyright 2007 Julie Pippert



Gwen said…
Man, no one ever talks to me in the rest room, let alone asks me for "product."

You need to practice your bitch face, Julie. :)
Fabulous choice! That post made me laugh so hard I almost fell off my couch.
Bones said…
Wow! I stumbled in this morning, still bleary-eyed from my redeye back to the east coast from my week-long work trip in CA, and I'm greeted by a ROFL award. I so needed this. Mostly because somebody violated rule #3 in the airport yesterday. There had to be 2 dozen open urinals, and this dude stood right next to me. Weird.

But thanks! I'll display my ROFL with pride.

And to answer your question about urinal vs. stall: Default is always the urinal, unless there is no buffer, and then you stand in the stall. Or, if you suffer from stage fright, you can elect to go straight to the stall and stand. But, doing this telecasts to everybody that you have stage fright and that you’re a big sissy-boy. Nobody would ever say anything, but you know they are thinking it.

And unless there is a #2 involved, you never, ever sit. I’m not sure if its primal instinct or a learned behavior, or maybe we just don’t want to sit in the pee that is always on the seat, but that’s the rule. If I ever become rich, I’ll commission a study of men who were raised by a single mom to see if they sit while they pee. I suspect they do not.
Julie Pippert said…
You know, Gwen, in the restroom of you know, places I go, it never occured to me to put on my NYC street walking (that's WALKING not WALKER) "don't mess with me punks cuz I can mess you up good and anyway clearly I am too, too poor to have anything you want" anti-mugging face. However, perhaps I need some mirror time to work out my, "oh no you don't, oh no you don't, you don't CHAT IT UP with ME HO!"

Or...maybe...a scary mask? Condi Rice perhaps?

Mrs. Chicky, oooh careful, we don't want any injuries here LOL.

Bones, congrats! Display ti with pride! Tsk tsk about that rule #3. You know, I think there are just *some* people who are social potty-ers, you know?

Thanks for answering the urinal vs. stall question. My husband would only snort at me. The issue on the seat (no pun intended) had not occured to me.

Your study should also survey men raised with sisters. I know my husband came fully trained. (Love ya hon.)
thailandchani said…
Very funny.. well-written, as always. :)
Bones said…
Oh, and if you're really that jealous, its nothing that you cant overcome. You, too, can be welcome in the Men's Room. All it takes is a $12,000 surgery and 18 months of hormone treatments.
Unknown said…
Great choice, because I was ROFL. Who knew, really!
Girlplustwo said…
I LOVE this. and i love bathroom long as, yes, you are stall to stall unless you are good friends.
NotSoSage said…
Julie: Public safey announcement, indeed. Ugh.

Bones: have you read Tea Room Trade? I think that person who violated #3 was givin' you some seriously lusty vibes. Seriously.

Oh, and for the sitting rule, is there a public vs. private restroom distinction? I have a friend who insists that any man with whom she shares a home, and therefore, a bathroom sits while he pees. She was too sick of cleaning up the drips and spills.
Julie Pippert said…
Bones, SNORT! No thanks, LOL. I'll just work on my women's movement. I mean, no offense to you men. Of course. :)

Sage, ahh excellent question. The sit down in private homes makes sense. My husband seems to think the External Plumbing renders one Incapable of Cleaning a Bathroom. I especially like how he says, "I don't clean bathrooms!" in such an appalled way. So it's left to me.

I always wondered what I'd do with boys, if I ever had any.
Bones said…
I'm sorry, but if a man can't stand and pee in his own home, he might as well put a skirt on and start driving a pink volkswagon bug.

When visiting somebody else's home, its usually a good idea to sit so they dont have to hear to the pee sound through the door.
Terri B. said…
You gave me such a wonderful laugh for my Friday afternoon. Great post!
Bea said…
In lieu of the NYC-face-practising, you could just move to Canada. We don't talk to strangers here. Ever.

(Except that one time I was nursing Bub on a chair in the washroom - we call restrooms washrooms here - and a first-time pregnant woman stopped to look at me in amazement and said, "Does the baby always make that much noise?" What can I say - he was a noisy eater.)
LOVE,LOVE,LOVE this post!

What is the etiquette for hearing a "sound" that you (for the life of you have NO idea why but) find to stifle the giggle....or just let it go?

This has happened to me, and I was terribly embarassed that I found it so funny, but I have a really infantile sense of humor and simply could not help myself!
Julie Pippert said…
Chani, I live to please. ;) Thanks!

Momish, you know, I always suspected...LOL

Jen, bathroom camraderie LOL! It's the stall-to-stall that gets me the worst, and crossing other boundaries. General genuine geniality is generally okay. ;)

Terri, glad to deliver a giggle. Thanks! :)

B&P, when my sister moved to Toronto she definitely noticed that fact. I mean, when you say New Englanders are downright chatty and friendly by comparison...well... Anyway. LOL I didn't experience that when my office was there, but then again, I wasn't living there (only traveling up for business). I actually found Toronto full of awesome people, and TBH, my coworkers seemed exceptionally friendly and kind. Ultimately, my sister fell in love with her town and had a great time.

Maybe I was just grateful people weren't following me into bathrooms and sharing personal details while asking for products. ;)

LOL if she thought eating was noisy...LOL

Queen, thanks! Good to hear from you! Okay here's the gig: most of us barely evolved past ages 5-10. Let's be honest. I fully admit to having a total gutter mind that tends to take almost anything and twist it up nice and nasty. Don't be shamed of finding the humor. It's what we call shared common denominator comedy. However, the other person is probably not feeling the moment so best to stifle the giggle and remember the rule about no bathroom gossip. ;)
kim said…
I talk to anyone anywhere, except--the bathroom. Get in -get out.

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